Sunday, March 13, 2011

Taken For Granted

Long-term couples know this one well: You go someplace for dinner, or maybe you're on your way home after an evening with friends, and suddenly your partner in this walk through life says something that absolutely…cracks…you…up. You look over at him (in my case) through your tears and really see him for the first time in ages. That same smile. The same laugh lines (albeit maybe more of them) around the eyes. But he's just reminded you why you fell for him in the first place.

Because he makes you laugh like nobody else ever has who's not a professional comedian. (And who'd want to live with one of them? Yikes.)

It's like that with my brother. I take it for granted that he's a wonderful cook, a terrific bartender and knows his way around a grill. I'm finding out he's a really great dad, too, not that it's a surprise; after all, he gets a lot of coaching from his lovely bride.

It's the same with his wine business, which operated with stunning success in Sellwood for more than ten years. But now that he's moved Vino to it's new location smack dab in the middle of food heaven on SE 28th, it gave me a chance to see it with new eyes. And what did I spy with my little eye the last time I was in but a shop-within-a-shop he's calling Mercato di Vino.

Bruce has always carried a few good vermouths, some salt, maybe the occasional estate olive oil from one of his wine suppliers and the off-and-on can of what we call "crack olives," little anchovy-stuffed green olives from Spain that, and I have proof, are highly addictive. And go perfectly with the perfect gin martini.

The new location has given him room to expand his offerings and he's bringing in the best of the best: not only our vermouth of choice for Manhattans, Carpano di Antica, and the accompanying you'll-never-settle-for-maraschinos-again Toschi amarena cherries. But also his new favorite mixer, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, along with Cocchi Americano, Lillet and a terrific selection of bitters. Plus a dry goods section overflowing with imported polenta, tomatoes, Spanish tuna, arborio, salts and olive oil.

All this in my brother's wine shop…I gotta look around more often. Imagine what he's hiding on his wine shelves!

Details: Vino, 137 SE 28th Ave. 503-235-8545.

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