“Are we anticipating ketchup tonight?”
This may be the most delightful phrase I’ve heard spoken by a server so far this year. The beauty of it is in the anticipation of the ketchup itself, rather than anticipating a need for ketchup or even a desire for it. This phrase, served up on a quiet evening at Marinade on Main (née Marmalade on Main till a naming dispute brought about a sudden change of title), imbues simple ketchup with a Godot-like omnipresence.
With our ketchup, perhaps we shall try Turtle Rock Ridge’s “Hello Gorgeous,” of unstated vintage and bold naming strategy. Composed of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Sangiovese, this Ramona native could pose as a Bordeaux table wine, even with the Italian grapes in the mix. French oak barrels left behind the distinctive scent and flavor of vanilla marshmallows, which may be the wine’s strongest suit. Besides that it’s rather acidic and with a generic sense of “fruit,” such that the two flavors combine into a kind of Sweet Tart experience. $10/glass seems a bit steep for what amounts to a table wine that some people wouldn’t think twice about thinning with a splash of cola or lemon soda.
Marinade has embraced the local style of the gentleman farmer to such a degree that the restaurant’s designers have crafted tables that look as if they were made from pallets, except that they weren’t. Which is actually good, since pallets are somewhat unsanitary and probably soaked with all manner of industrial chemicals. Dig the cleaver welded to the door in place of a door handle, and scope the appropriate modesty of the chalkboard crediting various local farms for supplying Marinade with eggs and veggies.
If Hello Gorgeous is your drink, match it up with fried chicken (in sandwich or dinner form, both are hot and salty), pot pie, or better yet the restaurant’s burger, which ought to always be served with the optional egg and which the kitchen will cook rare if requested.