My inclination to get takeout for dinner swings into high gear a couple of times each year. The earliest time is when we get into late spring and I just want to be out and about doing stuff rather than toiling away in the kitchen. The other is the season we’re in right now, when rain is abundant and it starts getting dark just after 4 p.m.
So I embrace it. I pack up my stuff at the office, wade outside, pick up the takeout, and cross my fingers that I have a suitable wine at home to go with it.
Rather than simply hoping for the best this time around, I’ve begun employing a little strategy to ensure I have that suitable wine ready. Thinking about some of my favourite places to get grab ’n’ go dinner, there are a few wines I’ll be sure to have on hand.
Vancouver’s legendary Cambodian-Vietnamese joint, the Phnom Penh Restaurant (244 East Georgia Street), is temptingly close to my home in Chinatown, so I have its homey, decadent fare on heavy rotation. Like its legions of local fans, I’m addicted to a wide assortment of its dishes, especially the marinated butter beef, spicy garlic squid, and sautéed pea tips.
With big, punchy flavours and a wide array of ’em, a dynamic wine is needed to handle that diversity. Cellier des Princes La Princesse Rosé 2016 (Rhône Valley, France; $15 to $18, private liquor stores) is a vibrant pink blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, bursting with cherries, pink grapefruit, fresh lime, and mint. There’s enough concentration to envelop all those flavours yet a good amount of lift to keep the palate refreshed.
Straight Outta Brooklyn NYC Pizzeria (various locations) does delivery and takeout, and if you buy by the slice, it’s a killer bargain at $3.40 to $4.20 for a quarter of a pie. I usually jump at the Original (Margherita)—with tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil—or go all-out on the Spice pizza, topped with capicollo and spicy salami. No matter which one I opt for, I always take the option of adding fresh arugula for a mere 80 cents.
Going with a red wine is a no-brainer, and Domaine de l’Arjolle Cabernet Merlot 2015 (Languedoc, France; $26 to $29, private liquor stores) is a juicy treat, laden with red and black currants, Lapin cherries, oregano, and basil. There are just enough grippy tannins to latch onto your slice with ease.
Some say it can be hard to pair wine with sushi, but I don’t know if I agree with that. When I swing by Fujiya (various locations), whether I’m loading up on avocado tempura rolls, spicy tuna rolls, or wild sockeye salmon sashimi, a little Riesling always hits the spot. Okanagan Crush Pad’s Narrative Riesling 2015 (Okanagan Valley, B.C.; $22.90, online) sings with fresh-squeezed lemon and lime, a slice of peach, and a sprig or two of jasmine. It’s available online or you can do a store search on the website to find it on a shelf near you.
Is poké still a thing or did Vancouver totally overindulge during the past couple of years? Well, I still love it, especially when I’m starving, needing something superhearty, and want it to be healthy. Pacific Poké (various locations) is my local, and I almost always get the Keefer, a $14 jamboree of ahi tuna, ahi negitoro, avocado nori, fresh wasabi peas, organic seaweed salad, wasabi mayo, shoyu, yuzu, lime juice, herbs, and sprouts.
I usually get a hankering for a local Viognier with my bowl, something like Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2015 ($24.90 online or locally at Village VQA Wines [1811 West 1st Avenue] ), with its orange blossom and honeyed mangos that mingle well with poké’s tropical vibe.
Finally, sometimes when there’s a torrential rainfall and you’re trudging home, getting splashed by careening buses, you want nothing more than to sink your teeth into a juicy gourmet burger. I like me a G-Money burger with cheddar and fried mushrooms from Vera’s Burger Shack (various locations). Of course, it’s only right to pair it with something equally juicy and opulent.
Baronia del Montsant Cims del Montsant 2012 (Montsant, Spain; $14.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is a fairly oaky blend of Grenache and Carignan offering plenty of ripe Italian plums, mulberries, bay leaf, and thyme. There’s a slight leathery funk to it as sips continue, with savoury components like sun-dried tomato and maybe a touch of hoisin.
A good amount of dimension and soul comes at a very good price; I’m thinking my most recent bottle of the stuff won’t be my last of the season.More