Archive for May, 2010

My Pinot Year: ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Posted: May 14, 2010 in Pinot

(Clancy’s Crab Shack on the corner of St. Patrick & Pinot)

Imagine the horror—the promise I made myself almost 6 months ago about Pinot, just Pinot and nothing but the Pinot. I HADN’T CONSIDERED St. Patrick’s Day.

No Guinness?! No Bushmill’s?! What the EF was I thinking?!

For those of us real Irish-Americans (my lineage traces to the McGettigans of Galway), St. Patty’s is really something of an inside joke. The day isn’t so much for US; we’re Irish every day. We don’t need to be reminded, or have anything to prove. Really it’s for every other idiot out there to wear green, eat corned beef and pretend to have an excuse to get absolutely smashed. That isn’t to say these are not noble goals; for most of these people dressing yourself qualifies you for the papacy, or at least a Pell grant.

But fine, great, whatever, we Irish put on a clover sweater vest and tangerine tie and wade into the kiddy pool among all the other jackasses, and shamelessly belittle anyone too foolish to hold their own liquor in the proper and adult fashion. We consider it our sacred duty to act as the lifeguards as it were, keep all the banter friendly, the limericks relatively clean (or at least charmingly crude), and kick out anyone caught peeing or barfing in the water.

(The Author considers what horrors St. Pat will display this year)

You don’t see us slapping people around on Boxing Day, or on Cinco de Mayo for that matter.

In any case, if there’s anything worth doing it’s worth doing right. And on this day “doing right” meant Clancy’s Crab Shack in Glendale. It came highly recommended from my resident Double Agent, but I had my reservations. Those who know me understand there is no love lost between me and Glendale; it’s one of the two places (so far) I’ve spent the night in jail. It’s the only place on earth I can describe as both sterile and filthy, all at the same time—most of the town is an impersonal imitation of a metropolis. Recent studies have shown 92% of it is made from sub-standard concrete pylons and 100% of that is slathered in a thin film of burned motor oil and smog. Fatalities are inevitable during even the slightest amount of rainfall; downhill streets become hopelessly slick, toxic sluices, and high school drop-out rates are comparable to schools in Somalia, which, it should be noted has no operational infrastructure.

But that’s neither here nor there. The sky was clear, the day unseasonably warm, and most important I took a taxi. I showed up just after noon, or as the Irish call it, HIGH TIME TO DRINK.

(Precisely as I remember it)

And I was not alone. St. Patty’s is not the sort of day to spend by yourself, and unfortunately my more beautiful better-half was away at work. However, Karmyn’s equally lovely older sis Diane Minter was visiting from Texas. Texas people are great to hang out with on drinking holidays; they are talkative and fiercely loyal and will not hesitate to clobber interlopers with their very own barstools if they look at you the wrong way. Marvelous, classy people—just pray they don’t meet someone else from Texas—they won’t stop talking about the Motherland for at least three hours.

(Today the role of sidekick will be played by Diane Minter)

Clancy’s has a long oak bar and—most important for me—some decent Pinot by the bottle. In this case it’s Hitching Post’s 2006 Highliner. They also sell HP’s ground level Pinot, which tastes like something between a barium milkshake and a kick in the teeth. SO, Highliner it was.

(Irish Times call for Desperate Measures—Hitching Post’s Highliner)

In “Sideways,” if you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you know Hitching Post has a restaurant that Miles uses as his base of operations for much of his and Jack’s shenanigans. So it felt fitting to enjoy that for my Irish luck that day. Two bottles—eight glasses—a decent amount to enjoy on this, a most foul national semi-holiday.

In order to not go sideways myself, I offer here my bill of fare for the day:

jumbo prawn cocktail; 5 prawns

basket popcorn shrimp; 16 ounces

split loaf garlic toast; 18 inches

caesar salad with croutons; 16 ounces

oysters on half-shell; 15 count

cream of corn chowder; 8 ounces

Maine lobster, whole; 32 ounces

And most important, for continued hydration:

Voss sparkling, large size; 6 bottles


(Yes Your Honor, a platter of oysters at noon WAS a brilliant idea)

The day wore on and more and more squares and goons in green began to pack the bar like a can of leprous sardines. There was live music, I think, which, in true pub style, was neither terrible nor great. But it was loud and had a beat you could follow.

(Look at these goobers. You’d drink too if you were stuck here)

But damn if I didn’t lose my favorite pair of sunglasses.

So I’m offering a reward. You’ve seen them on this very website. If you spot some idiot bragging about finding a pair of excellent Maui Jims at Clancy’s on St. Patty’s, GET THEM BACK FOR ME. Use gratuitous violence.

Cash money is involved.

We are, after all, professionals.