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When I worked as a waitress, no matter what the kitchen served for staff meal, we'd usually end up rummaging around the pantry for condiments

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Reviewing the Review: Falling for Vermouth

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When I worked as a waitress, no matter what the kitchen served for staff meal, we'd usually end up rummaging around the pantry for condiments or crackers. If dinner happened to be thawed frozen waffles - a reminder of why our restaurant got out of the brunch business months before - we'd scour the shelves with more gusto, piecing together meals from whatever staples wouldn't be counted individually for inventory.

I was reminded of our scrappy approach to dinner toward the end of a terrific meal at Blind Pig Bistro, a shoebox of a restaurant where the line between kitchen and dining room has a permeability that in most eateries hardens at the start of service. Customers aren't knocking around the kitchen, but the excellent dishes taste like what the cooks might produce for their peers. And when my table asked for a dessert wine to match a cheese, our server found a bottle of vermouth in seemingly the same way my fellow waitresses and I used to come up with cornflakes.

Our server didn't just stumble into the perfect pairing, of course: Blind Pig had the wisdom to stock Vermouth Perucchi and serve it neat. The Spanish vermouth has been sold domestically for more than two years, but I'd never before encountered it as a heartily-endorsed apertif. The white vermouth, which garnered a fair bit of attention from wine geeks when it showed up on U.S. shelves, is a smattering of honeyed elegance, with its initial sweetness dissolving into a dryness that's suitable for a salty cheese session.

Vermouth Perucchi is my take-away lesson from Blind Pig, but you'll find plenty more about what I enjoyed on-premises (read: mackerel) in my review. And if you're scouring for beautiful pictures of beets, sturgeon and pork belly, they await in Joshua Huston's slideshow.

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