I hadn’t been out on a double date with my college roommate since college, so meeting her new beau was the perfect excuse for getting together. This may seem like a harmless dinner and drinks, but every couple knows the search for suitable couple friends can be fruitless, not to mention fatiguing. The chemistry must be organic and if at any point it feels forced, the fun of double dating flies out the window. These are very volatile relationships, which is why I was thrilled this meeting at the Philly BYOB Matyson turned out to be a true meeting of the minds.
We came armed with a bottle of red and a chilled white. This should be a rule of thumb for you too. If you don’t go to a BYOB prepared you could be stuck sipping what your friends choose and that could be disastrous. In this case it was the opposite. I was super psyched as we approached the table, because the bottleneck jutting from the ice bucket was one I knew and adored. Aria, Sparkling Pinot Noir, with its ruby-red foil and emblazoned crest was a warm welcome. With a subtle pop we were off to a superb start.
The restaurant had great energy, and amazing food like cornmeal-crusted oysters drizzled with a Piquillo pepper puree, fresh Opah over perfectly cooked risotto, and a beef dish to die for. Yet, it was watching the men engage in easy conversation while happily sipping long flutes filled with pretty pink bubbles that brought a smile to my face. Nothing exudes confidence like a couple of guys throwing back some pink wine in dainty glassware. Between the marvelous food, great wine, and laughter bubbling from our table, we all agreed there’d be a sequel.
The wine: Aria, Sparkling Pinot Noir, $14
These bubbles are dazzling in ruby red and overflowing with fruit, but don’t expect sweet. This is a dry, vibrant mouthful making for a fabulous aperitif as well as a match for many foods.