Indian cuisine is experiencing a mini-boom of sorts, what with the recent openings of Clay Pit Grill & Curry House in Addison and Dawat in Richardson. Now Saffron House, another Addison entrant, stuffed with "the finest replicas of Indian art," makes it a trio. At Saffron House, "master chefs...transform meals into pure bliss," according to the PR pulp. And it does this by mingling Indo-Chinese with assorted delicacies and specialties plucked from the whole Indian subcontinent, inviting an exploration of "all of its glorious cuisine and flamboyance."
U.S. wine exports nudged up 1 percent in value last year (from $541 million in 2001 to $548 million) while volume slipped 7 percent (from 80.3 million gallons in 2001 to 74.5 million), according to the Wine Institute. Strange among all of the data, though, are the export figures for France, the sixth-largest U.S. wine market. In 2002, the Yankee-phobic French gulped 9 percent more American wine by volume, representing an 87 percent hike in value, which means they have a lot of drinking to do, what with all the native wine they have that we aren't buying...It was bound to happen. After wineries started plugging their bottles with cellulose cork impostors, the screw cap was sure to make a fine-wine appearance eventually. Patented in 1889 in the United Kingdom, screw tops have been on cheap wines such as Mogen David for years. Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor, too. Though screw caps appeared more than a decade ago on some Sutter Home wines, they never really caught on until recently. Last October, Bonny Doon Vineyard owner/wine gadfly Randall Grahm led a funeral procession in midtown Manhattan for the cork, complete with a coffin containing a suit stuffed with the traditional wine bottle plugs to promote the fact that his Ca'del Solo Big House red and white wines now sport screw caps. Sonoma-Cutrer, Downing Family Vineyards and Plumpjack Winery have joined the fray. Now Calera Wine Co. near California's Central Coast, producer of stupendous pinot noirs and chardonnays, boasts it bottles half of its 2002 Mt. Harlan Viognier production in screw caps. It keeps the rest of it in traditional corks for those who need corkscrew rituals and plugs to fondle during the salad course. "I am sick and tired of having even a tiny percentage of our wines spoiled by defective corks," says Calera's founder Josh Jensen. Spoilage aside, at least one vintner I know decries dinner without the cork-removing ceremony, comparing it to romance without the bra-unclasping ritual. Yet a ritual that begins with a screw can't be all bad.