As long as I have lived in Walla Walla, I don’t believe I have ever heard anyone say, “Let’s go to Waitsburg for the evening” until just recently. Unless we had family and friends who lived in this farming community of about 1,200 — including in that number a few chickens, goats and a camel — we Walla Wallans didn’t have much of a reason to go.
Now when someone says, “Let’s go to Waitsburg,” it is an event. It often means great dining without any formality and fuss.
The ’Burg is a quick get-away for the evening, and sure enough, we always run into many familiar faces from Walla Walla. We also hear stories about visits from TV sitcom stars, national magazine journalists and an impromptu accordion serenade or two.
Sean was visiting the Walla Walla area from Seattle with another wine colleague, Paul Zitarelli of Full Pull Wines, a Washington wine retailer. The two of them were in the Valley to do some serious wine tasting. Their plan for the evening was to drive to Waitsburg with Steve Brooks, winemaker and owner of Trust Cellars, and they asked if I wanted to join them.
What wine geek wouldn’t jump at the chance to hang with other wine geeks, especially since I was the only woman? Bonus: This was an opportunity for me to find out what men really talk about with other men. It seems to be a popular topic covered by women’s magazines.
Our destination for that Sunday summer evening was jimgermanbar. No, you didn’t just read a typographic error — that’s the name and the spelling. This sophisticated watering hole features classic cocktails made with Jim German’s own tinctures, prepared with fresh herbs picked from the bar’s outdoor patio.
The four of us sat on the patio and enjoyed the summer evening while feasting on olives, imported cheeses, arugula salad, crostini topped with tomatoes and boquerones, chorizo cooked in red wine, seared scallops with garlic cream and tomato jam and also a few extra sides of baked cheesy polenta.
I was quick to notice I was the only one with a “girly-looking” drink.
The boys were drinking whiskey; I had a cocktail of gin and Champagne, named after a French 75 mm artillery cannon. After I sent my drink around the table so the guys could sample a sip, some of my dinner companions followed suit. A détente between the sexes had been reached.
So here’s what you have been waiting for: You want to know what the four of us talked about, don’t you? If you’re a woman and have often wanted a glimpse of what an evening out with the guys is like, it was like an evening out with — well, the girls.
I discovered that no matter what you have been told or what you’ve read, men gossip too. They shared their “scoops,” and I shared mine. But honestly? I think they out-dished me. We also talked of national wine politics, stripper outfits, our past occupations and who in Walla Walla gives the best pedicures.
And let it be known: I was the first one to break the ice with a cuss word.Catie McIntyre Walker is on her fifth year of writing her own blog at wildwallawallawinewoman.blogspot.com and is opening her very own bricks and mortar wine store, Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman.