Sunday, October 29, 2006

Well, at least they're honest (and, by the way, screw the Wayback Vacation Machine -- I'm too nonlinear)

S and I spotted this sign outside a restaurant along Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh. We didn't partake in any aperitifs, but I presume that even their "pretty good" wines were better and more reasonably priced than those we get in Delhi.

(An aside: one of my favorite things about Cambodia was the ubiquity of freshly baked baguettes, a legacy of French colonialism, I suppose, which also contributed, perhaps, to the wine culture.)

Our last day in Phnom Penh, S and I wandered down a few new streets and happened upon Red Apron -- "the Kingdom's FIRST wine boutique & wine tasting gallery," according to a brochure I snagged. After two weeks of sticking to a conservative food budget, we decided to treat ourselves; even if a half glass was $1.75 (the country's local currency is all but useless in most establishments), it sure beats the outrageous prices of piss-poor American wines offered in Delhi's five-star hotels -- virtually the only place one can get foreign wines, which routinely price, for example, Turning Leaf around $75 (the same bottle is available in the U.S. for less than $10).

ANYHOW, we ordered three whites and a red, one French, the other from the "new world" -- and none of which I can accurately propound upon, as I am a total amateur. We also had some delicious brie accompanied by piles and piles of medallions of rustic bread, and more happy I have never been. The shop was warmly lit, the staff incredibly professional (even when S oooooothily broke one of the wine glasses), and the experience a fabulous contrast to some of the trials and tribulations of budget travel.

I would highly, highly recommend patronizing this excellent place -- at No 15Eo, Street 240, in Phnom Penh. Their e-mail addy is; if you have the chance, take the time to experience what they describe as, "maybe our greatest reward[,] to be enabled to introduce the elegance dedicated to the world of wine and the tasting of these, through our Cambodian employees, to a country that has unfortunately been exempted for many years of this luxury that is often quoted as one of the ingredients in the provision of 'the joy of life' (la joie de vivre!)."

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