To my loyal WWG followers, I apologize for neglecting you! It’s just been a busy few weeks – my day job, growing a year older, and selling my condo (yay!) got in the way. But I didn’t stop enjoying food/wine during that time, and I have several new post ideas in mind. I just need to write them down, so hopefully, we’ll be in regular touch going forward. First up, a recommendation for all you U of I alumni out there. If you are heading to CU for a football game this fall – check out this excellent downtown Champaign restaurant for a casually chic dining experience. I love Destihl! BTW, I just checked the restaurant’s website, and apparently they have a location in Normal, IL as well, so all you ISU alumni/State Farm employees, take note.
The first thing I noticed about Destihl was the fun and affordable wine list. Unlike many fine dining establishments, Destihl seems to take pride in giving diners choices rather than just the typical varietals. Thank you, thank you, thank you Destihl! Check out the list below. I think you will agree there’s something fun for everyone on it. Seriously, when’s the last time you saw Torrontes, Gewurtztraminer, Albarino, Rioja, or Carmenere on a wine list, let alone all of them on the same list? I was in heaven!
Then enter my main man, Joe. Get seated in his section if you can! Joe’s an excellent server who always seemed ready with recommendations and consideration for his guests. He even pampered my pregnant girlfriend with a fun mocktail to keep her in the WWG-spirit. Overall, he clearly enjoyed helping us have a great time, and that’s really the best characteristic a server can possess, in my opinion.
But back to the food/drinks. Joe told us about the night’s wine and dinner specials, and I was immediately sold. For my blog regulars, you won’t be surprised that I ordered the Pianissimo Malbec-based Rose special with my meal. Typically a no-brainer for me, this red-fruit-filled, mildly acidic Rose was right up my alley on that 100ish degree day. Like most Roses, this one probably could have paired well with anything, and it was lovely with the night’s fish special of Amberjack (think of a cross between salmon and trout) with arugula and red pepper sauce. Fantastic! This wine also represents a great value, retailing at only about $10 per bottle here.
Then, it was time for dessert. Would Destihl be able to put an exclamation point on this great night out with friends? I won’t keep you in suspense – the answer was a resounding yes! Joe, of course, had a few recommendations for us. His all-time favorite dessert is the carrot cake, I believe, but he was really feeling the fresh berry napoleon and sour cherry bread pudding that night. So we went with those two items to share. Joe didn’t lead us astray (Joe wouldn’t do that!) First, I thought the napoleon was my favorite, but then, I’d take a bite of the bread pudding and be convinced that one was my favorite. Hmm??? Let’s just call it a tie!
To wash those desserts down, Destihl offered a Tawny Port. Many restaurants neglect dessert wines because they can go bad if left open for a few days. Tawny Ports (unlike even Ruby Ports) are different though. They can stay fresh in an unsealed bottle for at least a few weeks, making it possible for a restaurant to offer a flavorful product (a typical Tawny flavor profile includes nuts and caramel) while also generating a solid return on investment by serving many patrons over that period. This Tawny Port was lovely, especially with the bread pudding. I also really enjoyed drinking out of a snifter glass.
Overall, this meal was flawless from start to finish. Thank you, Destihl! I’ll be back. Even if it is just for a craft-brewed beer and a burger (they looked awesome too).