I guess that I am getting a little nostalgic and have been thinking of some of the old restaurants and watering holes from my youth, and the early days of discovering different wines back then. One of the places that I remember was Peppina’s in Lincoln Park; they had a drive-in service on the side with carhops and a neighborhood Italian restaurant as well.
In those days I would go there with a large group of the guys from the old neighborhood and we would venture into the suburbs to eat and drink. Some days we would end up with a table of twenty brash young guys all wanting to have a good time and Peppina’s would serve our insatiable appetites at the time.
They had a big room, and in the back there was a special room called the Amethyst Room. As I recall the walls and displays were covered with large rough amethyst stones and geodes. I also seem to recall that they had some amethyst jewelry that they sold near the cashier stand, probably made by a local artisan.
We would all go there for some of the best pizza, and they also had homemade pasta. There would be little squabbles over what was better the spaghetti or the gnocchi, and the debate would never be decided. It was the type of food that all of us would just chow down and eat with a fevered relish.
It was a time of beer and some wine. We would just order bottles of wine to put on the table and drink at our leisure. Of course the few of us, that did prefer the wine would get some remarks questioning our manhood, as beer was the preferred drink at the time. What can I say, we were all young, rowdy and there for a good time. We would get bottles of Lambrusco wine, which was very popular at the time. This wine is from the Emilia-Romagna area near Bologna. The wine is made from the Lambrusco varietal, which tends to have a “grapey” taste as opposed to the nuanced tastes that can be found in other varietal wines. At that time in my life I was still discovering wines, so each wine was an adventure and a memory.