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$12 Wine Flight 

The Crossing, 7823 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton, 314-721-7375

Here's what we remember. The woman seated just above us in the split-level room, reading a newspaper, was situated a bit too close for comfort -- not her fault. She seemed to be eavesdropping on our conversation. The man who took her place at the table was in his own world; he didn't care what we were talking about. At one point during the grilled-trout entrée, a distinguished elderly gentleman across the room uttered the words "Danforth Foundation" and "60 million" in the same sentence. We recall the pea soup glowing green, and the pinot gris that accompanied it.

We remember the soup, and the big chunk of crab nestled within the crab cake, and the bread, and the bass, and the perfect potatoes. And we remember the three wines that made up the $12 wine flight: Lurton 2003 pinot gris; Bethlehem Valley 2000 chardonel; Columbia Crest 2001 shiraz.

In his amazing vignette, "Funes the Memorious," Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges examines the internal life of his protagonist, Ireneo Funes, who could tell the time down to the second merely by looking at the sun. Ireneo had a fantastic, prodigious, debilitating memory and a microscopic perception of detail, the result of which left him paralyzed in his bedroom. "With one quick look," writes Borges, "you and I perceive three wine glasses on a table; Funes perceived every grape that had been pressed into the wine, and all the stalks and tendrils of its vineyard. He knew the forms of clouds in the southern sky on the morning of April 30, 1882, and he could compare them in his memory with the veins in the marbled binding of a book he had seen only once, or with the feathers of spray lifted by an oar on the Rio Negro on the eve of the Battle of Quebracho."

We remember, sadly, the confused shock of discovering that our server seemed a bit irritable and, well, condescending. We remember being disappointed. This was the Crossing, after all. You expect excellence. We remember the Lurton 2003 pinot gris, a dry, delicate white from Argentina. The Bethlehem Valley chardonel (a crossing of seyval blanc and chardonnay grapes), straight out of Pleasant Valley wineries in Augusta, Missouri, which hit the tongue and then just kind of sat there for a second before a taste arrived, subtle with hints of peach. Then the Columbia Crest (Washington State) shiraz -- medium-bodied, with raspberry and chocolate on the back end.

We remember the food, and how the food made up for the salty server, no small hurdle. We remember how lucky we felt to be seated at the Crossing in Clayton with such a magnetic date. We remember it was 62.73 degrees. We recall chocolate, and vanilla, and 127 itsy grains of vanilla beans in the ice cream. We remember the final lines of Bob Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand": "Onward in my journey, I come to understand, that every hair is numbered, like every grain of sand."

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