Bleak House

While many winemaking countries are well represented in the Pub's wine chart - with bottles from Spain, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Italy, and France - the prices list precariously toward the high side. They are, in my companion's jargon, "unpublike." A couple of Californians, including the Sebastiani chardonnay we selected, round out the less expensive end at $15 apiece.

Our repast improved considerably at meal's end, when our waiter came bearing the dessert tray, which was loaded down with all sorts of tarts - apple, kiwi, mango, chocolate, and the one we chose: sour cherry. The concoction was marvelous - a thin layer of walnut-studded crust, topped by a thin layer of cheesecake, topped by small, deep red cherries in a glaze. And the beauty of the dish was that it had a natural good taste, with very little sugar in any of the layers.

We washed down our cherry delight with coffee - decaffeinated for me. But I realized a few hours later, as the bedside clock ticked 2:00 a.m., then 3:00, then 4:00, that my java was not unwired. As I lay awake, I thought about the previous evening's meal. And as the wee hours wore on, I continued to re-create the meal in my mind. By 4:00 the place was looking like old England, all right - Dickens's London. And my thoughts were pretty much un-Pub-lishable.

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