Carl Kanowsky: Our European Adventures – Part One

Scott Kanowsky and Virginia Bencivenga enjoying their meal at London’s Le Mercury.

As I’ve mentioned before, Europe enticed my two youngest kids away. Carl lives in Hamburg, Scott in London now, prior to that three years in Madrid. He met a charming Italian girl (I get to say girl because she’s so young compared to me) whom I could unfairly claim is holding Scott hostage in England. But the fact is – he loves Europe, now works for CNBC, and has an Italian significant other.
As a consequence to this, Terry and I are required on a regular basis to travel to foreign destinations to see our offspring. In May, we toured London for five days (seeing Dustin Hoffman at the British Museum, touring like any other American, but with a hot blonde on his arm), then leaving for Andalucía, Espana.
While in London, Scott and Virginia treated us to a sumptuous meal at a delightful (and surprisingly inexpensive) French restaurant. Carl joined us to celebrate our family reunion (Ted, our oldest, kept the home fires burning).
The restaurant, Le Mercury, covers several different structures. First you go up one flight of stairs, turn right, cover some ground, go up an opposite set of stairs, and eventually almost collapse from the dizzying way to your table.
But the trek was definitely worth it. Europe has a way with duck that we seem unable to match Stateside. It’s almost as common as chicken and priced accordingly. I always seek it out when we visit the cross-the-Pond family members. Le Mercury offers Magret de Canard, described as “Roast Breast of Barbary Duck” [is there any other?], served with “Pomme Puree, Savoy Cabbage, and Orange-Grand Marnier sauce.” Delicious, succulent, cooked expertly to medium rare – a delight. And only £11.
To prepare for the duck, I had a massive bowl of Mussels, with a tasty crème sauce.
The others variously had seabass, sirloin steak, and other tasty dishes. Accompanying our meal, I selected a white and a red wine.
South Africa does Chenin Blanc better than anyone else. California’s efforts result too often in essentially jug white wine. The Africans transform Chenin Blanc into an elegant, multi-dimensional treat. That night we got a bottle of 2016 Azania. It married perfectly with the Mussels, being quite dry, offering stony hints of flint, with a grassy aroma. Very refreshing.
Then for all the red meat, we had a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon called Ochagavia from Chile. With berries on both the nose and the taste, as well as notes of plum, tobacco, and coffee. Both wines were tasty and fairly priced.
Laughing with our kids, discovering what’s happening in their lives overseas, and indulging in a memorable repast – that’s one of the rewards of having children.
Next, on to Spain and Sherry.
Carl Kanowsky of Kanowsky & Associates is an attorney in the Santa Clarita Valley. He may be reached by email at [email protected]. Mr. Kanowsky’s column represents his own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Nothing contained herein shall be or is intended to be construed as providing legal advice.

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