It’s a year into quarantine and I’m dying to go somewhere. London. The Art Institute. The mall! Emily in Paris isn’t scratching my Paris itch anymore and watching Hamilton on Disney+ just makes me yearn for the theater. What I wouldn’t give to take an edible and walk into Cats right now. Instead, I take an edible and go to sleep at 8 p.m. My kingdom for a meal at Siena Tavern and then an Uber ride to Tavern on Rush for a nightcap and meet-cute with a nice sociopath who’ll ghost me later!
In reality, the only place I go is Walgreens.
But you can have fun at Walgreens. That’s what I tell my bestie and pod mate, Elizabeth, when I convince her we should do a food and wine tasting made up of only food and wine procured at Walgreens. Look, you have to get creative to pass the time these days, and let me tell you, I am so fucking tired of knitting hats.
Elizabeth arrives at my apartment, and I’m so happy to see her that I even wear real pants! We walk the block to my Walgreens, which is a fancy one with solar panels and clearly marked bathrooms, and we make a pact not to rely on our usual Walgreens comfort picks — no Cheetos, no pizza rolls, no Ménage à Trois red blend — and settle on a $50 budget for an appetizer, a main course, a dessert, and a wine pairing for each.
Course 1: Veggie straws ($2.99) paired with La Marca Prosecco ($13.99).
Elizabeth slaps my hand when I go to take the La Marca off the shelf because she’s the kind of person who knows Walgreens will also have it chilled. I choose a veggie straw pairing because it seems important that we eat a vegetable, and the options are limited. The La Marca is delicious — not too sweet, a perfect amount of bubbles. The veggie straws are deemed “too ranchy,” and of this pairing Elizabeth says, “Great for a night of rom-coms. J. Aniston, not J.Lo, because it’s not very sexy.”
Course 2: Frozen White Castle chicken sliders ($5.99) paired with Crafters Union rosé in a can ($9.98 for two).
I suggest we cook the sliders in the oven, but Elizabeth says, “How do you think they do it at White Castle, Gunn? They put it in the microwave.” The buns come out mushy, and one sip of this wine and I’m gagging. It tastes like apple cider but sweeter — 0/10, very bad, would not recommend.
Course 3: Mint chocolate Milano cookies ($3.49) paired with Prophecy Pinot Noir ($11.99).
The Milano cookies are by far the best pick of the night. Like a Thin Mint, but with more shortbread. I announce the Pinot Noir tastes “aggressive,” and Elizabeth proclaims that I am drunk. Yes, girl, we wildin’ at Walgreens! And it’s the most fun I’ve had all week.