Drinking Alone, Together: Tina Vaughn – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Drinking Alone, Together: Tina Vaughn

of The Simone in NYC


photo by Lindsay D’Addato

I am being brought back to memories of our first restaurant in Kitty Hawk, NC. This isolation and burden on all of us reminds me of the first naive year that Chip and I opened our little spot, in a strip mall, $37 left in the bank, a wish and a prayer. Guests there, like our guests here, found us pretty quickly; word spread, summer was amazing and I thought…“Hey, this may not have been the worse plan ever…”

The first hurricane hit right around Labor Day weekend, our first experience of what was to come. Our staff and fellow restaurateurs were, of course, clued in. They all showed up to help us board our windows. We ordered pizza from Cosmo’s next door, opened a lot of wine and beer, and it was more like a party than a true disaster. But that was before we realized what it would do to business in the following weeks, not to mention that we were heading into the off season, another naive moment for us. We actually thought business stayed somewhat moderate, even during winter…we were not even close. 

This is reminding me of those six years—the panic over funds, the worry for our beaches and natural habitats, the flooding, so all our deliveries were by boat. I feel it was meant to prepare me for this. For this, The Simone, our third time around, was meant to be the one with no issues, the one to stay the course. The second one, in Chapel Hill, was the kiss of the 2008 recession. Life is nothing, it seems, but curve balls and though I used to play softball in high school, I am getting rustier with each year.

Tina Vaughn and Chip Smith.

But what I think is this. I think and feel that the power of honesty, love and joy can cure a lot.  I think Mother Nature is showing us her colors. I am blessed to still be pedaling the bicycle—uphill and with no gears and a flat tire, but pedal we will, all of us. Call each other, share your stories, your daily wanderings, what makes you smile. I am going to share with you what we drank in 1998 with that first hurricane and what we are drinking now.  Who has the charmed life of living with the Chef? Well, that would be me.

1998 Carolina Blue, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina…Hurricane No. 1
These wines were certainly not priced the way they are now! They were a great treat to remember. And it turned out, they all went kind of okay with pizza.

  • Gosset Champagne Brut Rosé
  • Robert Weil Rheingau Kabinett Riesling
  • Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé (I was obsessed with this…)
  • Abadia Retuerta Sardón de Duero Selección Especial
  • Domaine Leroy St. Aubin Blanc (so cannot afford this one anymore)

And now, not with pizza, but with whatever my talented fella wants to cook:

  • Diebolt-Valois Champagne Brut Rosé
  • Los Bermejos Lanzarote Listán Negro Rosado
  • Any St-Joseph Blanc I can rustle out of the fridge
  • Domaine Georges Lignier Bourgogne Passetoutgrain (with his bean soup and cornbread, my last bottle of Lignier)
  • Jean-Marc Pillot Bourgogne Blanc (trying to not just drink the good stuff)
  • Herri Mina Irouleguy Blanc (with cheese and terrine)

I really want some Baudry Chinon Blanc, but alas out of that one…

At the moment, workaholics like Chip and me do not even know what to do with ourselves, though we are offering some wine a go-go to the neighborhood, heaven help me. What we have to worry about is, Will I have any wine left??

Keep the heart, my friends.  Be good to each other.

Tina Vaughn
Chef Chip Smith
The Simone, NYC


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