Ahhhhh, Vino: Drinking and Americans: Admittedly, my observations these days are a wee bit wonky due to the fact that I live in freaking Mormon Central where most of the inhabitants don't drink at all. The rest of the non-Mormons drink a bit more than normal as a consequence... so I either see people stonecoldsober/on a sugar high from too much soda, or slobbering, puking drunk. Have they none of them heard of a Happy Medium????? Oops, I'm ranting again...
Part of the reason that we American Heathens do have only a glass of wine with dinner in restaurants instead of a full bottle is, 1: the drive home (leave home without the car, what?) 2: increasing penalties for drinking and driving 3: the fact that restaurants here more than double the price of the bottle... my favorite Chianti is $19 in store ($15 back east) and $40-50/bottle in the restaurant (when they have it) 4: wine lists around here are...hmmm... the word pathetic comes to mind.
When I travelled in Italy, we wouldn't have dreamed of not having a bottle of the house wine with dinner. But there, the house wine is actually drinkable, tasty even, rather than a vinegary melange of bitter grape juice. Excuse me while I float back to memories of warm nights passed outside some restaurant near the campo... food, wine, espresso, and marlboro lights. Back when I used to smoke, that is. Cappucino only in the morning, but 1pm counts if you've only just gotten out of bed. Espresso and a cigarette for lunch, a little... nap... in the afternoon, an evening walk, and then browsing the restaurants for dinner. In the evenings, sometimes a foray to the corner pub for a Chimay blue. Damn but that was an awesome two weeks.
Anyway... the folks back East tend to have more european patterns when it comes to eating and drinking... well, at least to drinking. Here in the West, especially California, the health patrol seems to have gotten the best of the general population's tendencies toward vice, and so... while many of us have well-stocked liquor cabinets and wine cellars at home, drinking in public has become less common.
Damn, and now I'm craving a smoke... American Spirit was my brand right before I quit 2 years ago... that or Bali Shag roll-em yourselves. Evil, evil memories. Mmmmmmm.