On Thursday, September 15, Lynn and I flew to Newark for a trip through New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The purpose was to visit relatives and museums and Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Wining and dining was secondary, but there were some highlights. A favorite Cotes de Provence Rosé, Domaine Fleur de Mer, was found at the Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, New Jersey, a tasty accompaniment to crab cakes. In Sykesville Maryland, the local liquor store had mostly wines under $20, but we picked up a Sparky Marquis Aussie Shiraz and some Ste. Michelle Washington Wines to share with my niece and partner.

Pennsylvania, a control state where all liquor goes through the state, was a different story. It is one of the worst states for liquor service and prices (highest in the nation, $60 for a normal $25 retail wine). We found an interesting Cote Chalonaise Pinot Noir and a Gamay Noir labeled as a vital rather than an AOC Beaujolais. Museum Cafés were mediocre, almost an afterthought, unlike the Midwest (see my blog of 16 April) where we had a delicious meal at Café Sebastienne in the Kimball in K.C. and the Gilcrease in Tulsa (white tablecloths). At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we had soup and sandwiches with beer (no wine). The Tree Tops Restaurant at the Polymath Houses near Fallingwater (mediocre café there - no alcohol) was the best with tasty chicken and salmon salads along with a rather pricey California Chardonnay ($50). We had tasty crab cakes at the Summit Inn in Farmington, near Fallingwater. along with $50 (again) California Chardonnay.

In Pittsburgh, service was mediocre to awful. A $50 Argentina Malbec at the Wyndham Grand was going to be "ready in a minute," a promise not kept. At the airport, wine service was stalled over confusion over 6 oz. vs. 9 oz. pours. One bright spot was Vino Volo with a selection of flights similar to those at SeaTac. Be forewarned: expect high wine prices and indifferent service in Pennsylvania, one of the worst states in the U.S.

It's a relief to be back in Washington State with realistic prices and good service. Enough said.