This former stagecoach stop, dating back to 1894, is one of California's legendary roadhouses. The down-home menu features crab cioppino (an Italian-American seafood stew invented in San Francisco), pork chops with housemade applesauce, and Duarte's signature artichoke soup. To wash it all down, you can't do better than the bright, snappy Frog's Leap 2000 Zinfandel, with its lively blackberry fruit and crisp acidity. I love this Zinfandel with cioppino, and it will certainly make pork chops sing. Don't forget Lynn Duarte's olalieberry pie for dessert.
Meridian Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2001 ($11)
Any restaurant that lists its address as the intersection of U.S. routes 30 and 41 qualifies as a roadhouse, big time. Teibel's, in Schererville, Indiana, was founded over 70 years ago. A historic photograph shows it in its early days with a trio of vintage automobiles parked out front (too vintage, in fact, to belong to folks coming from Chicago O'Hare International Airport, which wasn't built till 1945).
The name is pronounced "teebles," a slight deviation from the German pronunciation that Grandma Teibel would have used - but her authentic Austrian recipe for fried chicken is still served daily. Another house specialty is lake perch, expertly boned and drenched in good midwestern butter. Heavy eaters can order it with a side of filet mignon, just for good measure. The fresh, balanced Meridian 2001 Chardonnay has racy tropical fruit flavors and a tangy finish that will complement either fried chicken or a mess of perch.