1412 SE Morrison, 235-8150

Gay boys have all the fun. I mean, what do gay girls get to do that's really fun? Nothing! All gay girls do is sit around eating brown rice, talking about their feelings, and their inner goddesses and third wave feminism. Gay guys, on the other hand, get to sparkle around in purple feather boas all the time, like they're J-Lo or something.

And they open great restaurants. Like Crush, on Morrison, Southeast's new, shiny treasure. Humbly located next to two Southeast dives (Hal's Tavern and the Morrision Pub), it's hard to feel the true greatness of Crush from the exterior--unless of course, you're drawn in by the swarm of extremely well-groomed, hot guys sitting outside smoking and classily sipping wine.

The ambiance of Crush is exactly what you want in a good bar that specializes in great wines: they serve beer, light appetizers and snacks, and have lots of crushed velvet, burgundy leather, mirrors, and an extremely friendly and cute waiter named Woody, who makes great wine suggestions and grows the lavender plate garnishes in his garden. The menu features a thorough, but not exhaustive selection of red and white wine, champagne, as well as a yummy snack list with salads, breads, fruit, olives, and spreads.

The wines are consistent and refined--a good sampling from France, Italy, California, and Spain--and there are some splendid aperitifs like the Bellini, a sticky-sweet mixture of peach juice and a light sparkling wine. A lot of the food is vegan, a ploy that always makes me extremely suspicious. But I swear, the chocolate cake was one of the best cakes I've EVER, EVER eaten, vegan or not. The vegan-ness can get a bit out of control, however: the Caesar salad was disappointing due to its lack of fat and use of seaweed instead of anchovies. Generally, stick to the basics, like the olive plate, the fruit plate, the cheese plate--all classic, filling, and delicious. But primarily, one doesn't go to Crush to eat. They go there to lounge, to see the drag queen waitresses on the weekends, and to sip fine wine. (But don't be afraid if you're straight--these gays love any kind of customer.) As one of my dining partners said, "If this place served dope, it would be perfect."