Saturday, March 2, 2013


I needed a night like last night.  It was nice to get out with Jess for girl talk and wine.  I've been such a shameless homebody for weeks now.  And I'm kinda smiling while I write this just remembering the nuances of the night.

Our first stop was a little French place that came at the recommendation of a foodie we trust.  We walked in to find that we were the only patrons.  We were outnumbered by the waitstaff 3:1.  Sure we had our pick of tables, but all kinds of things flash through your mind when a restaurant is empty on a Friday night.  We dismissed any idea that they were recently exposed on Dirty Dining after I peaked in the kitchen on the way to the ladies room.  It was clean as a whistle.  That would have been the ultimate deal breaker. Our server was very nice, but she couldn't overcome the disappointing facts that we were at a French Brassiere that didn't have escargot on the menu or a single French wine on the list.  Not a Cote du Rhone or a Bordeaux to be found.  They served soft doughy bread (instead of crunchy baguettes) with olive oil (isn't that Italian) and a duck pate that may have been French, but tasted anything but fresh.  I seriously threw up a little in my mouth just writing that.  So we sipped our not French wines grudgingly and hatched a plan.  Jess' phantom kids were home with her incompetent dream husband.  They fell sick and cut our night short once again.  Damn them!  Without a ring on her finger or a ring on the phone, it was not really believable, but it allowed us to save face in the moment.  I won't be nominating her for an Emmy for the performance, but I'll never forget it either.  It felt sort of devious in a dine and ditch way, but we paid for our drinks and left a real nice tip. I felt guilty when the waitress confessed that this same thing happened just last week.  Of course, it did.  She said, Come back next week.  Of course, we won't.

Plan B proved much more promising.  We ended up at 8 Twelve belly up to the very lively bar.  It's a joint farm to table venture between MVPs Ryan Braun and Aaron Rodgers.  We finally got our French wine and an order of tater tots stuffed with gouda, which were delish even without the bacon ketchup and the chipolte ranch served on the side.  We lingered over the lovely bottle long enough to make friends around the bar.  We were privy to the bartender's life story although, oddly, never his name.  We learned that Shorty and Carol have been married for 54 years, and that Shorty is shy, but I guess not with strangers.  I have Brenda's card.  She liked our energy, and our complexions.  The later made Jess chuckle as she pointed out a rather prominent pimple on her cheek that she was sporting all day.  She's a writer for ABC.  She writes for Revenge.  That is one of Jess' favoritest shows. I think she should call her when she's in California next month, or maybe I'll call on her behalf.  Hmmm?  The couple adjacent to us was on a first date.  They met on the Internet.  The date didn't go so well as was confirmed by the newly engaged couple between us who were in town on business and getting married next year at...well, you get the point.  We were wined, dined and also quite entertained.

The night ended over a ridiculously good cheese sampler and more wine. When in Wisconsin.   We had more grapes than anything.  Jess cannot eat shellfish and I don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent.  I would like to go back and eat there again when I can, in fact, eat meat.  As hard as I try to eat less meat, I am a carnivore at the end of the day and the burgers looked divine.  So did the lobster crab cakes.  Just sayin.'

I want to thank my dear friend for a fun GNO.  She treated for my birthday.  My birthday was in August.

I actually feel special and lucky.  My brother's wedding gift is still on her dining room table.  He's been married two years in May.

Jess, Brenda is sending her limo to meet you at LAX.  It will be fully stocked with a fine Beaujolais and a bold Burgandy.  Consider it an early birthday gift.  You're welcome.