Restaurant choices are limited on a Monday night, but the addition of the rain meant that we were almost guaranteed a quiet night, no matter where we went. We decided on Julep, M.H.F. and I, and it turned out to be an inspired choice. We began with wine because we like wine, but also because on Mondays, bottles are half off. We got the 2008 Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, as a concession to M.H.F., who's been having headache issues with red wines lately. It had a lovely floral nose and we were quite satisfied with it.
For salads, I did the field greens with grilled pears, goat cheese, cucumber, apple wood-smoked bacon and lemon balsamic vinaigrette and M.H.F. had the southern Cesar with the pecorino, anchovy butter croutons and Creole Cesar dressing. Both were wonderful.
I followed with sweet water crab soup, with sweet potato gaufrette, mushroom and olive oil poached tomato. This soup was worthy of bowl licking and perfectly seasoned. My friend then got the tempura shrimp and grits, a favorite of mine for the hunks of Andouille sausage and that big, beautful shrimp. I've yet to finish it, but I always try; she couldn't finish the job, either.
At this point, B.S.F. joined us, so we further took advantage of the wine special and he mimicked our orders with the crab soup and the shrimp and grits. I'd like to say he had no imagination, except that I think it was our raving that helped him pick his meal. Two slices of the chocolate marquise followed with a bit more wine as well as brown drinks.
Despite all three of us being single, two of us are absent from the dating pool by choice and the third is just out of yet another red flag short-term relationship. One of our enthusiastic discussions centered on the uses of food to replace sex. Good idea or bad? Break off into small discussion groups and let us know.
As the last two guests from the upstairs dining room came down to leave, the couple told us that they had been eavesdropping on us the entire time. They seemed quite pleased with what they had heard (the woman, especially, said she'd been dying to join our girl talk before B.S.F. arrived) and thanked us for being their evening's entertainment.
And here I thought we were just a couple of unattached women stuffing our faces with Julep's superb new southern cuisine, and we were really doing so much more. Here's to us.