Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blue Talon Bistro: All About TV

I don't have a TV. If you look, it says so right on my blogger profile. It also says it on my Facebook profile and you'd almost surely notice its absence if you came to my apartment. And as you'd probably expect, I don't like them in restaurants, either.

Not long ago, I met a friend for a drink before a show and we got on this topic. As it happened, she's no fan of TVs in restaurants either, so we bonded over this and decided there should be a blanket rule against them. They're mood (one might even say "buzz") kills in a social situation like a restaurant. But since every rule must have its exception, we also agreed that only one place should have a TV and that's the Blue Talon in Williamsburg and that's because the only thing ever on it is old Julia Child cooking shows.

It's been well over a year since I'd been to the Blue Talon, and the drive out Route 5 to the 'burg is one of my favorites (winding roads, curving roads, rolling hills; it's easy to imagine it as being designed for horse travel, which, of course, it was). We're only one night away from the Full Cold Moon, which shone a beautiful, pure light on the road as I headed east with almost no traffic.

When I arrived, the place was busy and the bar, with the TV hanging over it, was completely full. Fortunately, the waitress found a two-top in an alcove on the banquette with a straight shot view of Julia for me.

I soon found out the reason for the crowd: on Tuesdays, wine by the bottle is half price. A good deal, sure, but an amazing deal when you look at their regular wine list, full of obscure and small production wines and with its pricing of $20, $30 and $40 bottles. So, yes, for $10 a bottle, or about the cost of a glass, one could get the entire bottle. It was tough to make an economic case for ordering a glass; I got a bottle of the Tilia Malbec. One of the few ABC laws of which I approve, I knew I could take it back up Route 5 with me.

To eat, I had an enormous bowl of the hearty lentil soup with braised oxtail and fresh herbs and the fried chicken liver salad with potato wedges, baby spinach, arugula and whole-grain mustard vinaigrette. Peasant-y goodness.

This alcove seated three other two-tops and our proximity to each other resulted in a lot of shared conversations...or maybe it was just my eavesdropping that resulted in them. In any case, I heard one couple mention Comfort, so I had to jump in, living, as I do, four blocks from it. The two guys next to me wanted to talk "Julia and Julie," which I'd seen, so that became open for discussion.

But I never got too distracted to prevent my eyes from occasionally wandering back to Julia. I saw eggs being poached, a turkey being dressed and omelets being made, all on a TV screen in a restaurant. It wasn't as satisfying as a good dinner conversational partner (because it doesn't talk back to me), I have to admit, but I did enjoy it.

So for all you naysayers: I watched TV today.

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