Cruising 17th Street, I spotted a prime parking space opening up right in front of Lulu's.
Two guys were standing out front watching me park and one of them was coatless in tonight's 30 degree weather, so I couldn't help but tease him about it.
His response was, "I have an invisible skin shield. You know, you can't park there if you're not coming in here."
I explained that I was meeting a friend at Cafe Gutenburg and what did he care where I went?
Seems he was the bartender at Lulu's; first he complimented my pink scarf and then insisted that I stop by after dinner.
You know, personal invitations are always an effective way to lure customers.
Wednesdays are Wine Down Wednesdays at Cafe Gutenburg, with select glasses half off.
Thus it was that I ordered the 2007 L'enclos des Bories Minervois, a syrah/grenache blend, tasting of currants and black pepper (and surprisingly tannic) and a mere four bucks.
Perhaps the wine deals accounted for the steadily increasing crowd we experienced tonight.
My friend arrived with the gift of a calendar showcasing twelve of the best photographs from his 2009 travels.
He's a hobby photographer with a great eye and he'd chosen some beautiful pictures which I will happily admire for the rest of the year.
He then regaled me with stories of his recent trip to Florida to visit his brother and his wife, people who actually enjoy canned peas and instant mashed potatoes.
Few people can describe food failures with quite the verve my friend can.
After our waitress' third stop by the table for our order, we accommodated.
He got the Local Mushroom Burger and I had the Smoked Salmon Blini with petit herbed salad, capers and creme fraiche with a side of buttered baby vegetables.
It's not every day you even see blini on a menu and these were were plentiful and delicious smeared with their plate mates.
The veggies were comprised of baby carrots and green beans doused in enough butter to prevent me from feeling virtuous about eating them.
But, of course, I wasn't going for virtuous.
Dessert was an overly large serving of Gelati Celesti chocolate ice cream which I did make a point of sharing with my friend.
As I pointed out to him, though, there's nothing like going to the Bottom for West End ice cream and besides, what kind of idiot orders ice cream when it's this cold outside?
Some questions have no answers.