"I work today at 2, so if you know anyone in the hood looking for an open place..." read the (hint, hint) invitation from my bartending friend at Tarrant's, so my postponed music was replaced with a stroll through the neighborhood to see him, eat dinner and enjoy some conversation.
As I was getting cleaned up to go out, a friend with cabin fever called to see if I was willing to venture out and since I was already planning to do so, I told her she could meet me there if she wanted to brave driving the roads.
Noting the desperation in her voice, I felt sure I'd end up seeing her.
Lots of people had the same thought apparently so we had plenty of company.
I had the half rack of baby back ribs and cole slaw, the perfect un-winter-like meal on a snowy Sunday night.
By the time I finished, I don't know what was stickier: my hands or my sauce-smeared napkin.
My friend played copy-cat and got the ribs too, but also a small onion pizza and as we finished up our meal, she began a conversation with another regular sitting nearby.
He was a New Yorker, who consults down here four days a week and was snowed in for the weekend.
He immediately scored points by insisting on buying us dessert and non-stop conversation ensued.
Since he eats out every night he's here, he was great fun to discuss the Richmond restaurant scene with.
I had to give him credit, he's been to a lot of restaurants here; in fact, more than me because his hotel is in the west end, so he occasionally eats outside the city limits, unlike me.
As an astute wine geek, he knew all the best lists around town, as well as where to get a Kobe beef burger at lunch and which places to avoid for one reason or another.
The owners of Bouchon came in on a rare night off, so they joined us for conversation too.
My bartending friend kept things lively with wisecracks, whipped cream and wild tales (turns out the bar is made from the marble in the former urinal stalls at the Jefferson).
It was only my friend's second time at Tarrants' but she's completely smitten with its combination of extensive menu, quirky ambiance and colorful clientele.
As for me, I always appreciate an engraved invitation.