Let me tell you what I consider a most satisfying evening; the only requirements are well-prepared food and interesting conversation.
I went out tonight expecting the one and unexpectedly got the other.
I know, I know, I just seem to be lucky that way.
This week has been extraordinarily busy for me and it feels like I've been around people every single second of it.
So tonight was all about me going out by myself and enjoying my own company and the Post.
I wanted to eat at Aziza's on Main because so far I'd only done lunch there.
Taking a sat at the bar, the single unpleasant element was that big screen over the bar because otherwise the vibe was perfect, with a few tables laughing and eating, just the right amount of lighting and great smells coming from the kitchen.
My server and I recognized each other right away; we'd met at Garnett's the night it opened and had each swooned over a different chocolate dessert.
A couple of months later, we had run into each other at Balliceaux and talked wine and men.
She offered me wine tonight and I was impressed to see that glasses were only $5.50 and, although the selection was limited to two reds, one white and one sparkling by the glass, the bottles were so reasonable ($18 to $40ish with just a couple that were more) that I'm guessing most people go the bottle route.
For dinner, I chose the jumbo lump crab with lime and basil and was rewarded with a nice-sized portion consisting of huge lumps of crab meat chilled and seasoned just enough to let the crab flavor shine through.
Wisely I also got the white beans and pancetta; the pancetta bits were small but plentiful and the warm beans swimming in that broth were sop-worthy; three pieces of Billy bread took care of every bit of it.
I'd planned my meal to allow room for one of Billy's renowned cream puffs with chocolate ganache.
A nearby bar sitter, upon seeing it, commented, "You guys keep making those things bigger, don't you?"
It was a very generously-sized piece of pastry, frosted thickly with ganache, and I had no trouble finishing it.
In between eating so much good food, my server and I talked about the in-progress wood-burning pizza oven being built; in fact, I even got a tour of the back room and the partially completed oven.
It's going to be magnificent.
A few more months and they'll be serving their pizzas and I'll wager it's going to be much harder to find an open table at Aziza's once that happens.
Best of all, the plan is to have a "baker's table" back where the oven is housed.
It'll seat eight and there will only be two seatings, at 6:00 and 8:00.
You'll pay a flat fee and will be served whatever they want to serve you from that oven; you'll hand over the decision-making to the pro.
Since I'm just a lowly eater, I'm more than happy to let someone more qualified tell me what to put in my mouth.
It'll be entertainment and sustenance all rolled into one experience and, frankly, I can't wait.
Conveniently, they plan to be up and running in May, which just happens to be my birthday month.
Can I come up with seven friends game enough to join me for an evening of the unknown?
Oh, I bet I can.