Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Battleships and Birdseed in the Heat

It's true; no matter how frigidly cold or steamingly hot it is, people will wait outside Black Sheep indefinitely for a table.

Since it's only three blocks from my house, I consider myself a Sheep expert and know when to show up when it's the least likely I'll  have to wait. I've earned that knowledge.

But then, I'm also prepared to walk away to eat elsewhere and most customers do not seem to consider that an option.

So it was that my lunch companion and I slid into the last table available and the line began to form outside immediately afterwards.

Because of BS's proximity to my house and neighborhood, I took attendance to see who I might know.

Let's see, a former co-worker and fellow music lover, a talented umbrella-toting poet and a wine rep's family outing. And the place just isn't that big.

Eager to eat, I made my selection at once while he hemmed and hawed over the battleships, trying to decide which he wanted, finally settling on the SS Sultana.

Thirty seconds later, he'd had a moment of Old Dominion devotion and switched to the CSS Virginia.

Because I've had the Virginia but not the Sultana, I gently guided him back to his first choice so we could get some food.

My Cardinal consisted of baby spinach, dried cherries, pickled onions, beets and assorted seeds ("Birdseed" they called it), a marriage of sweet and savory, red and green, that pleased the eye as well as the palate.

His Sultana with grilled spiced ground lamb and beef had chopped Romaine, cucumber, green onion and tomato all doused in a Russian dressing overflowed the crusty baguette.

He cut me off a piece of the monster and took a bite of my beautiful salad; we were both impressed with the other's choice. We sure know how to eat, this guy and I.

We talked about his upcoming camping trip and he asked about my weekend plans. We look to be equally busy over the next few days, albeit in wildly different ways.

And since neither of us finished our lunches, neither of us qualified for dessert (a family rule at my house growing up), despite him ogling a nearby diner's peanut butter pie.

Besides, the guilt over the sweaty people still outside awaiting a table in the mugginess was starting to weigh heavily on us.

And who really wants guilt for dessert after such a satisfying lunch?

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