Invitations to a "leisurely ladies' lunch" don't come my way every day.
This one arrived toward the end of my beach week from a good friend who wanted to nail down Tuesday for our overdue rendezvous.
Could there be a better place to linger over a long lunch, gossip and talk relationships than Secco on a sultry afternoon?
The radio was saying that with the heat index, it felt like 105 degrees outside, but with the curtains drawn, it was cool and lovely inside. The vintage soul music on the stereo only made it cooler.
We went against the European grain and ordered Barboursville Reserve Viognier in a nod to our efforts to assess and enjoy more Virginia wines.
I don't know who had more dirt to share, but we did so sotto voice since the bar had only three other customers at that point and we didn't want to bother them with our trivial little tales.
Taking the time to study the menu, I saw that Secco's prix-fixe lunch is an amazing deal at a mere ten bucks and wondered why I'd never tried it.
Oh, well, I've been late to the party before.
First I enjoyed a salad of mixed and peppery field greens with a lemon/thyme vinaigrette. Light and lovely.
My rosemary roasted pork panino had spicy plum chutney and just the right amount of chevre and was accompanied by those addicting fried chickpeas, which the wine list had recommended as the ideal pairing with our Viognier (true that).
The prix-fixe dessert was the vanilla bean pizzelli with chocolate hazelnut ice cream, making for a gelato sandwich as far removed from Good Humor as can be imagined.
I shared my gelato with my gluten-intolerant friend who didn't seem to miss the pizzelle one little bit.And, the fact is, on a day like today, it's all about the ice cream anyway.
Well, that and the kind of stories where, as my friend put it, "You don't know whether to laugh or cry."
Splitting another glass of the Virginia grape, we opted for the former.
Because there's no crying at a leisurely ladies' lunch.