Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sparkling Diamonds and Rose

Pardon me for having a three-hour lunch, but it's not every day a good friend gets engaged.

Much less the friend with whom I've discussed relationships past, present and future endlessly for two and a half years.

Secco was the setting for the celebration accompanied by Bugey-Cerdon Sparkling Rose, off-dry and the prettiest pink color, the better to show off the string of bubbles.

Before we could order, I had to hear the story of how and where he'd proposed and how she'd handled it and admire the ring, which was just beautiful (and I am so not a jewelry person).

Ignoring the four or five other tables of diners who came in after us, we settled in for a major league catch-up session since it had been months since our last girls' lunch out.

"I have so much to tell you," she began, "but I feel like I say that every time we have lunch." She does, but for a change, I had so much to tell her, too.

We got the ball rolling with a couple of cheeses, the Spanish Idiazabal (unpasteurized sheep's milk) and Washington's Beecher's Reserve, a two-year aged white cheddar my friend coveted.

The cheese menu will change in a couple of weeks when Cheese Whiz Sarah gets back from Italy, so I wanted to try a couple I hadn't tried yet.

You never know what's going to go away and not come back.

We dished non-stop right through our salads; mine was a wheatberry salad with tomatoes, watermelon, pearl onions in agrodolce, pugliese cucumber and Manouri cheese in a watermelon vinaigrette that made this wheatberry virgin a wheatberry convert.

Looking around the restaurant, we were pleased to see wine on every table, so it wasn't just us looking for noontime grapes.

I still remember the first night she'd briefly met her fiance; she'd met me afterwards and gushed about the man she'd just met.

Now less than a year later, they're betrothed.

It's incredibly romantic any way you look at it, but especially through the rose-colored glasses and second glass of rose of a hopeless romantic.

Just as her story was winding down, I caught her up on my life, the most satisfying moment being her enthusiastic, "Yes!" when I gave her the prelude.

While I sat there listening to her take on everything, our Florentine donuts arrived.

The pistachio bembolini with peach cream filling came hot out of the fryer and smelling like a little bit of heaven.

I'm sure there are people who don't like fried dough (I don't actually know any but they must exist) but they can't know what they are missing out on.

Looking up from our disappearing donuts, I realized that all the other tables had since cleared out. We outlasted everyone else.


You just can't rush a girly orgy of bubbles, baubles and relationship talk. Who knows if it will happen again.

Seems unlikely.

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