No one should have to stumble upon a Santa crawl and see late night drunken drag jolly old elves.
Luckily, we'd been fortified by hours at a bustling Acacia beforehand. We were lucky they found room for us to eat at the bar given how steady the influx of people was.
An out-of-town couple came in just behind me and he was marveling at how "cool" the vibe was for Richmond. Like we can't do cool here.
My only regret was not asking where they were from, although his accent had a definite Jersey sound to it.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But it's always great to hear someone say they have a 9:00 reservation given Richmond's tendency to want to eat early. A staff member expressed the same thought.
It was a festive crowd, too, with lots of sequins, bling and stilettos on the women while the men looked like they do every other month of the year.
They're men, after all.
We went Willamette Valley with WildAire Cellars 2009 "Timothy" Pinot Noir, lovely for its grassy nose and red fruit taste.
The prospect of a 28-degree night sent me straight to soup, in this case a creamy local elephant garlic with Chorizo that impressed us both.
Warm soup and hot sausage, a marriage made in winter heaven.
I followed that with an Asian spiced pork terrine with pickled pumpkin, a lively take on a classic dish.
It paired well with the crusty bread that has replaced the crustless rolls Acacia used to serve, which I hated.
I mentioned to the bartender how much better I liked the new bread and he said I was the first person to express that preference. Could that mean bland white rolls are more to most people's taste?
Because we'd come in late, by the time we finished eating, most of the room had cleared out, but we were allowed to linger over our wine for girltalk.
From there, we went to FanHouse where we walked into a room of garishly dressed people in variations of a Santa suit.
There were guys in red football jerseys and reindeer horns, a guy in a red Santa smoking jacket with leopard lapels and girls in tight red dresses with jingle bells hanging suggestively.
A costumed woman walked up to the bar and asked for an Absolut neat. The bartender said they were out of Absolut at that point.
"You mean I got dressed up like a reindeer for nothing?" she screeched. He calmly explained that he had four other kinds of vodka to choose from.
She was not a happy reindeer.
Given her reaction, I asked a nearby elf, who seemed less volatile, what was going on (Santa Crawl) and if they were being driven by a non-drinker (they were).
It gave me faith to make my own drive home afterwards.
My friend and I used the incredibly loud crowd as a mask to discuss our "number," our relationships and our sell-by dates.
I hear you, I hear you. Time to take myself off that shelf.