Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Spring fever is rampant in Richmond today.

Luckily I was meeting a friend for lunch, so I already knew I'd have an outlet for celebrating the first day of February and the 72-degree temperatures that rolled in with the new month.

At Aziza's on Main, the front door was propped open and a warm breeze blew into the nearly-full restaurant.

We took one of the only two tables open, right in the center of the room, and got the ordering out of the way so we could talk.

She told me about the recent Hill and Holler wine dinner in Charlottesville that I had missed (with good reason but hopefully not the next one), including all the juicy details.

I told her about the mutual friend who'd made my day by inviting me to hear his band, drink wine with him and meet a favorite winemaker.

We're both big fans of Aziza's food and today I enjoyed a rich Chorizo and white cheddar quiche with a salad of mesclun while she did her favorite, the tuna, white beans and arugula with a side of stuffed grape leaves.

The only way our lunch could have been better would have been if we'd been sitting at a farmhouse table outside somewhere with a bottle of wine.

Say, like in Orvieto, where she's headed for a trip this summer.

We talked about her travel plans and mine, her work and mine and her personal life and mine.

In all likelihood, we'd have lingered indefinitely but the sunny day called, so we walked down the block to Globehopper so she could get some caffeine.

Standing at the counter, one of the servers looked at me and asked where I worked. Home, I said.

"But I know you," she insisted and, indeed, her face was familiar.

The owner looked back and forth at us and asked me, "Do you go to the theater?" All the time, said I.

"Twelfth Night!" the girl exclaimed. "Front row, right?"

Yes, I agreed, now recognizing her as one of the actresses from the recent staged reading that Richmond Shakespeare had done.

Who knew that the actors noticed the people in the audience, even those of us who sit in the front row?

And once again, the three degrees of separation in Richmond were randomly demonstrated.

Moving down the counter to pay for her coffee, our sweet tooths took us right to the Rice Krispie treats by the register.

She scooped up one the size of a man's fist and we adjourned to the back garden (although not to the kissing bench) to enjoy the sunshine and savor a childhood treat.

I don't know how people go back to work after a sunny interlude like that.

Luckily I didn't have to.

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