"Also, lunch. It's been too long."
When a friend has to point out the obvious, it's time to make time.
He deferred to me for destination and I chose The Citizen, knowing we'd be able to eat in the shaded courtyard.
Inside, the place was packed, causing my friend to note, "So this isn't a place you come when you have a limited lunch hour?"
Actually, it was the busiest I'd ever seen it, made even livelier by Chef Greg calling out things like "Eggs are slow today" to amuse himself.
Since all my previous Citizen lunches had involved sandwiches, I decided to try a salad for a change.
Tuna in olive oil over tarragon white beans and mesclun were topped with a fried local egg and a celery salsa and sounded like a great place to start on the salad menu.
While we waited for our food, the girl at the counter offered me a cup of water to tide me over, but I declined, thanking her for being so considerate.
The chef jumped right in, noting that that's why he kept her around. "That and she rubs my feet at the end of the shift," he joked as she winced.
"She takes care of Old Yeller, if you know what I mean," he said, raising an eyebrow and cracking me up.
Once our names were called (I mistakenly tried to claim the food of a girl named Kara before Chef told me it wasn't mine), we couldn't wait to begin our al fresco lunch.
Outside in the shade, I broke the yolk on my egg and dug into a flavorful mixture of tuna, beans and greens, using the accompanying toasted bread to sop yolk.
My companion had high praise for his pulled pork torta which I'd recommended to him, having had it before.
The way I see it, one can always use pig to measure the worth of a place and I had nothing but fond pig memories here.
As we sat chatting about upcoming shows, people we'd seen in Citizen came up from below and several saw us.
"We could have eaten out here," a couple of them noted. Yes, you sure could have.
A man entered the courtyard but instead of heading to Citizen, he went to the other side where we both noticed a barbershop, complete with pole, for the first time.
"It says hair styling," my friend observed, but it looked like a place where old guys go get their limited hairs cut, not styled.
When we went to leave, I couldn't resist getting a better view of the barbershop, peering over the railing down into the subterranean space where a man was getting a trim.
Next thing I knew, the barber spotted me, smiled and waved into his mirror in acknowledgement.
If I knew an old guy who needed to get his hairs trimmed, that's where I'd send him.
And then to the other side for a heaping helping of humor and lunch.
Especially if it had been too long.