Thursday, May 31, 2012

Female Bonding

Tonight was all about the girlfriends.

The first was a fellow Gemini who just this week celebrated a birthday, which we used as an excuse to meet up for happy hour.

She chose Bistro 27 and I happily agreed because they offer such a good deal on food and drink post-office hours.

Not that either of us keeps office hours.

And although we weren't planning to start with a red, much lees a Portuguese red, we began drinking with the dry and refreshing 100 Marias while we caught up.

Seems we'd missed last night's flight night featuring three Portuguese reds, so we did our best to compensate.

She had stellar stories to share, including one about spider bites and private parts. Fortunately, she didn't bring pictures, because who needs to see the intersection of the two?

Snacking on mussels in white pepper and garlic cream sauce, we switched to Briccodi-dei-Tati rose and chatted with the chef about outdoor oyster eating.

Conclusion: a group field trip is in the offing. And, yes, there will be bubbles.

When I presented her with my gift, musician Patti Smith's new book "Woolgathering," she was thrilled and the bartender was perplexed.

Hello, godmother of punk?

We had great fun chatting with some nearby bar sitters from the near west end who were outspoken about their friends and family's fear of coming into the city to eat.

She told a story of her sister taking her little boy to the Short Pump theaters and when he saw the neon of the multiplex, saying, "Look, it's the lights of the city, Mom!"

"They live in Wellsley, where they have everything they need for life," the man said. "Chain restaurants, Food Lion and, if they want to go to college, Strayer University."

It would have been tragic if it hadn't been so hilarious.

After the second glass of rose, my friend was picked up by her dinner date while I remained in my stool waiting for mine.

No sooner was one girlfriend gone than the next appeared.

Our Portuguese starter was Quinta de Cabriz Reserva, unique and tasting like nothing else I knew.

Damn, why did I miss flight night? Oh, yes, Shakespeare and birthday bands.

It had been close to a year since my friend and I had last met so naturally we had loads to discuss.

She's a year and a half into a new relationship so she had tales of buying a house together, dealing with former (and unhappy) girlfriends and trying to adjust everyone's sex drive to coincide.

Now there's a first world problem.

To sustain me, I chose the lamb kabob over Arabic antipasti (chickpeas, walnuts, red pepper and eggplant) while she dove into the shrimp bobo.

The mayor arrived and took a discreet table in a corner.

One of the city's premiere tattoo artists came in for a bite at the bar.

A bartending friend appeared and joined our conversation as he waited for his friends to arrive.

Unsurprisingly, we got off on a tangent about the craft cocktail trend in Richmond and, conversely, the vital role of simply slinging shots.

My friend, a former restaurant manager, mentioned how different the bar world was before the mixology movement.

"People used to just ask what color the drink would be." she laughed.

Gosh, Grandpa, when was that?

Sonny, that was back in the days when new couples didn't talk about how much sex each one wanted, much less share that information with a girlfriend they hadn't seen in months.

My goodness, what did they talk about then?

Oh, right. Well, we talked about that, too.

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