I'd hoped for red and instead get blood orange.
The theater lover and I conspired to score rush tickets to Virginia Repertory's production of "Red" after she wrote me, "Haven't seen a play in ages and am jonesing."
But the highlight of her message was yet to come. "I'm calling off date Saturday for greener Karen pastures."
I moved our date to Friday so she wouldn't disappoint an admirer and agreed to address her theater jones, adding in a pre-theater drink.
The box office gods were not with us.
I arrived at 5:59 to get tickets (the box office opens at 6:00), only to be told that there was only one ticket available.
What kind of friend would I be if I bought the one ticket for myself and left her in the lurch?
Fortunately, Rothko will be around for another month, so we intend to see it yet.
But for tonight, I punted, suggesting we do dinner instead.
Agreeable sort that she is, she promised to report to my house at once and we'd motor from there.
Rather than calling out my name when she arrived, I instead heard, "Stellaaaaaa," from the sidewalk out front.
It was an auspicious start.
Inexplicably, we made Bistro Bobette our destination, found an easy space in front of Fountain Books and walked back up the hill.
Past the diners we went, straight to the bar and seats at the end near a huge vase of lilies and eucalyptus.
The bartender I'd missed on my last two visits was there, happy to see us and we began with a bottle of Paul Mas Estate Picpaoul de Pinet from Languedoc, well-balanced and dry.
I'd been drinking a wonderful white Languedoc just last Friday with Holmes and was happy to continue the tradition this week.
From the moment I sat down, the music suited me so I asked about it, discovering it was Pandora set to Thievery Corporation.
Well done, Bobette.
Wine in hand, girlfriend and I got started when she looked at me, paused and announced, "I think my stepmother drunk-dialed me last night."
Honestly, I wouldn't be the least surprised if that sentence had never before been uttered.
The hysterical story that followed necessitated sustenance, so we listened to the specials.
Ostrich crudo with cilantro oil, capers, cayenne and shaved horseradish got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from us both.
Warm, crusty bread accompanied the lean and flavorful flightless bird.
I made a simple supper of mesclun salad, mushroom and bacon quiche and squid ink pasta with tomatoes and asparagus, while my friend did the "meatless," a selection of four sides.
We agreed that the spring squash sauteed with shallot and herbs was exquisite.
My friend told me that her comments about going to see "Red" with me tonight, and that it was about painter Mark Rothko, had been met by blank stares from co-workers.
This is why we are soul mates - no explanations are necessary.
A regular came in and sat down at the bar, a guy I've met before who's been here working, first on the "Killing Lincoln" movie for what seemed like ages and now on the "Killing Kennedy" movie.
It's gotten so we recognize each other by now.
Tonight he was joined by another film type and they had intense discussion of important stuff while my girlfriend and I discussed Bermuda, anacondas and working from home when the night before necessitates it.
In lieu of dessert, we had a digestif of blood orange wine, as beautifully colored as scented.
The chef came out to have a glass of Rose and enthusiastically jumped into the conversational fray.
"The best tartare is horse," he said when we got into a discussion of unusual meats.
Friend recalled seeing lion meat in a market and inquired about how best to serve it.
We heard rumors about Peking's space across the street being taken over by another tenant.
A server told us horror stories about a recent visit to a certain restaurant I long ago gave up on.
We got a full report on the French Food Festival, an event neither of us had ever before heard good things about.
We talked so long about boating with the chef that all at once we realized that we were the final customers of the day.
Wishing the chef a fine day on his boat tomorrow ("I don't care if it rains, I just want to feel the wind," he grinned, reminding me of the photo of him on his boat in the ladies' room), we headed out onto Cary Street, which was bustling and noisy compared to when we'd arrived.
A woman playing sax sat on a window ledge, wailing away.
Couples walked by, ignoring everyone else.
A couple of guys gave us a second look and a tentative compliment.
Down at the end of the block, the construction fence was up around the former parking lot and soon-to-be hotel at 14th Street.
We should have been having a post-theater drink to discuss how well Rothko had been portrayed.
Oh, well. "Red" will run for another month and you can be sure the two of us will see it.
You could say that'll be part of the future greener Karen pastures.
It's reassuring to know I'm considered one step away from a superlative.