Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday, Monday, Can't Trust That Day

We could call this chapter "Tales of a Misspent Monday" and leave it at that.

In my defense, I worked way more of the weekend than usual and from the moment I got up until early afternoon today.

So when my lunch date e-mailed me sounding desperate ("Come now...! FAST!"), what could I do but change into a lunch dress and go fetch him?


So we set out for Arcadia, found it closed and settled on M Bistro, a place I hadn't been in a couple of years.

We arrived toward the end of lunch, but the cool, masculine-looking interior and eager-beaver young server welcomed us in.

If I could have, I would have carded him.

Our first choice for wine was a 2011 Louis Jadot Macon Villages chardonnay, but they were out of it and our tender server suggested that the Kendall Jackson Vintners' Reserve chardonnay was "just the same."

Well, except that both friend and I knew that the French wine is unoaked while the Californian definitely finishes with oak.

We got it anyway. It's just afternoon wine.

Last time I'd been in, I'd been quite happy with my lobster roll, so I ordered it again (despite the change to it being billed as lobster and crab salad on a "rustic roll," whatever that might be) while Friend tried a crabacake over tomato salad.

What arrived looked nothing like the lobster roll of M's early days...or anything seen in New England.

The roll was round and dusted with flour and the filling was mostly crab with only incidental pieces of lobster claw meat.


Pushing the flour-dusted roll aside, I begrudgingly ate the crab/lobster salad while my friend noted, "You don't like it, do you?"

It just wasn't anything like a true New England lobster roll anymore.

On the plus side, Friend said his crabcake salad was excellent and he plowed through it while telling me about his recent vacation in Philly.

Now, I've only been in Philly four times in the past eight years, so I'm no expert, but I do know I've enjoyed eating, walking and seeing all the art when I have been there, so I was eager to hear his stories.

$24 drinks, nine hour stints in the art museum, and 100 miles of walking told me everything I needed to know about their sojourn.

All he wanted in return was an update on my personal life (while giving running commentary, natch) so I obliged.

Needless to say, we ended up being the last lunch customers of the day, although Friend did take the time to teach the newbie server how to properly open a bottle of wine.

Somebody's got to teach the youth of today tomorrow's wine-pourers.

While debating the finer points of my life, we got a slice of lemon/coconut pie with strawberry coulis to help pass the time.

Now here's where the afternoon took a turn for the indulgent.

Coming back into town from Rockett's Landing, Friend suggested a stop at the Jefferson for an afternoon cap(?).

If there isn't such a thing, we were open to creating it.

We landed at TJ's, which was empty of any human life except a server, and here we finally got glasses of the un-oaked Macon Villages we'd been denied earlier.

In my never-ending quest to derail the best intentions of my friends, I suggested getting the Chesapeake dip (ham, crab, artichoke hearts in a creamy Gouda dip), knowing  my companion doesn't eat pork.

He waved off my concerns, assuring me if he can't see the ham, he's fine with it.

Now there's a man with religious convictions.

Promptly at 4, our server informed us that TJ's was closing, necessitating a trip upstairs to Lemaire if we wanted to continue our conversation.

We did.

I wanted to hear about his business plans, he wanted to hear about my gallivanting, so we climbed the grand staircase to finish our talking.

Midway through our conversation and his Cosmo (some of us were opting out by that point), his boss called and I took the phone to provide the alibi for why he'd been "detained."

I didn't even try to make up a story, opting instead for the bald-faced truth.

And while I don't know that I convinced the boss of the worthiness of our afternoon's endeavor, he at least accepted that Friend had needed some away time.

Sometimes you just gotta stand up to the big guy.

After dropping him off, I came home to find that no one desperately needed me and none of my hoped-for responses had arrived, so I was free and clear to continue my debauched Monday.

After a respite to gather my forces, I headed up the big hill to the Roosevelt to take advantage of their new Monday hours.

I'd heard they'd been slammed last Monday, but by the late hour I arrived, things were positively civilized.

I sat down next to two guys at the bar who were gracious enough to welcome me into the fold.

When the bartender brought my water, I requested a straw and he returned with one, the kind that bends to make straw-sipping so much more ergonomic.

"Wow, bendy straws and Cheerwine, that's the Roosevelt for you," one of the guys drolly observed with a smile.

I feel like that's a left-handed compliment of the highest order since there are many ways I could summarize the Roosevelt, but none so charmingly succinct.

I started with the oyster, corn and bacon stew, a gut-filling bowl of the richest stew full of sweet corn, salty bacon and buttery oysters.

Given the afternoon I'd had, it was clear my Richmond grandmother had been right with her predictions and I was going straight to hell in a hand basket.

Honestly, it's probably the first time in my life I ate an entire bowl of oyster stew by myself.

Just to ensure that my arteries close up entirely tonight, I followed that with one of tonight's specials, pulled pork under cole slaw and over house baked beans.

It was like a picnic on a plate but a picnic for two and I was, alas, just one.

As I worked my pig down, I overheard the guys next to me and gleaned that they were about to open a new business.

Never shy about my eavesdropping, I listened as they talked with a couple who'd joined them about the "wild, wild west days of Oregon Hill" and living in Jackson Ward back when fathers who were cops told their daughters not to.

That was before I moved here seven years ago, not that my father (who was not a cop) didn't approve of me moving to the neighborhood where his father worked his entire life (the Richmond Dairy, three blocks away).

Eventually, I insinuated myself into their conversation with the couple and soon learned that congratulations were in order.

After three and a half years of plugging away in Church Hill, the two guys are opening a brewery in Scott's Addition and they'd gotten the approval today.

That was something to celebrate and we toasted their success with my Gabriele Rausse Vin de Gris and whatever beer they were drinking (not their own).

Now that's a couple of guys who are going places.

No doubt they spend their afternoons more gainfully occupied than some of us.

Bravo, gents. To each his own.

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