Holmes always guarantees a good time.
After getting over being mad because I stood him up (for the best of reasons), we had our post-vacation rendezvous tonight.
He was full of vacation stories - alternate routes, vaporizers while grilling, 68 (count 'em) shrimp, eating at Ocean Boulevard.
We discussed the importance of an enclosed outdoor shower, the challenges of returning to clothing and shoes and why sometimes, the second time is cursed.
We met at his house and motored to Acacia, where they were doing a booming Tuesday night business.
After a patient wait in the "lounge" with a bottle of (half-off) Domaine Michel Thomas "Si'lex" Sancerre, not to mention an over-abundance of Proctor-Silex jokes, we scored seats at the bar.
While music like Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" played, we whittled down our meal choices.
Holmes and beloved were unable to resist the siren song of Chef Dale's soft-shells, but I held fast, starting with salame, heirloom tomato jam, pickled fiddleheads and grainy mustard.
I'm a fool for cured meat and besotted with fiddleheads when I can get them.
The beauty of eating with friends is the opportunity to eat their selections and one of tonight's was white anchovies, grilled marinated radicchio and romaine, fourme' d'ambert, pine nuts and a creamy garlic dressing.
Prosciutto and melon delivered my daily dosage of sweet and salty.
Holmes and girlfriend moved on to crabcakes and soft shells, sharing both the obscenely buttery crabcake and the perfectly fried softshells with me.
Chef Dale is nothing if not a master of seafood.
My local jumbo lump crab with rice noodles, fresh corn and peppers and creamy Vidalia dressing looked like a mound of summer, red and yellow and bursting with crab and corn.
Over discussions of beach meals, the importance of 151 rum and fondling under bars, we entertained our bartender and each other.
Holmes likes nothing better than to give me a hard time.
When he made a break for the men's room, his beloved and I did some plotting, opting for the chocolate hazelnut dacquoise with caramelized bananas and brown sugar ice cream to go with our young, vibrant and crisp bottle of Jeio Prosecco.
Holmes took the manly route, enjoying some Ardbeg single malt while giving us a hard time about our weakness for dessert and bubbles.
And the problem with said weakness is...?
Enjoying a scotch whiskey seemed only appropriate since we had earlier met a Scotsman named Scott, a man with a slight burr still audible in every word.
I have to admit susceptibility to such things, because a Scotsman had once tried to use that accent to woo me even while I was falling for someone else.
Yes, I'm a language geek, but brains, wit and kissing ability trump all.
Especially if he instinctively understands the beauty of an outdoor shower.