Amour Wine Bistro was celebrating three years with bubbles and lots of desserts.
If I ever have an anniversary worth celebrating, I'd do it exactly the same way.
Being the eager beaver, I was there right when things were supposed to get started, but an unusually busy dinner hour was delaying things.
Come to think of it, on the drive over, I'd driven past crowds and lines at most restaurants.
While most people seem to be out of town already (my neighborhood is a ghost town), apparently those still around were all out tonight.
It turned out to be a lively night, with pots and pans clattering in the kitchen, the inevitable glass of wine spilled nearby and an errant spoon that went flying.
The two girls next to me were deep into man talk ("George is the only one I want to marry!") but the guy at the far end perked up when he saw he had someone to talk to.
Once he found out my interests, we had a most interesting discussion of a very old painting of a bishop he'd gotten from his grandfather.
He was eager to find out who'd painted it and asked for suggestions.
Using old letters between his grandparents, he'd found a reference to a Peter Paul Rubens painting his grandfather had bought 100 years ago.
Holy cow, Rubens?
I told him he needed a much higher source than me to start that process.
Like me, he's a regular at Amour, as were all of the crowd who came in tonight to raise a glass to Amour making it three years in a business that's known to chew up and spit out even experienced entrepreneurs.
I saw the cute couple I always see at Amour, the ones who seem to take so much pleasure in each other's company.
Three women came in after seeing "The Comedy of Errors" at Agecroft and we made room for them at the bar.
Turns out they were Carytown merchants as well as regulars, although it was somehow our first time meeting.
Like me, they were tickled to see tonight's dessert menu offering 3 for $3 or 5 for $5.
Now that's a dessert menu I can get behind.
And the choices!
Bourbon maple creme caramel. Key lime tartlette. Plantain cake with avocado buttercream. Chocolate mousse in orange lace cookie. Profiteroles with ganache.
The three of them debated whether they need to order 5 for $5 or 10 for $10, while I kept my order to 3 for $3.
One of the women argued that sharing five small desserts between three women was insufficient.
While they debated, I started on my cake with its delicate flavors and exquisite buttercream.
Next I did profiteroles filled with Chantilly cream, but mine arrived sans ganache.
Then a friend came in (with a friend) and all of a sudden I was moving my bar stool to their bar table to join them for dessert.
They were two, so they chose five desserts.
My friend regaled us with stories of her "crazy" Dad who cuts out the obituaries of his former wife's ex-boyfriends and sends them to my friend, instructing, "Send this to your Mother."
With the cute couple behind us, we discussed playing online Scrabble (she does, I don't), leading her friend to observe that people who play Scrabble on a Kindle can cheat.
I wouldn't know.
You see, I just packed my wooden Scrabble board to take to the beach and there's no cheating with wood.
My last dessert was chocolate mousse in an orange lace cookie with a raspberry, a sublime combination of flavors.
While it seemed fitting to have three desserts to celebrate a third anniversary, I was led astray when suddenly profiteroles with ganache arrived.
I couldn't think of a single reason to resist the dark chocolate-covered delicacies.
You see, it's the contrast of the dark chocolate with the delicately sweet cream that makes a profiterole sing.
As I suspected, all these wonderful desserts were for tonight only and will not be showing up on the regular menu.
You either came and benefited or missed out entirely.
I met a guy who'd read my post about a disco party we'd both attended and we laughed when we heard that the upcoming Bastille day picnic may include another appearance by Amour's smoke machine.
Maybe that's the deep, dark secret of a restaurant making it to the three year point.
Keep things fresh and blow a little smoke every once in a while.
I'll have to remember that if I ever get to a third anniversary again.