Oh, Friday, Friday, I try my best not to do Restaurant Week but sometimes it just turns out that way.
Because I moved into the city in 1993 - a block and a half from Zeus Gallery Cafe - I never knew a time when the quirky little restaurant wasn't in the neighborhood (like the library and the VMFA) that I wound up staying in for 13 years.
Ending up there tonight wasn't the plan but turned out to be the reality, set to local music on the sound system (big ups for that) and La Vieille Ferme Rose the color of pink diamonds.
Lemon vinaigrette kicked up a peppery arugula and Grana padano salad a notch. Red-wine braised veal short ribs got hearty with tomato jam, butternut squash puree and asparagus. I adjusted the flourless chocolate pate by salting it to perfection.
It's my chocolate and I'll salt if I want to.
Altogether a fine meal made even more impressive by the load on the kitchen as a steady stream of diners arrived all night long. "Each night this week gets crazier," the barkeep claimed. Good news for the Foodbank.
She wasn't too worried about it because the minute restaurant week ends, she and her main squeeze are headed to a cabin the mountains with a spectacular view and a hot tub. Oh, and lots of drinking material, she assured us. "I did used to work at Buddy's," she said by way of explanation.
Once back at my host's house, the musical portion of the evening went through Jackson Brown's best of, why David Crosby matters (with a story tangent about how Roger McGuinn still claims that Stephen Stills stole David Crosby from the Byrds), and bluesy Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.
Seventies California music, in other words. Great guitar stuff. I even heard an Eagles song I'd never heard and didn't hate. That's how deep the cuts went.
A cache of comic books yielded conversation about the one who'd given up drawing years ago, spirited dancing to Jackson Brown, and from the one with scads of siblings, endless intricate family relation stories.
If I could have, I'd have shot the breeze all night as good as the jawing and soundrack were.
Can't be late for the (morning) sky tomorrow, though.