Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You Look Happy

The gods are teasing us with this weather.

I had a busy day on tap with lots of places to be but the weather was so glorious I walked to them all. The plan was to walk to see a VCU Cinemetheque film to round out my day when I got a better offer ("I miss your face!" always works). All thoughts of another walk went out the window.

Since it was Tuesday, Metzger came to mind because I knew it was dollar oyster night and that's cheaper even than eating them at Merroir, much less anywhere around here. And who doesn't want to eat oysters on a mild November evening like this?

The place was pretty low key with a familiar face among those at the bar and only a few tables occupied. We took center position at the bar, squished together between other bar sitters, most of whom had empty oyster shells in front of them.

One of my favorite things about Metzger is the reliably stellar soundtrack courtesy of Mr. Fine Wine's downtown Soulville, but before my audiophile companion could lose himself in the music, he observed that the Bose speakers were incorrectly placed, a shame given the potential for quality sound with Bose. Me, I'd have never noticed given how much I liked the music.

As if dollar oysters aren't enough of a siren song, Metzger also offers one bottle of wine at retail cost, so we added a bottle of Verdejo to our bivalve meal for a pittance. Clearly they empathize with those of a limited pocketbook and I appreciate that.

The guy shucking oysters was situated right in front of us and had been shucking pretty much non-stop since we arrived. He wasn't wearing a glove, though, and I kept fearing for a slip of the oyster knife and blood everywhere.

Tonight's oyster offerings were two and I inquired about their sources. We were told that the Holy Grails were from Maryland and that the Shooting Points were from the eastern shore near Chincoteague so they'd be saltier.

So naturally when the dozen Shooting Points arrived first, I held off so I could enjoy their brininess after the less salty variety.

Except it turned out that the Holy Grails had a bracing salinity, too. Not that I'm complaining because I'd always rather eat saltier oysters and feel like I took a gulp of the ocean, but some people do prefer a more buttery taste.

Turns out the Holy Grails are from Hooper's Island, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, a place I know well because it's near Fishing Creek where we used to visit my aunt's summer place in the '80s. Shooting Point Salts are from Hog Island, off of the Eastern Shore, the very area I was curious about but couldn't access on a recent trip out there.

Regardless, we slurped down both dozens with no problem, finishing with the taste of the sea in our mouths.

The cider town crier stopped by to say hello and discuss upcoming cider week dinners, saying she is determined to make Richmond and not Charlottesville Virginia's cider central. With her musician husband, we got off on a tangent about the announcement that experimental rock band Swans is coming to the Broadberry, a very big deal to certain music fans. Will we fill the venue? Hard to say, but we're hopeful.

After they left to go home to test out their new bed from Sleepy's, we moved on to trotter torchon, a dish I'd sampled at the festival of the hungry ghosts at Hardywood. The richness of the dish lent credence to the opinion of a friend who'd labeled it an orgasm in his mouth that night.

Because my date considers himself somewhat knowledgeable about European comfort food, he insisted we try the pork schnitzel with Von Hovel Riesling, a perfectly lovely balance between sweet and dry.

Meanwhile the barkeep and I discussed the fabulous dance party they'd thrown a while back with Mr. Fine Wine in the restaurant and I clamored for another, something that's apparently already in the works. Turns out Mr. Fine Wine thought it was one of the best dance parties he'd ever DJ'd and can't wait to come back. The feeling is mutual.

Walking out of Metzger, it was a delight to find the air just as warm and soft as when we'd gone in three hours earlier. I know that the sledgehammer of cold weather is about to crash down on us, but being able to have on a light, ruffled sweater for a wrap on Veteran's day is a gift to thin-blooded types like me.

Sure, it would have been a beautiful night for a walk but sometimes you just need to share your face and slurp with someone who appreciates it.

And, yes, that's a metaphor.

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