Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Up the Waterzooi

Best way to celebrate Belgian independence day (as told by an Irish-American woman):

1. Follow the Belgian flag and a gnome (?) hovering on the roof to Cask for a pop-up by chef Xavier Meers of Brux'l Cafe.

With Broadbent Vino Verde warming up at an alarming rate in this heat wave, we dove into cheese croquettes, garlic scampi, waterzooi of chicken (a traditional Belgian stew), mussels Provencal and a superb veggie salad that included among other things, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon and olives.  Basically, we ate everything on the pop-up menu.

When the chef put in an appearance, we agreed he resembled a Dutch masters painting: curly haired, red cheeked and sturdy of form. Frans Hals or Rembrandt would have painted him.

2. Proceed to Ardent Brewery for Secretly Y'all, Tell Me a Story with tonight's theme "I quit!"

Standing in the back challenged the ears (too far from the storytellers) and patience (too many talkers) but the handsome bartender was complimentary ("Love your hair") and during intermission, we scored seats up front.

Stories ranged from a guy who learned to quit violence after choking a guy into unconsciousness to quitting the church and heroin at the same time to trying to quit life on the Lee bridge after a party in Oregon Hill to an ESL teacher in Henrico who chucked it all to make soap to an ESL teacher in Thailand who inadvertently taught kindergartners to say "sandwich" to a job as building inspector that included finding men having sex in the showers to a Ziplock bag of human poop that required quitting a job to save face to a man who refused to beat up on inmates.

Let's just say there are many ways - and things - to quit. Still deciding what it is I need to let go. I have an idea.

Friends ranged from a gallerist needing an open door to a bartender who gave me crap about quoting her to a wine guru trying to read a book to a yoga teacher questioning my location.

3. Final stop? GWARbar for metal night, the DJ spinning such classic pre-metal gems as Iron Butterfly and April Wine. Tattoos, dreadlocks and piercings abounded, but the Espolon was flowing and the conversation amiable.

Here's to 84 years of independence, Belgium! May I have just as many.

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