It's a proud moment when you watch your beet-phobic friend enjoy a beet for the first time (dabs her eyes). I never thought I'd see the day.
Mind you, with this guy, I'm not talking about your garden variety disdain for beets. He'd apparently had a longtime troubled relationship with them. Beets weren't allowed on the side of a plate destined for him or he'd send it back.
I don't know what that first beet did to Holmes, but it sure did a number on him.
I'm here to tell you I saw that change with my own eyes at Camden's tonight, along with Holmes, Beloved and a bottle of Veuve Ambal Brut Rose.
She and I are having a beet salad to start when he announces that he's going to try a beet tonight. Just like that. He may as well have announced that he was giving up tequila for the metaphorical smack in the face it delivered.
After joking that it tasted like dirt, he admitted it was good (yes, dairy and greens are beets' best friends). He was so pleased that he pulled out his flip phone and called his assistant - known as "Trusty Sidekick"- to tell her the big news.
It's roughly the equivalent of a toddler proudly boasting, "Look, Mommy, I did it in the potty!"
Good boy, Holmes. About time you learned the distinct earthy, sweet pleasure of beets.
We got to take advantage of the Fall menu, perfect on this endlessly rainy and gray week with more to come. The dining room's atmosphere was considerably warmed up by having the Curtis Mayfield station on the sound system. Freddie may be dead but it sounded gooood...
But woman cannot live by soul alone. Dinner called.
Scores all around. Holmes had a thick 8-hour braised pork chop that was like butter to eat (dubbed pig pot roast by the chef), Beloved dove into a bowl of smoked kielbasa. clams, spinach and linguine moaning all the while and I wanted the cornmeal-crusted whole trout, an exquisitely cooked piece o' fish.
Each of us thought we got the tastiest dish, the best possible order outcome.
Part of the meal's entertainment was watching "Two on a Guillotine," a 1965 suspense film with Connie Stevens as its overly blond heroine, a story that concerned a magician and his daughter. When she jumped out of her bed because of a haunted noise, she paused to put on her peignoir.
Think about that. A peignoir. Oh, sure, Laura Petrie wore one sometimes and Lucy Ricardo even. Hell, my own mother wore one for a few Christmas gift-opening mornings (the only item of clothing that thrilled us more was when she wore a -gasp - two-piece bathing suit). We have a few snapshots of her watching us open presents, looking glamorous and feminine despite endless little girls surrounding her.
I don't know about you, but I have to admire a mother for having six children and still bothering with a peignoir, even if it is only a couple times a year. Truth: we just don't make 'em like that anymore.
One of the most important things my Mom ever taught me was that no matter how full you are after a fabulous dinner, there's always that corner of your belly with room for dessert. With Mom in mind, I had a piece of chocolate pate to close out the meal, a favorite of mine for more than a dozen years now.
Meanwhile, the TJ grads had ice cream and cookies to accompany the bottle of sparkling Vouvray we used to finish off the meal.
Back across the rainy bridge we went for music, literary memories and storm predictions. I'm not sure which I enjoyed more: a 1980 Playboy magazine, kickass music (Duran Duran covering T Rex, "Gimmee Shelter" or Nancy Wilson) or, a 1972 "Mad" magazine with a comic about cartoon characters wife swapping on the inside cover. That's some fine old pleasures.
It's amazing how much unrelated conversational ground you can cover with a yellowing copy of "Leonard Maltin's Film Guide 1981-82," a primo vinyl collection and Holmes' ancient encyclopedia of rock music, incidentally, missing the Rolling Stones section (He still doesn't know who pilfered it).
That commentary can wait for the morrow. Where did those seven hours go?