Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Walking to Jefferson

For an evening that began with my car dying and an unexpected walk home, it ended splendidly.

I have Quirk's Maple and Pine - along with a smart, amusing date - to thank for that, although I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the entertainment value of a gaggle of tourism people, name tags strung round their necks, also at the restaurant, including a slightly tipsy one from Virginia Beach ("A coin toss brought me there"), whom I officially met in the ladies' room.

You know the one, down the stairs, under the sign that reads, "Love, Happiness, Restrooms." Joke all you want but sometimes a restroom does make me extremely happy.

Meanwhile, the tourism types. So. Much. Networking. Quirk seems to already be a magnet for those kinds of gatherings, or at least in my experience of three visits that's been the case.

And why not? The space is gorgeous, there's Prosecco on tap (although why the taps are on the outside of the bar I can't quite figure) and the staff is engaging. Our dimpled server even gave us a dramatic pose to make a point.

But what I like best is that it's a hotel so you're bound to see out-of-towners. I spotted two of them lounging by the windows and pegged them for visitors at once. Bingo, one with an accent as thick as butter on a biscuit from Wilson, North Carolina and the other with colorful socks and patent leather shoes from Miami.

When they left to hit the streets, we wondered where they were headed, only because it can be challenging to find major fun on a Monday evening.

A handful of people in the big tourism group opted for a tour of Quirk and their metro-sexual guide paused near enough me that I could overhear his spiel, including that the building had originally been (J.P.) Mosby's Department Store.

What were the chances? We'd been wondering about the building's origins since we'd sat down.

We'd also been eating from practically the moment we'd arrived, starting with the smoked pork pate I'd already had twice (and adore), chicken wings that had me licking sauce off my fingers and meaty oxtail egg rolls and moving right through marinated vegetables in brown butter and duck breast with quinoa and finishing smartly (and with the bartender's seal of approval) with chocolate espresso mousse studded with orange and hazelnuts.

The latter bites were accompanied by a Left Coast Pinot Blanc that conjured memories of drinking it at the winery this summer and the delightful conversations we'd had with the owners. She and I discussed working in publishing and he smiled at me a lot and refilled my glass every chance he got.

I'd liked them both and tonight's bottle was a delicious reminder of that.

Only the sound system disappointed, with too few and tinny-sounding speakers pointed at the ceiling and insufficient volume to provide true ambiance. My friends know how seriously I take my restaurant (or any) music. Obviously, Quirk does not.

But it does have charm in abundance.  Although I've already seen plenty of pooches paraded through the lobby and restaurant to the elevators, tonight owner Katie Ukrop was pausing to let her dog pee on the tree in front of the hotel, and while urination per se is hardly charming, seeing an owner going about the business of life in front of her pretty pink and gray hotel most definitely is.

Keepin' it real in Richmond. Maybe that's what the tourism people should have seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment