Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Get a Kick Out of You

 It wasn't only me who found new ways to be efficient this storm day.

Facebook was rife with people touting their bubbling pots of chili, their lentil soups, their clean houses, their full wine cellars.

Better still was the one spending his day listening to Debussy. Another was on her way to a hurricane hot tub gathering. One even extolled the thrill of an afternoon spent reading a book.

Me, I played it closer to the vest.

I slept in till 11. I finished an assignment due Thursday. I rearranged some furniture and pictures.

But the perfect storm had found me in need of a couple of basics- milk and toilet paper (and not to stockpile but to use immediately) - so I went to the grocery store for supplies.

It wasn't a madhouse, no one was rude and I was in and out in short order.

Cruising through the Fan, I saw that the expected stalwarts were open.

Starlite. Bamboo. Three Monkeys..

No doubt they'll make bank tonight.

But as the afternoon wore on and status after status told me that practically every regular restaurant would be closed, I wised up.

Call me cliched, but I made a batch of chili.

As it was simmering, I saw the good news.

Belmont Food Shop was going to be open tonight.

It wasn't close enough to walk, but it was open.


When we rolled up, we saw only one person at the bar.

He turned out to be a neighborhood dweller and seemed happy for the company.

We got our drink on with Skeleton Blauer Zweigelt because it's always nice to have a good Austrian wine when a monster storm is parked overhead.

The music was just as perfect as our first time, coming in circa the '20s and '30s.

We were just there to snack and talk to strangers, so we began with mushroom soup with tamarind and tarragon, good but overpriced.

The standout was the smoked bluefish dip with apples, celery root, tarragon and housemade crackers.

Lumps of the creamy dip dotted the plate with bitter and spicy micro-greens in the center to balance the dish's sweetness.

Our new best friend was full of anecdotes and attempts to connect.

He told of seeing lightening arc 50' in the air and make the hair on his arms stand up despite being a considerable distance away.

We heard about weapons testing at Dahlgren but he wouldn't provide details due to security reasons.

He said that he'd been a musician back in the '70s when there were 400 venues for music in Richmond.

400 and then boom! Half of them closed, he said.

He might have also mentioned how he doesn't get out much anymore and spends all his time home alone watching TV.

Oh, he was a character, all right.

And when you run into someone like that, you know you could sit there on a stormy, rainy night and talk about nothing and everything with a stranger all night long.

It doesn't have quite the same ring as a hurricane hot tub party, but no one was inviting me to one of those.

Besides, I had my own storm day obligations.

That chili wasn't going to eat itself.

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