Tuesday, July 16, 2019

There She Goes

Sometimes all a girl needs is a valise stocked with vino and a willing partner-in-crime.

Pru had packed hers with a bottle of Moet et Chandon Brut Reserve and a bottle of Sancerre, ensuring that the evening would be a delightful one despite the face-melting heat. After her usual complaints about the heat in my apartment and insufficient tables lamps in my bedroom (I never measure up in lamp wattage), we popped the cork on the Moet and retreated to the bedroom because it's the coolest room (north-facing) and boasts three fans, all angled in her direction.

As I transferred the contents of my 20' into her 24' and the Pet Shop Boys' "Discography" played, we bantered about over-sized bras (into the trash it went), cute sandals (she's a fan of the ankle-tie green ones) and my new bathing suit (already a proven compliment-getter), until everything had a new, more spacious home and the bottle had achieved dead soldier status.

Business part of the evening complete.

That was our signal to head out into the humidity for food, which is how we landed at Max's, smack in the middle of the bar. As soon as she felt the air conditioning, she spread her arms and announced, "I may never leave here" while my focus was on the menu.

Since Max's went more casual, I'm a fan of the more bistro-like menu and felt sure she'd like it, too. After scoring a couple of splits of Cremant de Bourgogne (Pru: "I could drink this all night long"), I decided on the roasted cauliflower with a side vegetable medley, while she wanted the soup du jour, a lobster bisque, and the Little Gem lettuce salad.

We were savoring our Cremant and looking at pictures of the beach house she's rented when the bartender returned, looking apologetic. "We ran out of cauliflower. I'm sorry, but did you want to choose something else?" So we paused ogling the myriad ocean views of her rental house and I returned to the menu. "It's half price oyster night," he suggested helpfully.

Never one to turn down a briny bivalve, I asked about the oysters' salinity, which he didn't know, so another trip to the kitchen was in order. Verdict? Mid-level, somewhere between buttery and the salt bombs I love. Okay, give me a dozen.

Moments later he returned to inform me that cauliflower was back in the house and did I still want the oysters. I did not, since they were a compromise anyway. That finished, we returned to our bubbles and beach planning until the food appeared.

Having had the cauliflower before, I'm a big fan of its nutty roasted taste smothered in French onion ricotta with pickled red onion for kick. My medley was a rich mixture of carrots, peas and mushrooms in an herbed oil. Pru's bisque was nothing short of pale coral obscenity, while her salad was essentially a gussied-up wedge with much better ingredients: tons of creamy bleu cheese, loads of bacon, tomatoes, cucumber, pickled onion and a generous dressing of ranch "du Provence."

That's what I'm talking about when I say it's nice to have a French bistro a few blocks from home. Well, that and Pru's unexpected comments like, "Sometimes you just gotta speedball."

When I asked about using the loo, the bartender offered to escort us there due to its proximity to the kitchen. "Coming through!" he bellowed as we were lead past the kitchen staff. "Put your knives away!" One of the kitchen guys overheard my name and called out a cheery hello as we passed by. We got the same treatment on the way back. Hilarious.

We capped off the meal with my Coca Cola cake - the bartender assured us, "It's really chocolate cake with Coke glaze" - and her cappuccino before heading back out into the heat.

Once back at my place, we poured glasses of Sancerre, took them to my balcony and listened to Bryan Ferry, all the while trying to catch whatever night breeze was stirring as we chatted.

When we called it a night, Pru left with only a little Sancerre to prove that we'd sweated together. And for the record, there was no speed balling that I know of.

Of course, it might help if I knew what speed balling was.


  1. Speed balling is technically uppers and downers on one fell swoop, i.e bubbles and coffee. Yeah!

  2. Or bubbles and Coke/chocolate? Good times!