. . . eating dinner with John at our favorite restaurant during last night's snowstorm.
It's hard to believe sometimes that we've been in this neighborhood over 10 years, and that this particular eatery was largely the thing that got us here, after a memorable meal in 2001 that made us think, "This feels like home. Let's buy a house here."
In our subsequent decade of dinners, we've:
- Watched the restaurant expand to three times its original size
- Bought the painting that hung above us that very first meal
- Got initiated into local sourcing
- Witnessed two proposals
- Befriended our favorite server (whose wedding I would come to officiate)
- Eaten dinner there with the likes of Richard Russo, Eleanor Lipman, and Charles Baxter
- Enjoyed several complimentary gifts from the kitchen
- Learned to love cava
- Delighted in pairings like chocolate and sage
- Launched a friendship with one of John's rock & roll heroes and his stellar wife
- Spent far too much money (worth every dime)
- Grieved the loss of a talented barkeep
- Discovered the joys of counter seating
- Shared bites with strangers
- Talked politics, or music, or the events of the day, or not at all because we were taking things in
This place has a Proustian lock on my heart. And though you can't have dinner for two under $50 like you used to, and you no longer walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom, this will still always be a come-as-you-are, neighborhood mainstay for us.
Given the humanely raised veal with black-eyed peas and cinnamon I had as course #3 last night, it looks they'll never lose their ability to knock my socks off with a hat trick.