Post #532 The Second Date

June 17, 2017 at 4:18 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Partner/Spouse and I have been together for nearly a decade, but sometimes it feels like we met yesterday.  We met online after I stopped the traveling part of my job, and he moved to the east coast from the western desert.  After going through all the hoops for the online service (which back in those days was wasn’t just a hookup process as it is now) we decided to meet at a local national park and hike a couple of trails with my dog.  That date, which should have lasted 45 minutes tops, stretched out to nearly three hours as we talked and ate at a diner and played with my dog.  (If any of you are friends on FB the dog picture I posted yesterday was that dog.)  We reluctantly parted, but agreed we wanted to see each other again.  He was work busy, and I was work busy, and neither of us wanted to seem pushy, but finally about mid-week I invited him to a nearby bar/restaurant that I wanted to go experience.

So, first date at a park that segued to a restaurant; second date at a bar/restaurant which lasted literally for hours.  Our lives seem to revolve around food.  Good thing we’re both such good cooks.

The b/r we went to was attached to a hotel right next to an exit from a main artery which traveled through Northern Virginia going east-west.  At the time, I lived near a national park dedicated to a civil war battlefield.  I knew nothing about this restaurant, but had been wanting to try it for some time.  Our second date seemed like the perfect time.  I figured we’d sit for a few hours, eat appetizers, drink wine, and get to know each better than we had the previous time we’d been together.  He was amenable so about 7:30 we walked into the place which was DESERTED!  Honestly, apart from the wait staff, it was just the two of us.  Not a good sign.

But we sat down, told the waitress we wanted to do appetizers all night which made her smile, and we perused the menu.  I liked the wine list, although it was not extensive or sophisticated.  They had a few good reliable labels and he let me order the wine.  Kendall Jackson Chardonnay to start and we were off.  I was still looking at the appetizers when the wine arrived so we ordered one order of chicken wings while discussed what else we’d be trying.

Then I saw a hot crab and cheese dip that also had artichokes in it.  The last time I had that was at a friend’s Christmas Eve party but it was wonderful.  Just the right next “course”.  He ordered another round of chicken wings.

When the hot dip was set in front of us, we also got a variety of dippers.  We had sliced baguette, assorted crackers, and some tortilla chips.  There were also a few veggies to go with it.  It didn’t smell exactly like the dip I had before, but I was still open to it.  I took a baguette slice and used a knife to smear a goodly helping.  I took a big bite, and immediately regretted it.  The hot cheese tasted fine.  Nothing else did.  I thought maybe I remembered it wrong and decided to give it a chance.

We talked, drank, ate, shared.  I asked him to try the dip insisting that it didn’t taste fishy.  He hates fish for very valid reasons I will not bore you with.  He was hesitant, but such was our desire to impress each other, he took a healthy bite.

“I hate this stuff.”  I had to laugh.

“It’s not the best I’ve ever had.”

Our waitress came by about then and I asked her to take it away.  “It’s really not good.”

“Yeah,” she said.  “No one really likes it.  It always gets sent back.  I don’t know why it’s on the menu.”

To this day, I have no idea why she didn’t tell us before we ordered it.  However, it wasn’t on the bill so that was okay.  I tasted like cheddar cheese, tuna, and spinach; all things I like, but in a combination that was oily and gross.  So we filled up on chicken wings, and chips and salsa.  The next time we went there, a few months later, the dip was not on the menu.  So all’s well  . . . .

Today is Saturday and we had some errands we wanted to run.  There was a focus to them.  We had arranged our route so we ended up at an antique bookstore with the solemn promise to each other that we wouldn’t overdo it.  We lied to each other.

We started at a farmer’s market which turned out to be pretty small, but we still managed to spend a ton.  We got two loaves of bread, some pastries, a ton of veggies, and some honey.  We stopped at a hardware store but that turned out to be a bust since they didn’t have the part we needed.  We stopped at another farmer’s market to get some more pastries because they have this shortbread cookie filled with raspberry preserve and dusted with confectioner sugar that I have become addicted to.  You only get four in a box, but boy are they good!  If anyone has a recipe for that, let me know.

And, of course, there was the book store.  We spent far below $100 but we got some treasures.  One of them I want to share with you.

Ever hear of Mrs. Beeton?  She’s a British icon, well known to anyone who cooks.  She was the foremost authority on cooking and household management in her day which was the mid to late 1800s.  She wrote several books on the subject but it’s her first one that made her name so well known.  Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management.  It was the go-to volume for all new housewives and was eagerly anticipated by all new brides.  She taught generations the art of running their household efficiently and frugally.  I found a reprint of that book, and the lady at the store told me she had one more, the one pictured.  Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Everyday Cookery.  I can’t find a date on it anywhere, but I know old books and this is an old book.  I don’t think I’ve got a first edition, but I certainly got one on the level of a century old.  It’s got original color plates in it showing how to butcher animals, cut veggies, decorate a table.  I haven’t read through the whole thing yet, but I’m going to have some fun with this.

The lady who owns the store knew that she’d met two kindred spirits so she ended up giving us a deal on everything we got.  I love small towns.

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