DateNight

DateNight
Jan Miense Molenaer: The Denial of Saint Peter (1636)
[Molenaer depicted biblical stories in his own time and surroundings,
such as representing this scene from Peter's Gospel set in a Dutch Tavern.]

" … settling in with The Maximum Cat to dream about different days …"

Denver's not so much a food desert as a food prairie. Restaurants tend toward the predictable and steady, and seem few and far between. Little mystery lurks within any of them. Reservations, not usually necessary, unless, of course, you really want to get in at a specific time without waiting. Noise, like an incessant prairie wind, seems built in, and any visit tends toward the buffeting. Our damned pandemic has slowed the usual progression of people in and out, with most preferring an outside table, but even then, overcrowding seems a prominent feature of those few more choice options still open, especially those not featuring a drive-in window. The Muse and I have simply foregone any kind of eating out other than the very occasional take-out pizza, a prominent feature of the region's flat restaurant topography, anyway. But last Friday night, we really needed to get the heck out of our same old place after months of in-house suppers, crafted by our very own hands and inspired by flattening imaginations in precisely the same space. We behaved like the cats, screaming to be let out but with no destination imagined other than Not Here.

With no specific place in mind, not exactly the recipe for certain satisfaction, though back in the day, we could usually happen upon some semblance of a satisfactory place.
This tactic usually guarantees that we'll eat late, and a ravenous appetite helps compensate for most of the shortcomings of a place. I can usually accurately predict what The Muse will order, anyway, for she carries an internal shortlist of old favorites, items she virtually never gets at home. Me? I usually find nothing resembling eatable on any menu and so order The Regrettable Special, which I'm pretty much destined to hate. I'll leave half of it untouched on my plate. On rare occasions, we'll stumble into some joint with attractive alternatives, but even then, I'm likely to order the rattlesnake platter, if only for provocation. The background noise, typically elevated to foreground status, combined with the wobbly table, will serve to adequately distract me from any flavor, and I know for certain that I will not be able to remember whatever I ate by the next morning.

Some romantic, evening, huh? We save the romance for suppers in Paris. On the prairie, one eats solely for sustenance and never complains about the grit. Everyone gets essentially the same experience: no peaks, no valleys, just endless plains. But these days, we don't even go looking at menus, but for places without a crushing queue around the door. Most every place has spaced their tables, but few seem able to space their patrons, who mingle (without masks), waiting for a properly isolated outside table. One cannot, after all, sip a cocktail or guzzle a beer while masked, and one simply cannot hear what anyone's saying without leaning in and mingling. We stop by that new place down the hill, but cannot access the menu due to weak cell signal, and the entryway's a gauntlet of gabbling revelry. We proceed to whatever might be next, uninspired by the offerings we pass.

We drive for an hour or so without spotting a single likely destination. In desperation, The Muse wonders out loud if that old favorite might have set up outside tables. I reply that I believe I'd seen some, so we slip over there and even find a spot to park right out front. The Muse slides out to get our name on the list, but returns about a minute later to report that the very idea of eating out might just qualify as absurd. She offers to order a pick-up pizza, does, and we head home where we watch a couple of installments of a popular series on Amazon Prime before catching the ten o'clock weather and settling in with The Maximum Cat to dream about different days when we could still manage to experience a DateNight somewhere other than right back home.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








blog comments powered by Disqus