It all started innocently enough, with a request to my husband for a birthday-dinner lobster. It turned ugly when the fine lobster folks I’d asked an innocent question of discovered a lobster had been…dun, dun, DUN-N-N…microwaved.
My husband James and I just got back from a lovely birthday lunch – he turned fifty-five today. Of course he’d known it would be great; we were, after all, at a restaurant of his choosing. Halfway through that meal I stumbled upon what I think could be a mind-blowing “litmus test” for men out there still willing to date women.
I could be wrong but I’m really hoping there are four, maybe five such men left in America (maybe a couple more out in the far reaches of the Empire), you who still date or would like to, if only……so as Bill Nye the Science Guy used to say, Please; consider the following. (I’d love to hear what you four think.)
So, there we were, not only senior-citizens (Gag!) but “a couple,” in a place designed from the parking lot forward for guys or groups of them. Infused with testosterone it was. It all begins with the business’ double entendre name (Twin Peaks p.s. I have no personal interest in this chain). It then carries through with a rustic cabiny-décor, juxtaposed with dozens of flat screens broadcasting sports, a ¼-mile racetrack of a bar…and oh, off to the side a wall of funny t-shirts (favorite one above) that could easily bring down some kind of Hate-Crime-against-Women I’m sure! Other than the female hostess and all-female wait staff, I was only one of three women customers when we first sat down at about high-noon. During our meal a couple more Olders came in with husbands presumably, a couple more Youngers with boyfriends, equally presumably.
Being in a restaurant overflowing with the proverbial buxom waitresses? I confess it took me a few minutes to get acclimated. Maybe it was all that fresh mountain air and the alpine altitude. Certainly it was different in a good way from what I’d felt in the past – merely upon contemplating such an establishment from afar. Then it’d been annoyance. With a vigorous pooh-poohing I could always dismiss the whole idea of those kinds of so-called restaurants. They were mere excuses for men to go and ogle pretty girls without the “stigma” of a strip club or the out-of-the-way drive. And a man’s got to eat lunch doesn’t he?
Which brings me to the first three things I realized today: 1) the food was much better than I imagined it’d be; it was terrific actually (fried pickles & chicken-fried chicken done to perfection, “Knotty Brunette” beer icy/slushy, pulled pork mini-sliders moist & flavorful); 2) our server was only one year older than our daughter; and 3) waitresses in uniforms “like that” should AVOID tan-lines.
“She’s the best looking one here,” my husband said most of the way through the meal. I assumed he meant our waitress, but realized he was looking towards the bar. “She’s OK,” I said, scrutinizing the long-haired brunette – I guess subconsciously, I guess for a flaw – when, Bingo! Found one, so I added quickly, “She could use more eye make-up, though.” God. I couldn’t believe I was advocating a 20-something go further out on the Cosmetics’ Ledge I’d been trying (in vain) to talk our daughter back down from for several years now.
I can see now that comment was My Bad, My Petty Ugly (typical female!!!) Bad. Afterwards I looked more closely at our waitress as she went here and there to her other tables. She was, in fact, one of the cuter ones. Natural (unlike some that were a bit unusually well-endowed); not wildly tatted; casually smiling (unlike one who’d looked very sour as she brought our food on behalf of our waitress). And then it dawned on me. This restaurant was The Perfect First-Date Place for men. It’s very raison d’etre is to be Male-Friendly. Add to that it’s inexpensive; the food is pretty simple (mostly all-American favorites) and very deelish; plus, plus, plus, they offer Glenlivet (and a nice selection of beer, too).
So choose one of these guy-spots you few, you happy, hardy few gents-still-dating and I’m certain you’ll get a deeper “peak” into your date’s brain in one short night than a therapist could in a year. Her skull may start thinning, hence exposing its inner workings/her true personality from the moment you pull into the parking lot. Just what does this female think about the business’ blatant nod to Male Sexuality? Does she “get it?” Does she understand: 1) men always like to Look-at-Women; 2) they always have; 3) it’s not SAFE for men to do so in most other places given today’s Femi-twisted world; and 4) if she’s offended at #3, does she understand that makes her a part of the problem of #3? And now, unto the breach…
Once inside, does she seem comfortably conscious of her own exposed flesh or uncomfortable with the “competition?” Is she happily or lightheartedly observing (even comparing herself to) the waitresses or sullenly sizing them up and down (and muttering!)? Is she eager to be seated or more eager in suggesting an alternative dining establishment, say, something quote nicer or quieter (read: more expensive or where all eyes might be more apt to be on her)? Have you started to your table yet?
You might consider going ahead of her. This not only saves you from running into her if you get distracted and she stops suddenly, it shows you’re no ladies-first Neo-Con slash Traditionalist. Besides if you do reconnoiter the room in transit (with full knowledge she can see you) and she then fires icy stares across the table as soon as you sit down, what more could you possibly need to know?
I wish you the best of luck administering this unique litmus-test. In the event you’ve already quit dating, might I suggest instead you give a Twin Peaks restaurant your undivided attention? Bon appetit.
If I learned nothing else growing up in Connecticut I learned, Waste Not Want Not. So, the other day my first non-problem was finding a 3/4 lb. chunk of unidentifiable frozen “white fish” at the bottom of the freezer (dated a year-and-a-half ago!). Actual first problem: it’d lost its seal, so was very freezer-burned. Logical (Spock-like/Yankee) Solution? Fish “Chowda.”
Pulled out my trusty old “American Cooking: New England” volume of Time-Life’s, “Foods of the World” series; modified their recipe for “Nantucket Scallop Chowder” on page 111, and later we were all saying, Yum-m-m.
…it goes and gets (and stays and stays!) really cold.
There’s just something about cold weather and soup. It’s brought out the soup-Liberator in me (as opposed to that other kinda soup-guy).
I hope you can read the recipe. While there are 14 recipes in the Gourmet Magazine/epicurious.com archives containing the phrase “Tortilla Soup” none are this specific one from May 1997. Over the course of my 15+ year subscription to Gourmet I’ve tried at least three versions. Seriously, this one is the best and it never fails. I do like to make homemade stock but it is a messy affair. And adds at least a couple of hours to the process.
If you can prep the veggies & chicken stock from concentrate FAST, this can be ready-to-serve in less than 90 minutes (and this time I cut a 1/2 chicken breast into very narrow strips and sauteed them with the onion/celery/garlic plus spices, rather than add cooked chicken towards the end). Yes, you really want to cook it a full hour!
Did two things different today: sauteed with lard + butter (vs. normal for me: butter + olive oil), and as I was short on tortilla chips I threw in 1/4 c. dry rice at the start, with the liquids. Yum. The latter helped make it “thick” so there are less splatters as you gobble it up.
Stay warm out there and maybe even pray that “Global Warming” comes true.
NOTE: The amounts on the post-it that say “1/2 recipe” are, for the most part the printed recipe divided by 2 (duh). When I make it, for example today, I used an entire medium onion and two inner-ish stalks of celery. How anyone could stop at 2Tbl. chopped onion or chopped celery is beyond me. I like my soup practically as much “veggie” as meat.