Yesterday I was invited to lunch with my friend and fellow 40 Days of Writing participant Doralice, aka The Cheese Lady. She had some sort of magical inside connection for free lunch at Bravas, the newest Healdsburg venture by the Stark restaurant enterprise. Bravas isn’t open quite yet, but they need to train their staff and test out running the show, so they invited their friends and family to eat lunch, on the house. This was worth taking a long lunch break for, in my opinion.
We started with cocktails, because when trying new foods at a new restaurant, you need to have a bit of a fuzzy happiness about you. Like when they bring out your tapas and announce that those crispy delicious-looking things in that glass are fried pig’s ears. Or when they present the razor clams to you, and you aren’t sure how to even eat the damn things. It helps to have a buzz on and just go for it.
Given the nature of the luncheon – that being, we sat down, they brought us food at random – I found it impossible to hide my weird food quirks. I don’t like to eat food that requires maintenance. I usually don’t eat chicken (or anything) on the bone. I also won’t eat any meat that looks at all grisly or suspiciously jiggly. I can manage artichokes but get confused when it comes to digging out the heart, so I’ll just pass on that delicacy.
Since I was with a well-seasoned food adventurer, however, I felt I had to give it the old college try. I ate one chicken leg. I ate one fried pig’s ear (was I supposed to eat around the vein of cartilage? Because I didn’t). I ate the razor clam. I ate the calamari, but not the tentacles (of course). Everything else was easy to manage, and delicious.
While we were dining and talking about foods like grilled cheese sandwiches and mac n’ cheese (it helps you fill up faster if you talk about food while eating food), an adorable young woman came over to the table, apologized for interrupting, and asked me “did you used to work at Felix & Louie’s?” This was a restaurant in Healdsburg that I managed when I first moved to the area, and everyone that remembered it seemed to miss it dearly.
As soon as she asked me, I remembered her name (if you know me at all, you know that this is miraculous). I also remembered that I fired her for texting all the time at work and being generally crappy at her job. She’d been my first ‘fire’, and she’d cried. I didn’t say all of this, but because I’d had some bourbon I did say “didn’t I fire you?” to which she giggled and responded “probably!” That had been her first job, ten years ago. I’d say small world, but this was in Healdsburg, so come on. Small town.
After discussing possible ways to eat more without dying from overstuffing ourselves (leaning waaaaay back in our chairs so that we were at an angle, so the food could slide down easier…thanks for the tip, D!), we moved on to writing. We are both smack-dab in the middle of the same writing project, during which we write something every single day, for 40 days. I told her how the first half is always really exciting for me, the ideas tumble out easily and I skip along, la la la, writing away. Then I get to where I am now, and I run out of ideas. We decided to write about lunch. When you get this far into 40 Days, you get a little desperate.
Since I knew I’d be writing about lunch, but lunch was officially over and we were walking away, I decided to snap a quick picture. Since our table had already been cleared, I took a picture of the chair I’d been sitting in:
When I woke up this morning, I was still full from yesterday’s lunch. Well done, Bravas!