Five Peppers, Aioli, and a Forty Dollar Lesson in Love.

Sometimes, I feel like men and women don't come from different planets. Like that whole Mars and Venus thing was a lie sold to us one Oprah show at a time. I feel like we all have the same thought processes and emotions, and just need to work on loving and open communication.

And then we try to go out to eat. At a restaurant.



Here's the thing. I am a female. I have certain ideas when it comes to restaurants and what I like. I am not a fan of chain restaurants. I much prefer mom and pop places where the bartender knows how I like my martini, and the chef remembers that I don't like certain ingredients. I like little tastes of several different things; I would rather have small bites of tapas than a huge gut-busting plate o'food. I love sharing- sushi bars and tapas restaurants are my favourites because you are supposed to share. I will also try anything once. Steak tartare, chicken hearts, escamole (ant eggs), and more- I am game at least once. But you bring me to a buffet or an Applebee's and I might tear up. A Steakhouse is only slightly better because the portions are "side of cow" and "potato farm" and "enough cheesecake to kill a family of four." Why? WHY does someone need that much food?



I also hate to decide. So, last weekend, after a long hike (story for another day...), we end up in historic Old Colorado City. So many food choices. Barbecue. Bad Tex-Mex. Sandwich shop. Greek. Food stands at the farmer's market. Greasy spoon. He keeps saying "You decide. I picked last time."

I hate deciding. So we are strolling past all of the choices, and I suddenly remember a place that I love!

"Just one more block."

"Okay, for reals this time. Just one more block."

And we are there. I ask for a patio seat, because I love being outside. It's a tiny place, surrounded by other old brick buildings and meandering vines. He looks a little uncomfortable, maybe because even the table and chairs seem dainty.

Our server comes up to tell us about the specials, which include something artichoke-feta-mushroom. I am tuning out as I look at the menu, but notice his deer-in-the-headlights look when she starts raving about how the mushrooms come straight from Tom's farm up the street. I want to kick her in her hipster ankle and whisper "TOO MUCH!!! STOP, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF KOMBUCHA AND GLUTEN FREE BEER."

As soon as she walks away, I ask him, "Do you want to leave? I can tell this isn't your type of place. We can go back to the pizza joint or BBQ place..."

Bless his heart, he replies, "Nope. You love this place so I'm staying. Order whatever you think is best."

So I order my faves, and make sure to include a couple that include meat.  They come out one at a time, as tapas often do.  First, five roasted Padron Peppers with a side of a spicy ancho cream sauce. Next, spanish chorizo and figs, drenched in a whisky barbecue sauce. Then, three smallish pork street tacos topped with a spicy cream sauce. Finally, my absolute must have, Patatas Bravas. Spicy potatoes cooked over a high heat, tossed with chilis and saffron threads, and served with two different drool-worthy aiolis.

We finish them off, and he seems a little less enthused than I am. Hipster girl comes over and asks if we need anything else. I start to say no, but he busts out with, "That's it?? I thought those were appetizers!" I laugh but she looks perplexed and scrambles off.

Then, she brings back the bill. Forty dollars for five peppers, a few Vienna Sausage sized chorizos, figs, three bite sized tacos, and fried potatoes with a fancy sauce. I suddenly see the restaurant through his eyes.

Needless to say, a trip through a drive-thru and an apology might have taken place on the way back to my house. And a trip to the local grocer, where we made friends with the butcher as we stocked up on manly man meats for grilling later, corn, and starchy potatoes.

Sorry, dear. Lesson learned, this was indeed a Mars and Venus moment. But I stand by my assertion that aioli is not mayonnaise. It is made with a mortar and pestle. Doh.

Peace and love and teeny tiny bites of overpriced peppers, cupcakes. XOXO



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