Still on the high of a great meal and dining experience, my cunning plan to create a dining club is on its way.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to Kathy about how there are so many great, locally owned restaurants in Seattle and how we tended to go to the same ones over and over. As an aside, I believe that Seattle was rated the worst place in the country to open a chain restaurant. We have a few of the usual suspects (P.F. Changs, Ruths Chris, Cheesecake Factory - egads), but those places are for the tourists who like their food to taste exactly like it is at home. Which, incidentally, begs the question: why go out of town if you want everything to be like it is at home? I understand the business traveler has different needs, but the pleasure travelers? Bizarro. Hell, I am dying to go to Boston this fall and really want to check out Legal Seafood (LOVE the name), but am told it is nothing compared to the smaller, locally owned spots.
In any event, Kathy and I talked about doing dinner once a week at a different place and eventually eating our way across the city. My schedule has been nutty for the month of July, so it hasn't yet happened, but the seeds, they have been sowed.
The P and I went to ANOTHER movie today (Once - a topic for later) and afterwards, ended up ambling down Broadway on Capitol Hill. P and I both consider ourselves contemporary Seattle historians (I will never understand how it took the internets for us to meet, as we knew so many of the same people) and we ended up at Vivace, the absolute best coffee place in Seattle. P knew a couple that lived nearby and we ended up having a glass of wine with them in their amazing apartment.
These are great guys with terrific interests and knowledge. They started a Sunday night dinner ritual with their neighbors at which every dish is made from locally grown, sustainable ingredients. They were featured in the weekly food section of the Seattle Times, a paper I loathe with every fiber of my being. P and I have been doing Sunday nights and Sopranos (or Six Feet Under, Dexter, and now Entourage) for years and we're not about to change the routine, as there is something to be said for tradition.
In any event, I hit it off with Andrew and he was completely jazzed at my idea of trying a new place, every week. Tuesday night is a perfect night for it, as the restaurants aren't usually full and you can take your time to discover the menu. I love movies, books, theater, music and everything else this city has to offer, but I love great food, drinks and conversation the most. I think it will be a blast to take a culinary tour of the city.
In the bigger picture, I spent entirely too much time on the computer during my separation, and in particular in the past year. It gave me a false sense of companionship and friendship that took its toil and caused a great deal of pain. While I have developed some truly epic friendships through this machine, nearly all of them have ripened into meatspace relationships. I loves me the internets, to be sure, but I need my relationships to be three-dimensional. Too much can be lost or overblown in a text-based world and it is too easy (although for some, not so much) to log off and simply avoid. I am simply not an avoider. I don't have a real-world ignore button, nor do I want one. It is so hard to imagine that mindset, but different strokes and all that.
I noticed that each and every one of my meatspace friends spends very little time online, and the "internet" friends that have become vital meatspace friends?. The heavy lifting is done in person. We send each other quick emails, reminding one another of social obligations and trading short bits of information, but we do the friendship thing in person. If we have an issue with each other, we have a coffee or a drink and deal with it, no matter how unpleasant. That is, quite frankly, why they call it "social skills" - like any other skill, you have to practice to be competent.
To that end, I have significantly curtailed my online diversions and refocused on what I can see, hear and understand in real time. I am going to spend an hour outside and out and about for every hour I spend on the internet. That could probably be a diet as well - exercise an hour for every hour you spend escaping on the internets. In any event, it should be pretty fun and delicious to work my way around the city with an engaging group of folks who enjoy the same thing.
I have the soccer and softball teams to keep me balanced.