Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday ventures

Finally took the light rail to downtown Phoenix for an adventure.  Yesterday, I considered having a low key type of day off.  I went to yoga, cleaned my house and then thought better of my night.  I called Jan to see if she was interested in meeting me for a beer or two.  She had a tax deadline and so she told me she wanted a rain check. I sort of saw that coming.  I knew that 10/15 was a significant day for her.  Still, I thought there is no harm in asking.
I moved onto Plan B.  There is a girl that I work with that I wanted to meet out for drinks.  In the past, we have met for wine around Tempe and I always leave with a sense of happiness from our conversations.  Kristina is young, responsible and she travels.  In some ways, she reminds me of a younger version of myself.  In all honesty, I am envious of all of the possibility in her life.  I remember being 21 and thinking the world is my oyster.  (I still do, too)
Anyways, we met in Tempe at a new bar.  I arrived first and I walked into the establishment and was greeted immediately.  As nice as that was, it also was overwhelming.  I could barely look at the menu as I was bombarded with--do you know what you would like to drink?  Maybe I can help....what beer do you normally drink?
I texted Kristina to get here now as I was getting annoyed due to the overzealous staff.  She breezed in and the focus was no longer on my choice of beverage.  I do understand being welcoming and available to customers.  However, there is a balance to it, too.  Had Kristina not arrived when she did, I would have probably left to find a more low key spot.
The beer was fine and afterwards, we walked up to the light rail.  We waited for the next train about ten minutes.  Next stop, a restaurant along the rail.  I chose the place and it was convenient.  Right along the rail and a wine bar.  That was the attraction for me.  I wasn't superstoked with their wine selection but most of the bottles were available for $40 or less.
Kristina chose a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.  I was in the mood for red wine (always, as it seems) but wanted her to be more involved with wine.  We shared crab cakes, au gratin potatoes and sriracha shrimp.  Of the three, the crab cakes had the most flavor and complexity.  The au gratin potatoes were lackluster.  They resembled a quiche without crust.  Plus, they could have used salt.  And, the shrimp was not at all what I thought I ordered.  I believed they would be the 21-25 lb shrimp k instead of the baby shrimp smothered in sauce.
I should have pushed for the prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  I think that would have been preferable over the shrimp.  We concluded the meal with a decadent chocolate cake.  Delish!  Paid the tab and made our way back to the rail stop.  Within two minutes, it arrived.  Perfection, for sure.  I don't know how we timed it so well.  The return trip was much quicker.  Although, we spoke of next time bringing a flask for the ride.  There are so many restaurants to check out downtown and I hope to take the light rail to do it.  It's safe, efficient and a stellar way of getting around the valley.
I was thankful for texting Kristina instead of wallowing in my monday day blues.  Of course, Jan eventually texted me to see if I wanted to meet for a beer.  I had already made plans and invited her along.  She declined.  However, had I met her, I definitely wouldn't have taken the light rail.  We would have met somewhere that was typical of our friendship.  Rarely do we venture into new spots and I suppose that is what I am seeking right now.  I want to thoroughly enjoy this city.  I intend to do that.
Monday was a success.  Looking forward to exploring more of downtown.

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