Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lunch Lady

Last summer I enjoyed my 3-hour mini-vacations, after I dropped Ernest at the zoo. While he was busy manufacturing dinosaur poop, I did my own thing.   I've been missing that this winter, and am already begging Ernest to let me tag along next summer, even though he won't need me to drive him any more.

I used to just pick up some takeout, and sit in the car and read. I always felt funny taking a library book into restaurants. But now, with the iPhone, I look like everyone else! I can sit and read my Kindle for iPhone book in a pretty restaurant and feel comfortable. And I look like I'm doing important business on the phone, ha ha!

The long-ago summer day I started to write this post, I saw a movie and grabbed something quick afterwards at the Chicken Ranch. Out of 3 customers, we were all women with reading material at tables for one. Let's hear it for solo women lunchers!  I wasn't too thrilled with the tri-tip plate, but Handy Husband swore the tri-tip sandwich was incredibly good. (I got it the next time I was there.)

The rose was on the table at the Arts and Letters Cafe. I hadn't been there in 10-15 years! At that time, I had the unfortunate experience of finding a copper staple (from their lettuce box) in my chinese chicken salad. They were graciously apologetic and comped me another meal and a glass of wine. This time, I had no problems! Delicious crab cake sandwich and cream of pattypan squash/red pepper soup. And a lovely courtyard with a fountain.

I ended up at Aldo's after stalking a purple car (long story). The Scallops Limone were tasty, but overpriced for the 4 little scallops I got. And the sauce was thick on one side of the plate but thin on the other.

At Opal I had what I fondly call the Christmas Party Shrimp. They cater Handy's company Christmas parties. Handy is not a party-goer. But I can always wheedle him into attending by reminding him that they would have these delicious "shredded phyllo-wrapped tiger prawns." That's how I got him to go last year.  It works every time!

Silvergreen's is more casual; you order at the counter and they bring it to your table. But they have free wi-fi! Chicken tortilla soup was tasty, their chicken sandwich was good but the chicken chunks kept falling out of the soft bread. Maybe I should have had it on a baguette. But I am wary of baguettes, because at Panino's they are too hard to chew. My panini at Ca Dario was a little tough, too, and their salad mix looked like what I got at Costco, down to the same rotten pieces.  And they are supposedly the #1 Italian restaurant.  It must have been an off day.

Jane's beer battered onion rings are touted as the best, but my tummy was a little unsteady that day.

The Art Museum Cafe was savory, with an eclectic menu. Roast beef Gyro with greek salad. Yum. Tzatsiki rules. They have beta fish in little bowls for their centerpieces. I would have taken a picture, but my table's beta was a little too lethargic to make a good photographic subject.

I am definitely on a gyro kick. On Fridays, you can get a good gyro at Metropulos. Any day of the week, the Greek House Cafe swears they are the most authentic. At the Greek festival in July I got my fill of gyros and wonderful Greek pastries. But the best gyro was made by Yanni at Mackenzie Market, although I made my own gyros last week and they were pretty good.

Don't be afraid to dine out on your own.  You'll have some lovely experiences.

Love, the Lunch Lady

(Yes, I am digging out some old posts from my drafts.  I am so close to my 1000th post and want to clean house.)


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I always have a book in my bag--and I have no qualm reading at a table anywhere!

Anonymous said...

As I've matured (and I'm not just talking about years), I've grown more comfortable with the thought of eating alone in public... but I've only done it a few times. A book is definitely a wonderful companion!

Now I'm thinking about gyros and chicken tortilla soup...

(My dh isn't a party guy, either.)

Lala said...

Wow! That was great reading! Out of all the restaurants you mentioned, I've only ever been to Aldos - on State Street right? Went there about 5 years ago with another Pirate alum too - small world. Thanks for sharing your 3 hour vacations, I really enjoyed it.