So, it’s almost our ninth wedding anniversary and on Saturday night we did a lot of walking and talking, so I figured that was an appropriate title for this post. My dad hooked us up with a free room at the Omni, so we packed up and headed downtown (eventually) for the night. First, we stopped by the east side and tried out a new hipster restaurant called the Laundrette (you guess what the building used to be). And, oh boy, has the east side changed. Then we headed north to K1 where Spence got second place in a race. K1 is an indoor electric race cart track; a genius business plan that has rendered hours of waiting to customers all across this city (and elsewhere, as it is a chain).
Spencer was flying high as we headed back downtown to check in to our room and ready ourselves for dinner. We had no plans and our only agreement was that we couldn’t go anywhere we’d been before. So, logically, we went to Frank since we are the last people to have eaten there (even Spencer’s dad ate there before us!). I sipped on a fine Maine Root root beer, while Spencer enjoyed a local beer on draft. We split a hot dog with mac ‘n cheese on it, took this glamour shot, then headed toward the 2nd/3rd Street district.
We squeezed into a matchbox called Mulberry where we got one of the three actual tables they have for dining and split some appetizers, including some heavenly bacon covered dates (one of the most delicious things that has ever graced my taste buds).
We wanted to keep the fun rolling, so we asked our waiter about any good new places. He told us Lonesome Dove had just opened a few streets east, so we packed it up and made the trek. Ok. This place was nice. The owner spared no expense and it’s only been open for a month, which is why we easily grabbed a seat at the bar at 8pm. But this place is going to be big! Huge. We can both tell. Also, Lonesome Dove is the site of my first rattlesnake tasting. I’m glad I tried it, but I’m fine if I don’t ever eat or see it again. Of tasty note: the jalapeno cheddar cornbread had chunks of cheese inside. Holy mackerel. Enough said.
We waddled our way around the downtown area (we must have walked 4 miles total) again and finally decided to close our savory adventures at Eddie V’s. Sadly, neither of us had ever been there, which allowed this establishment to meet our dining qualifications for the night. We enjoyed a live band, the best crab cake in town and a truffle mac ‘n cheese you should not operate a vehicle after consuming. Just wonderful.
We considered dessert, but after seeing a guy shoot up on a bench about a block from our hotel, we called it a night. My stomach literally sank. And I want to tell you that the shock ended there, but as we flipped through channels back at our room, our old street name flashed across the screen.
“Police are told to patrol Old Street Name every chance they get.”
Spencer and I looked at each other.
The news anchor went on.
“But residents say not enough is being done.”
We looked up the news story and learned that only three months ago there was a fight on our former street totaling 50 people that ended in gun shots. Also, there have been over 80 phone calls to the police about disturbances at the intersection only houses away from where we brought our firstborn home from the hospital. This was a house I seriously considered having us pay off so we could send our kids to private school. Yikes. Glad we got outta there. I have never been so glad to free of a house and all of the problems that come with it. We used to occasionally drive by “the old house” just to see how she was doing, always disappointed that the new owner had let the yard go or that she didn’t bring the trash can inside the fence (the one we deliberately extended for said trash can). I feel sad for the old widow who lived across the street. I wonder if she is still living.
Back to paradise. We turned the TV off and slept in until 8:30! It was magical. We woke up and watched a 15 year old episode of Friends, which I never watched but didn’t care because it was TV and I was in a cozy bed being entertained by it and not having to make anyone breakfast. We loaded up and threw around a few options for brunch (same dinner rules applied) and mostly ended up driving around the east side and then Allendale.
I picked up a cookie at Easy Tiger, a neat place I only entered because one of my friends thinks they have the best chocolate chip cookie in town. He is officially mistaken. Pieous holds that crown. Final downtown note, we saw one more guy flicking his arm to find a good vein across the street from our hotel as we escaped this concrete jungle. This rough landscape is one of wealth and privilege contrasted with depraved desperation, which we saw up-close and on so many levels as we’d taken dirty 6th back to our hotel the night before.
We crawled up north and landed at The Noble Pig. I was hesitant, but then I had the best French toast (on an English muffin) I’ve ever had. Spencer went with a chopped beef sandwich and we clinked out Topo Chicos together for one final toast and then admitted we both missed the kids. We’d considered doing our grocery shopping to get ahead for the week before coming home, but we threw that out the window. We had to see the kids; these cuties we’d left behind the night before:
In the end, we forgot to turn on the radio. We did not listen to a single song in the car the whole 24 hours we were away. We walked and talked and remembered why we got into this whole thing nine years ago. It was a swell remembering. We aren’t what we were on August 12, 2006, but I like this heavier, greyer, more wrinkled and less perfectionistic couple below a little better. Adds character!