This Friday night I am going out to a fancy-schmancy restaurant.  One that is well-known and gets kick-ass reviews.  One that I have to dress up for, without a burp rag or formula stain in site.  One that will, hopefully, serve things I have never tasted previously.  I love fancy-schmancy restaurants.  Me and Keen Dad are what are known as “foodies”.  Or actually, he’s probably the foodie ‘cause he truly knows how to cook and what goes in everything and all the techniques.  Whereas I just like to eat… and I always mangle the French words and turn all the Italian words into Spanish (Keen gets really exasperated when I do this) and so on.  So maybe I’m more of a foodie groupie.  Anyways, let’s just say we have epicurean tastes.  Some people will spend their money on electronic gadgets or designer coats.  We spend our money, joyfully, on food.  (On any given day you can open our fridge and find at least one packet of prosciutto and several types of cheese among other goodies.  Keen Dad can whip out an anti-pasta plate at a moments notice.  Really.  I’ve seen him do it.)

(Can you believe that Word spell check does not recognize the word prosciutto?  WTF?)

I was thinking about this as I scarfed down a lasagna Keen’s grandfather had dropped off for us. (They’re Italian. They do things like drop off food unexpectedly.)  It was very nice of him to think of us in conjunction with lasagna, however, he is also getting on in years.  This means a very sweet tomato sauce because he can’t taste it unless he adds a ton of sugar.  Tomato sauce with sugar.  This would be absolutely unheard of in the house I grew up in.  I have crazy hippie parents who were into “natural” foods and flavors, such as tomato sauce that tasted like tomatoes, even if those tomatoes were at the end of the season and a bit bitter, or strawberries fresh from the organic garden with the added protein of bugs as you crunched into them.  They also loved experimenting with foodstuffs and made everything from scratch.  (This included the strawberry tofu ice cream experiment which they made with hard tofu, not the soft stuff, so it had lumps.  They couldn’t understand why us kids, who were SO EXCITED when they carted the ice cream maker home from the latest garage sale, wouldn’t eat the strawberry tofrutti they cooked up.)  Not that every experiment was bad.  Some were fabulous.  My parents had a huge garden and raised their own chickens (for eggs), and to this day I grow heirloom tomatoes because you just can’t eat the cardboard tasting stuff after being raised on homegrown food.  Did I mention this was all in the suburbs?

Coincidentally, now that my parents are older, even though they still love home-grown veggies they’re not so strict on the natural foods anymore.  My mom often comes over for Chef Boyardee for lunch.  Next they’ll be putting sugar in the tomato sauce.

Anyway. That was very roundabout and meandering. What it means is: even though I do not cook, I have a very great appreciation for food.  The above examples – sweet lasagna, hard tofrutti – are not-so-fine dining.  They’ll do.  I don’t mind eating canned and easy to prepare foods on a day-to-day basis.  As I said before, I don’t cook and beggars can’t be choosers.  However, when it comes time to go out, especially considering we don’t get out nearly as often as we used to (like practically never), then I want fine dining.  Layered flavors, presentation, expensive ingredients.  Ooh, and wine pairings!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it! (I often catch myself doing the redheaded chick version of Homer Simpson’s drooling.  Mmmm….classy.)  The menu is California Fusion, but I hope there is a lot of French influence.  (I fucking love French food.  It blows my mind.) 

We used to go out to these fine dining experiences a lot more often.  But we have the kid now and it’s hard to leave him just to go to dinner when we could be having strained peaches with him.  Honestly, I really do enjoy watching him eat.  (And no one delivers in our neck of the woods.  Not that these type of restaurants would deliver anyway.)  One of my mom wishes is that Chance turns out to be an adventurous eater.  Or at least, maybe just not a picky one.  I really shouldn’t hold out hope that he will like nuanced flavors and new foods and behave like such a little gentleman that of course we could take him to a fancy-schmancy restaurant if we wanted to as he tries everything with gusto.  I know better (I mean, I didn’t even like pizza when I was a kid).  But I can dream, can’t I?         

Long and rambling story short, I am really looking forward to this night out.  Even though it’s hard to leave the kid at home, the lure of really great food is just too powerful to resist.  It’s been too long.                – the weirdgirl