Wine & Roses

Happy post-Valentines, friends! Did you wake up today with a sugar + oxytocin hangover? Have you hit up your local Walgreen’s to score some deals on discount candy? Are you glad you won’t see Sweethearts for another 11 months? Other thots about yesterday’s holiday?

Ours was a lovely, lovely V-day. Rather than battling the Marinafied crowds, we opted to prepare a picnicky dinner (eaten on the bed, natch). Bi-Rite was so crowded that we had to wait in line, as one would wait outside a club. (“I’m wearing jeans,” Alex quipped. “Do you think they’ll let us in?”) Made conversation with the woman in front of us, who lives in the same building as Robert Patterson.* “He’s just opened that new restaurant, and I can’t wait to try it out,” she said — a bit wistfully, I thought, or maybe with the tone of someone obligated to attend a niece’s piano recital. She promised she’d go soon.We waged an epic battle at Bi-Rite, dodging rampaging hippies just there to get farro, goddamnit, and canoodly couples practically making out in front of the olive display. (GET A ROOM! Next time, that is.) Forty-five minutes later, we were prepping dinner. On the menu: assorted cheeses and charcuterie; dates, which Alex pitted and sliced into wedges; olives; radishes, cleaned, halved, and served in a teacup; arugula, tossed with toasted breadcrumbs and the tangiest vinaigrette, sharpened with shallots and capers and grainy mustard; bread: a sweet baguette and a soft, flat loaf crusted in sesame seeds; German sparkling wine; and Boston Creme Pie, with the lightest filling and the most decadent chocolate shell. Membrillo, too, which I cut into thin slices and smashed into the bread before laying down sheets of Manchego.We ate near the heater, our plates and bowls balanced on small tables, our legs tucked beneath us. Watched the Maine episode of “No Reservations,” which I kept interrupting to ask, “Is that how it really is? Is this an accurate representation?” We let our stomachs settle before cutting one slice of the pie — a sharing slice — and finishing off the champagne and then, very late, rolling into bed.

I wished I could stay up late enough to extend the night through the morning, through the next day, into an ever-expanding experience that would not dilute, even with prolongation. That’s not how time works. Instead, I’ll keep the night’s memory as a talisman: a filament, a worn stone, a bottle filmed with the remnants of what it contained.

***

*I think. She just said “The owner of the ramen place on 18th,” that ramen place being Ken Ken and Patterson being Ken Ken’s owner.

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