The picture is of Curly and one of her uncles, a couple of years ago. We're heading to Chicago for Christmas (the suburbs) and the kids are talking non-stop about how much fun it will be to skate outside. I keep dourly reminding them that there are no guarantees for outdoor skating, since it is totally weather dependent, but mentally I am jumping up and down in anticipation, hoping like crazy that it will be cold enough for skating on flooded town greens. So, many thanks to Eating Seattle for pointing out that Txori (the new restaurant of the Harvest Vine owners) was opening. I’d been tracking on it eagerly for a while and then, being me, got distracted and forgot about it.
They opened Tuesday. And yesterday, as it happened, I had babysitting lined up (for hockey practice, but... no practice). I suggested a date with my husband, and he said yes, and then, well, I just assumed that I would manage to fall down the stairs while carrying laundry down to our basement or that one of the kids would come down with a nasty case of flu, because although it hasn’t actually been forever since we last went on a date, it certainly feels like it. In fact, I believe our last date was when we went to Café Presse (which I want to go back to).
Date nights are sort of hilarious. Because half the time in regular life I look like a harried mama (sweats, old coat of my husband's, hair shoved up out of my way, no make-up and running shoes), I dress up. I’m going on a date. I want to wear heels. And make-up. And jewelry. I’m like a five-year-old allowed into her mom’s closet. Inevitably this means that I get all dolled up, and then... run errands, because there's usually time to squeeze in one or two after the sitter comes and before I am meeting my husband. I feel sort of stupid tripping around the grocery store (or the pharmacy, or whatever) in 3" heels, but I will say: I have never gotten such great help as I've gotten on date nights. If I really need assistance finding something, clearly I need to doll myself up.
Anyway: Txori. I loved it. Really, I’m a lousy restaurant reviewer (I’m not a reviewer. I’m a chick with a keyboard and a credit card), because I am inclined to be pleased. Overall, the food? Highly enjoyable. Of the regular menu items I recommend, well, anything, but particularly the braised oxtail tartlet and the tomato sauce and cheese.
Txori doesn't seem to have as much of a touch with the seafood (at the same time, saying that it wasn’t as good is waaaay different than saying it wasn’t good, because it was good) as the Harvest Vine. But the albondigas (meatballs)? Rock. I do love a good meatball, even if I also know how easy it is to make a good meatball. Still, I love tasting the way other people make them. And these, I will say again, were great. Wiggle in your chair tasty. Husband complaining about how I hogged the sauce (I did. I’m not ashamed) good. It's entirely possible that the children and I will be making a meatball pilgrimage, as Curly and my boy are little meatball hounds, and it will provide me with a good excuse to return ("it's for the cheeeeeldren."). Mmmm. Albondigas. I think we need to have some sopa de albondigas soon.
So the food was good, and the bill? Not nearly as high as the Harvest Vine. It had great energy, and I loved, loved, loved being there. Some of it was that I was in a great mood, glad to be out with my husband, but the place itself was really fun. It was a classic tapas bar, with two-bite teensy plates (what are you expecting for $2.50?), and a couple of slightly larger ones, that might qualify as appetizer sized. You can have a quick drink and a snack, or make a dinner from bar snacks. The tapas seem to be staples; they're not marketing themselves as cutting edge, but they execute well on what they do. They seem to be aiming to be a lively, friendly tapas bar, and they're hitting their mark. I can’t wait to go back, despite the fact that Belltown (the neighborhood) is a nightmare for on-street parking, and the pay lots are extortionate.
Also? So much fun eavesdropping and mentally fashion-critiquing the crowd there (although this is true for me everywhere). At one table next to us was a man in a velvet blazer on a date with a woman who I hardly noticed, because I kept thinking: really? velvet? I’ve considered a velvet blazer for me. And this was a straight guy, on a date (chrome domed, if that helps you categorize him. And middle aged). Really? Is the velvet blazer the new mock turtleneck for Tech Geeks Trying To Impress Their Dates With Suave-it-ay? As a spectator paying very sporadic attention, I would score their date as follows.
Restaurant choice: Yay! He’s awesome! + 3.
Jacket choice. Hmmm. He’s straight? And not blind? Hmmm. Doesn't bode well, and the white dress shirt unbuttoned one button too many isn't helping him. He could be a pretentious, vain dildo. Or just clueless about fashion and read a men's magazine to try and figure out what to wear. -1.
Conversation choice… well, maybe he shouldn’t review his upcoming workweek like I should be riveted (“Thursday and Friday are really shaping up well, and I’m really learning a lot leading this… streaming... coding...” yawn). Seriously? I've been married more than twelve years, and am interested in how my husband's week is going. And he still doesn’t open a date with how Thursday and Friday are shaping up. -2
Overall score: 0.
Verdict: Do with him as the mood strikes you tonight, but consider watching the Netflix movie you haven't quite gotten to the next time he calls. Unless the restaurant he suggests is as good as Txori.
On the other side of us was another date, in which an attractive woman with a great figure had made a distractingly bad dress choice. Every time I glanced in their direction I would notice something else about her dress that made me cringe.
My husband is very, very tolerant of my wanton eavesdropping and people watching and almost always maintains conversation (which he willingly repeats when I am actually listening to him) while I shamelessly listen in and say "uh-huh. Yeah. Really? What about John?" at random intervals. He’s nice that way. Although, I didn't really eavesdrop on the dating couples that much. I sized up the fashion choices, realized Velvet Jacket was very likely pompous, briefly (and thoroughly) surveyed the low points of The Bad Dress Choice and went back to having a nice time with my husband.
Oh, dear. I’ve digressed a lot even for me. Hmm. Well, Txori. I’m going back. I happily recommend it. However, good luck getting a table. We were there on night #2 of their existence, and the place was comically packed when we left. It doesn’t bode well for scoring a table in the future. Also? What is up with the Belltown drunky letches? Yuck. No, dude, I am not lonely. And if I was? I’m not THAT lonely. It might be more flattering if they weren't also hitting on the fire hydrant. Before they pee on it. Blech.
Also, maybe I should consider having one less caffe latte before blogging. That's a long post.