Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting Started

This blog may be nothing more than an excuse to kill my diet and dedicate myself to my favorite Napa Valley activity—fine dining.  Here's how it begins...
One day I’m driving back to Napa from St. Helena after an appointment, dressed, not in my everyday jeans and tee shirt, but in business attire. It’s past lunchtime and my stomach groans a complaint and takes control of the car.  I pull over in front of Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. Haven’t been there in years, but today I am going to have lunch.
I sit at the bar, feeling less conspicuous than I would at a table. I order a glass of wine and a salad, and am biting into a hunk of fragrant French bread, when a gentleman sits down at my counter, a couple of seats away. I notice everything. He’s got the casual professional look I love--slacks, a pastel business shirt, no jacket or tie, shiny shoes. Greying hair, wire-rimmed glasses. Perhaps someone I’d like to know. We start talking about our individual business in the valley—his architectural consulting, my meeting. I tell him about my scholarship project in Nicaragua. He’s interested in my contacts in the local Rotary club. He gives me his card and I promise to email him some information about an overseas project.
What a pleasant lunch—a salad of skinny French green beans, fresh and crisp, with just the right punch of mustard in the vinaigrette. Stimulating conversation about projects important to me, and male companionship. Nothing more comes of this encounter--the guy doesn’t ask me out or call me later. But it occurs to me that lunching alone could be a way for this lady of “a certain age” to meet available men. Men who can afford lunch in a nice restaurant, who wouldn’t be caught dead at Burger King, who don’t have a sweetie fixing them a sandwich, and aren’t likely to go home and open a can of tuna.
So I hatch this plan to expand my writing, experience more of Napa’s best eateries, and find some new friends, perhaps even a lover. Once every week or two, I will have lunch in a new place, sit at the bar, and invite conversation with whomever the universe provides. I’ll write about the people I meet, the staff, and, if all else fails, the food.
Gotta go now. Time for lunch!