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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Return to Ward's Bridge with Friends

My theory about life is that our journeys are a series of circles; we repeat patterns and relationships until we either learn a lesson and can move on or we are ready to begin the next circle.  I have found myself connecting with people, sometimes several times, before allowing a casual acquaintance time and space to grow into a friendship.  Plants need sun, good soil, water and food to grow.  People, well, they can be a thousand times more complex if allowed, but really, the water and food part are a great start.  Strangers who meet at a party are likely to mingle over food and drink, a bit of forced socializing, but the opportunity is available.  

Sharing a meal or a casual coffee with someone is a fundamental way to begin and probably why so many decide on the ritual for dating.  It can be great for a casual job interview or business meeting and yes, adult double dates.  Just because either the women or men or 2 couples decide to be great friends, it doesn't always automatically translate into the other half of the duo also falling madly in love.  Best to test the waters together over dinner.

A friend and I had been having a few meals together and decided we'd try going out as couples.  The place? The Ward's Bridge Inn in Montgomery was an agreed destination and the ironic aspect was we gave the couple a gift certificate to the restaurant for their recent shared birthday celebration, otherwise known as the Party of the Year 2013.  Part of the circle perhaps?

The Mr. and I arrived first and were seated in the atrium dining room.

The golden glow of sunset filled the space and while I considered it beautiful from my angle, it was a jarring glare into the eyes of diners facing the wrong side of the room.  

Real flowers on the table, soaking in the last rays of the day.  Maybe spring really has come to New York after all!

We were promised the light would soon change, but if we couldn't stand it could change tables.  We agreed to wait it out and look over the menu.

Our beautiful server had the most amazing eyelashes.  Who notices such details?  I do.  And I sometimes feel the need to comment on it as well.  Yes, we had a few minute discussion about whether they are real or fake and why people may assume they are artificial.  My social pendulum swings from wanting to be left alone like a hermit to talking with strangers about almost any random topic, but enough about me.

 Filters, Instagram and Facebook.  I take a quick photo of the drinks the Mr. and I ordered.  A pear martini and his go to Corona.  Yum and cheers to Friday!

Our dates arrive and we even align in seating with women on one side and men on the other.  Both duos order steamed clams as an appetizer.  

Some clams have fallen out of the shell and so we pick through and discard the empties, dip bread into the luscious broth and exchange stories. Words volleying across the table with everyone having a turn at speaking or smiling and nodding.

Salad.  A choice between garden or Caesar.  I always hope for salad to be included with a dinner entree.  Many remain surprised when I order mine without dressing.  This has nothing to do with calorie counting as I simply prefer to actually taste the ingredients of my salad.  To compromise, I accept our server's offer of a lemon wedge so I may squeeze the fresh and acidic juice on as food lubricant.  Everything is crisp and fresh.  For a moment I worry I will be too full for my meal after the clams and salad.  The moment passes as we continue sharing stories and a secret or two (ok, no real secrets were shared, lesser known tales may be more accurate, but it added some flair to the piece - don't you think?).

Guess what the Mr. ordered for dinner?

Chicken Marsala.  

Shrimp and Lobster Risotto for me.

The lobster serving size was generous though mostly claw meat, the shrimp and corn were sweet and tender and the broth was nicely flavored.  Was the rice a bit too al dente or was that my own preference? The flavor of the dish was wonderful.

The specials included a leg of lamb dinner which both parties in the other couple ordered.  They remarked on the tenderness of the meat and perfect texture of the potatoes.  

"Would anyone care for any coffee or dessert?"

It may be a pain in the neck to cart around the large serving platter of desserts, but yes, the marketing technique works quite well.  One couple will share the warmed caramel apple pie served with ice cream and the other asks for the pecan pie also served a la mode.

The Mr. tells an involved story with details and though I've not only heard it a number of times, I was around to experience the tale first hand.  The difference tonight is he has the chance to share it again with fresh ears and so I sit back and enjoy my dessert.  We were the apple pie couple and I especially loved the ice cream with flecks of vanilla bean.

Feeling full and a bit sleepy, I suggest it is time to call it a night.  No sense dropping hints or being coy.  A fabulous evening meal was shared by 4 individuals and I will remember it leaving me feeling Fed Well.

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