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Monday, June 15, 2015

Return to Tuthill House at the Mill in Gardiner for Dinner

I once had one of those very best girlfriends that knew everything about me from middle school through all the experiences that filled my life until the Mr. and I had our two sons.  She moved away, cut off our ties, though I would try to maintain contact and when I reached out to invite her to our 25th wedding anniversary celebration, she was a no-show/no RSVP.

Lots of soul searching, thinking what I contributed to this devastating end of friendship, and the realization that in the long run I really can't do a damn thing about it, I have finally acknowledged that I will never have that particular brand of female closeness back in my life.  Maybe it is for the best.

Instead, I have friendships with many women that may cross age barriers, dissimilar backgrounds and beliefs.  I stay relatively close to 3 school friends, a few current and former co-workers, and some relatively new additions that I can't remember not having in my life.

Close female friends are likely to figure out that comfortable place where sharing becomes less and less censored, support can be counted on and trust is not an issue.  However, the path can be a bit longer, needing tending and careful attention resulting in strong growth.  We decide if and how the relationship will fit into our life; does it need constant communication or will low maintenance and occasional checking in be sufficient?  

And so I circle around to my recent dinner at Tuthill House at the Mill with a stunningly beautiful woman who I "sort of" know, but really - do not.  We begin by deciding if we will dine inside or out on the patio but opt for indoors.

Once we are seated and presented with menus, the hard decisions begin for me.  A cocktail? Something new or familiar? Comfortable or adventurous.  And in the back of my mind, the memory of a disagreement with the Mr. before I left.  How can that be handled? The brain is firing all over the place - thinking of light hearted conversation topics, making menu selections and quieting the distraction of the Mr.

I begin with a White Cosmopolitan:
Cariel Vanilla Vodka, Cointreau, Cava, White Cranberry Juice, Fresh Lime

For my dining partner, the Mango Cilantro Margarita:

Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Mango Puree, Fresh Cilantro, House Sour Mix

We begin to chat and though I have screened the menu, I'm still not quite ready when we are asked to order.  I choose to skip the appetizer course.

However, I did sample a taste of the Crispy Tofu:

Coconut Green Curry Sauce, Pineapple, Cilantro, Lime

For me, tofu is a food item that really does have to be well prepared.  Sometimes an ingredient can get by on freshness or proper seasoning, but I prefer exactly what this dish offered, a crispy exterior and the support of a silky, flavorful sauce.  Lovely. 

We chat and pause, lean in, sit back and listen.  There are smiles and laughter, stories and opinions.

The main courses:

For me, pasta is always going to be a "go to."  It is the epitome of comfort and I add a side of velvety wilted spinach which I unceremoniously dump in to the mix and stir. Unfortunately some may think this skews my opinions of the meal, but I can tell you with 100% certainty it was fabulous.  I base my decision on the fact that I ate every last bite.  

House Made Linguini with Fresh Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, Aged Parm, Basil, EVOO

Across the table:

Red Pepper Emulsion, Spiced Chorizo, Shredded Manchego Cheese, Teardrop Peppers, Tomatillo, Cilantro 

I did sample one of the teardrop peppers which were mild with a hint of vinegar in the profile.

We decide not to have dessert and the funny thing is, over 2 hours have passed and about half way through I let go of the other thoughts jumbling for attention and really enjoyed the present moment. We were Fed Well and think I can speak for both of us that we had a great meal.  

During my drive home I think how lucky I am to have the circle of friends that I do as well as a sister whom I love and adore.  I have the ability to make speaker phone calls from the car and who do you think I reached out to...yup, the Mr.  My best friend.

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