Monday, December 11, 2006

Open Bar Matrimony

Friday night we slipped out to go get a wedding gift for Mark and Nichole, two crazy kids that were to get hitched the next day. Thank goodness they had a few things left on their registry.

We usually go out on Friday nights, and I was craving sushi. Too bad, though, because every restaurant we considered going to was packed. After we stopped at Whole Earth Provision Co., we considered going to Rockfish, but we bet the wait was going to be heinous. Then we hatched a plan: We'd drop the packages off at the house, and then we'd get a table at our neighborhood Mexican seafood restaurant, La Calle Doce.

I figured, what the hell, seafood is seafood.

When we got there, the tiny lobby was packed. There was a 30 min. wait. That was the third strike -- we had to get dinner, and we had to get it fast. Lo and behold, there was a beacon of hope -- a seedy looking cafe with a neon sign professing "Bangkok Inn - Authentic Thai."

Me, I'm a culinary wuss when it comes to adding a little heat to anything, and all of the Thai food I've had in the past was over seasoned. "If it's too hot, I can't eat it," I told Dave. He said we could ask them if we can get any chili or peppers on the side. So, in the cold and wet evening, we trotted across the street.

When the door openend just a crack, we heard jangling bells that announced our presence to a short, thin Asian woman with stylish glasses and Texas-style hair. Dave asked her quietly if the food here was very spicy, and from her tiny frame she guffawed, "Thai food is not spicy when good! Come sit and try!"

She ushered us into a table for two bathed in a faint red neon glow. We ordered jasmine tea and tofu satay. Dave ordered the shrimp and chicken pad thai and I ordered the peanut chicken. I'm sure their satay is great, but ours didn't arrive, but our orders came out very quick.

The rice was perfectly steamed. The peanut sauce was sweet and tangy, had plenty of savory spices, and went well with the chicken and crisp vegetables. The pad thai though, it just wasn't as flavorful as I expected. It tasted kind of off, a little too fishy for only having shrimp in it. The rice noodles were done well, but it was like everything else took on this crazy fish taste. I stuck with the peanut chicken.

Alcohol wasn't served, it was strictly BYOB. It was obviously a family operation. The father was in the kitchen, the son and daughter took orders and bussed tables while the mother managed the cash register and picked up drinks. Stray Asian art clung to the greasy wood-paneled walls, just above the threadbare carpet. It was definately one of those "authentic" experiences.

We went home and collapsed. We woke up late on Saturday, had breakfast, went on a run with Fitzgerald, showered, packed and then Cody showed up at about 3:30. The wedding was at 4:30 at the Perkins Chapel on campus at SMU. I had never been on campus there. It was neat.


The chapel, with it's classy, faintly gilded mouldings, grand pillars with great curves and golden recessed cross just above the altar, was probably one of the most sedated yet elegant churches I've been in. There was no stained glass, no icons; it was very small and utilitarian.

We got there just in time to watch the procession. The bride and groom are really sweet people, but a few of the bridesmaids looked like they were wearing teal-colored sausage casings. Ushers and groomsmen were clad in black, the flowers, the outfits, everything was modest in an attempt at elegance. It worked.

We then hit it on the head to the reception. That's where things got impressive. There was a DJ, two buffetts, two bars and a champagne cocktail bar. Big gripe: Way too much Sinatra. The people seemed nice and accomadating, the drinks were generous and the salad and vegetables were very fresh, but the chicken looked like it had been sitting in the oven all day -- dry and shriveled, caked in breadcrumbs. It was all wrong.

All was forgiven after a few trips to the champagne bar. What an awesome idea!

We had to cut out early to Denton for a concert. We got to Caffery's, changed and went to Rubber Glove's to watch The Drams and Centro-matic. I caught up with Caffery during most of the show.

If you followed this narrow staircase up the the second level, you were in the midst of such a awkward, secret-seeming room. The walls were bordered with a few old arcade games and odd-and-end chairs. The back was cornered with a broken-in black leather sofa. That was our domain. It was the only bar I'd ever been in with a book by Jimmy Carter sitting out on one of the tables. Oddly enough, most bars I go to don't have books anywhere. Ever.

We went downstairs a couple of times for a drink and I noticed a chick wearing this fuzzy, knee-length coat. I brushed my hand along it and asked if it was real fur, "Of course it is," she haughtily shot back. All I could say, while keeping my hand from accidentally smacking her across the face was, "I'm so sorry." She wanted to say something to me, but I merged with the crowd hovering about the bar and placed my order.

It was like the summer I first moved to Dallas, me and Caffery at the bar, she with a Coors Light, me with a Lone Star, everyone else so self-absorbed that nothing else, not my Lone Star and not Caffery and not my existence, none of that mattered.

We all crashed at Caffery's that night, we woke on Sunday and made it back to Dallas in the drizzle that covered the near-noon sky. It was impossible to imagine that there were people running a marathon in downtown Dallas right at that moment.

We stopped by the house and dropped off our belongings and headed over to the Garden Cafe for omlettes and coffee. Then, it was off to the gym... Then it was all over. My weekend, as Dave would say, was murdered.

1 comment:

Arty said...

Hey, nice post. Funny how people most enjoy the diary entries. Ever notice that?

I love Thai food and have my own fave restaurant here. Perhaps they put a bit too much fish sauce in the Pad Thai. They put it in all sorts of things but it adds a something, not fishiness, if used properly.

Woooo, I can't believe you attended at wedding at SMU. That is a privilege. beautiful campus. I went to a conference there once from Houston and fell in love with the campus - and yes we saw a pretty little wedding on the Saturday. can you believe I wanted to ditch St Thomas and move to SMU! Haha! It felt like I'd been transported to New England. I thnk it is modeled after one of those old east coast ivy leagues.