Eating out. again.
For our sixth meal out since Friday, we find ourselves at Daniel's Broiler, the one situated at the south end of Lake Union, overlooking the water (and the nearby Hooter's). Outside is the marina where people who can afford to spend exorbitant amounts of money on yachts dock their boats. Across the street is the brick-and-glass compound where my father used to work, the job which he finally concluded a few months ago in order to spend more time on his other job and other life in another country. He will be crushed to learn that my mother and I have been eating our way across Seattle for the past several days, and that tonight we are having beef. Without him.
It feels strange to eat out every single night; when I was growing up restaurants were something ordinarily reserved for special occasions, unless it was a quick meal at a noodle house before a baseball game or a movie, or down to Chinatown or out for sushi when no one felt like cooking. Now that I live within walking distance of work - and dozens of restaurants all over the neighborhood - it is not unusual for me, perhaps once a week, to stop somewhere on the way home for dinner, a bit of a splurge, a break from the busy week. (Sometimes it still comes as a surprise to me that I have money in my pocket, what my high-school English teacher once referred to as "disposable income;" that I can have a cocktail and an appetizer as well as dessert and put it on a credit card or use the last of the week's petty cash that I allow myself).
But this is different; my mother's in town. There are friends who want to see her and meet up for dinner, to congratulate on selling her home of twenty years, who only see her briefly, every few months when she breezes into town on a cloud of jet lag and Créme de la Mer. So far we have hit some of my favorites - Nishino and Harvest Vine and tonight's Daniel's Broiler - and have discovered some new ones - Sitka & Spruce and Volterra, where we ate brunch a few days ago and will be having dinner again tomorrow. It is a welcome luxury to be able to go to good restaurants and sit around drinking good wine and eating good food and laughing at everyone's stories with friends. And yet I feel rather like a goose being fattened up for foie gras. I go to bed full and wake up full and skip breakfast and pick at my lunch and at the dinner table feebly push away the bread basket, and still I eat too much and the whole cycle continues. But tonight there is prime rib.
Daniel's Broiler is a steakhouse, one of the finest in the city, full of dark wood and big windows and high ceilings and modern glass light fixtures. It smells of steak and money. There are private rooms and tables outside on the deck with heat lamps keeping diners toasty if the night turns cool, but we are inside at a window table, and they've reserved several orders of prime rib for us. There are cold appetizers to start - I snag a few giant prawns - and breads and salads, which I avoid - and at last giant cuts of prime rib, perfectly medium-rare, each one, as I've said before, the size of War and Peace, with a mountain of garlicky mashed potatoes and a little horseradish sauce on the side. Perhaps there was a sprig or two of parsley, but I can't remember. There is a confused medley of desserts, as well, but I came to dinner with only one thought in my mind: Prime rib, and I go home with the memory of it in my mouth...