Back in October Fagan came to town for something baseball related, so we rounded up the usual suspects and met at a bar downtown. At some point in the night the discussion turned to the Executive Committee Holiday Dinner, just two months away.
“Let’s do it on the 26th. It’s the day after Christmas, people will be in town, everyone will be sick of family by then, it’s perfect.”
After little discussion we agreed 4-0 to the date. We didn’t have a quorum of the 11-member committee, but we did have a quorum of the people who actually attend committee events, so we figured that would work. Besides, the EC is not a democracy, it’s run by a Mean Old Dictator who had no problem with the proposed date.
Now we needed a restaurant. I usually leave that up to Yellow. She picked a new place called Prasino. I should’ve checked the menu the minute she mentioned it, as it was I didn’t look it up until after we agreed to it. You see, the past couple years Yellow worked for a food magazine. Never let a foodie pick your restaurant. That’s like letting a movie critic advise you on movies. People who spend too much time in restaurants and movie theaters eventually lose their perspective on what real people want.
So I go to the Prasino menu. Let me run some of this by you:
Appetizers: hummus (crudités vg v); grilled lamb (sausage apricot mustard, giardiniera); p.e.i. mussels (white wine, garlic chili butter, cilantro); kefte (pepper coulis, arugula, feta, pita). Taco: chorizo seitan (pico de gallo, avocado v); pork belly and scallop (spinach, red wine reduction gf)
Kefte? p.e.i. mussels? chorizo seitan? I understand like every fifth word. I call over The Wife.
“This is way to fru-fru for me.”
“I’m sure it’s all delicious.”
“What’s flat bread?”
“I like pizza. Why don’t they call it pizza?”
“I don’t know. Maybe ‘flat bread’ is fru-fru for ‘pizza.'”
“What am I supposed to eat? Wait, I see the word burger — Prasino Burger (smoked gouda, tomato jam, arugula, pickled onion). What’s arugula?
“A type of lettuce.”
“What’s tomato jam?”
“That I don’t know. You can always ask them to leave off the tomato jam if you’re afraid of it.”
“Well, it’s a burger. Maybe that’s the fru-fru name for ketchup.”
The plan was to meet at 7:30 p.m. Of the 11 committee-members, 5 had agreed to attend — the usual four (Fagan, Yellow, Trent, MOD) — plus Gabe. Melfy offered her usual “I’ll be there if I can” (which translated means, “I won’t be there.”) Hey, almost 50 percent. Not bad for this group. As always, it’s the quality, not the quantity.
The Prasino is in a new entertainment district in St. Charles called The Streets. I had never been there before. Parking was a hassle. The area looked nice but I didn’t have time to explore. I walked inside and it was everything I feared. If there’s a bar in Yuppie Heaven it probably looks like the front of Prasino. No peanut shells on the floor. An overabundance of people.
Fagan and Trent were already at the bar. The wait was said to be an hour. Gabe arrived shortly after I did. Yellow arrived shortly before we got our table. Funny how that works.
We looked over the menu. The ladies went with the sushi. Gabe and I went with the burgers.
“What’s arugula?” Fagan asks.
“A type of lettuce,” I says, smugly.
Fagan goes for the short-rib tacos.
We talk. We drink. We laugh. Gabe and Yellow talk about pre-school. Gabe and Fagan talk about baseball. All of them frequently check their phones for Facebook and twitter updates. We eat (my burger was quite good, even with the tomato jam). Yellow and Trent begin giggling uncontrollably. We reminisce.
We agree to do it all again next year.