I often declare an evening to be a Mary Date Night. Yes, I have many nights with my laptop and dish-related projects, but I like to have a few good solo nights sans men or computers. A Mary Date Night usually involves one of the following two options:
Option 1: Third Wheel. This involves getting a movie and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, popping kettle corn and wearing my favorite pjs and curling up on the couch…with Ben…and with Jerry (hence the third wheel). Other times I’ll get some good trashy celebrity magazines or catch up on the local paper.
Option 2: Focus on Food. In this option I go somewhere for simple delicious food and see where the night takes me. Many times it has been to Wegmans (yes, I’ve already discussed the sadness of my Saturday night “adventures” at Wegmans), but sometimes I go to a movie (usually a chick flick that no man would accompany me to), sometimes to a friend’s house, sometimes bowling or right back to my computer.
This night I chose Option 2. But instead of Wegmans, I decided to visit my new favorite spot; Carlino’s. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for but I knew where I wanted to go, so this was a good start. The biggest advantage to this spot is that I can walk there, which gives me the impression that I’m burning off some of the calories that I know I will consume once I walk through the door.
After I entered, I passed the colorful produce and incredible cheese selection and headed right for the salads. I filled my basket with a chicken and cranberry salad (fantastic seasonal pairing of sweet and savory with a great crunch), some chicken and tortellini salad (creamy and delicious), fresh tomato and basil and fruit salad.
I grabbed a chunk of extra sharp provolone (give me a sample of it and I’ll buy it), a cream soda, a bottle of water and one Lindt milk chocolate.
As the cashier rang up my items I looked across the street at Pietro’s Prime and thought how nice it would be to have a glass of my favorite Pinot Noir (Cycles Gladiator) with my Mary meal. I considered eating my goodies at a cafe table in Carlino’s and then crossing the street to have my favorite wine, but the letters BYOF wiggled into my mind and pushed out any previous thoughts.
Krutz Creek Winery is a BYOF “Bring Your Own Food” establishment and I quickly decided how I would spend the rest of my evening. Live music, my own gathering of treats for dinner and a large selection of wines by the bottle. I was sold.
I was wearing a hoodie, sneakers and jeans but pretended to not care as I walked into the tasting room, past the couples dressed for a night out and the groups (dressed just as nice) who were celebrating birthdays, showers and friendship. I requested a table in the back.
“Are you alone?” The hostess asked.
“Yes, well…I do have my food.” I joked.
“I mean, are you alone for the night or alone until someone else joins you?” She asked back again.
“Alone for the night…but I’m very excited about it. I’ll have a glass of the Vidal Blanc, please (my favorite from the tasting I had been to),” I replied, and made myself comfortable as I took all of my little plastic containers of goodness out of my giant Carlino’s bag.
It was a perfect Mary night. Jazz music filled the air, I savored each bite of salad and was too full to touch the cheese (a treat for the next night). I visited with my two friends Chuck and Betsy and was very happy.
The Final Dish: Oh no…I didn’t forget about dessert. Remember my one Lindt chocolate? That little bite with a glass of the raspberry wine was the perfect ending to my Mary date.