Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

How does one prepare themselves for an evening with Mary? Mary, the “foodie;” Mary, who judges your datability on your sushi tastes; Mary, the voice of Friday morning food crumbs blasting out of the radio.

Quite simply, one doesn’t.

The day started off just like any other. I woke up, did my morning ritual and walked to work. Sometime before lunch I got an email suggesting we grab some coffee and talk about food-related things later that afternoon. Sounded good — I adore food and am quite possibly addicted to piccolo lattes (although, I firmly believe that I can stop at any time). For those of you wondering what a piccolo latte is, think baby latte — all the espresso but not much milk. It just means you can drink more of them in a day without feeling like you’ve drunk copious amounts of dairy. But enough about coffee; back to my tale!

At 4 o’clock that afternoon my phone rang; it was Mary. “Are you hungry? I think I might need to eat something if we’re just going to have coffee.”

I wasn’t really hungry at that point and I didn’t know how long I was going to spend out with her. “What the hell. Sure, why not?” After much deliberation, it was decided that Mary would pick the spot by the time I finished work — 2 hours away!

At 6 pm work was behind me and my choices were Kooma or Mediterranean. Given that I didn’t want to establish myself as a level-four sushi devourer just yet, I opted for Mediterranean. It was somewhere that I had been meaning to try, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Because it was just nibbles that we were after, the Maza Plate was the thing to order. Simply put, it is eight different Mediterranean appetizers. My favorite was the humus. The smoky grilled flavor combined with the aromatic garlic was absolutely sensational. And once we satisfied our hunger, only two things remained to complete the dining experience: Turkish coffee and baklava. The coffee was great; it had been so long since I had one that I forgot what it tasted like. Those of you who are true coffee lovers should give Turkish coffee a try, as I think you will fall in love instantly.

But I digress; let’s recap. My evening of coffee and random chitchat turned into an evening of fine food and excellent conversation. I was certainly having fun. Mary was proving to be just as quirky as me, and given that we both have the attention span of a teenager, the never-ending conversation flowed from topic to topic.

We settled our bill and moved along to the next place in our adventure — Pietros! At this stage I was expecting to just throw back a cocktail or two while we talked about anything and everything. Little did I expect that the Pietros’ head chef, Sean, would be at the end of his shift and up for a little conversation. We talked about everything food from balsamic vinegar to clams. And, for those of you who have met me, there is nothing I enjoy more than talking/tasting/photographing food.

Somewhere in the middle of all that talk I tried Pietros’ stuffed shrimp. The word ‘fantastic’ alone cannot encapsulate the delectability of this dish. Fantabulous might come close, but I still don’t think words can fully express the flavor explosion. Hands down it was the best thing I ate all year. This restaurant got it right — both unique and tasty!

So, my evening with Mary proved to be spontaneous and enjoyable. She is a food-loving, jovial 20 something, and although she certainly has good taste in wine, she is not a wine snob. If you’re ever offered the challenge of a Mary outing, accept it! Just expect the unexpected, if possible.

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