Saturday, September 23, 2006

B.A.P.E.: Second Date Edition ...

I still haven't recovered from "King Lear." Whew, that production kicked my ass. Chris Jones, the theater critic for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a very solid review of this staging. I don't read the Tribune anymore, generally, but I make exceptions. I'm glad to have gotten Jones' take.

But that's not where our story begins.

Pat and I didn't have a plan firmed up until yesterday afternoon, and, as you might guess, pre-theater dinner reservations aren't the easiest thing to get at any of the restaurants very near the theaters. I made a few phone calls before remembering the Grillroom Chophouse. Still in the theater district, but a restaurant that's always struck me as lesser-known. A reservation was no problem. I asked for 6 p.m. The hostess recommended 5:45. All righty, then.

I arrived early. Sidled up to the bar and found myself sitting next to the woman I was behind when I checked in at the host stand. She had the wine-by-the-glass list, which she offered to me. She was drinking a pinot noir. I found what I wanted. The bartender, a man with a European accent, was running a check. "What can I get you?" he said, staring at the screen.

"Are you talking to me?" I said, laughing.


"A glass of zinfandel, please," I said.

"Red zinfandel or white zinfandel?" he asked.

"Red," I said, wanting to ask why white zinfandel is even still produced.

The woman and I chatted. She was waiting for her boyfriend. They were having dinner and then going to see "Wicked." We chatted about New York and Europe and just as I checked my phone to notice that it was 5:47, Pat appeared over my shoulder.

We all introduced ourselves and Pat and I headed out of the bar (where smoking is still allowed - gack) and into the restaurant to check in with the hostess. She gave us the option of a table or booth. Pat said he had no preference, then quickly pronounced a preference for a booth.

Looking at the menu, he announced, "I want you to order for me."


"You're supposed to be a food expert. I want you to order for me," he said.

Well, I'm happy to order for people, but I need a little guidance. Pat ended up ordering his own food, but I helped him make his decisions. Close enough.

Our server passed the table. "Another glass of wine, darling?"

"No, I'm fine. Thank you," I said to him. I turned to Pat. "What did he just call me?"


"Are you jealous?"

"He didn't call me 'darling,' " he said, feigning hurt. "But I guess you're more darling than me."

"Maybe with you, he sees it as the love that dares not speak its name."

Ah, we do amuse each other.

He was noshing on a bit of bread. "This isn't very good," he said. I tried a piece. He was right. It wasn't very good.

Dinner itself was fine. There were pleasant food moments, but it wasn't an unforgettable meal. Then again, we were in a restaurant renowned for its steaks and neither of us ordered red meat.

We left the restaurant and headed out into the post-rain streets. Pat walked along with his hands in his pockets. I tucked my arm through his then reached into his pocket to take his hand. He seemed half-hearted about hand-holding.

We made our way to the theater with plenty of time to spare. Our seats - my seats, for the season - are at the end of a very long row, so we spent a lot of time standing up so others could get by. The play, as I mentioned briefly in my previous post, was a trip. Stacy Keach stripping completely nude will get anyone's attention, but the entire production was just enormous sensory overload. Throughout the production, all 3 hours and 15 minutes of it, Pat kept his hands to himself. "Huh," I thought. "OK, he doesn't do the 'holding hands' thing."

When we got in my car later, he took my hand. Well, just when I think I have something figured out about him, he goes and proves me wrong.

He wrote this morning to say he had a great time.

"Me, too," I said. "As much as possible with that play. Next time, let's hit a comedy club or something. Sheesh."

He wrote tonight to mention that he really liked the play and wants to see more Shakespeare now. I checked the Chicago Shakespeare Theater's web site.

Now on stage?


Hardly a yuk-fest.

We'll see.

But I dig that he's up for more Shakespeare.


Anonymous Ethan said...

"Red," I said, wanting to ask why white zinfandel is even still produced.

Because everybody starts somewhere. ;-)

In an alternate universe, someone is wondering the same thing about Claret.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blush wines are very hip in NYC now.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'll happily drink a glass of Roditis when I'm in a Greek restaurant, so I'm not solely opposed to blush wines, but white zinfandel has never seemed like a good idea to me.

5:41 PM  

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