On dining with strangers

I had dinner last night with a new friend at a new (to me) restaurant in the Big City. I parked my car a block away so as to not completely embarrass her with my well used, dented, unwashed mini van in need of a good decluttering – no sexy single girl wants to be seen out on the town with THAT.

(Truth be told, neither do I).

She arrived first, and when I got there she says we can either wait for a table or sit at the community table. With a smile, I masked a flash of panic at talking to strangers all night on a first date, and agreed it would be FUN! YEAH, THAT SOUNDS FUN! THAT WOULD BE GREAT! YEAH, LET’S DO THAT!

Within 30 seconds of sitting down my new Friend Who Talks to Strangers introduced herself to the other couple sitting at the table, and as it turns out they know each other. Kind of. They both ride Dressage horses in Redmond – which I’m told is like horse ballet, so I can imagine it’s like a five katrillion to one chance we would end up sitting in a tiny Seattle restaurant together.

Octopus with clams and chick peasA third couple was seated next to us who turned out to be either sisters or friends – I can’t remember which one. We spent the evening ooooo-ing and aaaaahhhh-ing over each others’ plates of food, and actually passed one of ours around to be smelled by the others.

I had octopus for the first time, and Bryan is going to kill me for this because he’s always trying to get me to try octopus. But like everything else that is important to him, I only acquiesce if a chick friend also suggests it (Remember Freakonomics? Remember Iron Man? Remember white water rafting? Chicks all told me to do it). But it’s like I had no choice. My Friend Who Talks to Strangers was all, if you like mussels and if you like scallops, you will like octopus, which to me sounded like a triple dog double dare. Of course I loved the octopus. But this place cooked everything to such perfection, and in the most exquisite sauces, that I think I would have died and gone to heaven had they served me snow tires for dinner.

By the time we reached the chocolate crepes and dessert wine portion of the meal (!!!) we were all exchanging business cards with one another. I was fascinated by the gal sitting across from me who bought land with her husband about an hour north of Seattle and started a winery. They are attorneys. They are city people. They’ve never done this before. I was all, YOU HAVE TO START A BLOG!

Their first harvest after five years of growing will be this October, and I suggested she host a special wine tasting for Seattle bloggers to help spread the word. In fact, I now think she should host a special wine tasting for Seattle moms for which I can hook her up with some extra special Mommy Needs A Glass of Wine shirts. If you’re reading this, New Friend from the Community Table Whose Name I Didn’t Catch, please pull out that card I gave you and email me, because I would love love love love love to visit your winery.

As it turns out, I still have a brain. I am very happy with the life choices I’ve made, staying home with my kids. But sometimes when I find myself dining at a table with marketing directors, physicians and attorneys, I feel a slight stage fright when introducing myself as a stay at home mom – I assume the other person is making assumptions about me. But last night as we discussed Twitter and blogs and our kids and horse riding and pilates and wine making, I feared no assumptions. We were just six people brought together randomly by a unique dining experience, and we enjoyed the evening all the more because it.

As we parted for the night my new friend said I should pick the restaurant next time, and I was all, YOU MEAN WE GET A SECOND DATE? I think it was the new sexy jeans I was wearing. All I know is, I plan to call every restaurant in Seattle to find out who else has a community dining table.

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