Except yesterday* we were punched in the face with awesomeness.
(I'll throw a cigar reference in here somewhere to make the post relevant, but sometimes an amazeballs deed needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Or the back patio with the scent of fresh linen citronella candles wafting in the air. From wherever, it needs to be shouted...)
We were on Federal Hill, natch, and stopped at Opa, which we may have mentioned we love once (or a hundred times). We sat at one of the sidewalk tables so Valentino could smoke his cigar** while we drank sangria and waited for our food.
|Not last night, but representative of a night. |
See that table on the left? That's where we were!
Valentino ordered the thing he loves, raw kibbeh, which is usually accompanied by fresh pita bread, raw onions, and mint.*** Except the dish, she was mintless. He asked the young man,**** who brought the food, for mint (which is probably growing out of control in all your back yards). He reported back that they were out.
[This is worthy of a separate paragraph rather than a sparkle--they were out because their delivery that morning included a box of old, yucky, brown mint rather than new, delicious, green mint. It was not the kitchen's fault.]
Valentino sulked for a moment and began the process of eating, because freshly ground meat served raw really shouldn't sit around, mint or no.
Francois, son of owners Aline and Joe Karam, poked around to see how we were doing. Valentino mentioned his disappointment at the missing ingredient and he started to go back to the kitchen to check. We stopped him, saying there wasn't any. He went to check anyway, and then came out of the restaurant and headed...away.
He came back and told us he'd just asked two neighboring restaurants***** if they had mint. They didn't. Then, before we could stop him, he headed in the other direction, returning a moment later with a bagful.
Francois didn't have to seek out the mint, but he did. Little courtesies like that make all difference between a good restaurant and a great restaurant. Time and again, Opa is a super great awesome restaurant.
The couple who sat next to us just before we left ordered the raw kibbeh as well. Their dish had mint. To them, we say, "You're welcome."
|I'm going to tell you more about this cigar, which he smoked at Opa, later. |
But let's call this cigar reference #2. Feel better? I do.
*It actually wasn't yesterday, but the actual day doesn't matter to the story. I would have gotten this out on time but I was stymied (both good and bad) every time I got close to posting. First, the power flickered a few times, which meant the modem reset and I'd have to fiddle with that silliness. Then Cabellero #2 said he was on his way to the area and did we want to meet up. This involved some serious costume change from curly-haired house-bound crazy-writer****** to semi-normal person who would not elicit gasps of disgust or horror (hopefully). Double then, we get home, I settle in, and...the power goes out on the whole street. I ate Reese's cereal and went to bed. What else could I do?
***Perfect date food? You can tell we've been together for quite a while...
****We're old, so we can say things like this without irony.
*****In case you didn't know, Atwells Avenue on Federal Hill is literally lined with restaurants, with the occasional tattoo parlor and bakery.
******Poor Valentino. The bloom is off the rose.