I spent a recent one of those days sleeping in just late enough to wake up without an alarm and rested enough to hit the gym before meeting one of my nearest and dearest for a Friday lunch. She works downtown, is lucky enough to be within walking distance of the market, and was kind enough to trek over in the rain to spend a portion of her busy day catching up over a long leisurely meal at Matt's in the Market.
I took advantage of my lax schedule and got there early ('cause she'd attest I never am), holding down our table and taking in the small, quaint and decidedly Seattle dining room and bar. I probably looked like a bit of a crazy, smiling to myself as I watched the the tables fill up with casually chic but unique diners debating orders consisting of good, fresh ingredients.
We took our time ordering and started with cold, crisp glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, a standard of sorts for the two of us. We recounted our weeks (mine already done and hers almost there), trading war stories that made the house chips and dip--crisp, salted homemade potatoes served with a rich onion dip--seem necessary.
The second or third time our server politely interrupted our convo to see if we were ready to order I decided on a seafood cake sandwich that was served on potato bread with a remoulade. Good, but the salad I got with it was better. Served with toasted pumpkin seeds, blue cheese and a garlic vinaigrette, it was everything I look for in a plate of greens (or anything else really)--nutty with some richness and acidity to balance it all out.
We lingered over lunch, filling each other in on things that were stressing us out across the board, asking each other questions and genuinely caring about the answers. She's the kind of friend you spend 30 seconds talking small stuff with before you find yourself spilling relationship details, family headaches, the future, worries, hopes--all of it. And it's not just chatter--you really talk.
I felt bad for keeping her so long, but the best part was she sincerely didn't mind. It wasn't that she didn't or doesn't care about her job (she's one of the most dedicated people I know); it was more that for that hour and a half her attention was undivided.
We both just knew that the best thing we could be doing with that time was exactly what we were doing. Catching up. Laughing. Relishing a Friday and realizing that in the grand scheme of things, we're actually pretty lucky. It was the best possible way I can think of spending that afternoon off. And the good food? Well, to be honest, it was kind of an added bonus in this case.