After work last night I met my sister at the bar where my son cooks. We sat at the bar, fully in view of the kitchen, so we could stare at him annoyingly while we sipped our martinis. It wasn't terribly busy; there were perhaps eight of us at the bar, a few customers at tables. A bar menu of steaks (they smoke their own meats) and burgers (including a bacon/peanut-butter burger) and a lot of fried stuff. Affordable. Old (for Seattle) Pioneer Square building with high ceilings and comfortably-worn bar stools and creaky wood floor. Very comfortable -- reminiscent of many an Irish pub. In fact, the bartender was from Belfast. Well-made martini, three olives, a surface of ice crystals, a splash of olive juice ("dirty"). It was my sister's first foray into the world of Serious Cocktails minus the pleasure of fruity spritzes. She didn't like it. It's back to the Lemon Drop for her, I think.
In an effort to avoid the deep-fat fryer, I asked R. how the nachos were, and he said, "like you make at home." And indeed they were: lots of cheese but not gloppy, shredded beef, black olives, green onions, jalapenos, sides of salsa, guacamole, sour cream. Good basic food -- I was proud of my son! He's in a good position, as the only cook in the kitchen most nights, to move on to bigger and better pastures, as it were. The move up the culinary ladder is a long slow slog at low pay, but like anything, he has to pay his dues.
It was great to sit there last night, the doors behind us flung wide open to the mild October evening, the typical cast of characters bellied up to the bar. There are few things I enjoy more than a conversation with a stranger beside me, or a bartender. In a matter of minutes, I learned that the man beside me had three sisters, was raised in the military, didn't own a cell phone, didn't have an email address (not that I was asking for it, mind you), was on-suspension from his job at Boeing, was divorced and had endured more racial discrimination in Seattle than in Tennessee, where he spent many years. Phew!
In a quiet moment, R. offered us a tour of the back side of the place, and we got to go down a long, long stairway into the bowels of Seattle. I was a little hesitant, being leery of anything underground, but it was cheerful, well-lit and sparkling clean. There was a door, however, which I'm nearly certain led to old Underground Seattle. Yikes.
And even better, it wasn't a game night (two mega-stadiums down the street) so I was able to park right in front, on the street, no big-lot parking fee.
I could go there every night after work.
It could become a habit.