Going Out, Staying In: A Tale of Two Dinners

Wednesday was pure bliss. It was 75 degrees, sunny, and I got to meet up with two of my best friends for a couple beers and ice cream sandwiches. It was like a grown-up play date. Before I launch into a mouth-watering description of these incredible ice cream sandwiches and the peach beer that I so heartily enjoyed, I will say that we appreciated how hard the folks at Dominion Wine and Beer worked to make our play date possible and pleasurable even in the midst of a pandemic. We felt safe the entire time. It helps that we live in an area that, by and large, takes the advice of the CDC for safety to heart.

Being with my friends again, sipping cold beer with the sunshine on our faces made me swear I’d never take these moments for granted ever again. It also made me realize how important food and drink are to the sensation of connecting with others. It’s not like we didn’t have weekly zoom calls in the beginning of the pandemic. We even tried various ways to play games virtually to replace our trivia nights and board game parties. But as I’m sure you all know by now, it isn’t the same. Not least of which because food and drink are so much a part of how we socialize. As I mentioned earlier this week, I miss cooking for people, for friends in particular. But of course I wouldn’t want to risk those nearest and dearest to me just to satisfy my desire to make a party platter of deviled eggs. In the meantime, when the weather is nice and we can sit outdoors, meeting up at places like Dominion will have to do.

Not that it was any kind of burden. The beer was frothy and cold. And oh my, the Vasen Triple Peach Saison – we all ended up ordering a round of it in the end because it was so damn good. Full of peach flavor without any cloying sweetness. One of my friends noted just how nice it was to have a beer on tap for a change–it really felt luxurious. We snacked on large pretzels, pomme frites, and wings, and just when we were about to leave, in sailed this slate board with elegant triangles of ice cream sandwiches to the table six feet to our right. It was perfect. Cookies and Cream ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies which were still soft and pliable even with the ice cream present. The sun dropped in the sky. Children ran around. Puppies wagged their tails while parents sipped a beer and pretended things were back to “normal,” if only for a moment.

Tonight was way less glamorous, but no less delicious. Mr. Foodie ordered takeout from Curry House because we were watching youtube videos of Indian cooksimpressively making curry in a field, and then the craving hit. Also, I’ve discovered over the years of our marriage that I enjoy cooking way more when I don’t have to do it all the time. Sometimes you just need some palak paneer and butter chicken. I never can eat it all, but then who doesn’t love takeout leftovers? We even keep any extra sauce to repurpose for a future meal because it is so good. Did you know that Mr. Foodie had never tried Indian cuisine until he met me? Luckily his first encounter with it was at a holiday party, hosted by Indian friends of my family and catered by a most excellent Indian restaurant. It was heavenly. Of course nothing beats homemade, and while I’ve never branched out to try my hand at paneer, I have been treated to some spectacular dishes by family and friends over the years. I’ll never forget trying Ras Malai, cheese balls dipped in sweet milk, at a dinner party. I lapped up every single drop–it was so good!

A banner couple of days in the food department, and I am grateful for the respite from cooking as well as any chance to connect with my friends whether it is in a Zoom call or on a patio, sipping cold, glorious peach beer.

What are you eating (and/or drinking) lately?

BTW, just note to urge you to support small food businesses when you do eat out!

Also, for those of you in the Fairfax County VA area, I want to plug Stuff the Bus which has another donation day coming up on September 26th! Click on the link to find a donation drop-off point near you. Food insecurity is on the rise, and every little bit helps ❤

Want more Fairfax Foodie Fun? Follow us on Instagram @fairfaxfoodie, Scroll through our Pinterest board, or find me on Twitter @TawnyaAzar

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