I had a fun weekend with more than my fair share of leisure activities.
On Saturday night we went out toÂ Casa Real Mexican Restaurant in Rotterdam for a friend’s birthday. It’s fairly new, and it was pretty good. The staff were all friendly, and it was that lovely little balance of as-easy-as-a-chain-restaurant-feels-without-being-a-chain-restaurant. Does that make sense? I had a chicken chimichanga:
But I was pretty much completely jealous of a friend’s fajitas.
Yes, I know. It’s a little blurry. You can only look enviously at your friend’s food and take pictures for so long before it becomes creepy. When our waitress heard that it was someone’s birthday, out came a sombrero and a little dessert.
Of course after dinner and two pitchers of margaritas everyone was still chatting, and it was getting late. The rest of the dining room was empty.
I was seized with the guilt that only someone who has worked in the food service industry really understands, knowing that everyone in the staff was waiting for us to just go already. Oh, yes, they were too polite to say. But I knew. Like when it was five minutes to close and someone would walk in and order an ice cream shake from the damn shake machine that I’d just cleaned.
Chatting continued, and I was wringing my hands. I’d gotten a ride with several friends, so I couldn’t just get up and leave and begin the exodus myself. Someone mentioned going. . . and then got involved in another topic.
. . . More chatting.
Finally I couldn’t handle it anymore and I had to just say it. “Umm, I think we should go. We’re the only people left and the entire staff is stuck here waiting for us.”
Birthday girl said, “No, no–there’s people at the bar.
Someone else said, “That’s the staff.” Indeed, two waitresses and two busboys, by the looks of it, had coats half shrugged on. Phew! That’s awkward. So I was the killjoy, but such is life.
On Sunday after a slightly sleep-inducing meeting, a friend dragged me to her new favorite coffee place,Â The Happy Cappuccino on Jay Street in Schenectady. It’s been open for a little over a year, but since I’m not a coffee girl, I haven’t walked in. It was lovely.
Our barista, whom I’ve since figured out from their Facebook page is named Billy, was friendly and chatty, but deeply focused on creating a gorgeous cup of something. I asked for a chai lattÃ© (as I said, I’m not a coffee girl), but he quickly sized me up for the sweet-tooth I am and pressed a sample on me–a little shot of caramel and almond to make an Almond Joy Chai LattÃ©. Yes please and yumma, yumma.
The Happy Cappuccino is cozy and a little bit of funky, with artwork and a couch and music equipment and chess boards and wifi. It definitely underscores the growing Schenectady-is-getting-cooler vibe that we’ve been feeling lately. I didn’t take a single picture because I was too busy drinking and also because I kind of feel like a dork when I’m taking pictures. And there were already many people who were so much hipper than me (for example: they were drinking coffee while I was drinking liquid candy), and so I just couldn’t do it. I just completely stole this photo from their website, which I presume that they’ll forgive me for since I am recommending that you go, go, go. And honestly this photo does not do them justice, because I swear that Billy gave the sort of devotion and attention to my delightful chai concoction that I have normally only witnessed among stage mothers preparing their daughters’ hair for the Big Recital. Except instead of grotesque hairspray and sparkly eyeshadow, it was whipped cream and cocoa powder. Which is approximately 2.7 billion times better.
And then on Sunday night, Cute W and I went out on a date! We hit the Spectrum for an early showing of Argo, and we didn’t really have time for an elaborate dinner, so we ducked into New World Bistro Bar for a couple little snacks and a glass of wine. And of course they were completely pack, but they had one table that was free for one hour lonely. The reservation holding it was for the same time as our movie, so clearly it was Fate. We had the conch chowder, which was yummy, and I am a sucker for mussels, anytime, anywhere, baby!
And of course, these were just my food adventures out and about. There was more eating at home, but I’ll get to that later.