Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Love Buzz

In my first year of marriage, Valentine's Day, an annual reminder of how to express our love, no doubt had a special meaning. But, this year, it was further significant for another reason: February 14 fell on a Saturday, accentuating its precense throughout the day and into the night.

Houston was abuzz with activity. Grocery stores were more crowded than I remember seeing, any holiday season included, despite the weather not being clear. Inside the Loop anyway, Houstonians were on the streets in full force, running errands with more passion than normal.

I should have known better than to go to the Whole Foods on Kirby. What a zoo. However, like the sucker that I am for that place, I went anyway, without a chance of finding a parking place for my Corolla. I parked down the street, walking a block and into the store. I am glad I did, because I found a white (not red) rose with a long, thick stem and full bud, just what I wanted.

Seats at well-rated restaurants were tough tickets. I told myself and Emily that we should try to avoid getting too wrapped up in the customary pre-fixe meal at an expensive restaurant. But we had a $150 subsidy in the form of an award I got from my employer, so I let loose.

Last weekend, we began talking about where to spend it.

After calling around town looking for the experience we wanted, I settled on Au Petit Paris (, where the french decor is done well.

It was our second visit to the restaurant, the first being on the night before big Hurricane Ike, when the dining experience was fabulous and we were nearly the only patrons there. Last night was different from our first experience. Fun, but not the same.

For starters, we could not order from the menu, which was an oversight on my part. If given my drurthers, I will order from the menu in a nice restaurant on any night.

It made a difference, too. We went with the wine pairing. I ended up with a white wine, (Sancerre), which I do not typically prefer, but it did the trick. And Emily's main course selection, of cod, arrived warm. Not hot, but warm, and needed to be sent back.

The small establishment was crowded, and a wet night was not helpful. Neither were the table placements. They were situated too close together, which put us right in the middle of the conversations transpiring immediately around us. The hostess did seat us at 8:45, our reservation time precisely, which will always get high marks with me.

I made it through my first official Valentine's Day, with a full belly and a love buzz.

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