I assumed that leaving the culinary palace of Chicago for the unknown Albuquerque would mean that our meals out would be at Olive Garden or Subway. I assumed that leaving behind beloved babysitters who are like family to us to a place without them would mean that the next kid-free date for Mike and I would be after the kids left for college. Although it has only happened twice before, apparently I was WRONG. Who knew?
One of the many great benefits of Mike’s new job is a compressed work week. This means he gets every other Friday off. Last Friday was his first one. He was as giddy as a school girl about to receive a new puppy. We enjoyed his holiday right away like the wild and crazy hooligans we are. First, we helped out Ethan’s school Jog-a-thon (or I helped while Mike wandered off until it was done). Then, we went to the County Clerk’s office to register to vote in New Mexico. Downtown was rather empty. We parked for far less than the first semester of college tuition. The whole process took maybe 5 minutes. Yep, we are definitely not in Chi-town anymore.
With both boys in school till after lunch, we took full advantage and had our first official lunch date in the ABQ. Like the foodie-wannabe’s we are, we did a little restaurant research and finally decided on Standard Diner. It was basically down to which artery-clogging cheap eat featured on “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dive’s” could Mike drag me to first. Well, I HAVE been running and all, so it’s ok, right? I believe we were the first ones in the door. With this sign greeting us, I figured we were in good company.
We truly enjoyed it. And it wasn’t just because it was a kid-free meal. Mike got to have truffle fries. I chose their grilled cheese which was not yo mama’s sandwich: “brie, Gruyère, mozzarella, balsamic syrup, green apples, heirloom tomato jam, green chile brioche.” Delicious. We shared a salted caramel panna cotta for dessert, and I lost count how many times “MMMM” came from my husband’s mouth. They served me organic, fair trade coffee which was the perfect end to a lovely meal with great service to boot. Yes, I reinforced the Asians-taking-pictures-of-food stereotype and took a picture of my food.
Enthusiastic Mike talked about how we’d be coming once a month. Whoa, there. I would like to live to see my children graduate from college. But we will definitely be back. Fridays like these are contributing to my gradual acceptance of our new city. What will we do his next Friday off? Maybe we’ll continue the wild and crazy tradition by getting a library card. It will be a suspenseful thriller like no other. I’m starting to get giddy. Where’s my puppy?