If you build it, they will come. Unless you never mention it.

Dearest Feastlings,
Among the bunch of you who joined us in the past week or two, we’ve mentioned it, quietly, with a finger to the lips. We’ve been cautious, as we don’t like to get ourselves in deeper than we bargained for. But here and there, to a few of you whom we know join us in the daytime hours from time to time, we’ve let it be subtly known: lunch. We’re serving it. Dine-in. For the first time in seventeen months. And today, with what quiet murmurings we’ve shared, we served lunch. To two of you. Friends of the staff. So clearly, a small murmur isn’t necessarily enough. So I’ll talk about that in a moment.

Nonetheless, we’re grateful, not just for the two of you who joined us, but for the elbow room that allowed us to bring 180 meals to Casa Alitas today, miss 50 of them, and scramble out with those last 50 meals. And we’re grateful that despite infection numbers creeping back up, people are still cautiously going out for a bite. Maybe you’ll come for lunch, now that you can. So maybe it’s good we were empty for lunch.

I ran into someone else in the industry today, and we compared notes: we feel the same. We kind of don’t care anymore. Does it matter that we don’t know whether our businesses will be open in six months? Nope. Not anymore. Is it okay if we bring home that bottle of wine that hasn’t moved for years now, and do something generous for ourselves? Yep. It certainly is. It wouldn’t have been two years ago, but now, all bets are off. Does it matter that we’ve hired enough waitstaff to finally reopen for lunch just as the primary sauté cook works his last shift before heading for a new career? It might, I suppose, but not to me. At least, not until Friday, when we’re knee-deep in tickets and the guy who was supposed to arrive today to start training on sauté couldn’t be bothered to show up, or to call to say he wouldn’t be showing up, still isn’t here, and we find ourselves scrambling to cover for the person who never committed to begin with. If it weren’t for that bottle of wine I want to take home, I’d call myself a nihilist. Is there such a thing as a hedonistic nihilist? I think that’s what I am.

I talked to the office manager in my accountant’s office today, as well. It would appear that they’re short-handed, too, like more small businesses than I know to think of. And they don’t have any good wine to take home. I don’t know what’s going on out there- people are interviewing for jobs and accepting them, only to roll over on the couch and enjoy a belt from that special bottle and pass on the job they just agreed to; people are literally fighting in the streets; they’re at a standstill over public health; they’re outraged, bug-eyed over the news they get on their social media that’s conflicting with the news their friends and family have gotten over their own social media. We’re all up in arms over how wrong everyone else is, and frankly, that bottle of 2006 Kongsgaard Syrah is looking more and more all the time like it’s rightfully mine.

Back to today, though, now that today is pretty much behind us, we had a good trip to Casa Alitas and I thank you for your contributions to today’s donation run,


and I did get to taste some really fun wines from Piedmont that will likely grace the pages of our wine list, and to make a little headway on the food pairings for this Sunday’s wine tasting,

Local boy does good

which you’ll find right after this Saturday’s wine tasting.

By any other name

and the Sunday version of which will offer a food pairing with each of the four wines, plus a heftier pour. We also made some marginal progress on the September menu, which mercifully won’t begin until the 7th (first Tuesday of the month,) and which therefore gives you nearly another two weeks of getting your hands on those squash blossoms, which will evaporate from the menu come September. You can then turn your attentions to something else- perhaps not fighting in the streets, but maybe to tapioca fritters with mushrooms and sorrel, or Dover sole wrapped around shrimp-and-carrot mousse, or an île flottante. Whatever the case, stop by soon, at lunchtime or dinnertime- you can now join us for either one- though brunch will still be in a holding pattern until we can reach critical mass (don’t worry, we’ll be open for lunch on Sundays, and we’ll offer a brunch special or two to plant the seed in people’s minds. Maybe if we build it AND mention it, they will come.

You friend Doug, and your other Feast friends as well

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