I’m a huge proponent of being a “regular” at a restaurant or bar. Finding a place that you’re comfortable spending time and happy to eat and drink at is a great thing. Plus, once you’ve established yourself as such, there are palpable benefits. Getting a table without a wait at 8pm on a Friday night or a couple rounds of drinks on the house are great things that come with such regular business.
There was a period of time where I was a regular at the bar of the Morton’s on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. I had a great run at the Embassy Suites in Minneapolis, too. These days, however, my “regular” status is confined to a couple of local establishments. First up is the bar across the street from my old office. I was there for happy hour on Thursday night and it was as if I was still there semi-monthly, even if I have dropped to a more quarterly schedule. The bartender and waitress still know me and we continue to get pretty good service from them, which is surprising considering the place. This week’s visit coincided with an all-hands meeting from my former company, so I got to see a lot of old friends and also introduced a couple new folks to the bar. It was rather entertaining at the end of the night to hear Paul (one of the new folks at the bar) express just how impressed he was that I could make beer show up quickly while he couldn’t ever even find the waitress to place an order. Apparently that’s what my frequent drinker membership rates there.
My other regular place is an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. I’m a huge fan of Le Zie. The food is very good and very consistent. The staff pretty much all know me since I’ve been eating there for 7+ years now. And, best of all, every now and then I still manage to be surprised by something they’re serving there. Last night we had dinner there. The foie gras appetizer special is still delicious and I had a new pasta special that was also quite good. But the real surprise of the evening was the banana soufflé. I went so far as to reserve one with the bartender half way through dinner, just in case. And it was completely worth it. I also love that I can simply suggest to Paula (the bartender) that I am going to need a glass of rum to go with the dessert and she knows exactly what to pour to make that pairing work just right. Last night it was Zaya rum, a Guatemalan option that was off the charts delicious, and worked perfectly with the banana flavor of dessert. Sure, the “specials” aren’t all that special there all that often, but when one comes along that is, the surprisingly high quality makes it all that much better.
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