Thursday, June 26, 2008

Outdoor dining means more than two bistro sets

Another gorgeous evening last night and what to do about dinner? On nights like that, it should be illegal to eat indoors. So we headed to Bicycle, which we know has a back patio for dining. Arrived at 8pm and heard the couple in front of us ask for an outdoor table. Hostess said, "Last outdoor seating was at 7:30."

So we step up to the hostess and in my sweetest voice, I beg nicely for an outside table. Again, "Last seating was at 7:30." Seriously, people? We could see the empty tables, and the night was still young!

So Joe and I, having our hearts set on a outdoor table, head out the front door and start commiserating with the couple in front of us who were also shot down. Where can you go in Baltimore and know that there are more than 3 tiny bistro sets for outdoor diners? I can count them on both hands.

Turns out, this couple only knew of places we'd already been to for outdoor dining, so Joe convinced me to fall back on our tried and true Wine Market. God bless the Wine Market who never lets us down. (Even on Monday nights when the rest of city closes up shop and we gastronomically deprived souls wander the streets for hours.)

Recognizing these two kids as another fun-loving couple, we lead them from Bicycle to the Wine Market where we went out on a limb and asked them to be our dinner dates. Why not? (The actual conversation in front of the Wine Market hostess was indeed a bit awkward, but we stumbled through it). They said yes, and so began the next 2 hours of new friends, great sangria, and outdoor bliss.

Two things I love about the Wine Market: 1) They are open on Mondays. I can't say this enough, people. And it's half price wine night. Need other reasons? 2) They always have sangria. Good people.

I'm a sucker for their fried green tomatoes to start, and I will ALWAYS order them. The southern girl in me would die a tiny death if I passed them over. Then I got the vegetarian special for an entree. All book-ended by lovely red glasses of sangria.

Our new friends, Steve and Kelly, turned out to share similar passions for liquid refreshment as Joe and I. Kelly works at Grand Cru in Belvedere Square and has since taught herself there's more to red wine than Merlot. Steve is a bartender at Ryan's Daughter in Belvedere Square and quite the renaissance beer man. For two kids still hanging on to the twilight years of college, we were impressed with the sophistication of their beverage choices.

We shut the place down, as usual. Parting with outdoor real estate is tough :)

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