A few weeks ago, Henry and I attempted to have a date night but someone forgot to make dinner reservations, so we wound up eating at some AARP rec room in Rostraver.
Halloween weekend, we finally made got to have our proper date night at the Gypsy Cafe. The only bad part was that I was on the tail-end of a stomach virus, so all day long I practiced slow, deliberate bites while psychically pleading with my stomach to not return-to-sender.
Our reservation was for 5:00pm, right when they opened. We were the first ones inside, and I preferred that. Walking into crowded restaurants makes me blanch.
Gypsy Cafe is really small, intimate. The perfect setting for Henry and I to stare dumbly at one another and struggle for things to talk about.
“I love it here already,” I whispered to him, noting a Ouija board in a corner of the small stage by the door.
“You haven’t even had any food yet,” he argued, killing the moment.
I’m convinced I have some gypsy in me, and I’m not talking about the wang of Eugene Hütz. (Forget my name for a second – there isn’t an ounce of green beer and potato famine in this girl’s blood, OK? Also forget the brief phase I went through where I was fronting a gang to take down the gypsies after a pack of them pick-pocketed my Pappap in Rome. I was 11, but already had some hardcore anger issues.) For years, I’ve felt a strong pull to Romania and have always coveted Starr’s wardrobe in The Lost Boys.
See? Some concrete evidence right there.
I spent more time picking out the wine I wanted from the beverage menu than I did looking for an actual meal. Which made a lot of sense considering how sick I had been. Nothing beats the stomach flu like a cold glass of Transylvanian wine. I ordered some pumpkin ale thing for Henry because I wanted to try it in hopes that it would be The One that would make me sort of like beer.
You can stop leaning forward in anticipation – it didn’t. It also wasn’t the beer that Henry had ordered, but something “comparable” to it. Later, the waiter discovered that they did actually have the kind Henry had originally ordered, so he tried a bottle and ended up liking it a whole lot better than the replacement. I was angry that I was now going to be paying for two bottles of beer. WE ARE NOT RICH PEOPLE, HENRY.
My wine was delightful though and made me feel like Vlad the Impaler was spearing my organs like enemy heads.
In all the good ways, of course.
We ordered the pumpkin curry hummus from our very blasé waiter. Actually, it came with Henry’s dinner, but I ate most of it while Henry was too busy reading his beer label, glasses slid all the way down the bridge of his nose. It was definitely some of the best hummus I’ve spread on my tongue of late.
Henry and I both ordered the sweet potato bisque. The soup of the day literally changed three times in the 20 minutes since we arrived, and I was happy the roulette wheel stopped on the bisque because it sounded the most pleasing to me. (Seriously – three times they switched out the fucking soup on us.) The bowls were big and the bisque was velvety, savory and in my Will you can now read that this is the fluid with which I want to be embalmed. I wished that some Food Network suit had been there to watch my over-exaggerated facial orgasms as I spooned that creamy shit into my large mouth.
“I mean, yeah it’s good,” Henry said with a look of cautionary disgust after I said for the 7th time, “OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING ISN’T IT AMAZING.” I’m pretty sure he was anticipating me to de-bra and dunk my breasts into the warm soup. Because that’s usually what I do at home when I get super-excited about soup.
Must just be us gypsies.
My main course was the Autumn Tangine, which was a stew of root vegetables, farfelle, and golden raisins. I didn’t bother to ask Henry what he ordered, but it was something made from beast.
My tangine was alright. To be fair, I had reached the ready-to-burst precipice after gormandizing the shit out of that soup, so I was forcing tiny bites of the stew into my mouth at this point. I thought it was good, but it wasn’t anything different than something Henry would make at home. That’s either a huge compliment to Henry or a really cruel insult to the Gypsy Cafe.
I think next time, I’ll just sit at the bar with a flight of exotic Romanian wine and a vat of sweet potato bisque, pickpocketing the waitstaff.
(But no seriously – I need to go back on a day that’s not shared with me vomiting in the bathroom.)