“In a restaurant, let your mate or date do the ordering. It’s more fun to eat hot dogs with a man than caviar by yourself. You may know more about vintage wines than the wine steward, but if you’re smart you’ll let your man do the choosing and be ecstatic over his selection, even if it tastes like shampoo.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man
“I’m going to take you to Gritty’s,” my BFF/writing partner Matthew said. “Because I want you to feel like you’re at home.”
Matthew and I are up in Freeport, ME for our annual graduate program alumni meeting and he is the subject of tonight’s study in having men order me dinner. Here’s the thing: I like food. A lot. Eating delicious food is one of my greatest joys in life, and Freeport has some of the best food in the world. Great seafood chowder, amazing lobster rolls, Wicked Whoopee Pies in Red Velvet and Orange and Gingerbread, and Gritty’s pork fries with maple sour cream, (which I will NOT be smearing on my legs.) And beer. Oh the beer!
Matthew and I travel a lot together, and he knows what I like to eat, so I put him in charge of picking where we were going to go and ordering for me tonight. He hemmed and hawed over some menus and decided on Gritty’s.
Once there, I didn’t even look at the menu. We were seated at the same long table as a father and son. The dad complimented my herringbone cap. I felt very pretty. I wanted a glass of water, but everything was up to Matthew, so I didn’t say anything.
“This is nerve-wracking,” Matthew said, pouring over the menu. “Do you like mushrooms?”
I let slip and said no, because mushrooms are gross. Oops. I would have pretended to be ecstatic if he’d ordered something with mushrooms, even as I silently gagged on them. For drinks, he ordered us two Red Claw ales, which I had never had. Normally at Gritty’s, I get the 21 IPA, or, in the summer, Vacationland. For dinner, he ordered us each a pork shank with ginger, because he had never had one either.
“I wanted us to have the same thing because I wanted us to be on equal footing,” he said. We really are partners.
The beer was excellent and the pork was delicious. Perfectly seasoned, but way too much of it. We probably could have split one and still had leftovers. The bacon hash on the side was a little much, probably could have gone with potatoes or something a little more carb-y. But all and all, a genuine good pick, and I’m not just saying that because Arlene told me to.