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Food and Friends

Added: Monday, September 27th 2021 at 8:38am by epiphanettes

Yesterday I had the pleasure of lunch with Rich and Nathalie Forsen, true friends of almost three decades standing, at an upscale restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.

It was a splendid day, cloudless with a cerulean sky and the temperature one wishes for year-round. I managed to park less than a hundred yards away and, wonder of wonder, it being Sunday, parking was free.

The food was excellent, small servings of Balkan treats that included light and tasty breads, beef prosciutto and other charcuterie, eggs fixed to your liking with salmon or sausage, chicken, beef and pork… In all, there were 29 different delights offered, with the invitation to eat as few, or as many, as you wanted. We had multiple servings of 20 of the offerings and only one, highly seasoned potatoes, raised eyebrows. The service was excellent and, all in all, it was one of the best meals I have had in memory.

It began in confusion. I thought we were going to an Ethiopian restaurant, and it was only when I got there and glanced at the menu that a sort of food insecurity crept in. No tibs, no kitfo, no shiro or dulet. And not an injera in sight. None of these, it turns out, are native to the Balkans.

We ate outside. After a short while, I noticed that I was by far the oldest person at a table. In fact, during the two hours Nathalie, Rich and I spent there, I spotted only one grey-haired couple walking by. Everyone else appeared to be in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties which I, in my aged wisdom, consider very, very young. And they were well-off, too. As mentioned, this was not an inexpensive place. Brunch for two with tip was an easy $100, and there was a waiting line of foodies at the door. The hostess, in fact, told me when I arrived that there was a two-hour limit per table occupancy.

Arlington has become a choice neighborhood for the young and affluent, and this is great! There’s a vibrant culture of music there, and dozens of excellent ethnic restaurants. I must admit that I didn’t see any bookstores or art galleries on the main drag, but the neighborhood, which 60 years ago sheltered the American Nazi Party headquarter, and where its leader, George Lincoln Rockwell, was assassinated, has gone from a quasi-slum to a pearl.

It was, all told, a great day spent with great people. It strangely reaffirmed my faith in the nation’s ability to survive what have been dreadful times. Occasionally, and thankfully, life is indeed very good.      

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