Well, it was getting to be that time again. With the recent nice weather, and the sure signs of coming spring, what better way to celebrate than with another "Charlotte FOO Lunch"?!
Bigskymacadam located a place not from from uptown so that neither he nor flyingscotsman would have to be away from work too long. We agreed to meet at 12:30pm, and I was to pick up fsm on the way. BigskyMA was driving separately, coming from a meeting.
Well, when I was about five minutes from my house, I suddenly notice my dash light: BRAKE. Crap. I knew what that meant. Time for more brake fluid. But, I told myself, my Foo guys are waitin', so I'll take care of it when I get home.
Nearly got sideswiped by a car to my left with a front right wheel nearly flat and wobblin' like something from a cartoon. WTF?! As the driver went to make a left turn into the auto parts store, he swerved first into my lane, then cut left across traffic.
In a few more moments, there was the Charlotte skyline. Approaching, I called fsm, who informed me that traffic been reduced to one lane at the designated pick-up point. He began walking toward me, as I continued to creep forward one stop light at a time, almost taking out a suit with a cup of Starbucks on a cellphone -- he just walked right out across my right front bumper, while I was moving! Shoulda nailed the jaywalker, but I decided to stop instead. Didn't want to be late.
Finally saw fsm, but had to stop at the light. He nearly got nailed crossing the sidestreet, jumpin' into my car just as the light turned green again. About a mile later, we turned into the cutover street to take us to the restaurant. WTF!? "Closed to Thru Traffic." Like, they couldn't put up a sign warning of this construction BEFORE we turned in there? Had to turn around and find an alternate cutover.
Once there, we could not find parking. We ended up driving down to "Elder Gallery" in a small stripmall shopping center, about a block or so further down the street. Natch, it was the only available parking so close, but on the OPPOSITE side of the street from the restaurant. Unfortunately, no cross-streets in that area, and the construction on the other side of the street would have had us walking in the lane of oncoming traffic had we crossed several blocks away. So, we did the Frogger thing, stopping briefly to stand, Matrix-like, on the center double yellow line. And got bonus points once we got to the other side....
So, here's where we were:
Of course, we had neglected to get BigSkyMA's cell number, so when we arrived, at 12:35pm, we could only hope that he was already there.
It was quite packed, and we were waiting behind another couple to be seated. We looked at every booth along the wall, and at the long table down the center of the narrow room. We scanned the booths beside the window along the far wall. "Well," we reasoned, "he probably had to find somewhere to park as well." In a few moments, the hostess told us that we could sit at a booth RIGHT BESIDE THE FRONT DOOR.
"Yay!" we thought. "We're sure to see him come in from this primo spot." Almost did a high-five with fsm.
As we were being seated, we told the hostess that we were expecting another person. She brought ONE menu and a sushi/shashimi check list, and took our drink orders (green tea for me, water for fsm). We told her we'd wait for our friend before ordering. By then, 12:45pm.
By 1pm, we were cursing that we didn't have BigSkyMA's number, and figured that he'd had such a hard time parking that he'd decided to skip it. We finally placed our orders.
We both ordered identical bento box lunches, which included three pieces each of salmon, tuna and red snapper sashimi, teriyaki salmon, miso soup, salad, steamed rice, two potstickers, and an orange section. In addition to that, I placed one order for ama-ebi (sweet shrimp), and requested the deep-fried heads on the side.
The miso soup arrived first. Mine was gone in about one minute and 23 seconds. Natch. Not enough time for a photo.
Then the REAL lunch arrived.
My bento box lunch:
The ama-ebi and deep-fried heads:
Yum! By then, it was 1:15pm. We kept hoping beyond hope that BigSkyMA would show up, but figure that he'd decided to skip lunch by this point. We had some rather pleasant Foo conversation, discussed bikes and frames, some Foo threads, and other typical Foo-like stuff.
flyingscotsman and VegaVixen:
Except for the fact that it was getting late, since we'd waited so long to order, I'd have had either green-tea or red-bean ice cream afterward. But, we had to get fsm back to work, and quickly!
So, we did the Frogger thing back across the street (traffic had thinned out a bit by then), and went quickly up the street, fsm striding manfully, and me, just slinkin' along. Then we raced back, with me skillfully driving Daytona-like around city traffic, catching mostly green lights, ignoring the rest, hoping my brakes wouldn't fail.
As we approached the corner for drop-off, fsm rolled from the car with incredible skill, and landed on his feet, and I sped on through the green light for home, immediately getting stuck behind a lumbering streetsweeper truck, and later, in the light-industrial district, passing a mom-n-pop garage with about six police cruisers in the parking lot, with several more speeding to it. WTF?! Guess I'll hear about that later on the news tonight.
All in all, a very nice Foo lunch, though it would have been more fun if BigSkyMA had been there. Well, actually he was! He had arrived at 12:20p, but it turns out there are TWO entrances (first photo courtesy of BigSkyMA, BTW) and he was seated around the corner at the end of the bar, but, from where we were standing, we could not tell that that narrow room was really L-shaped! And so we didn't see him!
We'll have another Charlotte FOO lunch again in a few weeks. Maybe we'll post a poll to see where Foo wants us to eat next time. And we promise to take MORE pics. Maybe even get some other Charlotte Foo'ers to join us...!