Sunday, April 26, 2015

More Than a Meal

If you are like us, you have a small stack of gift cards that you've received over the years. Most are for restaurants - which is great for us, as we like to do weekly date nights (and save a buck or two while we're at it!) Most gift cards have no expiration date and that is awesome. Sometimes, though, you come across one that does have a "good until" date. We had such a card that we needed to use right away.

The name of the place was the Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. There are a number of them around these United States, and if you are fortunate enough to have one in driving distance, or even if you need to spend the night to get back home, GO! I would suggest you bring a healthy wallet, or a gift card or two. You can always tell a place is going to be expensive by the online menu: no prices. And if you do happen to view the online menu, have something to wipe off your screen when you are done!

When writing this, I had initially intended to describe each portion we ate, the fantastic wait staff, and the delicious wine, but changed my mine. You see, what made this particular meal so fantastic wasn't the Sweet Chile Calamari, or the Barbecue Scottish Salmon Fillet, or even the Certified Angus Beef Hanger Steak. What made this such a great dining experience was sharing it with others.

Originally, we had planned to take my parents with us to the restaurant, as my folks would normally never go to a place like this on their own (they are more the local Cracker Barrel types - and there is NOTHING wrong with that!) Unfortunately, due to issues beyond anyone's control, getting the four of us together before the expiration date was not a possibility.

What resulted was the best possible alternative, our friends Tony and Mary joined us for the evening. (Note: they were not slighted in the least at being the alternative - they know my folks!)

We love Tony and Mary. I've known them for over twenty years. They've been there through many ups and downs in my life. Many an evening was spent on the front stoop of their house, as Tony and I pondered the implications of a Christian (me) getting divorced, and what that meant. They have also been there to share in the joy I have found in my wife Lisa (my truly BEST friend).

There is something about sharing a meal with others that takes the pleasure up a dozen "notches" or so. For example: The wine menu was a bit intimidating to me, so we waited until Tony and Mary arrived to take advantage of Tony's knack of picking out the "right" one. And we weren't disappointed!

I don't think we humans were designed to dine alone. I know, from personal experience, that telling the hostess "only one" is one of the saddest things a person can say. Why is that? Maybe it is the fact that when you ARE eating something absolutely amazing, you naturally want to share the moment.

And the moment didn't end for us at the check. You see, the reservation was for 19:00. We didn't depart until around 22:20. The parking lot was so full when we arrived that we ended up using the valet (a note to valets: it is good to learn how to drive a stick shift!), so after the meal, Lisa and Mary walked over to another store, and Tony waited for me to get my Jeep back. He hopped in with me as we drove it over to where the ladies were - talking the whole time. Actually, we didn't stop talking the entire evening - from that store to another store to the parking lot.

And that is exactly what I'm driving at. You can have the most incredible meal, prepared by the world's greatest chef, and it only improves by sharing it with people you love.

And I encourage you to do just that. So, call those close to you, get those (not necessary) gift cards out, and go! And it doesn't matter if it is Flemings or McDonalds. It will end up being more than a meal.

© Emittravel 2015

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