So we sold some eggs and went into the big city for 2 nights at the Hyatt in Jacksonville. The room overlooked the St John’s River with all its lights and boats. Our room had a king size bed, cable TV, wifi, an ipod docking clock radio, and quality sundries. For me this was a long way from when the high life meant a 12 pack of Miller and spending the weekend at my older sister’s apartment.
Since it was my 29th birthday again, Wayne splurged and took me to Ruth’s Chris to dine. Because I was celebrating, I had 2 cosmopolitans in the bar before dinner. The server would have made a great used car salesman. In fact after the 2 cosmos I definitely would have bought a car from him. By the time we got to our table I was lovin everybody, and feeling pretty sure they were loving me. I glided through the room like a Dame who paid a lot more for her shoes than I did.
Some water and concentration got me back on track, but when our server Marcus, who would be taking care of us that evening, offered wine, I knew I would need a red that could slap me in the face and say “listen up missy”. A bottle of Cabernet from Rutherford California did the trick. Is there anything better than a dusty cab? No, I don’t think so!
The best French onion soup I ever had was not spoiled by watching Wayne’s Fear Factor appetizer. Really, who eats snails? Gross. By now the wine had been breathing a while and Marcus’ assistant delivered the entrees. I don’t know what they do to the steaks at that place, but I had to ask to be excused so I could be alone with it. (Note to self: Don’t lick plate at restaurants where asparagus costs $7.50)
A wonderful evening capped off by a water taxi back to the Hotel and Cragganmore single malt in the lounge. Gawd I could get used to being called by name by a stately doorman.
The next day we had lunch with friends at the Landings, just a block from the hotel, a fun spot where the locals were gathering to watch the NFL draft for their beloved Jaguars. Followed by a trip to the zoo; the zoo gets a C+, but it was still a great day.
We had brunch before leaving in the morning. On the way home we stopped by a waterfront haunt. I was wearing my birthday tee-shirt which was good for a free shot from the bartender. That would have been great if he had offered up the gratis libation before I had indulged, yes again, in two Rum Runners. To top it off the double shot of Tequila was pink and decanted from a bottle with a distinct phallic shape. Wayne has a picture of me caressing said decanter. The pained look on my face is not from embarrassment but rather from the breathtaking effort it took not to hurl.
I recovered and enjoyed a beautiful Florida day, listening to one of the locals play Buffet songs while the waves slapped the shore. Not bad…right? I think I’ll be 29 again next year.