adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Date Night with The Hub

When The Hub and I found out in October that the next step in our Life Plan had been indefinitely postponed, I knew that my gig as a full-time housewife was coming to an end.  We live in an expensive city, and at that point I had been unemployed for over 5 months.  It was time to get back in the job market.  I found a great opportunity contracting for an old client of mine until our Life Plan gets back on track, and last week was my first week back in the work force in almost 7 months. 

I had a great first week (thanks everyone for asking!) but The Hub and I are really trying to get used to my new schedule.  We are pretty serious night owls, we've both always been that way, and usually go to bed around 1am.  Since I have to leave our house by 7:45am in order to get to my new office in Oakland on time, I've been having to go to bed a lot earlier.  And since The Hub usually does not get home from work until about 8pm, that does not give us a whole lot of time together each day.  So we decided to have a Date Night on Friday to spend some QT together and also to celebrate my first week back in the working world!  We started off with dinner at Maverick in the Mission.  We had already dined at Maverick about a year or so ago, but we had a gift certificate so we decided to try it again.  We sure are glad we did! 

I love this "map" on the front wall of the restaurant

The atmosphere was cozy and the staff was very friendly.  It's a really small space and we sat at a high top table by the window that felt a little cramped, but it was nice and private.  There was a beautiful winter centerpiece on our table that looked festive, but I'm pretty sure The Hub was allergic to it, because his eyes started watering immediately and he sneezed through our entire dinner. 

The Hub's dinner nemesis

They brought us a small apéritif of hot apple cider while we perused the menu.  The Hub and I have a very specific formula for how we order at restaurants:  We always pick out two appetizers and two entrees (plus sometimes two desserts) and split everything down the middle so that we can try as much as possible.    Our first appetizer was the Baby Mixed Lettuces with Red Flame Grapes, Goat Gouda and Champagne Vinaigrette.    The vinaigrette was fantastic and the salad was light but super flavorful.  Shortly after, our second appetizer came:  Baltimore Crab Fluffs with English Cucumber Winter Chicories and Remoulade.    The Hub decided that if a Lobster Roll and a Crab Cake had a baby, it would be these Crab Fluffs, and he wanted to put it on a bun and eat it like a Meatball Sub.  They were fantastic!  Like a crab cake, but not as dense, with a crispy outer shell.  We paired our starters with a nice glass of Rosé for me and a Sauvignon Blanc for The Hub.  At our server's suggestion, we picked a red for dinner that was so amazingly delicious - I can't wait to tell you about it in this week's Hump Day post.  For now, you'll just have to wait...  After a discussion over which entrees to pick, we chose their mouth-watering Southern Fried Chicken with Potato Pave, Swiss Chard and Red Eye Gravy    and Beef Short Rib with Celery Root, Gremolata, and Spinach 


You'll have to excuse the pictures, it was really dark in the restaurant.  Both of the entrees were really delicious.  The fried chicken was crunchy, juicy and tender and the short ribs were spot on.  I find that short ribs can sometimes come out too tough when you order them at a restaurant, but these just fell apart beautifully on the plate.  By the time we'd finished our meals, we were quite full and decided to pass on dessert.  We had a nice time talking about our week and enjoying our fantastic meal.  My only complaint about Maverick is that their forks had blunt tines, which forced me to wrestle with my food.  I had to explain to The Hub what a "tine" is and if you don't know either, don't worry, just click here

After our meal, we walked over to City Art Gallery on Valencia and 19th.  It's a nice space featuring art and jewelry from the 200+ local artists who are part of the gallery's co-op.  The styles and mediums that were being shown this past weekend varied greatly and I found some really interesting new artists to follow.  My favorite by far was the Urban Birds Encaustic Mixed Media series by dk haas.  The images are really striking and I loved the contrasts of the bird silhouettes against colorful backgrounds.  Here are some of the images and you can view the entire collection here.  Aren't they beautiful? 

© dk haas

© dk haas

© dk haas

I also really enjoyed Tom Heinz's Totem Poles that are made from his nature photographs. 

© Tom Heinz

© Tom Heinz

© Tom Heinz

After admiring the work in the gallery, we hopped across the street for a nightcap at Parea.  One of my favorite wine bars in the Mission, Parea has great Mediterranean appetizers and an extensive wine list with offerings from Greece, Spain, Italy, U.S., Germany, Austria, and South Africa to name a few.  I had a really nice and spicy 2007 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the Black Pearl Vineyards in South Africa called "Oro".  The Hub chose a 2004 biodynamic Zinfandel called "Quivira" fom the Dry Creek region that was very well balanced.  If it sounds like we drank a lot of wine, it's because we did.  After our glass at Parea I was definitely ready to go home!  We called a cab, cuddled up with Figaro, and fell fast asleep.  I love taking advantage of the amazing city we live in on a date night, just me and my hub. 


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