Monday, January 22, 2007

Front porch

We met up with friends last Thursday for dinner at The Front Porch, a newish Caribbean/Soul Food restaurant in the Outer Mission, which is just a 20-minute walk from our house.

We didn't have a reservation (only large parties get those), and were told to expect a 45-minute wait. The crowd was mostly twentysomething, lots of Mission Youth and budding yuppies. It was noisy and crowded and my first thought was, "I'm too old for this."

Yes, too old. This year, my imminent birthday feels like the brick wall in one of those car crash tests. I guess that makes me the dummy? Or the car? In either case, it's clear to me that I've exchanged one phase of life for another. The upsides? Some more stability. Better understanding. We don't have to feel silly about enjoying our dinner-and-Cranium nights. We can take vacations that I couldn't swing 8 years ago. But these thirtysomething birthdays have their own challenges. We begin to face our fears of middle age, and try to forgive ourselves for not hitting all the marks we thought we'd have hit by now.

I was ruminating along these lines when our friends showed up. "Let's go in to the bar." said D, who is not facing a birthday and isn't too worried about her age. And so we stood around, cocktails in hand (can't remember the name, but mine was cider, lemon, pomegranate and very good), like we had every right to be there. Of course we did. Silly me. We weren't even the oldest people in the room.

As for the food, the fried chicken was good, but not my favorite. Though juicy and crisp, it lacked flavor. I like my chicken quite salty and peppery, with a bit of buttermilk tang. This was milder.

I did love the creamy grits with crab, lemon, scallion, and chiles. A good dish for sharing, since it's so rich. But very comforting on a chilly winter night.

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