After being done with work, I hurried home, removed my sweatpants and v-neck shirt, jumped into shower, and started getting dressed. I had been quite excited for this evening since I had not seen Matt for a while and we planned this dinner a while ago too.
Somewhere around last week, Matt and I were chatting on google…and we started talking about food. I then asked him if he would like to go to an establishment during Restaurant Week, and he said yes and recommended Harvest Restaurant. Actually, he said that he would like to go to Harvest because of the braised beef short ribs that melted in his mouth the last time he was there for a previous Restaurant Week event…so I dialed the phone number, talked to the staff, and made a reservation for two at 8PM for tonight. Matt was excited as well…so perhaps the both of us were looking forward to this evening.
Matt and I are still “talking” to each other through text messaging and google chat everyday, even before he left for his interview. We met at his most favorite place–The Old Fashioned–before he left, and surprisingly we would still be in contact when he was out-of-town. He would message me first numerous times on google chat when I was around my computer. Some of the conversations were short since he might be preparing for the next day or working on his paper, but ’twas great to have his company and to hear from him. We even briefly messaged one another when he was back in town, and finally…we were meeting tonight!
Matt told me that I should dress up a bit if I remembered correctly, since I would wear jeans and a t-shirt when we hung out at The Old Fashioned or during that one time when we went to grab Indian lunch buffet. I started preparing last night by picking out a sportscoat, a white collared dress shirt, pants, nice shoes, and a trenchcoat my dad gave me since ’twas cold. Since my hair was a bit bushy on the sides as if I looked like Chairman Mao, I thought of getting a haircut since two days ago. However, a haircut around the downtown area costs more than $15…so out of nowhere did I decide to give myself a haircut. I looked at teaching videos on youtube, went to Walgreen’s to purchase a haircutting kit (which includes a hair clipper, combs, scissors, and other items), put newspapers all over my bathroom floor, and started experimenting. I was trimming the sideburns since I am never a big fan of sideburns on me, but I accidentally trimmed past where I wanted and was two inches above my ear…so I had to continue trimming or else it looked weird. I left a strip of hair in the center with the other parts trimmed, but I did not look that good as a punk…so I ended up trimming away all of my hair! I felt like a person who just got out of prison, and a good German friend even thought that I looked like a Shaolin monk…’Twas nonetheless refreshing although my head felt pretty cool this morning, but what is done is done. I’m hoping that practice will make perfect, and that there are more self-haircuts for me to come. Maybe I can be a barber as a side profession too.
After putting on my clothes and shoes, I started walking to the capitol area and started snapping some photos. Matt soon arrived at around 7:58PM. I called out his name with excitement, gave him a long hug, and started chatting. He told me that I looked great in a suit, and I thanked him. He was wearing his normal wear with a dress shirt and nice pants…but he was not as dressed up as me. Haha so it turned out that I did not really need a coat, but ’tis nice to dress up and to have someone saying that I look great. We soon entered the restaurant while updating each other on life. There were many great conversations, and Matt was actually smiling and relaxed! He was not as stressed as before, and he was the Matt I know during the first two times when we met. He had so much to share and say, and we were both enjoying each other’s company.
With regards to Harvest, this was the first time I went there. I passed by that restaurant pretty much everyday but had never been there. At first, I thought that Harvest would be similar to the acclaimed L’Etoile, which used to be next door to it, but there were some differences. Tables at Harvest were quite close to each other compared to L’Etoile when L’Etoile was at the intimate second-floor location before it moved to its current location. ‘Twas fascinating to hear two lovely ladies strategizing on things to order and share, but the noise level was significantly higher for an establishment within a higher price range. Surprisingly, there is no coat check too. ‘Tis definitely not like Alinea in Chicago, but people in Wisconsin would have high expectations for this kind of establishments in Madison. Our server, Ellen, was caring and entertaining, but not as much as Matt B from Sardine (when I went with Rogerio on Sunday). However, the service was not too bad and suited our needs.
As we sat down, I asked Matt if he is getting a drink, and he was thinking of a cocktail. That was surprising since he is usually a beer or wine guy, but he ended with a glass of sherry, which I tasted too. I decided to ask Ellen my typical and perhaps famous question when going to a restaurant or bar for drinks, and I was served with a cocktail with grapefruit juice as base. The bartender, who looked like Antonio Banderas with an intersting and curvy mustache, brought our drinks. We continued chatting, with a focus on my hair. Matt told me that I looked great and even better when compared to having longer hair, and I started telling him my haircutting experience. He told me that I should maintain it too, and he liked my looks tonight. For himself, he prefers longer hair, and I remember him looking like a lion before getting a haircut for his interview. He looks good either way anyway.
The appetizers were okay, but Matt was actually right with the braised beef short ribs we both ordered. It was quite flavorful and soft! We did not even need to use our knives to cut the ribs into pieces. The serving was just right too since many American restaurants would have servings that are just too much to stay healthy. Matt quickly finished the dish since he really loved it, but I savored mine and so I guess I made him watch me while talking more too. 🙂 Anyway, that dish was quite memorable…but Matt, being a cutie, said that the beef dish reminded him of the beef barbacoa burrito he got from Chipotle for dinner last night. I was laughing so hard with the comparison, but that made me want to try beed barbacoa from Chipotle next time since I only get chicken with roasted peppers from there.
After embracing our conversations and the beef ribs, our desserts came. I was thinking of the turtle cheese cake before, but I decided to try the mocha Bavarian cake. Matt eyed on the cafe-flavored cake, but decided to go for house made gingerbread ice cream. I like the cake due to the hint of dark chocolate, but we both agreed that the desserts did not create sparkles in our mind. I then told Matt about a place where I had the best dessert dishes in Madison, and he has never been to there. Hopefully we will be able to have something to celebrate and I will bring him there!
We spent more than an hour and a half at Harvest. We chatted, enjoyed our time there, I took photos, he sipped his cup of decaf coffee (something he got used to after making a pot of decaf coffee everynight after the interview just for the taste) and we even took a photo together at the end. Matt was initially discouraging to take a photo with me, but I made him take one at the end anyway. On our way out, I started telling him that I do not post too many pictures on facebook, but photos serve as my best souvenirs and create memories…hopefully I will be able to see them if I get to live to eighty or ninety. He laughed, and told me that he does not think that he looks good in photos. I then told him that he looks handsome tonight and he should not worry and started lamenting on my hair, and he kept telling me that I look dashing and he likes my looks from tonight. We continued chatting until we reached his place as usual, and then he held me…tightly. I haven’t felt Matt being this passionate in hugs since our second time together, so I was surprised! We held each other tightly longer than usual, and soon we parted ways.
After coming back home, I signed onto google chat and started sending Matt an email while attaching photos from tonight. It turned out that Matt was online, and he quickly messaged me, thanking me for tonight. We chatted for a bit…he was tired and was hoping to get to bed earlier tonight, but was waiting and hoping to see my email to him. The email was finally sent to him with photos and words, and ’twas a great evening with him. He became a lot more loving, and I told him that I will message him to check on him tomorrow since I was heading to grade some prelabs. I hope and pray that he will be able to recover strengthwise from his trip soon, and that he will receive good news and know God’s plans for him soon!