The night was heavy with the threat of snow and the chill of winter not yet ready to let go. We clung to our wool coats and our scarves, and we pulled our collars up around our necks in a vain attempt to avoid the cold. The boardwalk made dull thwomps as we made our way across town, bending and groaning slightly under the pressure of ice and stilettos and boots. But as we stepped inside the glass doors of the little bistro, warm air rushed out to greet us and welcome us inside with laughter and a friendly embrace. “Welcome, Welcome, have a drink! You are here!” it seemed to sing as we stomped our feet and dusted the flakes from our coats.
The foyer is always bustling, people sitting on the sofas and clinging to the dark corners, chattering, drinking, listening to the din of happy diners beyond the thick wool curtain. We had reservations for once, knowing that the end of ski season rush meant that tonight could be a busy one. What luck! There are two bar seats open just for us! We prefer to sit at bars, somehow they always seem more intimate to us, sitting next to each other, our knees touching, our elbows getting in the way, instead of reaching across an entire table of food and drink and assorted culinary accoutrements just to get that secret, gentle contact between lovers.
Trio Bistro is our regular haunt in Jackson, Wyoming, with it’s subtle, dim lighting, industrial-chic chairs and tables, and roaring wood-fired pizza oven that drives away the last remnants of winter in this busy mountain town. The wine list is extensive and fluid with the seasons and always includes varieties off the beaten path… blends or strange flavors or grapes from Morocco or Thailand or other places that would never conjure in the mind’s eye scenes of rolling vineyards or the lush spring of wine country. The food is excellent, as well, with plates of game and pastas that rival any found in a big city. But we always go with a pizza, crispy wood-fired crust, fresh toppings (try the duck!), deliciously hot and deliciously burned and satisfying in a way no frilly steak could be. We sit for hours and nibble our food and sip our wine and watch the world turn around us, pretending that for two hours we are in a cafe somewhere on the far side of the world.
He said his name was Ralph, and he was the kind of man who looked you in the eye and gripped your hand firmly, warmly. His deep blue suit with gold buttons and well-loved loafers made me picture him at home on a yacht.
We sat around a low table in the Pearl Street Meat and Fish Company, ready for the unique wine versus beer tasting, complete with cheeses that each had names we couldn’t pronounce. We exchanged stories about Dick Cheney and Fidel Castro, of living legally and illegally in Europe, of lives lived in a world of travel and wine and adventure.
Ralph had lived in Scotland, too. “What were you doing there?” We asked. “I was in the Navy.” Ralph traveled often from Chicago to San Francisco. “What do you do now?” We asked. “I was in the Navy” was all he said.
Once, someone stole his suitcase when he touched down at O’Hare. “The worst part was they stole my Anchor Steam.” His laugh was deep and contagious. It was his favorite beer.
When he got up to leave, he dismissed himself with grace and precision, a practiced, old-fashioned politeness that required us all to stand and shake his hand goodbye. “I Must be going now. I seldom have too much to do, but when I plan one thing, another always requires my attention.” “It was great to meet you! Where are you headed now?” We asked. “Down the road,” he said with a little smile.
Photos taken during Salsa Night at Cafe Boheme in Jackson, WY.
This is a story of a table on the beach, a table at Zamas.
There was a bottle of wine between us…
… and a candle.
And we looked out on to the beach, an ebb and a flow.
This is a story of four feet in the sand, little toes making little divots, leaving little tracks.
And we sat and we laughed and we ate…
… and we watched the sun go down on our last night in Tulum.
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