Hold onto your butts, kids. This is a long one.
Okay so I came outside to blog from the patio with my iced latte like a cool Real Blogger, but it’s already hotter than I care for and Zach has a pork butt on the smoker so it’s pretty odorous out here. I’m going to power through, or try to, because I think it’s what RBs do. Wait now I want Arby’s.
I have mentioned before (probably. It sounds like something I’d do.) that Zach is out of town half of every week. Recently he’s been traveling Tuesday through Friday, so our work schedules have been pretty well aligned. The shitty thing is, Fridays he usually gets home too late to make dinner so it becomes my responsibility. Far from being the type of wife to have dinner on the table when my spouse arrives home, I usually just hope he’ll show up with a specific craving that only a restaurant can fill. The downside to that plan is that it requires my staying dressed after work, which is tough considering I often remove my bra on my evening commute home. Also there is a dearth of late-night dining establishments in our immediate area, besides Steak n Shake and Waffle House, which each of us hate, respectively (he isn’t into SnS and I HATE WaHo with such a fiery passion that I can’t believe I haven’t yet been exiled from the South). If he’d gotten home in time I would have suggested going to the new location of Grindhouse but since they close at 11 and he got home around 10, that wasn’t going to work. Sidenote: why you closin’ at 11, Grindhouse???? Sometimes a girl just needs a boozy milkshake closer to the midnight hour! I recalled Marlow’s Tavern having decently late hours, and even though Zach has been turning that place down every time I’ve suggested it for the past two years, he finally relented. I knew shrimp and crab nachos were in my future, and I got excited.
Marlow’s is a popular local chain, but it has a couple things working against it. First, the location near us is in a DoubleTree Hotel. I have a juvenile excitement towards hotel restaurants, and associate hotel restaurants with being fancy. Since Zach has been traveling for half of the past 10 years, he doesn’t have as rosy a view of hotels or their attached dining establishments. My only true disappointment is that Marlow’s doesn’t give you one of DoubleTree’s famous cookies. Zach’s other reluctance is that it is indeed a chain, and chains are usually garbaggio.
We scoped out the menu before we visited, and I saw multiple appetizers I couldn’t live without so my kind husband agreed to just let me order whatever I wanted. He craved some wings but considering my hatred of both dark meat and gnawing on bones, he agreed to skip them this time around. Instead we went with my beloved shrimp and crab nachos, tuna poke, and the burrata with eggplant and tomato caponata.
If I know my food, and I believe I do, the nachos are likely housemade tortilla chips covered with a mixture of crab (canned, probably–they’re definitely not crackin’ claws back there for one appetizer) and cream cheese, topped with a few shrimps, monty jack, and a single jalapeño slice. It’s probably no surprise to you, dear reader, that I enjoy a rich meal. For the longest time, my absolute favorite food was fettuccine Alfredo! But I think I’ve finally begun to fear death matured because this plate of creamy (ew) seafood was my least favorite dish of the evening. The amount of dairy product on one little tortilla wedge was overwhelming, and could have used extra peppers or something else acidic to cut the richness. Halving the amount of crab mixture on each chip, or repurposing those same ingredients into a dip, would work better.
The tuna poke was shockingly good. I wasn’t expecting much and even wondered if ordering raw fish at a chain hotel bar was a terrible idea after I’d ordered it, but I have been daydreaming about it for the past two days because that shit was fiyah. The fish was fresh and had perfect texture. Same goes for the avocado. The sweet teriyaki and salty wonton chips paired perfectly. Seriously it was so surprisingly good, I’m almost scared to go back because what if it was a fluke?!?! But I really want to because it was so damn good.
As for the burrata with caponata, it was tasty but not outstanding. I guess tomatoes aren’t totally in season yet, but this would be better with fresh produce. Oh god who even am I! I just said something would be better with fresh produce. Murder me, for my time has come. The cheese and parsley oil were great, but I think a crustier bread choice would have been a better contrast to the soft cheese than the charred-but-pillowy ciabatta. Overall it was a good dish, but it hasn’t been lingering in my mind like that tuna.
Saturday I didn’t get dressed the whole dang day, and it was glorious. The day started off rainy so I just worked from bed while Zach and the dogs kept me company. After the previous night’s feast, I felt like I needed to ingest some vegetables so I requested my favorite salad for dinner. I think Zach hates making this because of all the prep, but it’s so gawl dang good I could eat it every night. And it’s a SALAD. I don’t know, maybe it’s because grilled things are inherently delicious and there’s a ton of salty feta, oooooorrrrr maybe because I add a dollop of mayo, some feta, and some basil to the dressing to make it like a creamy (ew) pesto dressing, but this is one of my favorite dinners. You can click over to the recipe but just so you know what you’re looking at: it’s a bed of grilled and fresh romaine, grilled zucchini, grilled corn, grilled chicken, topped with feta and basil.
I don’t remember anything about yesterday except dinner and getting dressed so I’ll cut right to the chase on both of those things, but in opposite order because it turns out you have to get dressed in order to go to dinner.
I have the hardest time deciding what to wear for every single thing besides going to work, so on weekends my goal is to stay undressed as long as possible. We had plans to go to dinner with our friends Matt and Jennifer so I wanted to look presentable, but I didn’t want anything too tight (so that I could eat a lot) or anything I love too much to spill food on (which is a guarantee). I went with something low-cut, so that any dropped food items would end up in my bra instead of on my clothes. Yes, I was in the gifted program in elementary school.
I got this dress from Gwynnie Bee, but it’s a Cherry Velvet. Their dresses are hellafied expensive but I got this one for like $40 or something crazy, since GB sells their shit for cheap when it gets too busted to stay in circulation. I think I wanted it because of the brand name and because one person on Instagram said it was their favorite dress when I wore it the first time. I’m a sucker for a compliment, and for a deal.
The belt is from Cats Like Us. I would like one of these in every color because they’re so stretchy but still form-fitting. I ate all sorts of shit and didn’t feel too constricted, so that’s a good belt. Shoes are my fave Swedish Hasbeens, which are comfortable but you do have to be careful when walking because I stepped on one pebble and almost fell down in front of a whole gaggle of people. Wood ain’t flexible, y’all. I don’t know where these earrings are from; an old coworker gave them to me like 3 jobs ago.
Also I made Zach take selfies with me because we never do that and I’m afraid the internet will think we don’t like each other or something. I hate taking selfies because I don’t do anything with my eyebrows and I’m afraid people will say mean things about them/me. I know eyebrows are a real big deal right now but I just can’t do it. I can’t bring myself to groom the hair that grows over my eyes, you guys. I can’t really say that I think beauty standards are total bullshit, as I sit here writing about dresses and shoes, but the whole “eyebrow game” is really too much for me. I’m glad for you if your eyebrows are bangin’ and make you feel good about yourself. But damn, if one more person tells me they can hook me up with their threader or whatever, I’m probably going to end up on an episode of Snapped. Nothing is wrong with your eyebrows, y’all. They’re fine. They’re supposed to be there. You’re still a beautiful princess even if you have a unibrow, or invisible brows, or shaved them shits clear off. If you are someone who comments on someone else’s eyebrows in anything but a complimentary fashion, you are not that cool of a person and should stop it.
Okay sorry, that has been weighing on me for a while. I mostly feel good about myself but I have become super insecure about EYEBROWS and that is pretty effed up to me! Also, ugh this is already so many words so I will try to make this quick, but a bunch of years ago I was bitten in the face by a rottweiler, so one of my eyebrow areas is a little janky looking. I feel sort of badass because I still have both of my eyeballs and all, but that whole thing probably contributes to my eyebrow-related insecurity. The end.
So after that happened we went to No. 246 in downtown Decatur and ate many delicious items. Please let me tell you about them.
I was worried that the restaurant was going to be full of kids because that is Decatur’s way, but it was pretty deserted and the only patrons were adults. Somehow it was still extremely loud inside, and I struggled to hear our server. Also I’m old. The chairs were uncomfortable, and I wished I’d worn a longer dress so my thighs didn’t stick to the metal seats. I always get mad at restaurants who don’t have comfortable chairs, doubly so if it’s a restaurant where you’re supposed to sit and order cocktails and be there forever.
When we arrived, Jennifer and Matt were already at a table snacking on sesame-studded bread. The bread appeared to have been brought out on a single piece of butcher paper, so there were crumbs every-fucking-where. There was one slice on the table, which Zach and I split, and no more was ever brought or offered.
For starters we ordered the fried calamari and the beef carpaccio. Before the food came out, the server returned to tell us that they were out of carpaccio for the evening. The good news was, they would be replacing it with the antipasti, at no charge. I was stoked, because the carpaccio was going to be solely Zach’s. I am not an adventurous eater and raw beef is outside of my comfort zone, but salami and cheese is right up my alley.
The calamari was tender and not at all chewy. The batter was crisp, and the few fried red peppers and onions were excellent. The antipasti, though, was a breathtaking display of olives, cheese, meat, flatbread, mustard, and pickled stuff. The listed price was $24, and while that’s steep you could definitely not replicate this cheese board for that price. I mean maybe you could try to do a budget version with Hormel and Kaukana, but at this quality you’d be struggling.
For mains, I ordered the cacio e pepe and Zach had the peachza (okay they don’t call it that but it’s a peach pizza so they clearly missed an opportunity). I’d wanted to try cacio e pepe for a while and figured 246 was a great place to start since they make the pasta in-house. The sauce was rich and flavorful but I didn’t love the pasta itself. It was too al dente for my tastes, and veered into underdone territory. I think thin spaghetti would have seemed less heavy than the bucatini, because the mouthfuls of thick pasta and sturdy sauce made for a gut-bomb. A tasty bomb! But I think it could have been better balanced. Also I am not Italian or schooled in food at all, so I know nothing.
Zach’s pizza was beautiful, and similarly good-but-flawed. I was wary of peach on pizza (of course I was! I hate everything!) but it worked well with the char of the crust and the tangy arugula. While the crust tasted great, it was also a textural disappointment. The outside was clearly darkened and close to burning, but it wasn’t particularly crispy and the cornicione was too doughy.
Jennifer ordered dessert to-go, and shared the olive oil cake with us once we got back to our place. I think it was my favorite thing of the entire evening–with macerated berries and some spiked whipped cream it was a light but satisfying finale to the meal.
If we’re ever in the mood to sit at the bar and eat meat and cheese and cake, I might suggest coming to No. 246 again. It was nice for an evening out with friends, but considering we spent $80 on pizza and pasta, I would likely opt to just make spaghetti with cheese and pepper at home.
Okay I guess I have to go now, it’s somehow afternoon and I have nothing to show for myself. I hope you’re having the best day and I’ll probably talk to you tomorrow.