This past weekend, a large portion of my group of runnin’ buddies made a road trip to visit Jamie…one of our group that had moved to the big ole city of Atlanta (okay, Decatur…basically the same thing…Decatur is 8 miles from Atlanta). Anyway, we caravanned on over there…we had 7 of us in two vehicles. The drive was uneventful as far as weather and traffic went. I had had a Red Bull (sort of unusual for me, but I wanted to be all alert and stuff) It was actually close to 75 degrees in January! We made the decision to go on into Atlanta first and visit Trader Joe’s (we small town Alabama hicks do not have anything CLOSE to a Trader Joe’s). Once we were well stocked with Two-buck-Chuck (which has actually suffered inflation and is now Three-Buck-Chuck) we headed on down to Decatur. In case you’re wondering, “Two-Buck Chuck” is the wine label “Charles Shaw” sold exclusively at Trader Joe’s. It used to be $2/bottle and is really a nice wine…a really, really nice wine for the price, even at $3. Anyway, I digress…
Jamie and her roomie, Ann have a LOVELY townhouse that is just perfect for slumber parties. Three stories…sleeping room for 8…gorgeous kitchen…and what was an already-well-stocked bar. The visiting seven of us proceeded to unload our stuff…add to the well-stocked bar…and were handed our first Mimosas as we walked in the doors…our gracious hostess had them ready and waiting for us. It was bliss. Well, it was bliss except for some drama going back on at home…teenager-y, angst-y stuff. And how do you handle that while you are 2 ½ hours away on a girls’ weekend??? Why, you have your good friend Jamie pour you another mimosa, that’s what you do. So I did. We sat around, laughing, talking, and sipping our fine, fine drinks.
Jamie is an avid Broncos fan, so we put the game on the TV, fixed more drinks, got Jamie’s good-luck-Broncos-tobbagan out & continued to enjoy our evening. We decided we’d go for a late dinner in downtown Decatur (shut up, 9:15 is late for me). Reservations were made and the gals started primping…stopping occasionally to freshen our drinks. The decision was made (because we are RESPONSIBLE ADULTS, Y’ALL) to call a cab for our comings and goings. I heard Jamie specify that we had Nine women to transport…so of course the first cab was a sedan…who had to call for a van backup. And we’re off! I will note that even with the van, we rode with Ann’s skinny little butt balanced on my lap. A mere 2 ½ miles (and a $20 cab fare!) later…we were in downtown Decatur on a Saturday night. And it was fun. The temperature was cool but not cold, the people watching was excellent, the atmosphere of downtown Decatur kinda hipster-cool.
And then there was the goat.
The restaurant we had reservations at was called the Iberian Pig. Jamie said it was her very-most-favorite place to eat of all time. She had picked where she was living based on proximity to it. We asked Ann (who is a hard-core vegetarian) if it was any good & she said that even she could find something to eat on the menu…so after a drink at one of the pubs to kill some time, we made our way to the Iberian Pig and were seated almost immediately. The décor was dim, but pleasant, the wait staff very attentive…but almost upon entering I detected a funny smell. And by funny, I don’t mean funny/haha, I mean funny/stinky. I can’t QUIIIIIIITTTTEE describe it, but it smelled like you expected to hear animals lowing in the distance. Not exactly like a barn…but sort of like a barn. No one else said anything, so I figured it must have been my hick-like, uncultured olfactory senses. Surely a glass of wine would help? So I ordered one.
Scanning the menu, I decided just to go with one of the “platos” vs. several of the “tapas” that Jamie recommended. Getting a bunch of little dishes seemed like too much work, and I was hungry…I just wanted to get some food…I’d been through two mimosas (upon my arrival), a vodka/cranberry (during the game), a gin and tonic (at the pub). So I picked one of the house specials, Cabrito Carbonara, without reading the description. I thought, “Why not? I’ve had Chicken Carbonara a thousand times at the Macaroni Grill.” Guess what guys???? “Cabrito” means goat. Generally, I think it means a baby goat. Specifically, in this case, it means slow roasted then shredded goat. And it didn’t smell good. When they set the plate down in front of me, that almost-stable-floor odor was definitely stronger. Also, it looked like this:
I know, it’s blurry, but I was so focused on not retching that I didn’t hold my phone still enough to get a good picture. Oh, and see that thing up in the upper right? That’s not a ball of delicious mozzarella cheese. That is a poached egg… a lightly poached egg. Once it was punctured, the raw egg yolk mixed with the already-bile-colored sauce you see above to create an un-holy yellow color that you should never, ever put in your mouth…no matter what someone tells you it is. However, I did. I called the waiter over and asked exactly what was in “Cabrito Carbonara” and he replied, “Goat, Chittara pasta, Carbonara sauce and a poached egg, dumbass.” I mean, he didn’t say “dumbass,” because he was nice and professional. But I felt like a dumbass because when I snagged a menu later to check for myself, that is EXACTLY what the description said. I really had no one to blame but myself. But to cut myself some slack, the Macaroni Grill does not plunk a big ole almost-raw egg onto ANY of their dishes. I bravely twined some of the “chittera” onto my fork and ordered another glass of wine. I managed to choke down about 4 mouthfuls and had to throw in the towel, er, napkin. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying what they had ordered (because they LISTENED to our hostess, I suppose) and I did get a bite of SammiJo’s mac n’ cheese (called Manchego-something) and it was great. Not wanting to deprive my tablemates, I sent my plate around, with a “Here, everybody, y’all need to try some goat.” Everyone knew I was joking (because my end of the table had watched me suppress my gag-reflex all evening) except Annette, who whipped out her fork and stabbed the faux-mozzarella/poached egg and took a bite. And declared (Loudly), “Gah! That’s not cheese!” I felt sort of bad about that.
Following dinner, the majority of the gang was all for going to another local pub. I, on the other hand, was feeling kind of woozy. Red bull, orange juice, vodka, goat, wine and poached egg do not burp well together. There were a couple of others that were looking to make an early night of it as well…and three of us proceeded the others back to Jamie’s townhouse. I managed to get home, into my pajamas and have my makeup off before the goat made its second appearance of the night. Wasn’t any better for its trip from downtown Decatur to Jamie’s house, let me tell you. I did feel much, much better afterwards and was downright perky by the time everyone else got back. All-in-all the trip was worth it, and I enjoyed spending some time for myself with just me & my best girlfriends.
But next time, I think I’ll just stick to macaroni and cheese.