by Brian Griffin
This town is changing. It has the swelling feeling right now of a town on the verge of something special. You just need to know where to look.
For those of us who grew up in this area, there seems to be a certain level of cynicism that has set in. Every time I drive by a new building under construction, I try to look for some sign of the business that is going to be moving in. Lately, the answer almost invariably seems to be dentist’s office. When you spend so much of your time up close to a situation, it can be like watching your lawn grow. You don’t notice much of a difference from minute to minute. You really only notice the growth when you spend a little while away.
It has always helped me to find a new perspective from which to view my surroundings. When I was a little kid, I used to sit under a table, or try to find some corner of the yard that I had never been to. As a grown man, I feel the urge to sit down under a clothing rack at Target, and by feel the urge, I mean I did just that a few weeks ago. We see the world through different lenses of assumptions. Different habitual ways of thinking and acting. We are wired to automate as much as we possibly can. It frees up resources. We advance by expanding upon the operations that we can carry out unconsciously.
Unfortunately, I think that process has created a stigma that we have to consciously overcome as residents of the Tri-Cities. In some circumstances, discovery isn’t about finding something new. It is about finding a new perspective. I can’t think of a better way to alter your perspective, if only for two hours, than a Water2Wine Cruise.
This is one of those times that I wear a suit for no reason. I wasn’t really thinking about the time sitting on the boat, and eating a meal with my shirt attached to my socks with elastic strips (like such: http://bit.ly/2DSKJh6) All I was thinking about was walking down the dock at the marina, looking like I had something important to do. It was long after sunset, which probably means that anybody at Anthony’s couldn’t really see me easily. If they did see me, I like to think the darkness made it look even more important. Perhaps menacing.
I don’t think that I had ever been out on the river after dark before. I have been along the shores countless times, but to be able to look to the north at the lights of road 68, and south to see the glow of Columbia Center felt different somehow with nothing but the hum of the engine and the water against the hull with wee dram to ward off the winter chill.
Back inside, the four courses began with an excellent curry chicken salad in a phyllo cup. I love curry. I try occasionally to sneak it into things at home, but my wife simply will not have it. But do you know what the best thing about my wife not liking curry is? Brian gets four curry chicken salad phyllo cups.
The next course followed the first nicely with a roasted potato and broccoli soup with parmesan and toasted bread crumbs. I am sitting here trying to find something interesting to say about soup, so I’ll try this. When they brought the bowls out, we were discussing whether it was a potato soup, or a broccoli soup. We asked our server what kind of soup it was, and she told us that it was both a broccoli and a potato soup. You don’t always have a discussion where everyone ends up being correct. I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, just like I scraped the bottom of the bowl to get the last drop of this delicious soup. BOOM, NEXT!
roasted potato & broccoli soup w/ parm & toasted seasoned bread crumbs
The third course was a sirloin tenderloin with whipped potatoes and chermoula sauce. I was in danger of talking about chimichurri for four articles in a row, but somebody finally branched out and gave me a damn chermoula. I have only had the sauce one other time on a shrimp flatbread at a restaurant in Seattle that was basically a front for what could only be described as robbery. Writing this just brought back a memory of paying $40 for a flatbread that I assume was stuffed with the dust of rare gemstones. I much prefer the sauce here on this steak.
seared sirloin tender w/ chermoula sauce (North African version of chimichuri)
They brought us the prosciutto stuffed sole to share as well, and it was stellar. Like a wedding, we had a choice before the meal of the steak or the fish, but the greatest benefit of running around town with a well known food critic is that when you are with Ginger, extra food has a way of showing up. I assume this is to provide the most thorough cross section of the menu, but from my standpoint, it’s like Santa Claus really did leave all of those presents under the tree.
Prosciutto Stuffed Sole w/ piccata sauce (lemon caper & butter sauce)
The final course was an outstanding pumpkin cake with caramel sauce and candied oats that was a pleasant way to wrap up the meal. We took a moment between courses and stepped out onto the bow of the ship as we passed under the Cable Bridge to turn around for the return trip. There was something about that view, from that perspective that night that changed just a little bit about the way that I look at the Tri-Cities. It gave me a strange sense of unfamiliarity with what is excruciatingly familiar. I saw my home differently somehow, like you had been trying to explain water to a fish, and suddenly, it understood. Sometimes a little bit of distance, or just seeing a bridge from the bottom side can change the way that you understand what has always been right in front of you.
Chill out man. You were just on a boat.
Water 2 Wine VIBE facts: **Get 2 for 1 Pricing on any Feb cruise excluding Valentine cruises. Must call the office for discount pricing at 509-263-1965** You can book a sight seeing cruise on dinner cruise evenings for $30. You don’t have to do the full on dinner. They’ve a full bar to order cocktails, craft beer or wine. The prices for alcohol are extremely reasonable. If you work in the hospitality industry you can get 15% off your price but you need to book your cruise by calling Jay in the office at 509-263-1965. They offer private cruises for anniversary, work parties you name it they can do it. Culinary team on the boat is top notch. 2 Chefs with over 30 years cooking experience. The food is stellar y’all! Follow Water2Wine’s Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/Water2WineCruises/
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