childfree night

Jim and KeAnne Paint the Town Red

I occasionally get the impression that family members who live in my hometown think that we lead a very glamorous life in the bustling metropolis of Raleigh: non-stop gourmet meals, evenings at the theater or some cultural event, nights spent playing poker, high-brow book clubs, bunco, block parties, progressive dinners…the sky’s the limit.

The reality is that Jimmy and I are both lazy and hermit-like. We seldom leave the house, and if we do, there needs to be a very compelling reason to do so. We’re homebodies who like to barricade ourselves in our house and change into what we call our “comfie-cozies” as soon as we arrive home.

Last Saturday, however, Daniel spent the night with his grandparents and Jimmy and I left the house! Intentionally! Granted, it did feel a bit like the poor sod emerging from Plato’s cave, but we ventured out into society and returned mostly unscathed.

The first thing we did was brave the grocery store to do our weekly shopping, including a vigorous debate on the merits of store-brand vs name-brand hotdog buns.  We were delighted to see that the store had stocked a new type of cat litter. When you have 3 cats, you have extreme needs.


After putting the groceries away, I tackled the chaos of the toys in the kitchen.  I intended to sweep but was overwhelmed by the disaster area that is my house. I said, “screw it” and took a nap. After all, we were going out to eat, and I needed my beauty sleep.

Before dinner, we visited the Apple store at the 9th level of Hell known as Crabtree Mall to do a little transacting.  We fondled the new iPhones, and I realized the store was infested with hipsters in skinny jeans. Even the staff, including the grandmother who waited on us. Except for that one customer whose shorts were so short and tight that I almost developed a sympathy UTI. I am so not cool enough for the Apple store and felt like the embodiment of “one of these things is not like the other” – the one thing being me of course!  The brief detour to the mall, already crowded for the Saturday evening mating ritual, also reminded us that we are misanthropes at heart and to start our holiday shopping online NOW.

We ate dinner at Fleming’s. Jimmy eats there when work forces him to go to Charlotte, and he was so excited to find out there was one in Raleigh.

Flemings, Crabtree Mall, exterior

We started with drinks: a Rusty Nail for Jimmy and Vodka Collins for me.

rusty nail, vodka collins

Then we had crab cakes for an appetizer. The crab cakes could have easily been entrees and were some of the best I’ve had. Very little breading and lightly cooked, so the ingredients came through (am I on Chopped? I was one moment away to referring to its “flavor profile”)

crab cakes

For our entree, we had New Zealand lamb chops, polenta fingers, garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans. The green beans were a bit greasy, yet charred, but everything else, including the sauces were really good. I confess that I ate the rest of Jimmy’s polenta fingers.

lamb chops, polenta, potatoes and green beans

Oh and Pinot Noir to drink.

wine, pinot noir

Maybe we liked Sideways a little too much.

Dinner was really good, and it was a meal worth leaving the house for.  They have HUGE steaks at Fleming’s.  That night they debuted a 20 oz New York Strip and a 37 oz steak that they called “The Tomahawk” because it came with a huge bone in it.  We saw a few being brought out to customers, and they were ginormous!

After dinner, we drove home, feeling smug and were back in our pajamas by 9. We’re a lively bunch.

There you have it:  Jim and KeAnne’s raucous night on the town. Two stars to the grocery store. Three stars to the Apple store, and four stars to Flemings. And no one got arrested or embarrassed him or herself. I’d say it was a successful evening. God knows when we’ll do it again.