February 12, 2009 | 1:23pm
When faced with a drinking column that pops up every other week, what does one do when the infamous flu rears its ugly head? In my case, I made the required couch bed and slept for approximately three days. I also watched two unfortunate episodes of WifeSwap in there somewhere...which will make anyone want to hug a bottle of liquor.
But my body wasn't having it. So I decided to head to my "home bar" with my girls for some needed nourishment and camaraderie. It's a place where girl drinks aren't the norm, the Mavs are on a big screen and the bartenders know me and what I like--both alcoholic and non.
That's right, folks, this girl drink thing is
a bit of a research project for me (I'm a vodka/tonic or beer or even Diet Coke gal on most occasions), and this week I was needing some familiarity. Some comfort. Something that did not have a Valentine's-related moniker or anything to do with pomegranate and pineapple.
So we went to Lakewood Landing
. The sign reads "An Upscale Dive" and it is. It's got tattered booths and nice TVs. It's got a worn game of Yahtzee and a dazzling jukebox
. And it was the only place in hell I'd go when duty and deadline called and when I felt as bad as I did...one reason being the lighting is such that my dark circles and lack of make-up wouldn't stand out.
Another reason is the staff.
"You broads ready to order or what?" Now that's what I'm talking about. None of the creepy graphic-printed button-ups of an ultra douche lounge or the pastel uniforms of an upscale restaurant. Just Cullen and Slim in regular duds offering random high-fives, good banter and refills before I open my maw.
Jen, Jessica and surprise guests (but fellow Landing regulars) Cami and Jeff went for Miller Lite or Bud Light while Chelsea and I went with carbonation straight from the fountain gun. Yep. As far as I'm concerned this is Girl Drink Drunk: Sober Edition. We also dove straight into the menu.
Chelsea, an open lover of all things meaty, changed her tune and opted for veggie quesadillas. I didn't have any, but when someone who organizes monthly meat-eating lunches tells you a veggie quesadilla is good, I'm going to believe them. The grilled cheese (which comes with onions and tomatoes) did Jessica right. The bread was perfectly toasty and the cheese gooey as it should be. It's a favorite of mine, but this time, after fever and ick, I wanted the protein of a good old-fashioned burger. And Landing kitchen guru Diego answered my call. My provolone-topped burger was loaded with pickles, onions, tomatoes and lettuce, mayo and mustard...and he even sliced it in half for me. What a doll. Jen ordered up bare buffalo wings with extra spicy sauce on the side and polished them off for the first time that I can remember. Must have been a good night for the wing.
Now we had great conversation and excellent bar cuisine, but after dinner, things got really interesting. A couple of beers in and the weather sirens
went off...and so did the electricity. Such is life in Old East Dallas. But while patrons sat in a sudden absence of light (save the red table candles) and music, the Landing crew jumped to attention, hanging camp lanterns about and hooking up a generator. First thing connected? The jukebox. Atmosphere is a priority. Slim teased two guys who continued to stare at the TV despite there being no picture (true Mavs fans, apparently) and continued on his round of the room, business as usual. The register and card machine were hooked back up and no one was left digging for change to pay their tab. While others stayed on through the night, we left with kind bids of "Be careful!" and "Get home before the storm!"
Girl drinks are fun, but when you feel like roadkill twice removed and the weather's feeling even worse, it's not about froth and fruit garnish. It's about a cold beer (or Diet Coke), a full stomach and never letting the music stop. There's no better place than your home...bar.