I do not take well to being hungry, especially when the source of my next meal is unknown. Consider yourself warned. And woe betide those, such as Nicho, who choose to test me.

This story takes place on a crisp, sunny Halloween morning. The evening before had been spent at the home of lovely Kate, whooping it up at her second annual “catastrophic success” cocktail party. I’d gone over early to provide costume consultation and get a head start on the (yes, post-season) gin and tonic. Kate, eager to wear a 1970s getup she’d found at a thrift shop, successfully morphed into a
(half-)Chinese cowgirl with the addition of a hat and boots.

I transformed into my alter ego, a poofy-skirted French maid, and got to work with my feather duster.

Together we set a very festive table with cheese, grapes, and bloody rubber hands, and Kate hung her traditional “mistletoe” (a plastic severed foot with holly branches and red ribbon) over the bedroom doorway. The guests arrived in full regalia, among them a few nuns, a priest with lipstick marks on his cheeks, a hideously fake-sunburned tourist, a one-night stand, a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, a meat market, and even Uncle Sam. Todd came as lean, mean boxing champ “T-Bone,” and Margot played his manager, complete with cigar, driving cap, and hairy chest. Nicho stayed closer to home as an arborist, lugging a very heavy chainsaw and smelling of pine. I dusted; I drank; I fortified myself with cheese. We schmoozed; we reveled.

All this to say that the next morning I was rather hungry, as is only fitting. We decided to grab a bite to eat and then go for a walk in Discovery Park to soak up the picture-perfect fall day. I steered Nicho toward Fremont and the Longshoreman’s Daughter, home of dark and nutty blueberry-buckwheat pancakes. But there were massive crowds outside, and Nicho suggested that we “just drive around and find someplace” to eat. He pointed the car haphazardly in the direction of Ballard and told me to “be adventurous.” We quickly sped away from Fremont and into industrial no man’s land. I was ravenous, and I quietly fumed as we drove by more brunch spots with hordes outside. I tried to protest, grew hungrier, and fumed more aggressively, but he wouldn’t take any of my suggestions. Now, I know what I’m talking about when I make a dining proposal; one should not, under any circumstances, drive around aimlessly and wave off advice while my stomach loudly grumbles from the passenger seat.

I finally succeeded in steering him to Café Besalu, but he didn’t want to wait in line and, by this point, was feeling lunch-ish. We wound up crossing the street to QFC for picnic supplies. Admittedly, a picnic should have sounded like fun, but I was far beyond feeling easygoing and adventurous and instead moped silently next to the refrigerator case of deli salads. Bravely taking charge of the situation, Nicho chose an Essential Baking Company seeded baguette and picked out some highly questionable day-glo orange smoked cheese. Armed with these and some fruit (including the first of winter’s citruses, a box of Satsuma mandarins), we headed out to Discovery Park.

It was absolutely gorgeous, and we picnicked under a cloudless blue sky. I stealthily avoided the calamity cheese, but he didn’t seem to notice, and anyway, there’s no need for loud mean-spiritedness, especially given that I’d been too grumpy at QFC to be of any cheese-choosing help. The air was cold and smelled like fall, a delicious contrast to the warm sun on my face, and we walked down to the beach and let Index romp illegally on the sand. I calmed down and even felt cheerful and appreciative. I was secretly proud of myself. But Nicho learned his lesson: no one—but no one—escapes the wrath of my hunger.

Halloween drew to a close with a very satisfying reconciliation dinner of lamb sausages and cold beer. [Oh lamb sausage, I’d eat sleep breathe nothing but you, but I’m afraid I’d ooze grease and outgrow my fishnets. Maybe this blog should have been called “Sausagette”?] By way of accompaniment, we roasted acorn squash and red peppers, sautéed red onions, and made a big salad of farmers’ market lettuces and shaved fennel. We then watched The Shining, which Nicho had never seen before. He was terrified and tense and spent the majority of the movie clinging to my side, reminding me that he’s “not a horror-movie person.” I patted his hand reassuringly. Adventurous indeed.