Sunday, January 18, 2015

You gonna eat that pickle?

 My great friend Lynda Ruble and I were at The Rathskeller for dinner Friday night. It was the last night of the Young Actors Theatre production of “Judgment: Beauty & the Beast.”
The plays are performed, mostly, at The Athenaeum, built in the late 1800s as the German Club in Indy. The Rathskeller is part of the historic offerings within the building and it’s routinely voted the best German restaurant in town. There are dozens of German beers on tap – stuff I can’t pronounce and you have to kind of chew rather than drink.
Lynda is German, so it made sense that we spend some time there after I dropped Ali off early so she could catch a prior show before her own call time.
We were seated in a section of the place I’d never been. It’s a corner left of the bar and reception area. If it’s changed since 1890, I’d be surprised. It’s really a throwback kind of place but they’re nice enough people that they’ll let Lynda and our friend Amy drink there even though they only drink Miller Lite. I’m pretty sure the staff makes fun of them for that, but they don’t care.
Lynda does, however, appreciate German food. Her mom is a crazy good cook, and there aren’t many places that Lynda would say are good or (gasp!) better than Gretchen’s cooking.
We decided to share a dinner portion (they’re enormous) of something called “rouladen.”  It features a pickle with onions and bacon nestled inside layers of tender beef.  Would I have come up with this recipe? No. But Lynda assured me that Gretchen’s was wonderful.

Transferring one of the little meat bundles to Lynda’s plate was easy.  But when I went to cut a portion of my portion, it flew right off my plate and splashed down at my feet.
Did I forget to mention it’s got gravy ladled over it?  And it’s slippery?  Oh, and it’s hot.
While Lynda was gasping for air laughing at me, I bent down, stealthy like a fox, to retrieve the meat. I wasn’t prepared for the heat.  I think I hit my head on the table when I flinched.
My fork couldn’t penetrate the thing, which was spreading into a puddle under the table. I dove back under there and grabbed it with my bare hand while Lynda sat there half horrified and half hysterical.
And yes. I invoked the five-second rule. They’re German. They keep clean floors, ya?
Even off the floor, the thing was really good. I recommend it. But make sure you have a secure grip before you try to carve off a bite.
We met Amy and Jenna upstairs, enjoyed the play and made it home without further incident. The way I look at it, if they can excuse Miller beer drinkers in the German Club, they’ll overlook a little culinary clumsiness.
In other news, our team brought home the Christ the King Trivia Night trophy and is bragging already about the three-peat they see coming next year.
I say “we” even though I wasn’t actually on the team this year. The evening is a fundraiser for the 8th grade trip to Washington DC, and it seemed only right that I offer my services to work. 
And, my vacant seat made room for our ringer, my friend Chris Austin. The last time he sat in for me was the other time the team had won the night.  The five or so other times we competed, we failed to win. Yeah. Even I can do that math.
I’m pretty sure Jeff is going to poison me the night before next year’s trivia night. If he doesn’t get me, one of the others will. I can’t say as I’d blame them.
For now, it’s time to start rummaging through the fridge to see what we have for football fare. It’s a Colts-Patriots beat down. Jeff will cheer for the Colts even though he grew up in New England.
If you need anyone in Indianapolis today, you’d better call early. The town’s about shut down for the game. Go Horse! (Sorry TeamReed Maine.)

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