Q is for Quiet
Quilled by Bonnie
Q is for Quiet, and if you are a follower of End of the Line dining, that’s all you’ve heard from us lately. Quiet. Whispers from the ghost rails. This is the first post of 2017, and the year is nearly over. But while we may have slowed and quieted in this area, it’s all sparks and fire in others. From books coming out to making partner, we’ve been whipping up our own quiet storms in our professional lives this year.
Tania and I live on an eerie parallel with each other. We were born exactly three days apart in 1980 on opposite sides of the country, and then placed together in the same dorm room our freshman year of college. Since the parallel bent, and we crashed into each other’s lives, we’ve continued to operate on the same wavelength. Crossing major milestones at the same time. And 2017 was a mega year for both of us. In June, Tania was made partner at her firm, and in that same month, my first novel came out into the world. Who knows what will align next?
Last Sunday, we battled the beast of our schedules, and finally met up for a ride on the rails. It’s been so long since we’ve done this, that there’s even a new line! The Second Avenue Q. The MTA is building new tracks faster than we can complete the system! We needed to break inertia in a serious way, but also in a quick way, so we looked for a ride we’ve dubbed one of the “easy ones.” AKA: Not two and a half hours into the Bronx. We had to break ourselves back in easy.
After a brunch meeting in Williamsburg (the details of which I still have to remain Quiet about, but stay tuned!), I scooped up Tania at her apartment to head on out. She was eating soup when I arrived. Both of us off to a good start here, right? Eating BEFORE our dining adventure? We’re a little out of practice, I guess, but we are nothing if not good eaters, so we knew there would be space for more.
The Q from Union Square is just a hop, skip and a jump up Second Avenue to the Upper East Side, a neighborhood which Tania admitted to me is her least favorite in Manhattan. I’ve always kind of thought of it as a place I would never be able to live, but I have never had strong feelings about it one way or another. Only that it used to be difficult to get to before this new train line!
The new station is very clean and spacious. The walls of the train stations are much like skin, abused by smoke and dirt and time. This one will inevitably break down into something more familiar. Scars to reflect years. There’s comfort in this.
Right out of the train, we saw a restaurant with a red awning that promised artisanal wine, and thought since we had both eaten, perhaps a drink and a snack was more our speed. It seemed fancy-ish, with chandeliers, gold detailing, and a dark and moody vibe. We took a walk around the block for good measure, to see if something else caught our attention. Our observation of the block is there are many hospitals and massive housing complexes, and definitely the quiet that fits the theme of our trip.
We almost went here:
But circled back and went with our first instinct. Vinus and Marc. Tania also didn’t like the name, but that didn’t stop us.
We arrived in that weird Twilight Zone hour that is post-brunch, pre-dinner service. When I used to wait tables and got stuck working brunch, I kind of liked this hour when things slowed down, and the menu shrunk, and the light started to fade. It is the hour for side work between services, and that is usually accompanied with we-made-it-through-brunch drinks. But as a diner, you kind of get forgotten about since you’re right in the changeover. Nonetheless, our server was very nice, and she let us order snacks from the bar menu even when the kitchen got prickly about that since it was still technically brunch menu time.
Vinus and Marc is more southern comfort food than artisanal wine bar, and they have a brunch special where for $30, you can get an entrée and two drink PITCHERS. This is the equivalent of SIX DRINKS. We thought better of that and settled on fried pickles and guacamole. Tania ordered a tempranillo (at the server’s suggestion) and I got one of their $5 Mason Jar Cocktails, The High Bush: gin, blueberry syrup, cardamom syrup, lemon juice, splash of soda. I’m usually drawn to a gin cocktail on the menu, and the cardamom syrup sealed the deal. That’s one of my favorite flavors.
Everything was salty-satisfying, and we sunk into our dark little corner, and chatted about all the things we needed to: our lives, our loves, our plans.
Why is it so hard to find a day? Tania asked me. When did that happen? That is such a good question. Is it a sign of age that your free time seems to shrink? I think I used to work even more hours than I do now, but always found it easy to make a plan with my friends. We don’t even have children yet! Tania and I concluded that we both just value our downtime more than we used to. It used to be full throttle all the time, but now I need my quiet nights at home, nights with my sweetie, and thereby the days and nights have shrunk.
Really, there is just a new prioritization, or the need to prioritize in our lives, and the need to make sure there is a place for quiet time, but also a place the projects of our hearts. So, here is one: a quiet little post from a quiet Sunday afternoon, with noise bubbling under the surface. If we ever find our way back to the Upper East Side for brunch, maybe we’ll say screw it and drink the two pitchers each, and forget about responsibility and time. That’s still very much alive in us, even if we’re quieter about it.