02 December 2009

Let me count the ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This, oh Poppy, is how I love thee.

I've visited your graceful halls yet once -- a memory etched lovingly on my brain (and on my tongue).

I love thee for an aperitif -- a lemon verbena drop so sweet and verdant. A marriage of citrus vodka, limoncello, and lemon verbena with a sugar rim. I love that said cocktail is quite nice by its lonesome; even nicer when paired with a pile of sensuous eggplant fries.

I love thee for the veritable smorgasbord of small-plate appetizers, had for a few dollars apiece -- kind to the stomach and the wallet. Your lightly fried mussels, ne'er too gamy, matched nicely with a piquant dill aioli. Also, the crater lake blue, onion, and bacon tart (I nudged gently around the bacon; only a few bites "accidentally" dropped down into my fork and mouth).

But it is your dessert thalis -- multiple -- for which I love thee most. Dabbles and dibs of dainty sweet treats, each brilliant in its own right. Like the hand-forged ice cream (various flavors). Or the delicate lavender meringue 'kisses'; I don't even like meringue, and yet I went back for more and more. And oh! The tart apricot bar -- similar in consistency to another local confectionery, but miles ahead in flavor and texture. Harks and heralds to your pastry chef, Dana Cree, a maestro with a mixer.

And I love thee for your whimsical onsite herb garden, the setting for your back-door patio. A quaint, homegrown touch that makes me long for late summer when the sun sits low in the sky over Seattle until past 9 o'clock. Oh!, to sip cocktails and dine on your delicacies surrounded by the heady intoxication of fresh herbs.

You are a gem, dear Poppy. A bright-orange, fiery gem. I long to be dazzled by you again soon.