Up until about 3 p.m. yesterday, New Year’s Eve, Mike and I hadn’t decided on how to celebrate. I thought we’d go to the South Philly Taproom or another neighborhood haunt. But in the end we felt meh about everything we came up with, so we stayed home. And it was the best decision!
The funny part is that we did what we usually do on Friday nights, although last night was Thursday. But there was something extra special about it. You see, not only were we celebrating the new year, we had something bigger to celebrate: Mike’s new job!
The Friday night routine starts around 6. Sometimes we head out to The Bottle Shop, our neighborhood beer store, which also has a few taps and a little bar, for a beer. Then in the midst of that Mike will call to order a pizza. (Although this is my favorite version of our Friday night routine, sometimes, like last night, we don’t head to The Bottle Shop. It closed yesterday at 4 p.m.)
We like the pizza light on the bottom, so he’ll ask for that. Then we’ll finish our beers and walk to Francoluigi’s a few blocks away.
This is a great place and if you’re ever in South Philly you should go here. Here’s my Yelp review.
The front of Francoluigi’s consists of a counter and a few tables for takeout, and in the back is the High Note Cafe, a nice dining room with live entertainment. The last time we ate there a three-piece jazz band was performing. The owner is a singer, and he also cooks, so he’ll often pop in and sing a few songs wearing his white apron before heading back into the kitchen.
We don’t visit the restaurant part very often, although we should. We’re in the takeout part every week, so much that they know Mike. The guy behind the counter is a real character, and last night he crowned Mike as “Cooked Light Mike” because of his weekly request for a barely-cooked pie. Other customers who were waiting for their food chuckled too as the counter guy said, “Cooked Light Mike! You’re an icon here now!”
We left Francoluigi’s laughing our heads off as we walked into the night, pizza in hand.
The next part of our Friday night routine is we put the pizza aside for later and we each have a cocktail. Mike has a martini with blue cheese stuffed olives and he makes me whatever cocktail he can come up with.
But last night, we added something special.
When we were in Scotland, we splurged on some really good scotch. We learned so much about scotch over there and I really fell in love with it. We decided to taste it when Mike found a new job, though, so the scotch sat on Mike’s dresser for more than three months. I’d look at it every day and wonder when we’d actually get to try it.
Well, this week Mike secured a brand new job, which means it was scotch time! (It’s funny that in Scotland it’s called “whisky,” but in the U.S. it’s called scotch to differentiate it from American-made whiskey, which we call bourbon.)
Anyway, in Scotland we bought a box consisting of a 12-year Glenkinchie, a 14-year Oban and a 15-year Dalwhinnie, all single malts. We learned the proper technique for tasting and how the character can change to much by adding just three drops of water.
We brought out the whiskey glasses and tried each, one by one. It was so much fun! It felt wonderful to finally try them.
After that, we turn on the oven and have another drink while it heats up. We choose the pieces of pizza we want to eat, and Mike adds some blue cheese from his martini prep and five minutes later the pizza is ready. (That’s why we ask for it light on the bottom, because we don’t eat it right away and recook it!)
By that time we have settled upon something to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime or On Demand. Last night we discovered “Master of None,” a Netflix series starring Aziz Ansari, and it was so hilarious we actually laughed out loud for a few hours. I’d describe it as a combination of “Girls” and “Sex and the City,” but with men as the main characters, and a little “Seinfeld,” maybe. Go watch it!
As midnight approached, we retired to the boudoir with a bottle of champagne and watched the fireworks from the window. It was truly perfect.
If someone were to ask me to describe my ideal last night on earth, it would be this Friday night routine. I really love nothing more than hanging out at home with Mike and the pets along with some good food and drinks.
It’s the little things, you know?
I was going to make some New Year’s resolutions, but I really have just one: To have gratitude for the magical moments in life, even if they’re just routine nights at home with a pizza and Netflix.
The other thing we decided to hold off on, in addition to trying the whiskey, was buying a cat tree. So, I’m off to order one from Amazon…
How did you celebrate the new year?