Mom and I have a wonderful tradition that we are pretty good about keeping--Friday lunch out. It's very simple, but it is so wonderfully fun, we just love it. We've been to many places over the years, including some that have since gone out of business or been torn down. It really has nothing to do with the eating, although we enjoy that very much, it's just that we love to be together and we love to be away from what we do all the time.
Probably our favorite place is Haveabite Eatery in Old Town Fairfax. This is a little Greek place that is tiny (as you can see in the photo there--in fact, I don't know how they took that picture--must be with smoke and mirrors because it just is not that big), kind of plain, uses little cheesy paper maps of Greece as placemats, has these cheap red plastic apples on each table filled with sugar substitutes, and has some poor art prints on the wall of some scenes from the Greek isle of Santorini. With all this Mom and I have been there countless times. It's like a refuge from all pressures of life.
The people here are so friendly you really feel good that you know them and have seen them for years. They are really Greek (no other nationality works here but Greeks) and have all that Eastern Mediterranean charm. And the food--the food--it is off-the-charts, beyond wonderful. Let me walk you through a typical visit to Haveabite--this is fresh reporting as we just went there on Friday (April 25).
We find a park somewhere close by and enjoy our little walk through Old Town Fairfax. We love this little section of our town. We open the little door and hear a warm welcome from the owner's wife and a waiter or waitress who say, "You can sit wherever you want to." We pick a booth on either side, it doesn't matter, I think we have sat in every one of them, and before we are finished sitting down our waiter is there with menus and ready to find out what we'll have to drink. We always just get ice water and he keeps it filled perfectly throughout the meal. He hands us two menus and we do a perfuntory gaze through them. We've never ordered anything different from the first time we went there. I guess I look at the menu to make sure what I'm going to order is still on the menu. We tell the waiter we'll start with the Humus and pita. It arrives before we have even settled into reality that we are at Haveabite again. The Pita is cut in triangles and rectangles and it piping hot. After our silent blessing of gratitude, Mom and I slowly take a piece each and dip it in the humus. When the amazing, mouth-watering flavor hits our taste buds it's as if all that is good passes before our eyes, and all that is bad in life passes away. Seriously, it's that good. We always say, "This is the best humus in the world," or "I could just live on humus," or "Have you ever tasted anything so good in all your life?" We savor every bite. Oh, we have already told the waiter what we want--The Greek Gyro salad plate. We have always had our own--this time we split it. They served it to us on separate plates and I'm not sure that we got any less food--it was just wonderful. The thin sliced lamb kabob has a cucumber sauce drizzled on it. The pita is hot again. The salad is dripping in olive oil and Greek vinegar dressing and covered with feta cheese. The three or four greek olives hidden in the midst make the meal. The sliced tomatoes always are fresh. Every bite makes us want to go on another Eastern Mediterranean cruise. We start looking more closely at our paper placemats and talk about all the places we have been to in Greece. If we can stop talking about the amazing taste of the food for one minute, we'll start talking about how much we love our family or how blessed we are, or how much we love Fairfax, or how happy we are. Usually, though, we have a hard time getting beyond talking about how good each bite tastes. With every savory bite of salad we remind each other how we should use more feta cheese in our salads. We get to the end of our meal and feel just right, like this was the healthiest choice and the best decision we have ever made. This last time on Friday the waiter brought the bill and I said, "Oh, I think we'd like to share a rice pudding." "No problem," he said, and he brought it in a matter of two minutes. They make the best rice pudding in the world, served in a way that the top is very warm and the deeper you dig, the hotter it is. I don't know how they do that. Every bite makes us so happy. And through the meal we're always telling the owner or the owner's wife how good everything is. On Friday we got the bill after all that I've described and it was $17 something. Now, that is a great Friday Lunch Out.