“This is ridiculous,” I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t be sitting here waiting for him!”
He was perennially late when we dated, though never so late that I did not have time to make him wait while I finished my makeup and fussed over my outfit. I knew he had not changed since we split, as he had told me as much.
I wanted to be mad at him, but I wasn’t. I was too busy glancing up from the coffee and the menu at Jama, covering my stakeout. I would NOT surrender. I would wait until late had moved on to “not coming.”
Your Hungry Bunny is sometimes all too happy to say “yes” to the right man or the right meal (or both). In this case it was Gregory, whose friendship was a lot less stressful for me than his more romantic efforts when we finally called it quits.
That was a few years ago, but we stayed close as we always seemed to be eating the same things in the same places, except… not together anymore. Nevertheless, we always had something to talk about in our food-centered email.
Then, his surprise phone call. Apparently, he was visiting Prague. “Are you free this week?” he asked. “I am driving in from Kiev on Wednesday night and was thinking we could meet for a little dinner before I leave on Saturday.”
“Sure!” I said, knowing his food tastes were almost on par with my own and his old-school English charm would mean a free meal for moi.
“Well then," he said, almost surprised. “Let’s meet at 1pm at that great restaurant in Nové Město, off Národní třída on Ostrovní."
“Oh, I am so looking forward to this!” your Hungry Bunny exclaimed. “It’s a date!”
“Indeed, then, it is!” he said. “I’ll see you there!”
And so he hung up, and every meal I had eaten there came back to me. Except for one small detail… did he mean Ultramarine, where we had a few good bottles of wine and a dinner that didn’t kill the rent for a month?
Maybe he meant Ristorante Adriatico, whose amazing dinner menu had wowed me (three times). He was in disbelief when I had told him that pork belly and melon was not only delicious but one of my faves among their Italian-influenced creations.
Or… could he mean Jama, the place whose ribs he described so well that I had gorged myself the next day and every other week or so since? The palace of ultra-tender and delicious bones with meat sliding off them (fiery or savory) and into a decidedly carnivorous Hungry Bunny’s waiting maw?
Another small detail nagged at me as I considered how to meet him. Calling was, of course, out of the question except in the direst circumstances. To cave in and say I had been too excited to pin down the details would be… unbunny. But he had also failed to mention the day of our little get-together.
There was no satisfactory solution aside from waiting for him to call. But Gregory calls once, then does not call again, even before he arrives. I sighed and dialed him back. Instant voicemail.
“You have reached Gregory. I am out on vacation until the 23rd. Please leave me a message and I will respond when I return. If you need help with your account immediately, please call my associate at…”
Rats. His cell phone had also apparently changed, as the woman who answered in Russian was definitely not aware of any Gregory. But as I considered the three places, I knew that blowing it all off would be a wasted opportunity, at least food-wise.
Thursday found me arriving at 12:30, snagging a chair at the window and scanning the street as I sipped coffee. By 2pm I was well past his lateness window. I snacked on some chicken wings and cheese dip before sheepishly heading home.
The next day I settled into a comfy chair in Ultramarine by the door and decided a little wine would be best to settle my nerves. They were still jangling when I caved in and went home, but it was a nice little tipple nonetheless.
Ribs occupied my mind as I waited for the third day straight. Who was I kidding? This is what I want, and since he obviously stood me up, then I will just have to buy myself a plate.
“Hello, luv!” he said as I looked for the waiter and found him instead. “You must be psychic. I could have sworn this morning I forgot to tell you the date and the restaurant.”
“Ribs?” I asked.
Jáma Steakhouse, Ostrovní 1447/26 110 00 Praha-New Town222 542 823, www.jamasteak.cz