Date Day Saturday

In a previous post, Redefining Date Night, I mentioned that because Mr. R. and I are economizing these days, Date Night is a bit harder to come by.  We’ve become somewhat more creative but I’ve gotta be honest with you–I’m not really a ‘Pull-A-Slip-Out-Of-A-Hat-Date-Night’ kind of girl.  And so it is that Mr. R. and I took advantage of an opportunity to visit our local art museum for free over the weekend.

Last Saturday, Smithsonian magazine sponsored a nation-wide event whereby you could go online to sign up for a free ticket for two that would be honored by participating museums, zoos, and other places.

From several options, we chose the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach.  I had actually been there previously, but only on field trips with my first graders where I had to be responsible for preventing the little cretins from putting their grubby paws on the thousand-year-old Chinese screen.  So I was excited to be able to go and just enjoy the place.  And we did enjoy ourselves.

My art museum experience is somewhat limited and so I can only compare it with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. or the Musee D’Orsee in Paris, but for a fairly small museum , I think they have a nice collection.  We saw paintings by Matisse, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollack.  They also had a special show called Wheels and Heels, featuring vintage Matchbox cars and Barbies.

One of the highlights of a visit to the Norton is the oval room housing the colorful glass ‘undersea’ ceiling by Dale Chihuly.  The outer portion of the curved wall is all windows surrounded by the fountains fronting the museum so the place is a riot of light and color.  When school groups visit, the children are encouraged to lie on the floor and look up at the ceiling.  We contented ourselves with sitting on a pair of mid-century leather chairs, leaning back to view the display.

We made our way to the second floor housing their Chinese collection and marveled at items such as bowls, decorative accessories, and statuary, some of which were up to 3,000 years old.  Mr. R., ever the entertainer, saw this Ming dynasty miniature of a table set with food and quipped, “Look!  The first ever Chinese buffet.”

Funny thing about the Norton Museum of Art.  It’s really just around the corner from one of our favorite places to hang out, Bar Louie on Clematis Street.  So after our artsy fartsy afternoon, we found ourselves a table on the sidewalk at Bar Louie.  Again, we’re economizing, so we stuck with drinks (Diet Coke for Mr. R. and Louie’s Cosmo for me) and a snack.

I love Bar Louie.  They have a great Happy Hour.  And we’ve always had superb service.  But…it was not Happy Hour.  And…we did not have the best service on the planet.

I’m thinking it’s probably because our server realized that we weren’t ordering a huge meal and figured she didn’t stand to get much of a tip.  Don’t misunderstand, she was pleasant enough, but to call her inattentive is an understatement.  It wasn’t busy, being around 3:30 in the afternoon, so it isn’t as if she was swamped with tables.  The thing is, we’re pretty good tippers, Mr. R. and I, and we love to reward good service, regardless of the amount of our ticket.  Once upon a time, he was a server, so we’re very appreciative of how hard they work.

We ended up only having our drinks and we shared the Smoked Turkey Sliders, which were amazingly delicious, by the way.  But I’m a little sad.  We won’t be going out like we used to, so I’m looking for a stellar experience when we do.  I can’t wait for the next time.

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