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Date Night #3 - The Boys, The Girls, and Little Women



Saturday night was what date night veterans refer to as a "triple-triple." We had three couples and three venues. Novice daters might be daunted to pull off such an ambitious undertaking, but we've been doing this for a long time, and it was a piece of cake for the six of us (or pie, in this case)!

Let's start by introducing the cast of characters...


The Boys

Scott & Dennis: St John

Scott and Dennis were the first friends we made (outside of work) after moving to Chicago in 2002. It would probably be more accurate to say they friended us! It all started when we were checking in at an aptly-named restaurant called Karma, and Scott came up from behind, stepped in between us, put his arms around our shoulders, and said "Hello, Boys!" The rest is history. We became instant friends, and our lives have been intertwined both personally and professionally ever since. Talk about Karma!


The Girls

Nadia & Jo: St John

Nadia and Joanne entered our lives in 2006, shortly after they moved in next door. We never really got to know the previous neighbors (or any of our other neighbors, for that matter), and we decided we would bring over a little gift basket to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the neighborhood. We had no idea who had bought the house, but were hopeful we could become friends, or at least friend-ly with the new neighbors. When we brought the basket by, Nadia opened the door and we immediately knew we liked her. She had an aura about her that was bright, friendly, compassionate, and engaging. After chatting for a bit, she called for "Joe" to come meet the neighbors. We braced ourselves momentarily, as you never know what to expect when meeting the husband (some guys aren't so accepting of living next door to a couple of gays), and were absolutely floored when Joanne stepped into the doorway. Our new neighbors were a same-sex couple, too!!! Joanne was equally as bright, friendly, and vivacious as Nadia, and we had no doubt that we would become the best of friends. What were the odds...especially in one of the few conservative suburbs of Chicago!? Fate clearly brought us together!


Fast forward to 2020 - after years of the six of us getting together for date nights, backyard barbecues, pink parties, holiday events, birthday celebrations, weddings, domestic/international travel, and more, we planned a three-part evening for Date Night #3: 1) have dinner at Wildfire, 2) watch "Little Women" at a nearby theater, and 3) have Scott H's home-made pie for dessert at The Girls' house.


Part 1: Dinner at Wildfire.

With the movie starting at 6:30 pm, we had to make very early reservations at Wildfire. It was 4:45 pm when we arrived, and the place was almost empty! We even beat the blue-hairs! One perk of arriving so early was that we had the pick of the parking lot, which was nice given the icy and snowy weather. The Boys (including us) had all eaten late breakfasts and/or light lunches, so we were ready for the early meal. The Girls, however, had a relatively late lunch, and were looking for lighter fare. Fortunately, Wildfire has a great menu, and there was something for everybody.


It turns out Saturday is Beef Wellington night, and that caught the attention of three of the four Boys. In fact, David and I reminisced about how we used to pick up heart-shaped beef wellingtons at AJ's Fine Foods for Valentine's Day when we lived in Cave Creek. We remember those days fondly, and it was the perfect nostalgic choice for Date Night #3! Dennis eyed the Prime Rib, while The Girls opted for the Steakhouse Salad and the Greek Salad. Here's the verdict on each of our dishes:

  • Chicken Tortilla Soup: Delicious! Three thumbs up! (not all from the same person... that would be unusual... our friends each have the expected number of limbs and digits)

  • Shrimp and Crab Bisque: Also Delicious! It leaned slightly more towards a chowder than a bisque, but scrumptious nonetheless!

  • Greek Salad: It seemed to be a winner... at least there was a fair amount of raving about how creamy the feta cheese was.

  • Steakhouse Salad: This is always a good choice for a light meal, and the filet that topped Joanne's salad was prepared to a perfect medium rare.

  • Beef Wellington: Another three thumbs up, in spite of their soggy bottoms (referring to the wellingtons, not the diners)!

  • Prime Rib: We missed the official review on this one, but it looked fabulous and Dennis seemed to savor every last bite!

While we were enjoying our fabulous meals, the topic of conversation ran the gamut - from what we did over the holidays, to what we're watching (or can't wait to watch) on Netflix, to which Star Wars movies we have or haven't seen, to the virtues of Disney Plus, to why Verizon is screwing some of us over and not others, to flashbacks about our various trips together to St John and Mexico, to a plethora of other topics too numerous to mention. We had a particularly riveting conversation about the use of the pronoun 'they' for non-binary gendered individuals and why we should be supporting our LGBTQ brethren's cause (wait... maybe "brethren" isn't quite the right word...), but will likely end up being the curmudgeons who just can't roll with the times because we can't get past the grammar confusion! We stayed away from politics, because (sigh), we just need a break from what's happening in our country right now.


Next thing we knew, it was time to get moving so we could make it to Part 2 of Date Night!


Part 2: Little Women

Patriot Pics / Backgrid

We had lucked out getting tickets to the movie - not because it was sold out, but because there were literally no showings. Until a few days prior, Little Women was listed as 'no showtimes announced,' and we had already been contemplating other options like 1917 and Knives Out. But The Girls remained persistent, and the listing suddenly appeared late in the week. We were all excited when they announced they got the tickets, but perhaps we should have taken it as a sign that maybe this movie wasn't quite right for us...


Make no mistake, Little Women is a wonderful novel, and a legitimate classic. Louisa May Alcott was a gifted author, a formidable woman, and a true pioneer of women's rights. Her words and actions inspired not only the women of her time, but those of generations to come. That said, this particular interpretation of her novel is not what we hoped it would be (yes... I know we are most certainly in the minority on this, but honesty is the best policy).


While the performances are all top notch, the movie itself is somewhat tedious to follow because of the way it jumps back and forth between two timelines. In doing so, the character development takes much longer than it should, and the viewer is endlessly distracted trying to decipher which timeline is taking place every time there's a scene change. There is something to be said for a classic tale that eases into its beginning, swells as the story-line progresses, and climaxes with an emotional finale. This movie eventually pulls all the elements together as the timelines converge toward the end, and there are certainly some gripping moments as it does so, but it struggles to capture the imagination and attention of its audience until it's way too far down the path.


The original novel has captured the hearts and minds of young women around the world for generations, even as the world has evolved around it. The movie, however, didn't seem to have quite the same effect. There was a group of girls in the theater (perhaps early- to mid-teens) who were so bored that they stood up half way through, and had a rather loud debate about whether or not they should stay through the end of it. They ultimately decided to endure, much to the chagrin of the rest of us. This, along with their waves of chatter throughout the movie, irked some of the audience members to the point where an older woman confronted the girls afterwards and then complained to the theater staff. Truth be told, it was actually the most entertaining part of the theater experience!


Scott H summed the movie up very simply, right when it ended, by proclaiming: "Riveting. Just riveting". Read it again, out loud, with a hint of sarcasm and a slight linger on the 'r' to get the full effect. "Rrriveting" immediately became the word of the night - along with "moist", but that's a whole different story... :-)


Part 3: Did Someone Say Pie?

We ended the evening where we often do, sitting around the island in The Girls' kitchen, where we sipped cocktails (or LaCroix for some of us), recounted our amazing meal and the 'rrriveting' movie that followed, and laughed about the drama that unfolded afterwards between the angry old woman and the confounded young girls.

We also enjoyed a sensational lemon meringue pie, courtesy of Scott H, who baked it for this very occasion. Cooking is one of his many talents, and he did not disappoint! He was a little dismayed by the golden droplets that had formed on top of the meringue as it chilled in the refrigerator while we were out (look closely at the picture), and after some creative speculation about what those drops possibly could be, we all dug in and devoured not one, but two pieces each (well... most of us did, anyway)! Thanks Scott! It was delish!!!


With that, we decided to call it a night. A fun time was had by all, and we look forward to doing it again! And we most certainly will! Thanks to Nadia, Joanne, Scott, and Dennis for making our Date Night #3 a night to remember!

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