An inauspicious first date

It was Friday night and the music boomed throughout the restaurant. Boom, ba, ba, boom, ba, ba, boom. The restaurant manager had the lights down low and the place was packed with people, with everyone seeming to be shouting to the person next to them. I could barely hear myself think, forget about hear my date sitting across the small table from me talk about her day. 

I fumed to myself. I kept having to ask her to repeat what she said. I would hear half of what she was saying and try to fake the rest, laughing or smiling in the correct spots. I was sure that I was failing miserably in making a good impression.  

To add insult to injury, I was finding little of anything that interested me on the menu and, what was there, looked like it was going to cost an arm and a leg. When the snooty waitress finally stopped by our table, my date chose the special, a Chicken Pot Pie dish, and a Coors Light. I couldn’t find anything better so I ordered the same meal. 

“Real creative, Brian,” I thought to myself. I was trying to make a good impression and everything seemed to be working against me.

Hello, how are you

My date and I had been talking on the phone for weeks before I made the trip to Alexandria, Virginia, to visit. When I got into town, we chatted briefly before heading out to the expensive restaurant with the funny name—Bistro, Bistro—that a friend had recommended to her. 

We were both nervous, but excited to be talking in person. When the waitress brought our food, I gulped down the first bite. I had to be at work before the crack of dawn earlier that day and had little to eat. My excitement soon vanished. The bite tasted horrible, nothing like the Chicken Pot Pie I had grown up with and had eaten thousands of times in my Central Pennsylvania hometown, but I didn’t want to make a scene and come across as rude. I tried to act like nothing was wrong.

We may have ordered another round of beers, but I can’t recall. I ate what I could and we were soon asking for our check. We were both glad to get out of the crowded restaurant, nobody more than me. We drove around the city the rest of the night. We didn’t have anywhere to go, we just wanted to chat and see Alexandria, Washington, D.C. and the monuments lit up at night.

Old friends

With us now alone in the car and later back at her apartment, my date and I could talk without any obstacles. We chatted about our jobs, our families, our friends, and even our hopes and dreams. She talked and then I talked. I listened and then she listened. We talked like old friends.

After about a two hours, my date came clean: “I’m not sure about you, but that dinner tasted horrible.”

“Mine too, the worst thing I ever had,” I said.

I worried about the impression I was making, but I must have been doing something right. We went on another date and another and another, and a year later, I proposed and my date became my wife. We went on that first date more than 29 years ago and will celebrate our anniversary later this month. Since our inauspicious first date, we’ve faced our share of challenges, our share of ups and downs, and even our share of fights.

If we have any secret sauce to our longevity, it’s that we talk. We fight through the noise, listen with an open heart, and talk like old friends. And oh yea, we avoid the Chicken Pot Pie. 

We weren’t a fan of the Bistro, Bistro’s Chicken Pot Pie, but another Chicken dish has become one of our go-to family dinners: Cream Cheese Chicken Croissants. Check it out. 

Cream Cheese Chicken Croissant Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup baked or cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 pack ready-made chilled croissants pastry pack
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees or 180 C.
  2. Mix cream cheese and butter in a bowl, until blended. Add milk slowly and mix until smooth.
  3.  Add in shredded chicken (and diced green onions and green bell pepper if you so desire), salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Lightly flour kitchen top surface and carefully unroll the prepared croissant pastries. 
  4. Arrange it to 4 rectangles or squares and pinch together the seams, if the croissants are precut to triangles. Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture in the center of each croissant rectangle, bring corners together and twist and pinch to close.
  5.  Brush the pastry over with a little milk using a pastry brush. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.

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