south beach: talula.

5:30AM. While some really inconsiderate people fuck in the pool directly outside my window, I'm left to consider (among other things) a rather remarkably uncool moment I had at the bar at Talula last night:


Female Bartender: So, can I get you guys something else?
Me: No, thanks...we're kinda ready to crash out.
Mara: (actually crashing out)
Female Bartender: Okay, well I hope we see you again!
Me: Oh, we'll definitely be back...we'll probably be here on Sunday for 25%-off wine night.
Record Player: (needle skipping off)
Rest of Restaurant: (stops eating and talking)
Mara: (ears perk up)
Me: Hmmm.
Mara: Niiiiiice.
Female Bartender: Well.....
Rest of Restaurant: (waits patiently)
Female Bartender: ...that's a good time to get a really nice bottle. That's what I do.
Record Player: (resumes playing)
Rest of Restaurant: (shakes head, returns to meal)


Or something like that. I think I was especially sensitized to the un-hotness of this comment because Mara and I have both been reading Neil Strauss's offensive caveman scientist pickup bible The Game, and I'm sure there's a term for what I did: saying something so obviously inimical to closing a set that you might as well have shat on the bar or puked in your drink.

Actually under the right circumstances I'm sure that either (or both) of those two approaches would be more effective than the 25%-off wine comment. Needless to say I really didn't mean for it to come out like that, and I didn't even realize how it sounded until the bartender desperately tried to cover for me (which I thought was sweet). What can I make?* I'm operating a human body under the influence of a serious sleep deficit. But, you know....they do have a 25%-off wine night--you should be allowed to mention it at the restaurant without feeling like a cheap bastard. I guess my date was just so hot that the bartender was hoping that I'd overcome my obvious physical obstacles and get it on some recipe.*

But enough about my lack of game: Talula, let me just say, was excellent in just about every way except for the fact that we almost didn't go there because their website makes both the food and the inside of the restaurant look incredibly unattractive. We'd heard so many good things about the place that we went in spite of the impression given by the website...the only logical explanation is that it was done by a family member or close friend who needed the work. I'm happy to report that neither the restaurant itself nor the food look anything like the website photos.

We had:


Tartar of Ahi Tuna
Serrano chiles, cucumber, crispy rice, trout roe.

Grilled Shrimp Tamale
Fava beans, roasted poblano chiles, teardrop tomato vinaigrette.

Grilled Sonoma Valley Foie Gras
Caramelized figs, blue corn cakes, chile syrup, candied walnuts.

Daily Soup: Corn Chowder with Grilled Scallops


Mara's soup was unstoppable, the best version of this I've tasted since Eddie Hernandez's now-defunct Sundown Cafe in Atlanta...I think we both could've eaten this all night. The tuna was good, but not legendary; the version I had at Clarke's was just as satisfying, if simpler and less ambitious. In fact, Mara out-ordered me last night...both of her dishes were just about flawless; she followed the soup with the tamale, while I had the foie gras. I ordered it to compare it with Mark's South Beach's version, and I have to say I preferred Mark's. The fig notes here were a bit confusing, almost as if they'd used both dried and fresh. After I got to the blue corn cakes, things improved dramatically, but the first impression of this dish wasn't stellar.

In any event, Talula won big points for a friendly, foodie vibe, and for having a Caesar salad that was less than 10 bucks. Not that I'm going to order it, it's just the principle of the thing. The rest of the menu looks sufficiently interesting to guarantee a return trip. You know, on 25%-off wine night.

* Denotes patois or pidgin English. Insensitive, I know.

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