The Post-Vax Celebration Breakfast and Field Test

truffled egg tartine!

You can either read all the paragraphs I went to the trouble of writing or simply brake here for a photo of truffled egg tartine — sous vide poached egg with roasted asparagus, truffle oil, tiny bottarga dollops, Fontina cheese, preserved lemon and microgreens.

Are you as tired of reading about the pandemic as I am of mentioning it in nearly every single post here? Wouldn’t it be great if I could move on? And if we as a planet could move on? It hasn’t happened yet, but we can dream of that future while we wallow in the mortal dystopia of Pandemica, because emotional multitasking is among our coronavirus-era coping mechanisms.

As with many an arduous journey, the path to the After Times will be a series of baby steps. And someone has to go forth and be those stepping babies.


Turmeric latte!

Turmeric latte: a unique blend, oddly powdery.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I got our Pfizer shots. She’s slightly older and finished her regimen a week before I did. Saturday, April 24th marked fourteen days after my second shot, the milestone for full efficacy. Thus the time arrived for celebration and for experimentation. As I wrote before, but at ten times the length:

If we’re really, truly meant to trust science, and if we’ve every reason to believe — based on the side effects so far and our own medical histories — that our immune system responses will be average and successful, then sooner or later these tiny new residents squatting in our bloodstreams will need some field testing. Sooner or later someone will need to demonstrate the vaccines were worth it and encourage the skeptics from their hidey-holes.

(There was a lot more to our thought process, but not every new entry about our pandemic year needs to include a complete, unabridged, copied-and-pasted previous entry.)

Sample bistro decor.

Sample bistro decor.

We marked the moment with breakfast at one of our favorite places in central Indiana, a tiny artisan joint up in Carmel called Eggshell Bistro. We first tried and adored them on the occasion of my birthday in 2018, then returned on Anne’s birthday the following year. They were closed for several months during the pandemic and restricted their artistic culinary expression to Instagramming their delicate experiments until upgrades and other measures were implemented to the point of achieving their desired levels of safety and comfort. A few more months passed until we did the same on our end.

Cello hanging from a wall.

A cello hung above our table. Why not.

Our county of residence is still under a mask order. The bistro’s county isn’t (déjà vu for a different county), but the staff wore them anyway, as did we upon entering, because there’s something to be said for congenial solidarity as a form of courtesy and civility. When in Rome, et cetera.

We noticed fewer tables than before, but all of them appeared full. We had to wait a few minutes while a space was cleared for us, apparently by relocating a solo customer from his three-seat table to a bar-shaped space where he found time and impetus to chat with fellow diners about his international business travels.

Artichoke Tart!

Our third consecutive photo of an Eggsheel Bistro artichoke tart. Behind it, that stack of brunch bread is not just toast. It’s brioche. *Eagletonian nodding*

Besides the fact that we’d never seen them near capacity before, we noticed other little differences during our pleasant morning. The industrial-chic ceiling was augmented with new ventilation-related parts. Anne’s artichoke tart seemed to have been left in the oven too long and tasted burnt around the edges, an uncharacteristic slip for them. Service was much faster — no more interminable minutes of casual European lingering between courses or long, long wait for our check. We soon realized why: table scarcity meant a longer wait for tables, as subsequent arrivals began lining up near the front door, shoulder to shoulder. We weren’t the only ones yearning to rejoice and luxuriate.

Linzer Torte!

Linzer Torte was offered as a shareable dessert. We each enjoyed our two bites, but it yearned for a glass of milk.

I was a little concerned that the other tables, fewer though they were, weren’t all that far away from us. Regardless, that morning was fourteen days ago. According to Marquess of COVID-berry rules, that means we’re in the clear. The field test was a success.

This was technically not my first field test. I haven’t shared that short, rule-breaking tale yet. But Lord willing, this won’t be our last field test. Updates as they occur, give or take a fourteen-day time delay.

Anne and Books & Brews!

Anne with her custom Baby Yoda mask upside-down. Next door, Books & Brews waits for its own chance to awaken.

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