I've been known to gripe about living in this small town, lamenting the relative lack of diversity and affordable culture – all the while knowing that I live in a little paradise.
It's amazing to me how fulfilling Ashland is during all seasons and this week has certainly not disappointed me. Crazy snowfall followed by its scarier cousin, ice, and today's fog proved how diverse the weather here really is. (It could be 80 by Sunday, too. You never know.)
After a rather chaotic day working in Medford I was so relieved to drive (ugh!) home and enter the illuminated downtown area. I felt like I needed to be there. I got great news about a new job interview when I walked through the door which only increased my desire to do something.
Luckily, I was remined of Pilaf's "Winter Specials" by their blue flyer on my refrigerator; I wrapped my bulky scarf around my neck and headed out in the invigorating night air. Coincidentally, it was First Friday (which I've never 'done!') but the crowds were minimal compared to a couple of months ago. Only the brave or foolish were out tonight! Just to see the twinkle lights up and down the street and feel the pulse of winter in people that I passed was enough to make me thankful that I live here.
And I got more grateful still. I took a Tidings with me upstairs to the cozy dining room of Pilaf and ordered tonight's special: a Falafel Sandwich (with hummus, yeah baby!) and perused the slim-pickings of rental and employment ads. The back room was quiet and I had a view of the gas fireplace and the incredible oil paintings on display. My server was friendly and I soon had an enticing Falafel entree in front of me. While savoring the crisp veggies I read about Erik Navickas's victory (thank goodness!). The soft and chewy pita cushioned the more typically disturbing news and I was reminded of a line from "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues": "The international situation was desperate, as usual." But oh how the crunchy fried outer layer of the falafel balls asked the demurely creamy insides to do the fox trot in my mouth! Okay, so yes I'm getting a bit off-track here, but can you blame me?
On a whim, I ordered the rice pudding which I had enjoyed a few times before and was immediately pleased I had done so: it is the creamiest-sweetest-warmest-most-wonderful thing in a bowl. And good preparation for walking home in the near-freezing air.
Oh, and the best part? The whole point of this blog? Pilaf took $2.50 off of the price of the falafel! And every blessed day of the week this winter they apply that discount to a different menu item. So if soup sounds good tomorrow, head down to Pilaf for "Soup Saturday." It could make you happy.