The best part of travel is the people you meet.
I had been in the newish wing of the Denver Art Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind, an outstanding Polish-American architect, but Ruth hadn’t. I especially like its disorienting stairs, like canted steps you must descend in a fever dream. We were passing through Denver and decided to stop so she could experience it.
Every time we’ve been in Denver since forever we’ve eaten at Racine’s. My brother introduced me to this neighborhood restaurant too many years ago when Jim lived there. It was still in its old location at 850 Bannock. It was very late at night and Racine’s was still opened. Ruth wasn’t with us. I couldn’t wait to take her there. She soon loved it as much as I do. We have made it a goal to dine there every time we’ve been in Denver ever since.
This time we arrived around 2 pm. The lunch crowd was mostly gone and the popular booths were available. We ordered wraps. They were sensational. They were also a new experience since Racine’s changes its menu every year.
When the man waiting our table came to inquire about dessert, I told him that we now lived in Washington State, about all the times we had eaten in Racine’s, and how good it was to be back. He disappeared to get our bill. Ruth disappeared to do whatever women do in ladies’ rooms in preparation for going to a museum.
Checking the messages on my phone, I sensed a presence and looked up. David Racine was sitting in the booth across from me, grinning.
Ruth rejoined us and the 3 of us talked for half an hour as if we’d been lifelong friends. I told Dave how much we liked his restaurant. He told me that he and his partner Lee Goodfriend had recently celebrated their 30th anniversary, which is a miracle milestone in the restaurant business. I congratulated him on their success and asked him the secret of their longevity. He told me that they had an excellent staff who loved working at Racine’s.
We shared our common interest in travel. Dave told us about his motorcycle trips. I encouraged him to drive Washington’s best and most varied road, State Highway 20, which begins in Olympic Peninsula rainforest, crosses every terrain imaginable before ending at the Idaho border, and attracts lots of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Affordable Racine’s has great food. That’s why it has been around since 1983 and will celebrate its 31st birthday in December, 2014. I hope you get to eat there and meet Dave the next time you’re in Denver.