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  • Writer's pictureGina Micek

Trip down memory lane in a Palo Alto wine bar and NOLA

Heading to a Stanford football game today versus Colgate University out of Hamilton, New York. Not to be confused with the toothpaste by the same name. Last night, I went to downtown Palo Alto to have a few glasses of wine at The Wine Room, one of my discoveries during my surgery and post-surgery recovery visit earlier this year.

Located in a small Adobe building located on Ramona, it boasts hand-selected wines by the glass and bottle as well as small plates of delicious charcuterie. I enjoy the quiet ambiance and tasty wines which are normally not served by the glass in other establishments.

My parent’s dropped me off and picked me up, like a high schooler with no car, who was given permission to meet friends for pizza. Except, I went to a wine bar. I spent my evening listening to couples, probably my age, discuss medical procedures and ailments over toast and prosciutto washed down with a good Burgundy.

I feel when you reach a certain age, the tendency to have a medical predicament story to tell is high. Usually, it comes with a note of surprise it even happened, woven with a sad note of the state of the medical system the individual was forced to navigate in getting well. Or as well as age and time allow us.

Later I ambled over to Nola’s for oysters, gumbo, and margaritas. The crowd was young, hip, and made to be seen. The place was hopping on Friday evening, and I recognized the same staff from my previous visits in March. No one paid me much mind, as I picked the last available barstool near the well. It seemed that cliques of friends came to the joint to further their usual connections not connect with strangers.

In the seemingly distant past, when I used to work for Waiter’s on Wheels, the precursor to delivery apps like DoorDash, where customers could call in an order to their favorite restaurant and get it delivered by a bowtie and waistcoat clad driver using a radio, I frequently picked-up from Nola’s.

It was a smaller place in those days with a kitchen in the back. It seems to have evolved to a college or just past college weekend hang-out with fare that resembles items found in New Orleans, with less of the insanity found in the original locale. I am both transported to NOLA with the wonderful flavors of the gumbo and happy to note that the oysters on the menus come from Tamales Bay rather than the Louisiana bayou.

While I grew up in Palo Alto, 12 years into living full-time in Minnesota, I am more a visitor in my former home town than a townie. Lots has changed. Much has stayed the same. I always appreciate my trips down memory lane.

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