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What made you smile last night?

I got home from work, very tired and hungry. To tired to really cook and the larder being almost empty, I found myself eating manouri cheese and honey. I just stood there at my kitchen counter, slicing off pieces of cheese and spreading it with clover honey out of the jar.

I tried to stop myself and threw the spoon in the sink. I then found myself grabbing another spoon out of the drawer and eating a little bit more -- with a big smile on my face.

So, what made you smile last night?

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  1. Melting Lindt's peanut butter truffles and making a sundae for hubby with vanilla ice cream and the pb sauce. Oh, and saving some of both for myself and the dog (no candy for him of course).

    1. After coming home from really terrible catered food at a business function (and I'm talking really bad), we decided to treat ourselves and head over to DB Bistro for his infamous burger.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle

        This I do not understand. How can you be in a city like NYC and have bad catering? How can you be in a city that has wonderful food and get these terrible meals??? This is like the terrible food we had in Cannes when we were there for a conference. How can you screw up a sandwich? Yet you can walk out and buy a pan bagnat on the street and it is fabulous? GRRRR....

        Sorry Adventuresinbaking, this is not the point of your very positive and happy thread. I shall get back on topic. What made me smile last night? Eating squares of equitable trade 70% dark chocolate sent to me by a dear friend as "medicine" (antioxidants and such, this is health food after all! :) Just what the Doctor ordered, she wrote! Meds taste so much better when administered with love! And the chocolate is really delicious too!

        (whew. That's better than grumpiness about catering. Thanks Adventuresinbaking! Sometimes one needs to be reminded to smile)

        1. re: moh

          It does suck that there are so many bad catered functions in NYC around. Sandwiches from Au Bon Pain would have been better. I was commenting on how bad the polenta was. DH was surprised as he thought it was a cracker. That's how bad the food was.

          But luckily, as much as there's bad food around, there's a lot of good food to be found as well. Man, that fat juicy burger made me smile! And as we rarely eat out during the week (we pretty much cook every night), the added benefit of no clean-up was great as well.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            oh Miss Needle... a tear comes to the corner of my eye as i think wistfully about the great burgers in NYC... must go back soon... But I smile thinking about you enjoying your burger!

            1. re: moh

              I'm sure Montreal's got great burgers as well. If the foie gras ban comes to NYC (which I'm sure it will at some point), I think we'll be visiting Montreal a lot more often.

              Next time you're in NYC, shoot me an Email (missneedle@gmail.com) and we'll share a delicious burger together!

        2. re: Miss Needle

          Miss Needle, I assure you that I've had bad catered food here in Montréal - in one case, at an event ONE (short) block north of the Jean-Talon Market. Also in Paris and more than one Italian city.

          As for what made me smile last night, it was the renewed availability of Krinos ewe's milk yoghourt at a shop near me. Yum! Also being able to go to the shops on my bicycle, after a hard winter.

        3. Using my new knife with a modicum of authority (yes I can, yes I can)

          My youngest son telling me he really liked the salad I made for dinner.


          1. hmmm, dinner itself was nothing special(clean out the fridge mac and cheese)....we were bored last night so husband pulled out the mixer and mixed up a batch of peanut butter treats for the dogs. It happened in the kitchen and used food from the fridge and pantry...but not really a chowhound treat I suppose.

            The dogs however would beg to differ on that and were smiling at the results.

            1. Tasting the rogan josh for tonight's dinner for the first time after everything was incorporated (made it last night)

              Needing no extra anything. salt - nothing. Came out perfect. (well not perfect. a little too spicy maybe, but we'll have to see when it's served with the rice, naan, and raita.)

              I'm starting to think I could open a little Indian / Thai take out joint with a very limited menu. A few thai coconut milk curries and a other dishes, and a few Indian dishes. It's rare that I order some of these things that I can make when I go out now because I mostly get disappointed that it's not as good as homemade, and 3x the price.

              1. Fresh fingerling potatoes sauteed in butter and simmered in chicken broth until potatoes were meltingly tender and the sauce was reduced to a thick, golden goo.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Sherri

                  Sounds simple and awesome. Tell us more. Whole potatoes? How long to saute'? How much broth? Just to cover, etc.?

                  1. re: randyjl

                    Because the potatoes were fairly small (about 2" long X 1" in diameter) I used them whole. Medium-high saute pan just large enough to hold potatoes in a single layer, butter foaming, add potatoes and leave them alone until you smell them browning. Shake pan for confirmation of color and roll them from time to time until all - or almost all - sides are golden. Add enough broth to come about 1/2 way up the potatoes, lower heat and partially cover until potatoes are soft when pricked (I'll guess and say +/-20 minutes??). By this time the broth will have reduced quite a bit. Raise heat and reduce more, adding a knob of butter if you dare. SPTT, fresh herb(s) if you wish. Yum!

                2. Spaghetti agloi olio- one of my favorite things in the world- and it was goooood!

                  1. "Slicing off 3 thick, pink and moist pieces of baked ham, glazed with a brown sugar and Kentucky Bourbon, I arranged them in a over lapping pattern on a wide piece of hearty, toasted ,walnut and honey bread. The melted butter leaving a sheen on top of the matching slices of Port Salute sweating on the toasted bread.I add a slather of chow chow, the bright yellow of the the pickled baby onions and cauliflower assulted the eye if not the taste buds. I look forward to the bite, the texture,the initial tang of butter, mustard, and briny, smokey ham. If only for a second, a minute, a year, a lifetime."

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: currymouth

                      Chow chow and ham... smile :) so yummy...

                      1. re: moh

                        moh. You must have had a colonial or British history. To this day every American i have ever asked about chow chow on their ham has asked me what to do with the leash and collar.

                        1. re: currymouth

                          That's funny, I know chow-chow best from Southern U.S. cuisine. It is a vegetable pickle popular in the South. I do have a colonial background (Canadian, eh) and I have had simliar pickles to the one you describe too.

                          1. re: moh

                            I worked in the south for many years and never came chow chow, was it marinated in a mustard and vinegar base?

                            1. re: currymouth

                              Yes chow chow is a vinegar and mustard based recipe, either mustard seed or mustard powder. There are many different vegetables used in chow chow in the South, like green tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc.

                              The yellow mustard chow chow that you describe with onions and cauliflower, I associate with Britain, but as piccalilli. Still, I suspect they are in the same family of pickles. All wonderful with ham!

                              1. re: moh

                                Thanks moh. brings back such fond memories.

                                1. re: currymouth

                                  What Chow Chow isn't Pennsylvania Dutch? Try the chow chow from Wos-Wit, Tamaqua, Pa. I think I was nursed on the stuff.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    No.I believe it to be quite British. We would make a run on our local HILO [Trinidadian Food store chain] to stock up on Chow Chow so as not to leave our christmas ham naked. Are you visiting your mom in july? The Norwegian Invasion arrives then,you got to pass in.

                                    1. re: currymouth

                                      Check out Wos Wit on line if you want to find some Penn. Dutch specialities. We have a bunch of their apple butter, kraut, horseradish, and...... Chow Chow, my mom's favorite.
                                      Yes, I'll be in Sayreville in July some time, to pick up my Norwegian born son when he flies into JFK from Seoul with his Korean wife. Got that? We'll visit my mom, the Big Apple and shoot back up to Maine.
                                      I will be doing a suttene Mai, radio show on the 18th of May for 6-8 pm (streamed at www.weru,org) and a Latin music show this Sat at 11 am.
                                      Hoyer pa meg.

                    2. Watching my toddler stuff fistfulls of raisins into her mouth. She always makes me smile at dinner.

                      1. Sitting down in a quiet house after the kids went to bed with a plate of manchego, clover honey and strawberries and reading The Art of Simple Food.

                        1. After cooking a dinner that turned out terribly, south beach "mashed potataoes" which are actually pureed cauliflower which it turns out my new hubby hates, and a turkey meatloaf that I unknowingly tainted with terribly old and stale cracker crumbs, eating a dinner of peach yogurt for me and pb&j for my hub, in his office, and giggling about the disaster in the kitchen, that made me smile.
                          Initially when the husband put a spoonful of what he thought was mashed potatoes in his mouth before bolting to the sink to spit it out in horror, well that made me not only smile, but laugh hysterically.

                          1. a delivered cheese, mushroom, & sausage pizza, no cooking, no cleaning, and my feet up on the couch.

                            1. Perfectly grilled squid, served with soft white beans, purple endive, and a salsa verde that I had to wipe off the plate with bread, followed by a plate of silky black cod with spinach a wonderfully sweet roasted cauliflower and romanesco, with a well-matched glass of pinot noir, all served by a friendly waitress.

                              Venus Restaurant
                              2327 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I smiled at the stuffed squid I made for dinner last night. Kept it simple and flavors on the Spanish side. Served with a drizzle of really good olive oil and sea salt.

                              2. We attended a catered event last night. The food was outstanding and some was very creative. My favorite. . . a sundae in a Martini glass. We saw people walking around with these and thought they were eating dessert first. No, it wasn't ice cream. It was mashed potatoes then a boneles beef rib with a Merlot reduction sauce poured over the top. Oh I am smiling again.

                                1. Cooking a wonderful, smoky kielbasa and serving extra helpings to my growing-like-a-weed, always hungry son and then after he came home from basketball practice, making a couple thick grilled cheese sandwiches for him. I am so grateful to have good food to give to my family.

                                  1. Cooking a very simple meal -- just sauteed wild mushrooms, steamed rice, sesame cucumber salad -- using only intuition gained from many years of hanging around in the kitchen with my mother.

                                    Also, hearing my boyfriend ask when I was going to re-do a similarly easy Italian meal -- chicken piccata, linguine in olive oil and garlic, and salad with homemade Italian dressing.

                                    And...my April issue of Gourmet. :)

                                    1. Well, I was at the deli down the street, and I said among friends...
                                      "I think I'll drink some beer."
                                      Promptly, a pal of my brother's said, "Thats a great idea! I'll buy you one!"
                                      And so I drank a free pint of Rogue Dead Guy Ale.
                                      A very tasty ale.

                                      1. After being gifted with a big fat swarm of bees, (we now have three hives) I whipped up a quick meal of boiled shell-on shrimp with my mom's powerfully delicious horseradish shrimp sauce, some comforting fragrant rice, and fresh steamed broccol with homemade mayoi.. a lovely combination of easy-to-prepare foods for hard-working bee wranglers.

                                        1. Hello Folks--please keep your smile stories focused on food. Thanks!

                                          1. At 4PM phone inthe office rings, mrs jfood wants to know if he has a recipe for banana cream pie. Gotta love that woman. Jfood sent her the link and was able to leave the office by 530.

                                            Jfood has not cooked in over a week with traveling and business. So he was able to finally get to the stores and cook a nice relaxing dinner for M&M. He was real glad when he saw some great looking Char at the store for $8, book it Danno. A few veggies for a side and home he went.

                                            Slice, season and dice and a great and simple seared char with vegetables. As he finished he said, "This is a great wayto end the last 10 days." Then Mrs Jfood told him that little jfood bought a Wii, sothere was fun and games after a great meal.

                                            1. Just after 11 pm; the Blue Jays had won their home opener over the World Champion Red Sox, and I just wanted a little something before bed..

                                              Plucked a new head of iceberg out of the crisper, cut a big wedge, got a spoon and my jar of "Just Peanuts" peanut butter, and slathered leaf after leaf with the PB - cold, crisp, crunchy, with just enough moisture from the lettuce to stop my tongue from sticking to the roof of my mouth. I went to bed happy.

                                              1. Having off the entire weekend and going on my weekly date with my husband to our local BYOB place for lentil soup and pizza.

                                                1. First, the fact that it was an actual warm spring day (in the 60s), and even the dirty piles of snow in parking lots are melting. Birds chirping, tulips up a few inches, practically a Disney spring day.

                                                  Second, the rum and coke with Mexican coke and Captain Morgans.

                                                  Third, the charcoal grilled flatiron steak perfectly medium rare, with a salad and roasted potatoes, that we had for dinner.

                                                  1. I had sushi last night, Ikura always makes me happy/smile... I pop one at a time and enjoy the flavour.

                                                    1. Well I baked a rhubarb pie and added a drop or two of Boyajian's orange oil to it and that was really smile making. After that I had a Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Bourbon Ball ( thing mint & bourbon truffle) that was really smile making.

                                                      1. Baby back ribs with a Spanish smoked paprika dry rub. So much piggy goodness.

                                                        1. I made one of the Bolognese recipes from this months Saveur. Simple recipe, simple taste...actually horribly bland.Quite a disappointment. Had to doctor it up w fresh basil, Penzy's tuscan spice, lots of salt and pepper and a little sugar. PERFECT! That made me smile.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: shaebones

                                                            Probably wrong thread, but which ragu recipe was a let down? I was eyeballing a few in Saveur last night and I don't want to settle on making the bland one.

                                                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                              i am in the middle of making the Classic recipe on page 51. The one in the middle that uses pancetta, and flanksteak. My DH just walked into the kitchen and said smells goods so far. I'll report back later or tomorrow.

                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                The Classic was very tasty. That recipe is a keeper. Very rich and good mouth feel. I served it with rotini and the sauce clung to the pasta quite nicely.

                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                  Thanks for reporting on it. I am traveling through Friday, but I think I will try the Classis this weekend.

                                                            2. Met up with friends at a winery- had a delicious blush wine (I'm awful with all the different categories) and some cordials (sour cherry, currant, raspberry), followed by the best fruit & cheese plate I ever had. Good friends laughing till the wee hours, good wine, brie & smoked gouda (my fav!), fresh baked bread and herbed olive oil for dipping. Saturday was one for the books! :)

                                                              1. Was by myself. Made a thick cheeseburger--quarter pound of ground beef; mozzarella; a spread made with home-made yogurt, chili flakes & mustard; pickles; romaine. Ten minutes total time. Set a nice table (cloth napkin and the like); and popped open a good Cab.

                                                                1. A milk chocolate covered pretzel from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, plus knowing there are 10 milk chocolate covered grams cooling in the refrigerator....if I can get to them before the husband does!

                                                                  1. Had a bunch of friends over for a dinner party yesterday (one of many good-bye parties as I am leaving town in a week), served lamb shish-kebab that had been marinating for 24 hours, along with a first time orzo dish I had never made which thankfully turned out more than well -- people asked to take stuff home with them... some nice Italian salami & San Daniele prosciutto, cheeses, Greek yogurt w/lavender honey & walnuts, etc. etc.

                                                                    most of all: introducing two single friends to one another who seemed to really hit it off ------

                                                                    Big smile all the way :-D

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      Finding a bottle of 2004 K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah cheapish and drinking it with Estrella Creamery Guapier cheese (mmmmm stinky!!!!). Oh select hardworking shop owners in my town, I PRAISE YOU!!!!

                                                                    2. Last night I mastered Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee. All of the right ingredients came together (cave-aged Gruyere, I love you) with the right method, and I got to use my pretty new broiler-safe soup bowls. For dessert, I threw together a small pantry-clearing bread pudding, using up some day-old brioche rolls, a partial bar of Scharffenberger semi-sweet, a handful of chopped dried cherries, the remainder of an open pint of cream, sugar, vanilla and an egg.
                                                                      It was a very satisfying evening, and there were no leftovers :)

                                                                      1. well, now last night was saturday.. i was smiling like the cheshire cat as my hubby and i dug into my slow roasted whole leg of wild boar - bone in. had been brined for 24 hours. delish. also made barley cooked in broth tossed with pesto made of basil, flat parsley and thyme, and roasted asparagus. smile smile smile! and we'll smile over leftovers in just a few hours! :)

                                                                        1. Great food, great friends, and great wine at my favorite restaurant.

                                                                          We had tapas, and the one that made me smile the most were the bacon-wrapped scallops with a truffle honey sauce. I found myself running my finger through the leftover sauce to get every last bit of it.

                                                                          2nd biggest smile went to the ham and cheese croquettes. Yum!


                                                                          1. 1997 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon with a burger I made with ground tenderloin and duck fat topped with caramelized onions and fresh chevre whipped with EVOO and roasted garlic.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Lenox637

                                                                              Hey, just as I mentioned above--burger and Cab!

                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                I usually like Napa Cabs on their own with no food, but something about New World fruit and juicy burgers sing to me.

                                                                            2. Mint Mocha Sherbet in the ice cream freezer! Delicious!

                                                                              1. Convincing my very tired friend to go out to our favorite tapas restaurant (usually she's doing the convincing of a very tired me!) and getting that first glass of sangria. Doesn't matter how crappy a mood you're in - Dalí will make you smile. :-) Oh - and the tapas and postre were just as good as always as ever - but getting that sangria from the boys behind the bar, as well as being greeted by the hosts and other waitstaff - smiles, smiles, smiles. And happy, full tummies. :-)

                                                                                1. standing rib roast, yukon gold mashed potatoes and chive carrots. 2001 oltrepo pavese riserva (bruno verdi) to wash it down. been hankering after a roast like this after spending three weeks out of town.

                                                                                  1. the first warm day that had sun, not rain. Out of work deliciously early. Nice fat ribeyes dusted with cajun spice and grilled to medium. Salt baked potatoes with plugra and creme fraiche, roasted asparagus with sesame, soy and lemon. A garlicky cheesey loaf of crusty sourdough grilled with the steaks and an ice cold blueberry beer!

                                                                                    1. Shrimp Creole, fried pickles, Fat Tire, live jazz, and a good friend in Omaha.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                        Returning home, (LA area) from an all expence paid 5 day trip to Cabo San Lucas where we stayed at The Hotel Marquis, (stunning views, remarkable service) where the "hosted" meals were buffets of carved roast beef, boiled shrimp, gratin potatoes....another lunch was Italian in Todos Santos...the home of The Hotel California...uh...really no Mexican food?! We arrived home last night travel weary after a 3 hour delay and surly Customs agents at LAX and made a bee line for our favorite taco stand....just smelling the carne asada in the car on the ride home put a giant smile on my face!

                                                                                      2. Huge bacon wrapped sea scallops that my boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed.

                                                                                        1. Getting home and finding Mr Goddess had dinner already to go.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. my boyfriend/partner pizza delivery guy brought me my pizza slathered in bbq sauce, cheese, red onions/peppers, and bbq chicken. i thought i deserved it after working all day and then going to the gym. he gave me a pizza with a hug and a kiss - it made me smile. oh yeah, add bad horror movie and a liquor drink and you get lots of smiles and laughing from me!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: sugarplumbs

                                                                                              Sounds great! I love a good pizza and a few of the old-but-good horror movies - Carrie, Halloween, Children of the Corn! (The last one's especially funny with liquor!)

                                                                                              1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                yes, all of those and dawn of the dead

                                                                                            2. the quesadilla i made last night with the leftover steak that my boyfriend made the night before.
                                                                                              he marinated it with beer & soy sauce & garlic.
                                                                                              it came out really good...
                                                                                              i used chipotle cheddar cheese.
                                                                                              and used my guacamole & salsa from the previous night as dipping sauces.
                                                                                              smiled with every bite! :)

                                                                                              1. not last night but this afternoon.... the cheap annie's macaroni and cheese...i freaking love mac and cheese and those little instant packets made for kids are really really good and done in 4 minutes flat

                                                                                                1. a few glasses of SIMI Cab with fruit, cheese and dark chocolate for dinner :)
                                                                                                  I'm still smiling ;>

                                                                                                  1. Crawfish Boil at the Imperial Palace folowed by complimentary cocktails on the casino floor.

                                                                                                    1. Friday night we order in at work. This week it was a Greek pizza and killer fries from our local House of Pizza, affectionately known to all as "House of Grease". I brought the leftovers home and shared them with my husband and cats, properly washed down with a couple of Copper Hook Spring Ales from Red Hook (one cat sniffed at the feta, the other as always was eager to lick out my empty bottle). :)

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Kinnexa

                                                                                                        Having my fiancee pick up Chipotle for dinner (his version of cooking)-and asking me if I wanted to watch a disc of Grey's Anatomy season one with me. This is how I know he loves me-he will watch shows that he usually hates just to make me happy.

                                                                                                        1. re: jenniegirl

                                                                                                          Hubby has made me smile doing the exact same thing -- except with reruns of Beverly Hills 90210! Ain't love (and Chipotle!) grand? :o)

                                                                                                      2. Last night I made orecchiette (sp?) carbonara from Sunday Supper at Lucques for 1 new friend and 2 old friends. It's so simple but very satisfying. We drank it with a valpolicella and all smiled.

                                                                                                        1. OK, it was "last night" for me (April 12), but it was catfish, black-eyed peas and greens. See "Bacon thread" for more details. Some of the best catfish, that I've had, since moving from the Deep South 30 years ago. Everything coupled well with a Benovia Central Coast '05 Pinot Noir.


                                                                                                          1. a few days late, because have been out of town, but my last night (Sat night) I was sitting around a campfire under the redwoods on the Mendocino Coast, after one of the most spectacularly glorious days I've seen on the North (CA) Coast in a very long time, both above and below water (flat ocean, visibility underwater of about 25 to 30 feet, which for the Mendocino coast is very, very good indeed, so what if it is cold? :-))...with some dry Gewurtz and Pinot Noir we bought at Navarro Winery on the drive up, about ten members of my dive club and hubby, telling lots of stories with lots of laughter since some of us have been good friends for years, and enjoying the following pot-luck menu: Fresh (caught that afternoon) abalone, both breaded and pan-fried and grilled; grilled vegetable kabobs, polenta, scallops, rice pilaf, coleslaw, garlic bread, cheese and crackers, chocolate cake, cherry torte, various single malts, and probably a few other dishes I've forgotten about....

                                                                                                            I'd say that's something to smile about... :-)

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                              damn...yes, I wish I was there....

                                                                                                              Last night I smiled because DH was home for dinner for the first time in almost a week, and he cooked his famous curried chicken and served it with a great spinach salad (who says cultures can't mix?) and a decent Australian Shiraz...
                                                                                                              It was a warm evening and we had all the windows and doors in the house open with the crickets for dinner music.

                                                                                                              and I didn't have to do a darn thing but smile some more, and try not to think that after April comes May and June, and soon it will be too hot to listen to the crickets...:-)

                                                                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                That sounds like life should be like! How did the Shiraz go? Depending on the heat of the curry, I might have gone towards a Zin, but a more fruit-forward Shiraz should have worked well, also.


                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                  It was fine....The wine was chosen based on what was in the house, not on what would go with the meal....some days are like that :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                    Yes, "some days are like that." There have been times when we had a Cab and a Syrah in the 'fridge from last night, and I think a Pinot might be better this night. Wife tells me to "get over it," and pull the vac-u-vin stopper on the Syrah!

                                                                                                                    Or, there will be the "man, the '03 XXX would really go with this dish, but I have 40 cases stacked in front of it." Again, "get over it, and open the '06, no one is joining us... "

                                                                                                                    Yes, "some days are like that."


                                                                                                            2. Slicing into a big chunk of Rogue River Blue that was covered in grape leaves macerated in Oregon pear brandy and setting down to chow with a nice glass of wine and some bread while we enjoyed the last snow of the season by the fire.

                                                                                                              1. My wife and I went to a "Tuna Event" last night and had 12 courses of the most delicious and odd combinations of food. It was held at a sushi bar, but with a few chefs poking around putting the dishes together. Trying creations like collar toro with soy marinated egg yolk and tuna bloodline with white balsamic vinegar.....we were smiling all night.

                                                                                                                1. $0.99 oysters and good, cold pints of beer, and catching up with old friends during happy hour.