October 4 2006, 9:54 PM
I prefer not to eat alone. Most of you will probably agree with me there. But today, after a brisk walk through a cozy neighborhood in north Boulder, I didn't mind at all. In fact, I truly enjoyed it. One of the many fun benefits of working freelance is traveling around town quite a bit to gather stories. Today I interviewed chef Eric Skokan, who will open his new Black Cat restaurant in Boulder next week (more on that after the opening). We met in his neck of the woods, in Boulder near his other restaurant/organic ice cream parlor, the Hatton Creamery. From there we wandered on foot through his neighborhood to his home to complete the interview, enjoying the fall colors, warm sunshine, and the slight, crisp breeze of a lovely October day. After the interview, I wandered back to the Creamery where I had parked, content to stroll along and enjoy the fresh air. I popped back inside, thinking I might grab a sandwich for the road. The place was open, but empty, save for a single employee manning the shop. And I decided to sit down at a table, order a big, steaming bowl of pumpkin-squash soup, and simply stare quietly out the window as I ate my late lunch alone. For dessert I had to splurge on a scoop of Huckleberry Pistachio ice cream (I am eating for two these days, right?). I don't remember the last time I enjoyed such perfect solitude, and it made for a nice bit of stolen alone time during a very hectic month. My contentment continued as I took the scenic route home, turned the stereo off, and ignored my cell phone. I'm not sure exactly what made today's solo dining experience feel special. I grab sandwiches at the neighborhood deli by myself all the time, and it doesn't usually create any kind of Zen moment. Then again, next time I'm having a crazy week, I think I might just hit the road in search of a new little hidden cafe somewhere off the beaten path, where I can hide out all alone.