Friday night after work, my friends and I kicked off the long weekend (and the traditional Friday happy hour) by heading to one of our favorite restaurants, The Forge. At about a 30 minute drive from Williams, it's not one we can frequent as often as we'd like, but the fact that it remains sort of a special occasion place is perhaps part of some of its charm. The other (bigger) part of that charm is how perfectly it pulls off the timeless wings and beer combo. I don't drink beer, but my three boys and intrepid girl friend Rachel do, and they got right down to making a small dent in the 300+ bottle and draft selection. (The selection is so big, you get a separate beer binder when you're seated!)
Our wait for a table of six (the five of us plus Justin Long, who had said he would hopefully meet up with us there later) was an hour, but we were nonplussed; we simply headed to the bar and got down to business.
Once we were finally seated, L. and I ordered our respective favorite wings; his are the Buzz Orpingtons, which are tangy and have a curry kick to them, and mine are the traditional Dean's buffalo. They're crispy and spicy and meaty and perfect.
Rachel, Zeb and Moyukh had already eaten dinner, so we were worried for awhile that ordering just the wings (and about two or three more rounds of drinks--believe me, our tab wasn't small!) would cause our waitress to write our table off. And at the beginning, it seemed like we were kind of right, as she pretty much left us alone to focus on the dinner-ordering tables who seemed like they would give her a better tip. Moyukh and Zeb decided to join L., who already has one, and open beer cards. What happens is every time you come in, every different beer you order gets written down on the card (fifty total.) When you reach fifty, you're awarded an engraved pewter beer mug. The boys were quite excited about their purchase.
As we ordered a last-minute apple crisp with six spoons and our last round of drinks, we had just about figured that Justin wasn't going to be able to make it. Which is, of course, exactly when he walked in. We immediately got him to open up a beer card and I pressed our sixth spoon into his hand and made him eat some of our apple crisp.
Oh, and our waitress took a LOT more interest in our table after Justin showed up. When she signed his first beer onto his beer card, she giggled and said, "I can't believe that I'M signing something for YOU!" We were all amused enough that we didn't really care that she had basically snubbed us up until that point.
I am sorry I don't have any photos with Justin to post, but if I had even been thinking about asking him for one (which I wasn't), a girl came up to the table in the middle of our meal and asked Justin to pose for one with her and her friends. I totally get that, but we were in the middle of a meal, and I totally realized how rude it was. Justin, of course, was as nice as could be about it, but later we all agreed that we'd rather be the people Justin feels comfortable around who treat him like a normal guy, rather than the awkward fans who ask for photos and autographs. (Plus, who needs autographs when you have texts from him on your phone? Just sayin'.)
Justin popped out when we were getting ready to leave, and when our waitress came back she said that our bill had been taken care of. Knowing what a great guy he was, I wasn't all too shocked that Justin had paid for our dinner, but it certainly wasn't necessary. Needless to say, we all went back to our college bar that night and repaid him in grateful rounds.