I met Lisa Schroeder and I know you’re totally jealous. You should be — she is really fabulous and makes delicious comfort food and, in case you were curious, she’s a great hugger.

If you’re not totally caught up, check out my first post about Mother’s Bistro here. Upon writing that post, Lisa rallied the troops, so to speak, and suddenly people were reading my blog and following me on Facebook and Tweeting about me. Okay, more specifically that post and it was more about Mother’s than me, but beggars can’t be choosers. In other words, she and I became best friends. Well, that, too, is probably debatable, but she did autograph my Mother’s Best cookbook and gave me a free mug that will eternally remind me to call my mother, which was very friendly indeed.

It seemed only natural, after The Post that we visit Mother’s whilst in Oregon for the holidays. I contacted our best vegetarian friends (well, they’re our best friends and they’re vegetarians), made a reservation, and on the evening of the 28th we headed downtown, sans Husband because he was “sick,” aka crabby after waking up from a poorly timed nap. I suppose there are women who would have cancelled the whole thing and stayed home, but I am not most women and there are just certain instances in which food reigns. This was one of them. Judge as you will; if you’d had a meal at Mother’s previously you’d have done the same.

I love good, homey food. I make Paula Deen-esque comfort food that generally consists of something canned and something condensed, and I’m okay with that. There will come a time when I’ll spend the time making things from scratch, but while Husband and I are both working I’m going to keep doing what I do. No offense to Paula, of course, but Lisa has her beat. I’d originally had big plans for ordering the steak frites (because steak + fries = one really happy Mary), but I am not typically overtly rude to vegetarians (or people in general) and the fish of the day was a nut-crusted trout with a creole mustard sauce, served up with orzo and sauteed spinach. It was supremely moist, with just enough nutty goodness to enhance the dish without overpowering it, the orzo was tender and delicious, and I bought a bag of spinach at Costco the other day with the intent to make sauteed spinach at least once a week. I gobbled everything up, aside from the fish skin, and would have licked my plate, but for the fact that it was really quite clean and I’m fairly certain that would have mortified my mother. For dessert: pear and blackberry sorbet, which was so fruity and refreshing that I didn’t mind that it was December and the only fruit in season was, for the most part, dehydrated.

Then I met Lisa. Upon telling her my name, she exclaimed, “OH! Mary N!” which got a lot of head turns (this made me feel like a pretty big deal). I introduced her to my family and our friends and we hugged and chatted and the book was signed and the mug was presented and this is where I would insert a photo of the two of us.

Yep. That’s the spot.

One really tragic thing occurred that night, which is up there with the great Chasing of the Car in Downtown SLC in Below Freezing Weather Because I Forgot My Purse of 2011. I left all cameras at home. All of them. And while my jurassic phone (totally not smart; in fact, not even stupid — just a plain old slider phone that I still love because it’s only dropped about three calls in the years I’ve had it) does have a low pixel camera, it does not have a flash and I didn’t find it appropriate to ask them to raise the lights so I could get a photo. It kind of made me want to cry, though, if you really want the truth. So, instead, here is a lovely photo of Lisa that you can imagine me in:

I will unquestionably return and try out her Italian restaurant down the block that opened back in 2004 and that I have never actually been to. Don’t ask me why I haven’t been camping outside its doors for the past seven years because I don’t have a good answer. But homey Italian comfort food? I could live on the stuff. For now, however, I let the warmth of Mother’s carry me from visit to visit, till I return home again.

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