This is the first single NYE I’ve had since the age of 23, and I was excited to spend the night with friends with absolutely no real expectations or pressure. Basically all I wanted to do was put on a sequined romper, eat good food (because calories don’t count on NYE), and see as many friends as possible. New Year’s Eve was extra special this year because this was also the Passenger’s last night open. The Passenger has been a wonderful part of the neighborhood and I am so sad that this day has finally come where they officially shuttered their doors. I first went to the Passenger in 2012, after the White House Correspondent’s dinner where SM and I ran into Rashida Jones, Bradley Cooper, Jon Hamm and Zach Galifianakis (by “ran into,” I mean we stared at them and SM awkwardly tried to offer Bradley Cooper her drink). Once I moved to the neighborhood, the Passenger turned into my go-to spot, whether I am looking for a cheap beer on a random weeknight, a strong cocktail after a car accident (that was totally my fault), or if I just need to end my night with some pork cheek nachos. I have celebrated anniversaries in the wonderfully intimate Columbia Room, spent countless girls’ nights in the window booth, and stuffed my face with way too many snacks after midnight while sitting at the bar. It has been the place where many fun nights have started and ended. So this New Year’s Eve, I planned to start the evening by eating one final delicious meal there and to end my night with a final beer there.
I met up with A and her boyfriend at the Passenger and immediately ordered the pork cheek nachos and duck carnitas tacos (my two favorites). The pork cheek nachos are so smokey, so crispy, so cheesy, so spicy, so amazing. I cannot believe I will not be able to order those duck tacos (which we devoured before I could snap a picture) again because they are divine. We maybe should have ordered two plates of these.
While A and I were busy shoveling cheesy chips into our mouths, her boyfriend noticed there was an open booth, which was perfect since the Passenger was starting to get pretty crowded at this point. Once in this little corner, we decided we needed more stomach padding for the alcohol and ordered the mushroom flatbread and the fried chicken sandwich (with bacon, of course).
The mushroom flat bread was not as amazing as I previously remembered (the crust was a little dry) but it was still tasty. The fried chicken sandwich was awesome. The chicken is moist (I don’t care if that word grosses you out) yet crunchy and the sweet mayo concoction makes me want to rub the sandwich all over my face. After devouring these two dishes, I said good bye to A and stopped by a friend’s apartment for some champagne before heading to Duke’s Grocery for a few hours. A friend who runs the Dreams for Kids non-profit organization and hosted a party at the upstairs bar, which turned out the perfect place to hang out with good friends while waiting for the clock to hit midnight. After midnight, I headed back to the absolutely packed Passenger where I found A and the bf still in the exact place I left them: in the back booth. I was happy to be able to hide away in there, but also very sad once I learned they had ordered the kimchee hot dog after I left. After they went home, I went out into the crowd to mingle and say really embarrassing things to people I do not know that well. I wish I could say I was drunk at this point, but I was just tired and spent the next hour sipping on the same watered down Manhattan so there is no real explanation to why I lost my filter that night. Exhibit A: I parked myself onto a bar stool and told my roommate’s friend about my massive crush on a bearded bartender from a nearby restaurant. Then I told this exact same thing to a liquor distributor that I was meeting for the very first meeting.
After going on these two tangents, I glanced up from my bar stool and recognized the familiar long beard, so I sprinted over to him where I casually said, “Oh hey. Didn’t realize you would be here” (because I’m smoooooth). We spent the next two hours talking, where I revealed a long list of horrifying embarrassing things that you should probably not mention to someone you have a giant crush on. Did he need to know that I have watched a number of his band’s music videos on YouTube, and I recognized him in the background of two of them? Probably not. Did I have to say that I remember his rose tattoo from the first time we met almost three years ago? Definitely not. Then when he finally, finally asked for my number at 4am, did I need to respond with “YES! OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE MY NUMBER. I HAVE SUCH A CRUSH ON YOU”?!!!! No. No no no no no no. And that is not an exaggeration. I actually shrieked “YES” as soon as he asked me for the digits. Then I skipped all three blocks because I was that excited. Now all I need to do is basically will him to text me. Also I need to will him to forget half of the things I said to him that night.