Nearly every day Jamie calls me on the way home from work. Most evenings there are general frustrations or minor excitements, but no huge emotional outbursts or Earth shattering details. Work is work. Occasionally, however, I can hear it in her voice the minute I pick up the phone. It is the voice of someone who has just lost their puppy or just found out that Santa Claus is not real. It is the voice of defeat and frustration. It is the voice of someone who has had a very bad, no good, very awful day. Over the course of our two-plus years together I have learned that there is really only one remedy for that voice, food. You see, there is really nothing that can set Jamie's mind and spirit at ease quite as quickly as food. So on those "special" evenings, the only question that I can really ask is, "Would you like to eat out or shall I cook us something?"
We have this odd game that we play where one of us will provide several options then we trade back and forth, eliminating one of the options. It's our form of compromise, and typically proves quite effective. Tonight our negotiations landed us at Harmoni Market on Edgewater Drive … Jamie altered the rules of the game to bring it in as our selection.
Harmoni market has seen more than its fair share of "decompression diners" over the last couple of years. We love the fact that Harmoni is one of the few places in Orlando where you can sit on a nice patio, drink a glass of wine (or local beer), and simply watch life pass by. The food is fantastic and the service is always great, if a bit feisty. More on that later. This evening our meal began with drinks and an appetizer that Harmoni has dubbed "Mediterranean Nachos." This gorgeously sloppy pile of toasted pita, spicy tzatziki, tomato salsa, and red pepper hummus is now one of my favorite appetizers in town. The spice of the tzatziki is nicely balanced with the cool of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the hummus. The dish is so worth the money, and who doesn't love getting a little messy in the name of a good plate of "nachos."
For dinner I ordered the grilled mahi sandwich with a Caesar on the side and Jamie ordered their smoked salmon sushi special. Little did we know that Jamie's special was going to provide the evening's entertainment. When our lovely waitress brought Jamie her dish, she politely asked for a set of chopsticks, commenting that, "you can't eat sushi without chopsticks!" The waitress immediately looked a bit frustrated, then vented, "I told the chef that we needed chopsticks!! He didn't think that we did. I'm Asian! You don't eat sushi without chopsticks!!" After a good chiding from our waitress, the boss ran to a restaurant down the street to pick up a set of chopsticks. Jamie gave the waitress an analogy for the doubting chef: "Getting sushi without chopsticks is like getting a steak without a steak knife." Its little exchanges like this one, coupled with fantastic food, that help Jamie's mind to rest, and puts to ease, if only for a moment, the whirling, twirling vortex that is her brain.
On the subject of our entrees, my mahi sandwich was good. The fish was very fresh and the aioli sauce was a nice accent. Their dressing for the Caesar salad is a delightfully peppery house-blend that goes well with the crunchy, homemade croutons and ample piles of fresh parmesan cheese. Concerning Jamie's sushi, she was a bit underwhelmed, describing one of the sauces as tasting like a wet dog. Apparently the sushi itself was pretty good, if not huge in comparison to the average roll. Wet dog sauce and chopstick drama aside, I'm sure that many more evenings will find Jamie and I on the patio of Harmoni, coming down from a long week. Their location in college park, excellent food, attentive/enjoyable waitstaff, and occasional cute dog on the patio will certainly give us ample reason to return, if only to badger the chef.