I grew up dirt poor. No shoes, no socks on my feet. My siblings and I lived hand to mouth – no exceptions. When one starved, everyone starved. Fast forward to today. I’m not even close to well off. I’ve had my share of triumphs and disappointments marked by a life of abysmal depression and suicidal ideation. Sometimes you need a reason to live. For some it’s their children, others their profession. Passions come and go. One that has stayed the longest with me is food. No, I never wanted to become a chef although I did work for two and a half years at two different McDonald’s and waited at a creole restaurant in NY called Carolina’s of Woodstock. I’m a foodie and I enjoy fine dining. There are a few places in Seattle I’ve yet to sample – Canlis on Aurora, El Gaucho of Belltown, Spur Gastropub downtown, Toulouse Petit in Queen Anne and Palisade right here in Magnolia. I probably shouldn’t leave out Ray’s Boathouse or The Walrus & the Carpenter, both of which are in Ballard, my favorite city. I’ve already eaten at McCormick’s and Schmick’s on 1st Ave. so I consider that an achievement. Of course, the problem with me is I don’t dare dine alone. I’d feel like a heel or a fool. I already do it at some of my favorite watering holes but I’d be pushing my luck in one of these luxurious places. Still, I’m driven. I’m not gainfully employed at the moment so I can’t do it, but once the paychecks start rolling in, I will amass the nerves to order takeout from these places. I don’t want to miss out because I’m broke. Fine dining is a luxury and a measure of success. Just give me time. I’ll bounce back.