Dearest and I went to Blackbird Kitchen for dinner Tuesday night, 7:30 PM, mid- January. Who would suspect a downtown Bozeman cafe would be so packed! Well, it’s arguably the best food in town, and the word’s out. With no possible table in sight, we grabbed the last stools at the kitchen-side counter and settled in for our meal, watching the show of 5 deft chefs manning their stations like well rehearsed ballet dancers.
Right as our main course arrived, in walked a very fit man with his young son, both outfitted in down jackets and bike helmets. The toddler swaggered with all the authority of a two-year-old owning the world, his orange reflective helmet larger than his head. His pudgy hand gripped the handles of a distinctive black grocery sack Blackbird Kitchen uses when you buy one of their artisan’s loaves of bread. He was a returning customer and on a mission. They marched to the counter, bought bread, then left. Watching the father readying his son on the bike’s backseat outside the restaurant, I stood and raced to the door. The boy’s smile roped me in. “Hi,” I said as I joined them on the icy sidewalk. We made our introductions, the boy grinning and chattering the entire time. The father, Lucien, has lived a dozen years in Bozeman. “We’re here,” Lucien explained, “because my son said, I want bread. Really good bread. I told him it was cold and quite a peddle, but he insisted. He sang Jingle Bells the whole way here.” As they began their ride home, I heard the child murmur, “Bread,” in utter happiness. What’s there not to love about Blackbird and winter in Bozeman!