What IS it about going to your favourite restaurant? It is more than the food or wine list which, in my case, is epic. No, it is the ability of the experience to assure you that everything is right in the world. It is a feeling I cherish, and only recently have begun to question. Somehow it presses a “reset” button on my emotional outlook. The next morning I wake up (maybe a little hungover, but) with a smile. These dinners are not just meals. They are truly about “dining”. And delight in the senses. My eyes are busy between plates and faces. My ears pick up bits of conversations and music. The iPod’s playlist always says something about the mood in the kitchen. Is tonight an indie night or are we really listening to rap- the words blurred by the general din of guests? My nose is often in a glass, discovering a new wine find. And of course, as far as touch and taste- textures and flavours never disappoint.
I am an oyster snob. I only like them if they are exceptionally good. Otherwise, I’m happy to let my dining company enjoy them. It isn’t that I’m worried about getting sick – I just don’t like them enough to eat oysters that are “ok”. I have to admit I almost ordered more, for the first time, ever. We ate wild Beausoleils hand-picked by divers. They were too good to dress with anything. Mmmm. Sorry the photo is so fuzzy – I refused to use a flash.
I have a love/ hate relationship with “inventive” cuisine, often finding it contrived without being particularly good. But when it is done well, it makes me giggle (ok, not always obviously). Last night “Buffalo Mozzarella di Bufala” had me grinning like a fool. Deep fried balls of good mozzarella that were breaded in cornflake crumbs in a pool of buffalo-wing sauce with blue cheese and garnished with thin slices of celery. I heard that stupid “angel” music in my head! My mouth is watering as I write.
The final word goes to what we drank with our soft serve. Dessert wines and I don’t often go in the same sentence. But maybe I’m turning a corner. We tasted, for the very first time, a Mistelle. A what? Imagine Port, less sweet, and less hot. in fact, I read after that mistelles are fresh grape juice which the fermentation process has been stopped by the addition of alcohol. Mistelle is a fortified wine, and the most well known examples are Pineau des Charentes and Floc de Gascogne. Learn something new every day.
To all my friends who are part of my favourite restaurant, who always look happy to see me and take a few minutes when they are in a service rush to say “hi”, thank you for reminding me what it is all about. Life is good.