Monday, March 10, 2008

A Lovely Weekend

While parts of our continent received a dump of snow this weekend, my little corner of the world experienced some lovely sunny weather. It was 12 Celsius (54 F) on Saturday when I met a group of friends for dinner at a restaurant. Nice enough to wear a skirt, short-sleeved top and sandals - with a light coat, of course!

I can't remember having a nicer meal. The restaurant was wonderful from start to finish. The coat-check man was friendly and polite, the maitre-d' was kind and accomodating (it must be frustrating for restaurant staff to put up with a group of a dozen women that arrive in dribs and drabs over the course of 20 minutes) and our waiter was simply fabulous. He was there when needed without being obtrusive, and everything was done to perfection. I ordered a whiskey sour, a drink I haven't had in years, and it was perfect. Just the right blend of rye whiskey, soda water, lemon and sugar. The house special that evening was strip loin steak and crab legs - YUM! I know it has been more than ten years since I've had crab, possibly more than fifteen. This was exquisite. I often find the vegetable accompaniment to restaurant meals is overdone, but not this time. My broccoli, carrots and mushrooms were cooked and hot and slightly crisp, not limp at all. I splurged and had a baked potato with all the trimmings too. I can't remember how many times I've ordered a steak "blue rare" in a restaurant and been disappointed when it arrives and is somewhere between medium-rare and medium. Not this time! I asked for blue-rare and that's exactly what I got. (Yes, I know I'm a freak. I like steak tartare as well.)

After such a wonderful meal, only about a third of us ordered dessert. Of course I was one of them. It was so hard to decide: pecan pie, chocolate fudge torte, tiramisu, Kahlua parfait, ... I finally settled on creme brulee since it's something I don't make at home. It, like everything else preceding it, was perfect. I felt like a little girl again, taking tiny pieces with the tip of my spoon, savouring the sweet syrup and silky custard and making it last as long as possible.

I go out for dinner with this group of friends once a year and we try a different restaurant every year. I think more than a few of us would like to return to this place again. We were very well cared for and were allowed to sit and chat and laugh for a long time after our actual meal was done. We didn't feel rushed at all, which has happened in other places that want us to leave so they can have another seating at our tables.

I didn't have to work on Sunday. It was a lovely, lazy day spent at home with the kids. We started with homemade Belgian waffles for breakfast. The kids had some friends over and much of the day was spent playing outside in the sunshine. Today is another beautiful warm day (the forecast high is 14C/57F) and I don't have to work until 5:30 pm. I'm off to get the week's groceries and then I plan to throw open all the windows and air out the house. I can hardly wait for spring!

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