12 March, 2012

satan's slightly used pentagram

the last month has been a mad dash from project to meeting to condo showing to birthday festivities to stagette night to wedding to family dinner and back. although the latter few bits were actually fun, i am in dire need of time to round up the dust bunnies madly proliferating in my dark corners and the random papers of varying Importance doing the same on the counter. i wonder what it will be like if (when?) i finish grad school and am forced to join the rest of the human race in a 40 hour work week: how will i cope? when will i catch up on my gilmore girls? will i ever cook dinner or subsist entirely on donairs? will i become an even more angry hostile bitch? these are all questions that must be considered before i embark on this new adventure and consider them i shall when i get a spare second to myself. instead, let me tell you about our fancy dinner out.

on march 2, mister monkey and i celebrated the 13th anniversary of our first date, and decided to go to the restaurant where we had our wedding supper, the red ox inn, a lovely little out of the way fine dining establishment. reservations were made, good shoes polished up, buttons sewn back onto shirts and tight skirts squeezed into. we spiffed up, fluffed our collective bangs and went forth into the night.

the dining room had been renovated since our last visit there, but the ambience was still cozy, pleasant and warm and the service professional and friendly. mister monkey perused the menu thoughtfully and came up with an appetizer - five onion soup with a carmelised onion cracker. i think the poor man was expecting a cheesy concoction not unlike french onion soup. what he got instead was a big gorgeous white plate upon which two slices of sauteed leek and two halves of roasted cipollini were artfully arrayed. upon them balanced an onion cracker roughly the shape and size of a gas station coffee stir stick. the waiter swooped in and dramatically poured hot broth, fragrant with star anise and fennel, on top of the onions. and that was that. i ordered the duck foie gras, because everyone knows ducks are bastards. i also got a big gorgeous plate upon which rested a piece of foie gras the size of a medium lego piece, drizzled artfully with phlegm coloured globs of apple puree and several scattered mysterious but delicious crunchy bits. it was phenomenal. tiny, but phenomenal. the rest of the meal was a little less blog-worthy in that the portions were actually reasonable, and tasted very good. overall, it was a good night.

several days later, on my actual birthday, mister monkey picked up some take-out from my favourite vegetarian place (i might or might not have been doing penance for the evil done to ducks). the bill was roughly one third of the previous place, fed us that night's dinner and the following day's lunch and was so fantastically flavourful that we decided we were just not fine dining types. oh sure, every once in a while we can consume artful drizzles and dollops, we can admire swans woven out of organic free range chives, we can even dig the fabric tablecloths (although we draw the line at molecular gastronomy - anyone who feels the need to foam pop-corn needs to get diddled a little more regularly), but for the most part, give me cheap, plentiful, flavourful asian food, and never mind the highfalutin stuff: mister monkey and i both cook and so you'll have to work a little harder to impress us than serving us a tower of soup.

6 comments:

Geneviève said...

I agree 100%. Give me the whole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant any day. Or Padmanadi! I ate at the Red Ox Inn once (gift certificate for my birthday) and found it pretentious and overrated (not to mention over-priced). Now if they'd brought me a tower of soup, that would have been a different story.

Lucy said...

I want to go to Padmanadi.

the polish chick said...

lucy, you really really do. their spicy coconut eggplant is to die for and the thought of their ginger "beef" is making me salivate right now (i hope i don't short out the keyboard).

Alison Cross said...

I went to a pub called The George last Saturday and ordered scallops on black pudding with apple puree. It was the same price as the other two dishes that were ordered. The other two dishes came and were MASSIVE. Mine came and it was a thin round of black pudding, two small scallops with a third smaller scallop hidden under a lettuce leaf. And the apple puree tasted like baby food. I was inconsolable. Well, that's not true. I ate all Sonshine's chips (cooked in animal fat YES!) and they tasted DIVINE.

But nothing made up for the piss poor quantity of scallops....

Give me a massive curry any day!

Ali x

Word Verification - urinals and ustiff, two words that should never be used together in the same sentence, frankly.

Joan said...

I remember my brother and wife went to a fine dining French restaurant in Calgary. The portions were so small, they went to McDonalds on the way home! I also think that if you cook at home, it takes more to impress.I hate it when I get a dish that I could have made better myself!

Zhoen said...

You are not paying for the food, but for the looks and the ambience. Which is why I will take a powerful mole and a cheap but nourishing meal every time. I think some people taste with their eyes, which utterly baffles me, but there you go.