Last night my wife, uh... Hank, and I went to dinner to celebrate our 9th anniversary, the clean sheets anniversary. We had what was easily the most expensive dinner of my life.
My wife had informed me that a jacket and tie would be appropriate attire, and I certainly own these items, but it became apparent that I was out of my league mere seconds after walking into the restaurant. The hostess politely offered to take my wife's coat, and I immediately chimed in, offering her my coat as well.
The tiny flash of panic in the hostess's eyes alerted me that I had done the equivalent of asking if I could eat dinner in my underwear. I immediately realized that it's not enough to merely wear a coat while walking through the door, but I must continue to wear it throughout dinner. Thankfully, the hostess and Hank graciously laughed as though I had been joking. I barked out a laugh along with them. Oh, funny me.
Turns out this was a rather fancy joint with French cuisine. The wife and I perused the menu and nothing jumped out at us, so she suggested that we order the Chef's menu with the wine pairing. Actually there were three different Chef's menus available. Two of them were outlined on the menu and the third was the irresistable mystery option. This was described as a personalized dinner where you place yourselves in the hands of the chef. The waiter asked us about our food allergies and preferences so that the 7 courses could be customized to our palates. I explained that I liked spicy foods but not sweet ones. Aside from that, I didn't have much to say. Honestly, what the hell am I going to say to a chef about food? "Whoa, Frenchy! Easy on the brie!" or maybe, "These snails need tabasco!"
For each of the courses (and both of the palate cleansers) they served different foods to Hank and I. Inexplicably, I was usually served the sweeter of the choices, and my wife got the more savory or spicy one. So much for my preferences. Also, the table next to ours got the exact same set of "personalized" courses. Nice touch, Frenchy.
The courses were absurdly pretentious. They were all about the size of my thumb and consisted of flavors I couldn't identify, fancy meats, and vegetables sliced quark-thin. It was more impressive than delicious, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't tasty.
My favorite moment came when the waiter (and when I say, "the waiter", I'm referring to any of the dozen people it required to serve us our 9 courses and wine and bread and water. Had this taskforce been mobilized to New Orleans, I think the victims of Katrina would be well cared for) served us our zillionth "taste" of wine.
"Zees eees a blah blah blah blah blah Sauterne," he said without a hint of a French accent. "But now, of course, I have given away zat zee next course is foie gras!" he continued, with a I-am-zee-bad-boy smile.
Hank smiled knowingly while I wondered if it's even theoretically possible for me to know less about wine than I do. I guess it was obvious to everyone else in the room that one would only serve Sauterne with organs that had been squeezed toothpaste-style out of animals, but I'm a bit of a rube. Had they served me the same wine over and over again, creating red from white by using red dye #5, I would have been none the wiser.
We did have a lovely time though, and the food was pretty damn good. It was, as they say in France, burpalicious.