It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Fine Dining

Bet you’re expecting something about grilled cheese sandwiches and spilled milk. Wrong! This is the Real Deal.

A caregiver friend had been given a $125 gift certificate last Christmas to a local very nice local restaurant. She had long decided that the best person to share her largesse was a woman who would fully understand just how very much it had been earned, and who needed the taste of civilization as desperately.

So off we went to Beckta. Click the link, click it right now!! …..

…. There. Wasn’t that lovely? Don’t you feel calmed and relaxed?

Did you see that bottom picture, the one with the vase lit from underneath? See that table just behind it? That was our table. We were seated – servers pulled out the chair and pushed it back under you! But we are careful not to look too delighted by this, as this would prove us to be unsophisticated, which we are not.

Actually, we dress up pretty nicely. She was wearing very cool maroon pants decorated in an indian pattern of stitchery and some glittery bits, and an understatedly sexy black blouse. I was in a curve-hugging brown nicely scoop-neck dress under a watered silk blazer just about the same length as the dress: shortish. Heels for both of us: brown boots for her, black suede shoes for me. We’re a nicely balanced pair: she’s as blond as I am brunette; she’s as willow-thin as I am curvy; I go for dark lipstick, she’s a pastel girl. And she’s my very best friend.

We share a sushi appetizer, which was amazing. And which we both ate with chopsticks, because we are Sophisticated. My friend very sophisticatedly smeared a liberal layer of wasabi all over her first piece, and then spent five minutes removing her eye-liner from her streaming eyes with the thick white linen napkin provided for just such an eventuality. Very sophisticated.

She had the BC Halibut, “just for the halibut” she says, a very classy joke, suitable for such a high-toned establishment. I had the chowder. (Read the menu!! You can be there, too!)

The chowder came in sections! The server placed an assortment of seafood and delicately sliced spring potatoes artfully arranged in a wide shallow bowl in front of me. The he left. Hmmm… maybe in truly high-class places, chowder isn’t soup? And then he returned! Bearing a large stainless teapot affair in which was the broth for my soup! Coconut based broth. Ummmmm….

And she ate with her fork in her left and knife in her right, and I tipped my bowl away and scooped my soup away from me, and sipped delicately from the side of the spoon. See our good manners and natural elegance?

Dessert: creme brulee for me, tiramisu for her. Melt in your mouth goodness. The coffee was too strong for my taste, but I am a coffee wuss, I admit it. It did balance the sweetness of the creme brulee very nicely. And neither of us licked our plates. Which was a shame, really. These are the sacrifices one make for elegance.

Not the complete lack of any mention of alcohol. She did have a glass of wine; I stuck to tonic water. Not because I feared the demon alcohol would summon up my inner table dancer, but because we were making sure our gift certificate lasted the whole meal. She got the wine because this meal out was her Christmas present – but don’t tell her that: She thinks it’s because my trick stomach was acting up. I am such a good friend!

Oh, and did I mention the “gifts from the kitchen”? Before we’d ordered, two little espresso-size cups of squash bisque with provolone cheese were placed in front of us, on their signature plain white, square plates. Oh, but it was good. After dinner, two teeny pieces of fudge and a couple of “ben-somethingfrenchsounding”s, which turned out to be teeny-weeny deepfried pastry balls. An awful lot like quarter-sized Timbits, truth be known, with a crustier outside and way more sugar. Truly sophisticated people don’t know what a Timbit is, but we didn’t say the word out loud in the restaurant, so I don’t think we blew our cover. Everyone knows “ben-somethingfrenchish” is much more Sophisticated than “teeny timbits”.

We sat and we talked, we savoured, three hours flew by. And the bill? $124.32

Man, are we good: 68 cents to spare! A gorgeous meal for the price of a tip. (Generous – we are too unsophisticated, I confess, to take this kind of “dining experience” for granted) If that blew our cover, too bad.

Now I’m off to write my friend’s clients a thank-you note!

November 16, 2005 Posted by | food, holidays, Ottawa | 16 Comments