Valentine's Day will soon be here. Memory takes me back to another Valentine's Day about a year or so after David and I were married.
Always the romantic, David decided to take me to an elegant restaurant for the occasion. So we dressed up, hopped in the car and drove up the mountain to Auberge des Gallant, a well known, but rather secluded Inn at the top of Rigaud mountain (which is not really a mountain, but a hill).
I was impressed by the massive stone fireplace in the lobby. Our table was not quite ready, so we decided to make ourselves comfortable in front of the roaring fire. A waiter brought us each a glass of rich-looking red wine to sip.
It wasn't long before a hostess appeared to take us to our table. We had requested a table by the window, since at this time of year the deer come out of the woods to feed. They come right up to the windows as food is put out especially for them, adding a uniqueness and charm to this restaurant.
Our waiter was very French, of course.
He set out tasty tidbits, a basket of bread, and water in crystal glasses.
Resisting an urge to pick up a tasty tidbit with my fingers, I politely stuck my fork and knife into what looked like a toast triangle.
That was the wrong thing to do! It was hard as toast usually is, and flew over David's shoulder to land on the floor! Thank goodness nobody was looking.
Surprised by the flying toast tidbit, David knocked over his wine glass. Fortunately it was almost empty, so he quickly put it right again.
By this time I thought I'd better be safe than sorry, so I chose an innocent-looking roll from the bread basket. It was crusty on the outside, but nice and soft and buttery on the inside. I'd just finished eating it when Monsieur Waiter appeared at our table with a whisk.
"Vous permittez, Madam?"
I was taken aback. Permit you do to what? I hesitated and then nodded my head, wondering if he was really going to sweep up the breadcrumbs I had carelessly spilled on the white linen table cloth.
David choked on his water.
Monsieur Waiter then asked for our orders.
"I'll have the duck," I decided, wanting to try something different.
"How would you like it cooked?" asked M.Waiter.
Again I hesitated. I didn't know there were different methods of cooking duck. Doesn't one just roast it?
"Sanguine?" asked Waiter.
I nodded again.
David gave me a funny look but then went on to give his order.
Le canard (the duck) was presented to me on a bed of rice surrounded by tender-crisp vegetables. It was rare. Eewwww. I could not eat it.
"Didn't you realize that when you ordered?" David asked me. "Send it back."
"No, no, it's o.k." I'd lost my appetite for it anyway. Just ate the vegetables and rice, which were very tasty.
A young couple sat down at the table behind me. I could hear M. Waiter asking what they'd like to eat. It was obvious they spoke no French, so the waiter had to speak English.
"Perhaps a salade, Madam?" he asked the lady. "A lettoose salade?"
David and I looked at each other, then quickly looked away, in case we burst out laughing.
Lettoooose? Lettoooose? What else would a salad be made of than lettuce?
O.K., it could have been cabbage, but that would be cole slaw. Or potato salad, or greek salad. But really it was the poor man's pronunciation that had us chuckling in our napkins.
Coffee arrived in delicate china cups. I picked up the silver cream pitcher and poured some into my coffee. It didn't look like cream; it looked like milk. A small sip confirmed my suspicion.
I asked M.Waiter for cream. He looked horrified.
"Non, Madam, we do not have cream."
Well, excuse me. I thought. Isn't this a French restaurant? Don't they put cream in all of their sauces? Well never mind. We stopped at Tim Horton's on the way home and picked up coffee to go - double double for David and just cream for me.
We had had a delightful evening and laughed about it for years.