Romancing the Restaurant

As my dear husband, Robert, says, I have a lot of “restrictions”. In fact, I like to think of these issues as more of a gift than a restriction. The gift of discernment, perception, and aesthetic sensitivity.  Which translated means, stuff bugs me. A lot. But stuff also puts me into raptures. A lot. As Mr. Joel sang…darling, I don’t know why I go to extremes. I just do!

For one thing, I am a definite sufferer of misophonia. The mere sight of this photo makes my spine shiver.fullsizeoutput_709Holy heck, when Robert scrapes his ceramic bowl/cup/plate with his spoon, it’s strictly fight or flight, baby! And our house is only 1300 sq. ft. so……

Another “restriction” I have, is intolerance of bad lighting, which I have now named misoluminia. (TM)

Example of friendly lighting:

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I’ve managed to eliminate any cranky-inducing light at home, but it’s when we go out into the big, unpredictable world, that I face challenges. Particularly in restaurants and particularly particularly when I’m looking for a romantic restaurant experience. One fluorescent light, one undimmed corner lamp, and it’s strictly fight or flight, baby! And restaurants don’t like when you skip out on the tab, so…

ERGO, my new mission is to discover the MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS IN EDMONTON!!! I thought this a delicious kind of exposure therapy PLUS I might be helping out my 4 loyal readers! Win win!

Before delving into romancing the restaurants, I made up a list of…ahem…”restrictions”:

  1. Lighting (duh). Soft, beautiful, warm…camouflages the rosacea I get when drinking red wine.
  2. Music. Better exist, and should be loud enough to blur torrid conversation but not so loud so as to require me to yell, “YOU WANT TO WHAT???”
  3. Food and drink. (ok, should be first, but RESTRICTIONS.) Delicious, sensory, eatable off each other’s plateable.
  4. Servers. The kind that know what they’re doing and certainly NEVER say “HEY GUYS!”
  5. General ambiance. If I keep unwillingly staring at the 7 TVs that you have boldly hung around the room, how can I stare into my partner’s limpid pools?

Armed with my gift of discernment, we headed out to…The Marc!

We love The Marc. Memories of early courting, sigh…….

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Okay, that’s not The Marc. But that IS us 7 years ago – the exact year that we visited The Marc for the first time! Why didn’t I take pictures agh…..

The Marc recently had their 7th year anniversary too, so I kind of feel a kindredness with this place.💝 Can’t let that blur my steadfast romantic restaurant mission!

  1. Lighting.

I have to say. It’s…okayyyyyish. The lighting at The Marc has kind of always stymied me. It’s pretty bright. Like quite bright. Like did I blend my concealer enough bright. Not harsh but sort of corporate lunchish. I don’t feel the need to flee, but it definitely doesn’t make me feel the need to swoon. Ah, well.

2. Music. It exists and it was just right. I actually can’t remember it. Which means it was enough to do its job but not too much.

3. Food and drink. Let’s separate these.

Food.

IMG_5889Oh my gosh the escargot with bone marrow. Can’t breathe. So good. So good. If you appreciate the finer points of the snail and of the inner workings of a bone, this is for you! Well, for me.🙌🏻

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MUSHROOMS ON TOAST, PLEASE MARRY ME NOW.  Those tender mushrooms. That chewy yet crisp toast. That rich and savoury sauce. That oozing, perfect egg. THIS is romance, baby.

Ok, let’s move on to drink.

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The Marc’s wine list is pretty fantastic, we all know that. But what about cocktails? Well, at least for our visit, not so great. (Also note kind of bright lighting!) Pretty standard and did take a loooong time, which threw off my MUST HAVE ROMANCE vibe a bit. Must give a bit of leeway though, since we had just imbibed pre-dinner drinks at Bar Clementine. Say no more.

4. Servers. The Marc has my favourite kind of server. Knowledgable of the menu and its inner workings, solid recommendations, just enough attentiveness but knowing when to hang back, not super young, and never says GUYS. These are the servers of old, the kind that can rock a slightly bitchy face but have a heart of gold and a world of expertise. Check!

5. General ambiance.  Solid. I like the minimalist but not annoyingly modern set up. Just dark wood tables and chairs and lovely white brick walls, plus the bank of windows. Nothing sticks in my craw here. HOWEVER, if it’s intimate times of whispering sweet nothings that you’re looking for…it MIGHT not work here. Not a certainty, but many tables are situated fairly close together and there is nothing in the way of layout or furniture to create any cozy little nooks. I would have been slightly embarrassed to plant a smooch on my life partner. I did anyway, but that’s just me! (Plus, the peeps at the next table took note and an adorable frenzy of furtive looks and whispers ensued.)

Also.

WHAT IS WITH THE LOSERS TAKING SELFIES IN THE MIRROR?

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Geez, you can’t go anywhere these days.

 

SO. For my first restaurant romancing, I give The Marc a 3 out of 5. I’m pretty sure it would be a 3.5 or even a 4 out of 5, if I had been sitting on the lovely leather banquette you see above. Back to the wall, I always say. It also forces your other to stare into the fiery depths of your soul. And prevents extended furtive looks and whispers from non-romantic diners.

What do you think? Was The Marc more romantic for you than we experienced? Is it just us? Did the selfie quash any hope of passionate dining? Do I really want to know the answers to the last three of these questions?

 

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10 things I’m going to do in 2017 – (NOT resolutions! #3 – Bond with friends!

I admit I’m an introvert.

I don’t think most people get what an introvert is . It’s also kinda trendy to say I’M AN INTROVERT right now. But really, an introvert recharges from being alone. You might love any number of social situations, but you eventually are drrrraaaaiiinnneeeddd from hanging out with other humans and need to be alone to re-become sane.

This is dangerous because an introvert might never want to come out of the me-ness to enter the other-ness.

Enter the other-ness, I encourage all introverts! It’s almost inevitably good for you!

Today, with the fog, and the tiredness, and the grayness, I almost cancelled on a night out with friends. But I thought about how these particular friends are so good and so fun and so real and so friendish! And how, no matter how tired I am after an outing with them, in some weird way, I am also recharged.

And so, I, with my intrepid, vested, and polka-dotted husband, forged ahead!

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Met our friends Christina and Darryl at North 53 for an aperitif. I had my favourite BFF the Drunkcle. That’s a Drunken Uncle, more formally. I love bonding with this particular friend. Never EVER judges me.

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Darryl was starving so they ordered the Tuna Tataki. This is right before he demolished the tower of beauteous tuna and wonton with his fork of wanton destruction and mayhem.

We then proceeded on to The Marc where we were to feast upon their Alsatian menu which was to end that night!!! Love me some sauerkraut!!! Actually, I love saying sauerkraut even more than I love eating it. Zowahkrrrrowt. I could say that all day and be full without even eating a bite.

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What? This doesn’t look Alsatian?

That’s right. I got seduced by the fricking snails. If there’s escargot on the menu and it’s not bathed in tomato, I am trying it!

These were so fresh and yummy and un-garlic-bathed. Try stabbing a morsel of bone marrow with an escargot and a little piece of crunchy veg and WOWOWOWOW. I just about passed out. YUM, OK?

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Darryl, the most unimpressed-by-Alsace person in our group of 4, is the only one who ordered the full menu!!! First, he had the Tarte Flambée. The dish was almost as appealing as  his sincere and generous smile. A match made in himmel!

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Once we figured out that we weren’t all going for a revival of Alsace-Lorraine hits, we ordered a very nice wine from Veneto. You don’t know where Veneto is? What is wrong with you heathens!!??? Look it up!!!!

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Robert and Darryl engaged in some male bonding. Funnily enough, it often involved media. Christina and I have no photos of us bonding because we were engaging in one on one human interactions. YAS.

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Theme of the night. Robert looking askance at most everything. Including my verified claim of personal IQ level. Lord Andrew Clinterty, back me up, here!

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I had the Steak Tartare with a side of what will be my last side upon this earth before I die – the pommes frites with a DELICIOUS truffly dipping sauce. Can I just say how I’m pretty sure I can’t eat anything else until Thursday because it would be wrong to infringe upon this almost-religious experience? The spiced-just-enough tartare with the perfect frites and the UNBELIEVABLE sauce is pretty much everything I’ve ever aspired to. Just add bubbles and DONE.

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Friends. Enraptured by my husband’s talk. It gave me a moment to stare at their beauty and appreciate how much I love spending time with like-minded souls who are good and fun and funny and irreverent and festive. Love you!!!!

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PS. No good photos were taken of my outfit tonight! And believe me when I say it was CUTE. Ugh. Oh well, here’s the top of it. The bottom was the best! 😦

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Also, I got a new coat. From Oak and Fort. It is SO cute. And not black. Which caused me untold pallets of anxiety. But I think I made the right choice.

And what does that have to do with hanging out with friends? Well, friends understand who you are. They don’t judge you for what makes you excited and what makes you anxious. Christina loves that I love my new coat. She loves that I spaz out about the oddest of things. (You do, right, Christina?) And I love to listen to her stories and her hilarities and her sadnesses. It’s a two way street. And I love travelling either way on it.

 

What makes a friend a good friend for you?

 

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