Thursday, December 27, 2012
Tale of 2 Meals: Fine Dining, "Colossal Flop"
Sumptuous feasts get enjoyed to the point of pain in this Season of Eating, as that last piece of pie makes it nearly impossible to summon enough strength to push back from the groaning board. Lyn and I had such a meal at the Southern Inn, in Lexington, Virginia, as we traveled toward Georgia for holidays with Daughter Leslie and her son Henri, aka King of Legos because he's so good at assembling those myriad Lego pieces into wondrous constructions.
The restaurant was as festive and cheerily lit as the street it sits on (in the nighttime image above). And the meal, from the plump oysters on the half shell, through the perfectly roasted breast of duck and French lamb, to the precisely warmed fruit pie, topped with ice cream – ahhh, that meal; now that was some good eating, some fine way to get The Season started. And the good eats just kept on getting better at Chef Leslie's table.
But on the other hand . . .
. . . there was the meal a family friend described in an email to Lyn. Our friend is a fine cook, and we've enjoyed our share of her elegant, delicious dinners. But this wasn't one of them. Here's part of what she wrote:
In all my experiences of serving dinners, from the Newfoundland days when I was terrified to start the oil-burning stove, until this Xmas Eve, I can say, without any false modesty, that it was the single worse dinner I have ever served anyone.
This includes the Thanksgiving turkey that exploded when, for unknown reasons, I covered the roasting pan. It includes a crown roast of pork that was so undercooked no one could cut it much less chew it. And it includes variations of other failures.
But none were worse than the ham, cheese pita, and vegetable platters. It was a humiliation, but I decided I wouldn't even bother apologizing. It was what it was – a colossal flop. And though "room temperature" was (instructed) for the ham and pita, it was COLD, real cold.
When Lyn finished reading the e, there was a moment of silence before she, Leslie and I broke into laughter tinged with sympathy, knowing that but for the grace of the food gods, there go any of us.