Thursday, May 11, 2006

Final Food Comments, eh??

Wednesday was our last night in Calgary.  A number of the women I've spoken with have HAD to go to dinners with their spouses where they were either being an "entertained customer" or were they were being the "entertaining supplier".  Whichever role, the dinners all tended to be too long (like 3.5 hours) and not entertaining.  They have my sympathies.

Tonight the three of us who began the trip a week ago invited 2 other friends to join us for a final night out.  Continuing with the international dining experiences we headed for a Russian restaurant we'd spotted.  I don't remember the name.. it began with an "S" and means "fairytale".

After perusing the menu, Elaine (responible for dinners, remember?) suggested that we each order something different, ask for extra plates and have a sort of Russian smorgasbord.  It was the best idea yet.

We started with appetizers of an assortment of olives (olives are Russian?) and a plate of blini and red caviar.  The waitress let them know that there were 5 of us.. so 5 blini appeared on our plate.  After devouring those, our main dishes were served:  Beef stroganoff with rice, chicken kiev with fresh steamed vegetables, cheese perogies with fresh shoe-string onion rings and sour cream, pork and beef dumplings, and sea bass with a champagne-mushroom sauce.

Are you drooling yet?  I forgot my camera, or I'd have those tastebuds on high alert.

The staff had never seen a table serve and eat "family style" but they all agreed that it made a great way to eat.  I think our waitress might file it away to suggest to other large parties.  We passed plates and divided the goodies, then ate until we were almost stuffed.

The finale was the dessert.  They had three to offer: a "Russian cheesecake.. a blini filled with cheesecake filling then deep fried, served with a raspberry and chocolate sauce.. and two versions of a fairly traditional honey cake... a tall concoction of sliver thin pieces of cake with a light filling.  We chose one blini and one cake to split each 5 ways.  We could have stuck with only one dessert.

Yep.  We were stuffed.  But we talked and laughed and visited and had a great time.  Two and half hours later we headed out take a short stroll before settling in for night.  And we agreed that we will try to repeat the experience at next year's conference in Philadelphia and the year after in Cleveland.  I'm not sure that I will go next year... but I'm sure that these four will have a great time.  Massoud was even told that he could not retire until these dinners had run their course!

Today we are heading home.. where the most exciting thing about dinner will be whether the wind off the bay blows the gas grill out.  Oh well, I will need to add a mile/day or more to my walks each day to recover from the eating this week.

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