Don’t sweat it

a jus[Warning: This blog entry contains food and drink descriptions that may cause severe hunger pangs and/or uncontrollable urges to make a lamb jus.]


When is the right time to break out the sweatpants? It might not have been the sexiest question ever posed in Lumiere (www.lumiere.ca) lounge over an amuse bouche, but it’s a legitimate one.

Crystal C. and Wingy Left: Crystal C. enjoying an amuse bouche with Wingy.

We’d been talking, Wingman, real estate agent Crystal C. and myself, about relaxing at home and what we like to wear. Would you believe Wingy doesn’t even own a pair of sweats? He said something about boxer shorts but by then I wasn’t even listening as he’d (again) lost all credibility. Crystal said she liked yoga-wear but that she did have a pair of sweatpants she liked to wear around the house. I wondered when, if ever, it was permissible to parade your most comfortable (and therefore unsexiest) clothes in front of someone you might have even a vague interest in. Crystal said she would unashamedly wear her sweats in front of a guy she was seeing after three weeks, “if we were just doing something comfortable.” I said I’d never worn sweats around the last girl I dated, not in our whole year of going out. But then, as soon as I said this, I thought, “Uh-oh, is that true?” It could have been one of those wishful-thinking, after-the-fact statements… anyway, just because Crystal can get away with something doesn’t mean I can, since she looks like Lindsay Lohan and I do not.

 mixologist, moi Left: Mixologist, moi

This discussion took place over a classic martini and a spot prawn tortellini with squid linguini and sauce vierge (I have the recipe in front of me but I don’t think I’ll be making it any time soon unless the Queen, or perhaps Italian actress Asia Argento, drop by) before a dinner presented by the folks at Bombay Sapphire. You know the stuff, it looks innocent enough in its baby blue bottle, but then you have three martinis of it and you’re seeing pink elephants. But it’s actually got rather a sophisticated palette of flavours, including those of no fewer than 10 “botanicals”—for instance, coriander, almonds, lemon peel (from Spain, no less), and grains of paradise. Read the side of the bottle if you don’t believe me.

Anyway, the idea behind this evening was cocktails made with Bombay Sapphire paired with specially prepared dishes. Lumiere is one of the city’s  most celebrated establishments, and chef Dale McKay did not disappoint, nor did Bombay mixologist Merlin. In order, we had: a Ginger Snap (fresh mandarin juice and ginger syrup in a tall glass, a perfect summer time drink) paired with a Qualicum Bay scallop with raisin puree, roast pear and micro coriander; a Mistletoe Martini (rather sweet, but redeemed by a mint garnish) along with braised veal cheek and cranberry tuille; and the Chalet, made with cranberry and apple juice and fresh lemon, teamed with pressed Berkshire pork belly with caramelized apples, turnips and Savoy cabbage. A main course of loin of lamb with lightly spiced choucroute, golden raisins, carrot and cauliflower purees, okra and lamb juice followed. Suffice it to say, by this time my taste buds were doing backflips–it was like a little Cirque du soleil in my cakehole. However, I am a merciful blogging god, so I won’t bore you with the salacious details of the dessert.

Speaking of pairings, however, it was my fortune to be seated at what my good friend Mary would so poetically have referred to as “the NAFF” table. That is, “Not Available For—” uhm, sex. On my right were two Claudias, one from print and the other radio, while across from me sat Lisa, with the Bombay Sapphire Toronto office. Lovely ladies all, perhaps, but all bearing the Ring of Doom. Across the table on my left was Sarah, a friend, while on my immediate left was Andrew Carney,  global PR director for Bombay Sapphire, from London. Actually, he was the one who laughed most at my jokes, but being male not really my type. Although he did have a cute accent.

Meanwhile, from my position I had a clear view of Wing-y. Naturally, he was having the time of his life, yucking it up with those all around him and occasionally shooting me grins of self-satisfaction as he promised tickets to the Spice Girls concert to all the girls at his table who, it seemed, were mostly of the single variety, and probably didn’t own a pair of sweat pants, either.

Next: will Wingy and I get backstage to meet Ginger, Posh and, er, the other ones? More importantly, will I get a date? Check in Monday, Dec. 3, for one of the first reviews of the Spice Girls’ reunion tour kick-off concert. Zig-a-zig-ah!

1 Response to “Don’t sweat it”

  1. December 3, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    What will Wingy and Shawn do next…?!? Well done: I’m hooked. Careful about all that cocktailing though, lads – corriander is a gateway drug… Incidentally, in some circles the “sweatpant test” during early-stage dating is considered to an excellent litmus test of a girl’s character (and mettle). Your readers demand more reseach on this topic.

    Regards, Val.

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