31
Mar
08

Happy birthday, Kim!

Kim and Rollie had been to La Regelade once before, and loved it. And so we were celebrating Kim’s birthday at the West Vancouver restaurant. Little did I know that my order would prove to be so controversial.

 

To backtrack a bit, she and Rollie are married, and have been for about three years. They’re one of the few happy couples I know. Kim I’ve known for an embarrassingly long time—going on two decades now. Our senses of humour mesh in a particular way. Recently, she called me up and left a message on my voicemail: “I’m making pies.” It wasn’t an invitation, you understand. She was just letting me know she was baking pies.

 

I’ve never known anyone to be as obsessed, or perhaps enthralled is the better word, by food. Comfort food in particular—she’s been know to rhapsodize, down to the very last detail, over an imaginary turkey dinner. To me, she is the original foodie—she’s been one since before I knew the term existed.

This was my first time at La Regelade [www.laregalade.com], but I was finding I liked the atmosphere, which I would describe as “French bistro-like,” in that the restaurant was dimly lit and loud and there were cartoons of funny little men with mustaches and berets on the walls and our waitress had a French accent. My immediate thought upon entering was: “What a great place to surprise and thrill a date. If we were to go Dutch.” Megan, a cute brunette friend of Kim’s, was the other birthday party guest.

I’m not normally much of a meat eater, but I’d heard Kim go on about the beef bourguignon enough that I felt duty-bound to try it. I was a little surprised when Kim ordered the coq au vin instead, but didn’t really think anything of it at the time. Besides, I was busy trying to figure out whether or not Megan was single. Having dinner with a married couple will do that to you, especially when topics of conversation include how they met and their plans for renovating their house.

 

After our main courses, which were rich enough to impress upon me the need to go to the gym the first thing the next day, we were joined by Cathy and Cheryl, two of Kim’s co-workers. Cheryl had just come from a date set up by a matchmaking service. She wasn’t planning the wedding. “He immediately ordered a double vodka, and had three more,” she said. “He looked like Rod Stewart, but with a diamond in his tooth. And he kept going to the bathroom. And he wanted to watch the hockey game.”

Cheryl has a husky smoker’s voice; she and Kim had gone to high school together, though they’d lost touch for years until they’d found themselves working together.

“So why did you order the coq au vin?” Cathy finally asked Kim. “You were talking about the beef bourguignon all day.”

 

Kim pointed at me. “Because he ordered the beef bourguignon,” she said. “So I had to change my strategy.” She explained what I’d been too oblivious to understand earlier–that if two people order the same thing, both helpings are put in one big stewpot for sharing. “I knew if we had to share it, I’d have one helping he’d have two helpings. So it wouldn’t be fair.”

 

We were all stunned into silence. “So what,” I said, not unreasonably. “As long as we’re both full?”

 

This didn’t seem to mollify the birthday girl. So, ever the gentleman, and with dessert on the way, I offered to exchange my leftovers for hers. Kim’s eyes lit up, and then narrowed suspiciously, as though I was trying to pull one over on her. Some might call this look “the hairy eyeball.” “Did you get potatoes too?” she asked, in a tone that implied she had, but I might not have, and she didn’t want to end up with a container of beef bourguignon and no scalloped potatoes (which, by the way, were worth bargaining for).  

“Yep, they’re in the bag here.”

“Okay.”

img_6243.jpg (left: Megan drizzles on the chocolate while Kim demonstrates her poker face.)

And so, after my berry tart, and the girls’ “wells of love” (some kind of pastry drizzled with chocolate–see pic), Kim and I exchanged bags. I was just becoming aware of a considerable difference in weight, with hers tipping the scale more than mine, when I heard, “No wait, give me mine back!” She seized back her heavier bag, and handed me my Styrofoam containers of potatoes and beef bourguignon.

 

“Nice try,” she said. 

   


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