Monday, April 15, 2013
Scenes from a Genevan restaurant
"No wonder Simon and Gianna wanted to meet us here. It's actually modern," exclaimed Sapphire as we asked for a table to seat 'cinq' people and waited for the other two to arrive.
"I'll order a bottle of Rose. Everyone likes Rose and it'll go with pretty well any sort of Italian food."
Love Chunks surveyed the scene and then the menu, wincing as he did so. "Well, each dish is helping them pay for the renovations."
Sapphire, looking beautiful in her own chosen ensemble of skirt, boots and cute top, rolled her eyes. "Dad, that's Geneva for you."
He smiled. "You're right. I'll try a glass of Cotes du Rhone red----"
"-----And I'll have a glass of that orange Aperol stuff, see?" Pointing wildly at a couple in the corner, "Remember me drinking it all the time last year in Germany...? They've just ordered the same drink, which is the first time I've seen it here. I love that stuff!"
"Yes Kath/Mum," my two favourite humans chorused.
Gianna and Simon arrived, glad to see that we'd snaffled a table. "There's already a queue outside and it's only a quarter to seven," she said, sipping on the Rose. "What the....?" she swallowed only because it would be impolite to spit inside. "I'm sorry but this is awful!"
Simon and LC agreed. "Never fear, I'll drink it," I said, worrying more about the cost of the wine and inwardly cringing at it going to waste.
"Peach iced tea for me, please," said Sapphire. "Hey Mum," she whispered, tapping my arm. "Don't look now - I said DON'T LOOK - but one of the chefs over there has the Colosseum tattooed on his arm."
"So he has. No prizes for guessing where he's from." The completed half litre orange Aperol and first glass of Rose were working their magic. "So. Pretend that your life depended on getting a tattoo - on your upper arm, so it's mostly visible - of a landmark or living thing to represent yourself, what would it be?"
"Certainly not the Opera House," Sapphire said before turning to place her order.
"A flower of some kind," said Gianna. "Seeing as this year my birthday has a zero in it, I have been giving it some thought but haven't got as far as decided what flower."
"My girls," Love Chunks said, "but how awful would that look?"
"The Southern Cross for me," was my contribution. "It's time we took it back from the brain-dead bogans." Sapphire shook her head in disapproval. "Mum, they'd just think you were their big white nanna."
"A British Bulldog," Simon said decisively. "But to overturn the racist element of it, I'd have him smiling, sitting on top of the Tower of London and wearing a Shamrock around his collar. My mum would like the shamrock."
It was then that we noticed the two real dogs in the restaurant. The one closest to me was still a puppy and resembled our Milly crossed with a kelpie and a whippet and a whimsical dash of shrunken golden retriever. Glass number three had me lean back and slur slightly, "Love your dog. What is she?"
"We're not really sure as she was a rescue dog from Austria," the man replied in a strong German accent.
At the table on the other side of us was a full-sized Boxer, his back almost the same level as the table. Arse facing us, we were treated to an eyeful of his baked potato-sized bollocks. Turning to face us (which we were all relieved about), he presented a very handsome but slightly huffy face. His nose inevitably found her: the cute Blonde Bitzer I was currently enchanted with. His paws scrabbled on the shiny floor to reach her, knocking against the legs of his owners' table. A sixty-something man, clearly the owner, grabbed the dog and roughly shoved his head under the table, cursing loudly.
"That seems a bit harsh," observed Simon. "The dog's only doing what is natural..."
I leaned back to my Austrian friend and pointed to a spot just behind Simon's left elbow. "There's a boxer over there who is very keen to meet your dog."
"But he mustn't," he whispered, "As she is on heat."
A fourth glass was swirling inside me yet even I queried the wisdom of bringing a dog on heat to the most popular restaurant in our postcode, with tables almost touching and overloaded with stemmed glasses and bread baskets. "Oh," I said, turning back to my friends.
By the fifth glass, Gianna had had enough. The Italian fire in her soul - and inborn knowledge of the language - saw her plonk down her calamari and square up to the Boxer's bully. Never a shy petal, Gianna was obviously giving the bloke a goodly piece of her mind in her mother's native tongue, gesticulating at the dog and pointing towards the Blonde Bitzer behind me. The waiters quickly intervened and magically found the Boxer family a table against the counter, presumably so that the dog could be hidden underneath and only have one side to escape from.
Things now settled, we enjoyed the meal. The food was indeed superb and the increasingly loud conversation, yelled orders to the pizza chefs and clacking heels on parquetry were adding to the chaos. A downed sixth glass made me brave enough to lean back on my chair - now being steadied ever-so-subtlely by LC - and ask the question. "Why is your dog on heat?"
"She was supposed to be neutered on Tuesday but started bleeding, so the vet says he can't do it until next week-----"
The Boxer was there! He'd broken out of his pizza and pasta-prescribed prison and was about to........."NO!" Despite the imminence of a violent sexual scene and three separate groups of diners in distress, the packed restaurant remained oblivious, carrying on their own chats over carpaccio platters and wood fired focaccias. Admittedly, things were fairly hazy in my Rose-saturated state, but pizza crusts and prosciutto may have been proffered to encourage the besotted Boxer to forgo his attempts at rooting in a restaurant and crouch back under his table.
"I'm not sure that food would normally dissuade a determined guy that easily," Simon muttered.
Our meal was all over by a tame 9:30 pm and Sapphire kindly held my elbow to add an element of safety to my sterling impression of a toddler walking down a flight of stairs for the first time. "I'm sorry love, but I haven't set a very good example for you tonight, have I?"
She paused for a moment before smiling. "A drunk Mum, Gianna gettin' game and dirty dogs - remind me not to get so dressed up next time."