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Monday, February 20, 2006

Kultur & Cuisine

Thwarted a few weeks back by that windy power cut, The Spitfire and I decided to seize the sunny Saturday and treat our jaded palates to a film 'n' food fest.

First to the Poulsbo Régale for the intellectual treat of Final Destination 3, pronounced the laughably worst movie we'd seen for many a moon.

No matter: this is *our* movie, and we are the dad/daughter Ebert & Roeper experts on the Destinaggers franchise.

We were 2 of the 15 audience at the 4:25 showing and it surpassed even *our* giggly anticipation of badness. But, as La S pointed out , it delivered the goods of teens being killed off in supposedly ingenious ways.

In fact, only the Valley Babe duo being trapped and fried in their tanning capsules came close to fulfilling expectations; the rest was rubbish: Dangling scimitars over the jocks' barbells; horse spooked by fireworks, dragging girl by the neck before causing pennant to impale the daffy Asienne; truck fan belt trepanning idiot photographer? Too silly n obvious.

OK, perhaps nail gun peppering the florist had a certain visual je-ne-sais-quoi, but overall it was rubbish.

Mais tiens! My intellectual readership will find even this description *too* enticing ....

My problem was that Mary Elizabeth Winstead as lead babe Wendy was simply too unfanciable to attract any sympathy or interest.

Madoka: But nothing could spoil the day because we'd booked for that culinary paradise, Madoka.

I tell you, Alvin and José have got it right and it's no longer a question of just turning up in one's finery and looking important enough to be seated in a shot: Booking is essential.

We'd eaten upstairs on the two other occasions so it was interesting to sit downstairs and watch the galley slaves at their wizardry.

Despite being packed and busy with that hum of contented clientele bending to the task of serious scoffing, the staff itself glided about their jobs with calm efficiency.

I'm a dry sherry man, finding it the perfect aperitif, but the cook had downed it all so our brisk serveuse (about whom more) brilliantly suggested a Bombay gin martini which turned out to be one of the best I've savored.

We started with prawns and for the main platter I chose duck and La S went for the curry risotto.

"But dad, you *never* have duck!" hissed the Pomegranate of my Loins.

Sage paternal nod. Glug of the Bombay. "Sweetie - when dining where they get it right, one owes it to the place to take such 'risks'. "

Absolutely delicious, and the glass of rouge (in those sensible goblets) went down like velvet.

Prawn note: Don't - like me - turn away more bread. The sauce cries out for dunk power.

In fact, on an earlier visit, we'd been sitting in front of empty prawn plates when the alert Brendon whizzed by and stopped to suggest more bread for that very purpose. Full marks to the lad, who I might have praised as going far except that he's far too suave and handsome for his own good on top of which he is - or was , if there's any justice in this world - the swain of the divine Brianna (not in evidence that evening).

Sarah: I *knew* I knew our cheery waitress from somewhere, and after a few quaffs of vino plucked up courage to ask.

But of course! I knew her from years back for her cheery help at Silver Screen.

She went off for schooling in Malibu, of all places, at which I look most askance.

As I explained to my darling, when the young travel abroad for higher education, it should be to some siberian outpost like South Dakota or Fargo, where pinch-faced crones serve gruel and water and nights are spent under thread-bare coverings, whimpering for parents who sit chortling on some Greek isle, served Madoka-quality gin slings and oblivious to their darlings' existence.

Ms Sarah is my ideal waitress. Customers are such pains - always requiring this or that and expecting to be waited on hand and foot. Jolly hockey sticks types like Sarah are worth their weight in rubies: They save time by riding rough-shod (in the nicest possible way) over the small stuff and their sheer ebullience makes it impossible to whinge without seeming petty.

You can't train that sort of thing: it's bred in the bone, so bravo Sarah and bravo Madoka management for enticing only the best.

When I win the Powerball Lottery and come back to set up my Basil Fawlty-style "Buskin' Bites" nosherie, my poachings will be

  • That expert barman
  • Brendon and Brianna
  • Sarah
  • Last - so as not appear *too* obvious - the lovely and classy Anne-Marie - surely one of the Island's *true* beauties?

    Dessert: Like any good Yorkshire lad, I grew up on lemon curd. My Gan-Gan would serve it on brown bread for high tea.

    We weren't going to go for pudding but my eye was caught by the dessert menu's inclusion of a lemon curd tart which we shared and found most convincing.

    Footnote: Those smoothies. When I called for l'addition, the dessert was on the house on account of my having scribbled some words about the place in this blog.

    Superb evening, the sort that gives good living a good name.

    I shall sorely miss experiences like my evenings at the Mad'.

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