Spent another pleasant evening with friends, this time at an excellent Calgary restaurant, Farm. The food was good and the service timely and precise. Such is not always the case.
Many years ago I had the pleasure of experiencing the most exquisite wine service of my life. It was at a small restaurant in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The restaurant – long since gone – was new and the wait staff even newer. I dropped in for supper one evening, the only table in the place and the sole staff consisted of a very tall young woman in an exceedingly short skirt.
I decided – as I usually do – to have a bottle of wine with supper but when I enquired as to the wine list, I was told they only had two varieties of wine – red and white. After a request for more info on specific bottles the young woman went to the bar and returned with three bottles of red, clutched by the neck, in one hand and two of white in the other.
I picked the best of the bad lot, an extremely unpretentious red. She returned to the bar, opened the bottle and proceeded to pour the contents into a carafe. When she delivered it, I mentioned that for future reference she should bring the bottle to the table to be opened and allow the customer to taste it.
Eager to please she returned to the bar with the carafe – despite my protests – and came back with another bottle. “Would you like to open it?” she asked.
No – I said – that’s your job. She inserted the corkscrew but struggled with the operation. Before I could offer to help, she placed the bottle between her bare thighs and gave a mighty yank. All but a few splashes of wine remained in the bottle. She poured me a large glass and asked me to taste it. I gave an obligatory sip – this wine was hardly worth the full ponce-y routine of swirl, look, sniff and sip. Though I might have been tempted to spit it out.
The rest of the meal went remarkably smoothly. She knew how to take orders and serve food in a timely and careful manner but clearly had never been trained – bad manager! – to work in a licensed establishment.
At the end of the meal I tipped generously. And why not? She had given me a story I would continue to tell for twenty five years.
And that’s ten minutes.