Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Stick With What Ya Know

On Tuesday evening, I had made reservations to celebrate our second wedding anniversary at Enotria, a nearby restaurant that has an excellent reputation for a great wine list and a very romantic atmosphere. In addition, we had a special offer for $10 off dinner for two and Tuesdays just happen to be 30% off wine nights, so this seemed all quite fortuitous and promising as a lovely and special occasion. And we had wanted to try Enotria, based on the good reviews we'd read and comments we'd heard.

Unfortunately, the reality didn't quite match the idea...

First of all, we were seated at a table for two back by the wine collection, which was cool in that we could look at all of our choices, but not so cool because E was directly in the line of fire of a heat vent. And I was blinded by a small track light that was supposedly focused on the wine. Naturally, we asked if we could move to be more comfortable. The server acquiesed, and we moved about 10 feet away to another table. Where we were promptly abandoned by our server without so much as some water to keep us occupied as we read and reread the short menu and made our wine flight selections.

When the server finally returned, we ordered our wine flights - Pinot Envy for E, Sweet and Sassy for me. When I placed my order, the server not-so-politely informed me that my selection was dessert wines. Nothing on the list indicated that these were all late-harvest versions of the varietals (Riesling, Sauterne), and since these varietals can also be in non-dessert form, both E and I felt the mistake was natural and didn't deserve the snooty response from the server. I changed my order to the Euro Whites, and we attempted to place our food order.

After a rather lengthy discussion with the server about garlic issues and which menu items could be prepared without garlic (not many, apparently), we ended up requesting a Plat de Fromage, a Mixed Greens salad for me, and Chicken with Linguini for E. By then, neither of us had a terribly fabulous impression of the restaurant or the service, and E suggested that for future special occasions we not try someplace new but rather stick with what we know and love. I agreed. He even asked if I wanted to leave, but I said that since we'd already placed our order, we should just stay and make the best of it.

At about that moment, the server returned (sans wine) to inform us that the salad dressing contained garlic and that the chicken in E's entree was marinated in something that contained garlic as well. We looked at each other and the decision to leave was made almost without even speaking.

I have never had so much trouble ordering at a restaurant before! I'm extremely good at finding items on the menu that can be made without garlic or whose sauce can be swapped or that are amenable to some other modification so that the garlic issue is no longer a problem. But not at Enotria. Not possible. No way. And not even much of an apology either.

So off we went instead to Michelangelo's, my favorite Sacto restaurant. We were seated promptly, our water glasses were filled promptly, our basket of bread arrived promptly even before we had finished making a wine selection. We queried about the garlic issue for the special entree and were repeatedly told "No problem" for that and every subsequent non-garlic request. Now that's how a restaurant attracts and keeps satisfied customers!!!

All in all, then, we ended up having a yummy meal at a great restaurant with wonderful service and fabulous food. The menu: bruschetta pomodoro (fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, goat cheese) to share as an appetizer, grilled shrimp & asparagus over farfalle for me, roasted lamb with pear and gorgonzola over linguini for E, mint chocolate chip gelato for me, tiramisu for E, and all accompanied by a bottle of Monte Antico (one of the first wines we shared at Barriques Wine Cave in Madison).

So the moral of this story is the title of this post - Stick with what ya know! Sometimes, that's really just the best way to assure a satisfying dining experience, especially if, like me, you require garlic-free cuisine.

* * * * *

On a totally unrelated note, I seem to have temporarily figured out a way to add links to my sidebar, although I'm not entirely confident that the modification to the template will be stored appropriately, and I can't change the font of the title to match the others because the other items in the sidebar are actually gif images and not just text. Oh well. Guess it'll have to do for now, anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear that your first attempt at a romantic evening was a bust, but at least it all worked out well in the end. Happy Aniversary to you both and my love...

6:57 PM  
Blogger Arielle said...

Hey, it was good to talk to you last night but I forgot to ask you how you got links on your side bar? I can't figure it out...if you can explain it I will be very happy! Thanks! - Arielle

12:30 AM  

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