Our story continues the day after The Real Women of Philadelphia Cook Off in Toronto...
The next morning I spent a relaxing hour in the Thompson Hotel's rooftop pool followed by a light breakfast to calm my nervous stomach. With the cook-off now officially over, one would think my anxiety addled brain might have slowed down a bit, but truth be known, I was a nervous wreck for the bulk of the time I spent in the mighty T Dot. And Tuesday, a day featuring lunch with Anna Olson, had me in knots.
Friends who have been around the blog awhile are already familiar with my patented brand of angst and neurosis and are probably breathing a nervous sigh - knowing that though I appear somewhat together to the naked eye, something had to happen at that lunch...
Did I tuck my skirt into my panty hose? Knock over a water glass? Call our esteemed chef by the wrong name *again* or eat something with the wrong fork?
As an aside, does anyone else get stressed out while eating in nice restaurants?
Growing up, the closest thing I ever got to fine dining was the rib eye special and complimentary salad bar at our local Bonanza - and even that was only once or twice a year at best. So you can imagine what a fraud I feel like every time I'm faced with a well set table (let's not even get started on how to hold the fork - tines up or down - people, I have lost sleep over that one)
Anyways, with all that said, you can imagine what was going through my mind as I sat down to have lunch with a celebrity chef I have admired for years and the 11 other finalists in the contest.
Was the red lipstick on my water glass in bad taste?
And what if I had lipstick on my teeth - or worse, spinach?
PEOPLE, WHAT IF????????
With all that going on, I missed the part of the waiter's description of what we were being served for lunch, tuning in just as he described a succulent roast of lamb.
"Mmmmm..." I thought, because it sounded lovely, and as we enjoyed what I believed to be our first course of salad I began to relax. It was just a restaurant after all.
And then, the lamb came.
Or what I thought was lamb because I hadn't been paying attention.
I looked around the room as the other finalists dove into the lamb with wild abandon, oooing and ahhhing over how good it was.
Like a bungy jumper without a rope, I closed my eyes, and placed a tiny slice in my mouth - tines down thank you very much.
Trying not to gag - remember, I fully believed I was eating raw lamb - I began to chew and "Sweet victory!" not only was it edible, it was darn well delicious!
I resolved then and there never to cook my meat again.
And that's when the next course arrived...
As succulent and delicious as promised!
And the perfect accompaniment to the Ahi Tuna pictured above.
Raw meat dilemma, notwithstanding, lunch that day remains among some of my fondest memories.
But the best was still yet to come because as we foodies devoured an amazing lunch, talk was already on dinner and where we would go. I had my heart set on a Mark Mckewan restaurant until Anna Olson suggested Canoe - an acclaimed restaurant on the top floor of the TD Bank Tower - and made us reservations! The Real Women of Philadelphia Canada were not only dining in style, we were to be expected guests that evening.
Tune in next week so I can tell you how it felt for this small town gal to be treated like a rock star!
If you missed earlier installments, they can be found HERE.
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