Ah, the vagaries of being a vegetarian at Christmas time. Last week a colleague booked reserverations for a lunch to see off another who’s leaving the program for a new engagement. The guy made reservations at ‘The Fish House’. Ok now, stop laughing. He didn’t know I was a vegetarian and was very apologetic, but I didn’t kick up a fuss; Toronto’s restaurants are outstandingly vegetarian friendly; I’ve gone to steak houses, crab shacks, bar & grills and enjoyed good, creative (and even imaginative) quality veggie fare at such places. So I looked forward to it along with everyone else.
So of we went to The Fish House. The extensive menu was provided. So much variety I thought. Looks promising. I started at the top on the front panel. Six panels later and I’d just read through beverages and desserts – they were the only vegetarian items on the entire menu! Maybe there was one garden salad but apart from that it was all veal, chicken, beef and of course, lots of fish. No token tortellini, nor even a simple stir fry. I was annoyed. I know it’s The Fish House but that didn’t stop them serving hamburgers or chicken. When my turn came to order I offered up to the waiter a wry response: “Well I don’t know buddy, I’m a vegetarian and I gotta say, I’m really spoilt for choice”. This prompted laughter from our party. The waiter said they could do me anything on the menu without the meat or fish (which conjured up for me an image of the cook asking the dishwasher to fork out and help himself to chicken in my lunch before sending it out to me). I forget what I ordered – I just pointed to the first thing I saw and said “I’ll take this without the fish”. Of course, taking out the fish, didn’t keep them from charging me the full price. So I won’t be going there again. The project executive leaned over to me and said “We’ll find some place nicer for our team Christmas Lunch.”
And we did; we had that on Wednesday at Carmelina’s – an Italian restaurant just behind our Canadian head office in Markham. The orange and red pepper bisque to start was outstanding. The main course vegetarian option was a Primavera Penne Rigate (pasta again!). But it was good and the vegetables were very fresh. The wine was ok. And I made an exception on my year-long coffee embargo for the dessert – an excellent home-made Tiramisu. And so ended by year at work for 2005 for that was my last business of the year. I spent the afternoon getting a massage (trying to use up my benefits for the year!) and then came home to take my daughter to her school’s Holiday ‘Concert and Craft Event’.
And now I’m on vacation until 3 January. I enjoy my work but really need this time off – apart from the two weeks I took off when Diya was born in September (which was hardly restful) this is my only break from work this year. I intend to kick back with my girls, watch Arsenal, read, take in a few movies, entertain, maybe (finally) paint the nursery and insulate the garage. Sweet.