Monday, April 19

Incognito Dining with The Young Tongue

I've been reviewing restaurants for three years now and as I've agreed with the publisher to keep things discreet, I can not share any photos of The Young Tongue (or anything that might give you the slightest of a clue) as I set about today's mission. I brought her with me as I reviewed the first restaurant in my list of several others. At first, I was hesitant to take her as my companion but after some thought, I figured that if my mom can bring her to breakfasts at the Penn, I should just be as approving.

What was supposedly a serious afternoon of examining and evaluating a restaurant's food, ambience, and service became an amusement of sorts. As far as the review is concerned, I'm giving that restaurant stars. So let's zero in on The Young Tongue shall we?

Once seated on her high chair, I began to read the menu and ordered what was to represent the restaurant's best. She busily looked around as if she too were reviewing the restaurant's ambience (without any explanation from my end about what I was doing). She smiled at every single waiter/waitress and also began to curiously look at all the tables filled with customers. They seemed to be captivated by her as I noticed that she was already grabbing people's attention towards our table which was in a quiet location. As the bread arrived, her gaze was directed towards the table and she gave me the "look" as if to cue me on my duty to share the afternoon's bounty (while they were hot of course). I willingly obliged and wish I had the words to describe her face -- beaming, The Young Tongue was also kicking her high chair with approval! She fell absolutely in love with the warm crusty bread sans the butter. She chewed away like there was no tomorrow and I already began to imagine how long it would take me to teach her table manners. I reveled in watching her take pleasure with the humble bread.

After the success of trying to contain her joy, our fresh strawberry shake arrived. She started pointing at the drink and I started scooping out some of it for her to try. I was worried about the cold but as earlier mentioned, if only I can find the words to describe her face, she began to beam once more! She absolutely loved it! Curious as can be, I tried the shake too (shame on me for making her try it beforehand) and fell in love with it the way she did.

That was all she tasted and I let her skip out on the courses (I ordered blue meat
for starters and a medium-rare roast for my entree and they are not advisable for babies since they can not defend themselves in the presence of food bacteria -- which is always a gamble anywhere in the world, and if at all any). As I ate and deliberated on the restaurant, she kept herself busy smiling at everyone she can make eye contact with. She also managed to get a few guests (and waiters) to say hello to her. I have a hunch that dining incognito with her will be precarious business.

And as I reviewed, I began to think of what she might become as she grows up. Perhaps a food critique? A cook? A gourmet? A gourmand (yes, there is a big difference between a gourmet and a gourmand -- one knows good food and other eats a lot of good food)? Who knows? I resign today blithely seeing her enjoy the experience of dining in restaurants with me. More so, the thought of us enjoying exactly the same dish for the very same reasons. Perhaps after a few years of training... she'll even be better at this than I am!