Monday, July 6, 2009

Idle chit chat strongly discouraged, but a good rollicking beer fart is divine.

To say I never go out is by no means, a gross exaggeration. By going out, I mean out – no hockey auction, no child in tow. Going out means a bra from the archival section of my underwear drawer, and a babysitter. Jack is 13 now and I think he's had a babysitter maybe 12 times. In his life.

Fucking pathetic, I know. That bra cost more than my first car.

Friday night though, Jack was the babysitter. Left to fend for himself with 3 of his little cousins, two dogs, one friend of the little cousins and the 6-year old twins from next door – he was demanding danger pay even before we headed out the door.

We being Jack's cousin Sarah, and me.

Sarah's been in renovation hell for a long time, living in a construction zone, at times with no heat or roof (during last summer's rainy season), for well over a year. Add 3 little kids, a dog, a cat or two, a rabbit, way too many baby pet rats, and a husband whose job took a recession hit, and you've got someone who needed a night out even more than I did.

I told Sarah she could pick the restaurant because as long as it didn't have a dress code, a drive-thru or chicken nuggets, I really didn't give a shit. Actually, when I first asked her where she wanted to eat she said, "California".


It ended up a marriage of minds as we both wanted to try the newish Belgian restaurant, Brussels in Granville Mall. We also both hate eating outside on patios. We both wanted a comfy booth. And while I did not want to sit across from the man from the Bold and the Beautiful with the bright orange spray tan, Sarah was fascinated by him, so wanted the unobstructed view.

Told we'd have to wait 35 seconds for our table, we made a beeline for the bar. I am not a beer drinker but for one exception: Chimay. Brewed in Belgium by Trappist monks, Chimay in a chilled glass is better than even good sex. It comes in a really big bottle.

Hey, maybe more Catholic priests should place their divine energies elsewhere and start making stuff, like Blood of Christ Cabernet Sauvignon or mass-marketed Sacrificial Lamb Jerky or something. Just a thought.

Sucking back Chimay at the bar, like an (albeit immature) adult, was such a foreign concept, I realize, I may as well be a Trappist monk. I toil for little pay, isolated from the rest of society. Those robes look like one-size-fits -all, kinda comfy. And I have been hacking away at my bangs. Plus, it took me no time at all to convert Sarah over to worshipping at the altar of Chimay.

Anyway, I'll wrap this up because it was one of those you had to be there kind of evenings, and probably quite dull to those who leave the house more than once a year. Things took a slight turn for the silly when I asked the lady at the next table if I could borrow her glasses. I assured her I didn't have head lice and she was most cordial. Turns out her son-in-law is the head creative guy at a big ad agency in Toronto so I can scratch his name off my future job hit list. I don't think he found our exuberance for being out of the house as amusing as we did.

Sarah and I ended up sharing Congo (mango? I forget, we'd had a few) moules, fried cheese, a steak that was so delicious and tasted like it was dipped in butter, and frites with the mandatory mayo for dipping. For dessert, we skipped the waffles and had some sort of cakey thing that oozed warm, Belgian chocolate –and you didn't even have to stroke its ego first.

Needless to say this was not a heart-smart, low-cal meal for Canada's Next Top Model. We were a pair of Belgian plow horses escaped from the barn.

All of the kids were alive when we got home, so it was the perfect "date". No sexual tension. No forced witty banter or having to hold my stomach in. No skipping dessert lest he thinks me a pig. The only thing missing was a long, muscled arm in a nice suit, brushing my cheek tenderly as he reached for the cheque.

Monday is 2-for-1 Mussel Night at Brussels so I may have to head back and worship some more. Jack would love the frites, and maybe that bright orange guy will be there.

This monk needs to get out more.

Brussels Restaurant & Brasserie is at 1873 Granville Street in the Granville Mall. Reservations (you can make them online) are recommended, or you may have to wait at the bar chugging Chimay for a while. Wear elastic waist pants.