Friday, November 07, 2008

Sentimental Favourites

I've written before about the effect of the context and company on the success of the food.  If you think back to your best meals, likely there were special people and special circumstances that amplified the efforts of the restaurant cooks, servers, dishwashers, designers, food producers and anyone else involved in putting together the dining experience.  Or just as likely, your best meals were put together lovingly in someone's home. Romance, for example, can make even the simplest snack of toasted bread into something memorable and ridiculously wonderful in your mind. Or maybe it's just me?  I know, I'm a sap.  And this post is all about being a sap about these things.  But there are times when being too sentimental about meals can be detrimental.  Do you have any strong associations of particular restaurants with particular people?  In the case where these people aren't still in your life, do you ever "save" these restaurants in your memory for these people?  I wrote about getting over that a while back, when returning to the restaurant of my very first date.  Not that I don't keep my sweet memories, but I'm not going to cross off a good restaurant (or lets face it, dozens of them, haha) because of who I had been there with.   I realized I can keep the memory safe and go back to the scene without jeopardizing the preciousness of it all.  

I've recently had a birthday, and I'm actually feeling just ever so slightly wiser.  I am enjoying the fact that I have had a lot of interesting experiences so far in my life.  I am a person who enjoys variety, and I've had a LOT of my restaurant experiences.   

I took Ginger Beer Man to the Afro Canadian Restaurant in Gastown (324 Cambie St. between Hasting and Cordova, 604-682-2646) which means that I've had a different date each time I've gone, with years in between each visit.  The restaurant remains the same comfy little haven of spicy goodness that it's been for 15 years.  I, on the other hand, feel like I've grown quite a bit in the last few years.  Emotionally, that is.  And while I'm not in contact with the other two previous dining companions anymore, I still hold some fond memories of them and the meals.  But that doesn't take away even one granule of enjoyment I had on the last visit (so my enjoyment is granular?  Yah, the grains of sand in an enjoyment hour glass, hahaha).  

Anyhow, this is just a reaffirmation for you Nancylanders who might already be familiar with the restaurant - Afro Canadian remains a simple yet sastifying gem in this gritty area, serving tasty stews like the jerk chicken, lamb, and beef dishes that we chose for our meat platter ($17 for enough food for two, three choices of meat dishes).  It was served along with salad and rice all on the nice flat spongy injera bread that sops up all those juices as well as serving as an eating utensil.  It's a place that was shared with me my first time, like a juicy little secret, and now I enjoy passing it along to others.  But only to those that are worthy.