Friday, February 14, 2014

Early Valentine's Day Celebration

Cleverly (we thought) we agreed to go out to dinner last night to beat the rush tonight.  Richie balked at the two choices I'd proffered because they were in Manhattan Beach which has no parking at all.  We agreed on Dominique's Kitchen which has the advantage of its own little parking lot -  in Redondo. 

I phoned them and was told we had two choices - 5:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.  I thought Richie would demur but he surprised me and said decisively "5:15."  I hung up and said, "Apparently we aren't the only ones to think of this.."

When we duly arrived on time we were the only customers in the place!  "Reserved" signs decorated many of the tables, but no  legs and feet under them.  It was kind of fun...

Our waiter, Nameless, was quite gregarious and over drinks (ours) and chicken pate with baguette toasts, cornichons and a bit of lettuce, he told us that he was from Maine, his mother was Italian, his father French Canadian but none of them spoke French; that he had gone with one woman for nine years, but too much drama - she was Mexican and that Mexican mamas try to fatten up an undesirable husband (to them) by making them fat so the daughter won't like the man - and he did date a Jewish lady - and here he said, fervently, "But I'll never go down that road again!"

In response to my anecdote about there only being one employee at Mon Ami Gaby, Paris Casino (and she was off that day,)  he responded with stories about his parents visit with him to Las Vegas.

He set down my Kir Royale saying, "Here you go, Beautiful"  My instant thought was, "OMG he's blind!  Don't order the soup!"   But he did it with a direct look into my eyes so clearly he is a practiced performer.  Richie didn't hear and even if he had, he is unlikely to ever rip a leg off of the table and beat the waiter to death for such effrontery to his wife. 

We began with amuse bouches of white beans, kale and slices of Parmesan with another little dish of olives.  I ordered the chicken pate ($5.99) to go with our drinks and then for dinner the garlic-y escargots ($9.99) followed by lobster bisque ($4) and finally a Caesar salad.  He offered to bring the smaller go-with-dinner version and I was grateful ($2.)  And if that was "small" then I'd guess that the larger version is one whole field of romaine lettuce. 

Richie ordered the roast half-chicken which came with a tumble of French fries.  Midway through the meal I asked him how it was?  And he said that it was a little dry.  Paula Dean here advised him, "Put some butter on it" 

All of it was very good and amazingly cheaper than I had thought it would be.  The bar bill was $44 and food was $48; I tipped him $20 and took home the leftover pate with "I added some olives for you" whispered Nameless. 

On the way out, we were hailed by Robaire, a French waiter we'd met 32 years ago when we were still dating!  He served us at Chalet de France.. and then again at Aimee's Bistro and when Dominique's Kitchen was a different restaurant.  Robaire is now 84 (he told us) and still working part time as a waiter!  Of note:  all three of the restaurants listed above are now closed...

Dominique's Kitchen, 522 So. Pacific Highway, Redondo Beach  310-424-9054

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