A few days before the Beast’s May 12 birthday, I tried to make a reservation at Edulis for a special dinner. I’ve had two memorable meals there and wanted him to experience it. But the restaurant, which routinely receives near-perfect reviews and comes out on top of Canada’s “best restaurant” lists, was booked well into June. Eventually, I secured a dinner on a recent Wednesday evening. What should have been a beautiful dinner out, however, descended into disorder on account of poor behaviour on my part.
It started out wonderfully, despite the early dinner hour. We used to eat pretty late at night but these days it’s not uncommon that we’ve finished dinner by 6:30 or 7:00 p.m, which is why, I suppose, I made the reservation for 6:00 p.m.
We were the first to arrive. The doors were still locked at 6:03 p.m. But there were some lovely patio tables to sit around. The Beast looked so handsome in the evening light that I had to take his photo.
Moments later we were shown to our table for two in front of the window. A few other parties, all of whom sported silver hair and some who had walkers, showed up shortly after we ordered a couple of gin cocktails.
Foodie (whispering): We have really changed.
Beast: What do you mean?
Foodie: Let’s just say the crowd is a bit older.
Beast: Well, you made a 6:00 p.m. reservation. What did you expect? Speaking of which, why did you make a 6:00 p.m. reservation?
Foodie: I am always starving by 6! Besides, by the time we got home after work, we’d just have to leave the house to go back out again.
The server let us know Edulis’ culinary mandate: choose between five ($50) or seven ($70) courses, then sit back and enjoy. You get the sense that they’re very eager to accomodate allergies to food, like shell-fish or dairy, but aren’t so interested in knowing that you don’t like olives, rabbit or peas. In other words, suck it up and put your trust in Canada’s top kitchen, which we did wholeheartedly.
Because it was a late birthday dinner, we went with seven courses. The first four–fluke-cucumber cold soup; sardine, grilled greens, new potatoes and peas; cauliflower, morels, B.C. eel and foie gras; squid, corn and radish–were dishes that we can both still recall the taste of several days later. And they were all served in individual plates and bowls bursting with character.
The next dishes, mozzarella di bufala-stuffed zucchini flowers and quail with sausage, carrots and spinach and something else that was creamy, came out in sharable little crockeries. I couldn’t eat the quail because it looks like an actual little bird, which it is, so the Beast ate the whole thing.
The final course was seasonal berries, edible flowers, some sort of almond cake and maybe a zabayone and also some gelée.
Foodie: These are the sweetest bowls I’ve ever seen!
Beast: I’m fairly certain they’re the Wild Strawberry Wedgwood pattern.
Foodie: Are you kidding me!?!? You know that?
Beast: I sell used furniture and dishes for a living. I’m not proud of knowing that. Also, Josiah Wedgwood was Charles Darwin’s grandfather.
Foodie: How was the quail, anyway?
Beast: Actually, it was kind of rubbery. But maybe that’s how quail is supposed to be.
Foodie: But you like the dinner as a whole, right?
Beast: Of course I did! It was incredible. And you know what really stands out? How the server stretched out our bottle of Burgundy through the whole meal. Just incredible.
Beast: What’s wrong?
Foodie: Oh, I don’t know. I guess I was just expecting that we’d talk about more stuff.
Beast: What do you mean? We talked about plenty.
Foodie: Oh, I don’t know. I guess I just thought that it would be more memorable, more meaningful.
Beast: I’m having a memorable and meaningful time. Are you saying that you enjoyed the food but hated the company?
Foodie (leaning into the candlelight and trying to look pretty): Why don’t you ever take my picture?
Beast: Whenever I take your picture you tell me it looks like shit. And besides, you know I rarely take photos of anything.
Foodie: Don’t you want to document moments like this? Like, I took your photo outside the restaurant while we waited for it to open because I thought you looked so handsome and I wanted to capture that. I guess it’s just that you don’t think I’m very attractive.
Beast: What is happening right now?
Foodie: If you look at your phone, I bet there are more photos of Paul Newman, Miles Davis and trees than there are of me.
Beast (looking at phone photos): [Silence]
Foodie: Think about all the trips we’ve ever taken. You reduce me to taking selfies everywhere we go. If I didn’t take the selfies, I would never have a photo of me in front of the Grand Canyon or riding a donkey or–
Beast: It was a mule and I did take a photo of you on it!
Foodie: This is literally the shittiest photo of me I’ve ever seen.
Beast: (Holding camera up to take a photo of me.)
Foodie (trying to get into a pretty pose): What are you doing? You can’t take a photo of me now to try and make up for all the photos you’ve failed to take over the last 10 years (still trying to find the right light in case he does take the photo.)
Then, the Beast took a photo of me in the fancy and crowded restaurant…with the flash on.
Foodie (angry whispering): I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU TOOK A FUCKING FLASH PHOTO NO ONE HAS THE FLASH ON THEIR PHONE CAMERA EVER!!!!
Beast: I thought it would be funny!
Foodie: I could murder you right now! Never take a flash photo in a restaurant ever again!
Beast: Wow. Thanks so much for this memorable birthday dinner. [Pause] Are my presents waiting at home for me to open?
Foodie: I gave you presents in May.
Beast: I was only joking.
The Beast took the street home and I rode my bike. I tried to understand during my ride why I was so intent on picking a fight–on sabotaging a perfectly wonderful dinner out.
I still have no idea why. But a few days later, I texted the Beast before the show to find out if he remembered the first time I told him that I loved him. It was for one of our opening chats and for the life of me, I couldn’t recall the moment.
“You said it to me in a letter that you gave to me at Swan restaurant. I had swordfish. And I didn’t respond appropriately in that moment but I did later on when I showed up on your doorstep,” he said. “Of course I remember.”