First date

Moving through the ritualistic preparations of an evening out, my mind meanders through the experience. Eying myself critically in the mirror, I take deep breathes; no one likes a giddy girl. “Contain yourself” I chastise myself.  Applying eye makeup, I wonder “will there be candles or flowers on the table,” better yet, both. Puckering my lips after lightly dapping my lipstick I ponder on the possibility of an amuse bouche. Finally, as I slide on my exotic shoes, I consider the far-flung locations where my food or its cuisine originate.  Then my mind wanders to the other part of the experience: “Will I like Him?”

With anticipation, I hope that my lovely smile and latest in fashion will inspire the hostess to seat me at a highly desired table, perhaps a cozy booth. Like a peacock, I know that will help my chances of liking him – the best always get the best section. The hostess should take one look at me (not too skinny, not too plump) and know that I will appreciate the chef, own the booth like a throne and be so enraptured by the meal that others will simply say “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Upon my arrival at the restaurant, the hostess is busy taking a reservation. I forgive her the transgression as I stand there, taking the opportunity to eye her up and down, I look at her shoes, her nails, her hair. I conclude that although she doesn’t make much money, she cares about her appearance; she meets with generous approval. Once she finishes, the hostess returns the favor, but my generosity is not reciprocated. I get a cozy booth, just not the high profile one.

My temporary booth-home wraps around me, the booth’s back and sides towering overhead. Ensconced, I can’t make out the details of the intimate murmurs floating throughout. The white cloth is crisply pressed, and topped with glittering crystal goblets which mirror my anxiousness to fill them. As I settle in, my eyes graze the tiny candle and rest on the robust orchids curling over the short vase. Orchids. Somehow that bodes well for the rest of the evening;something graceful yet strong, available yet occasional. A thoughtful touch to be sure. I am anxious and nervous to meet our him. In only moments, I will know how the rest of the evening will fare.

Just as I am finishing my introductory glance, He appears at the table, his eyes glancing off invisible tables, he finally settles on me. He postures in my field of vision, all I can see is him, he might as well have had a spotlight for his performance of the “Chef’s special”. He takes his time describing the evenings choices; he throws himself into each mouth watering description, eyes sparkling and enthusiasm bubbling beneath the surface. When he mentions the basil encrusted rack of lamb with caramelized onion, he emits a sly smile. We already have a secret language, he is telling me that THIS is the dish for me.  He leaves me, only for a moment, to eye each culinary opportunity again. When he returns, I am anxious for his approval and as if he has guided me gently by the elbow, I order the rack of lamb and a bottle of Justin Isosceles; his nodded approval relieves me.

Food begins to arrive. Plates are added, forks removed. Between tidbids of delicate tastes, conversation flows. He stops buy regularly, but not too frequently. I trust-he will be back and he will do as he says. He returns, but never too soon. My wine glass is replenished, warmth fills me. He is the keeper of my world, there is no world but my appetite and its guardian. With each recommendation, with each sly witticism, I’ve become positively twitterpated.

Seeing my joy at each luxurious, lingering course, He introduces Chef while I wait for dessert. Most save for vacations, but I have been saving for this restaurant on the off chance this moment might occur. He knows that despite my bravado, I will not ask to bother the Chef..yet He advances my dream. As Chef steps into my field of vision, I flush with excitement. I nervously gush and stumble over my words and hope that he will notice that I did not ask for additional salt on the table. My cover is blown. I am not so cool. Just then, He brings me a sparkling water with lemon.

He practically reads my mind, he anticipates my needs so sensitively. The evening is a success. I hope we will see one another again soon.

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About Tara DeWitt Coomans

An aspiring cook and an accomplished eater, Tara is inspired by the world around her and the food on her plate. "When you can't jump on a plane and take a vacation to an exotic destination, chances are you can whip up a dish or go to a restaurant that will take you there." says Tara. She often eats out at a restaurant after trying to accomplish a given dish at home. None the less, she enjoys food and what it says about the human experience. Tara is a full-time freelance writer and blogger. She specializes in writing about food, cooking and travel. You can find her in the kitchen, on the plane or at her computer.