Many, many years ago, my parents would pick me up from school and take me to a lovely restaurant with an even lovelier view of a lake. Dressed in the dark green plaid jumper that was my uniform, I marched in behind mom and dad as the maître d’ gushed over us all and led us gracefully to what dad had at some point decided was the best table.
This was a fancy restaurant with white tablecloths, ice sculptures of swans, waiters whose shoes shone and smiles sparkled as they poured bubbly water and the fruitiest fruit conga I have ever sipped. A bread basket worthy of kings and queens would carried out moments after my chair had been pushed up to the table and my mouth would water as I gazed at minuature baguettes, flaky croissants, hearty rolls of nut-studded wheat, and long, crunchy grissini. After making a careful and difficult selection, beautiful pale butter ridged like the most perfect seashell would be delicately placed on my plate.
Lunch was usually filet mignon with béarnaise, which I would spoon on without any qualms…all this luxury, just for me. The filet was always accompanied by pommes soufflé, and there was nothing like those golden, crispy pillows of fried potato. I knew I was a lucky girl to be allowed to eat this way.
But, the best was yet to come. Enter The Dessert Cart. Aside from the deboned chicken that I’ve written about time and time again, The Dessert Cart is for me the ne plus ultra. There is absolutely nothing that compares to it. I dream of owning a dessert cart (and a wet bar, but we’ll talk about that later) and loading it up with chic sweetings. The Dessert Cart at this particular restaurant was all wonder and delight: floating islands, baked Alaska, dense chocolate cake, goblets of ripe red berries, sauce boats, and my favorite, profiteroles. Three perfect puffs would present themselves, lightly golden and starting to ooze out ice cream filling, and then, the waiter would pour the hot chocolate sauce over them, coating them slowly and seductively.