Eating Eiffel

Today’s guest post comes from Verily Sherrilee.

We talk about food a lot here on the Trail.  We even have a list of our favorite recipes.  And when we get together, food is usually an important part of the experience.  The spread at Blevins Book Club is always amazing and even when we sat on the sidewalk waiting for the Tom Keith memorial, we had a terrific array of goodies (popcorn, chocolates, cookies, fruit).   But one of my most memorable restaurant experiences was not of the informal kind.

JulesVerne2

On a trip to Paris with a client, we visited the Eiffel Tower.  As we walked around the first level, our guide mentioned the Jules Verne Restaurant, which is even higher up, on the second level.  Although we already had plans for dinner, the client was entranced by the thought of eating at the Eiffel Tower.  Our guide made a few calls, pulled a few strings and voila! – we had reservations for the evening.

I am not all that good with heights.  I’m usually OK when I’m enclosed so places like the Gateway Arch or the Washington Monument are do-able.  However when I’m NOT enclosed, I don’t like it at all.  So while I wasn’t crazy about eating dinner 125 meters (410 feet) above the earth, I figured I would probably be fine.  Unfortunately what I didn’t know until we arrived is that the Jules Verne is windows from floor to ceiling.  And our guide had managed to not only get us in that night but had swung a table right by those windows.  My stomach took off for parts unknown almost immediately and I chose the chair farthest from the window as possible.

JulesVerne3

As the waiter came around to pour the red wine, I leaned a little bit back to let him reach the glass in front of me.  That was when I learned that the chairs had a little “give”.  As I pushed back, the chair pushed back as well, giving me the sensation that I was falling backwards.  Since I was already so worried about the windows and the height, I screeched and jerked forward, knocking the arm of the waiter.  Red wine went everywhere – the tablecloth, the napkins, the plates – it even extinguished the little candle in front of me.  I managed to stay wine- free but my shriek had gotten everyone’s attention in the entire restaurant.   It was one of those classic moments when you truly understand what it means to want the earth to open up and swallow you.

Luckily the Jules Verne is quite small, so I didn’t embarrass myself in front of too many people.  The dinner was out of this world and I managed to get through the rest of the evening without incident.  But I’ll always remember my dinner at the Jules Verne as the “night of the red wine disaster”.

Have you had a dining disaster?

70 thoughts on “Eating Eiffel”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Great story, VS. I cannot even come close to a story like this regarding disaster; most of my disasters involve everything but dining! The only one I can think of is inviting friends over for supper, roasting a chicken, making side dishes, then having tons of people suddenly show up at my house at suppertime “just to say hi.” 10 people. 1 chicken.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My parents and I were taking Amtrak up to Duluth one summer when I was a kid, maybe about 10 or so. We had lunch on the train, and my burger dripped mustard into my lap. Unfortunately the mustard refused to come out with paper towels and washroom soap, and I didn’t have a change handy, so I spent the rest of the journey with a big blotch on my pants. I’d probably just laugh it off today (and I’d be wearing black so it wouldn’t show as badly anyhow), but when you’re a kid everything is so enormously embarrassing, isn’t it?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As a parent, it’s the lesson you most want to impart to your kids (that nobody else really cares), but it’s the lesson that they just can learn until they’re older.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Saffron rice on a crisp white shirt collar at a high end Hong Kong hotel lobby with the most beautiful classical music playing
        It makes mustard look like a pale stain
        I was learning how to use chopsticks
        Good news is a new custom tailored shirt done in 2 days was 12 dollars

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  3. I had one hilarious and bizarre dining disaster, but the story isn’t one I can repeat here. Not even close to it. I”ll have to think of another.

    Okay, here is one that shares elements with vs’s story. We had a dinner at the home of my erstwife’s younger brother. Just before eating we had a toast and clunked glasses. The wine glasses were extremely delicate and thin. You probably already know why I mention that. I leaned a long way over the table to clunk the glass of our hostess, and the glasses shattered. And of course, it was red wine. Whenever our family gets together we relive that colorful moment.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. (Speaking in a stage whisper) With the cook who prepared that meal, nobody else needed to ruin the food. She took care of that herself, most meals. We all know the hazards of driving while distracted. Some of us know the hazards of cooking while distracted.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure anybody gets through life without this happening to them at least once! I just had to sponge a spot of my skirt yesterday at the office – and never on the edge either – always right in the middle!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i do not allow yself to own white clothing any longer. i had a friend trell me the carpet choosing criteria he uses is to visualize it after a cup of coffere and a peanut butter an djelly sandwhich have been stopmped into the carpet. i think that criteria for my shirts and pant may be good too.
        jeans yes and moleskin pants / white linen no

        Liked by 4 people

        1. We got new carpet in all the bedrooms this winter, going from a pale pearly grey to something the same color as a hershey bar. After 20 years of dogs, kids, cats, and gardening, the old carpet had really had it. I love our new carpet, as nothing shows on it. I would hate to spill bleach on it, though.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. We still have a dog and a cat and we still garden and some day I hope to have grandchildren. Also, we got the brown carpet when we still had Ginger, he who hurled and “thought outside the box”.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Great story, VS! Every time I eat that is not at my own table is usually a disaster, and I have many nice shirts with goofy stains that will attest to this fact. I don’t know what it is, but I cannot for the life of me eat neatly or do anything in the kitchen without food flying everywhere — and I do NOT eat or move quickly, either.

    Most recently, I had to drive to work because I had an appointment in the middle of the day, so after I was done I wanted to stop somewhere to get gas and eat. Because I take the bus to work, I don’t know St. Cloud very well, so I stopped at the first gas station I saw, a Super America. Excellent — get gas and some greasy hot dogs from their food station. Of course, you need the works on your hot dog — catsup, mustard, relish all in that handy little cardboard “dish” so I could be neat. So I hopped in the car with my dish of 2 hot dogs mounded with toppings and lots of napkins, some of which I used to cover my blouse — smart me! I should know better — eating and driving is just bad news. Sure enough, my hot dog dish was on my lap, and it totally spilled all over my nice pants. Luckily, I sit all day behind my desk and no one really sees me so they couldn’t see the huge catsup/mustard/relish stain around my crotch. If I got up, I had papers or files in hand to sort of cover the mess. Sheesh!

    Liked by 4 people

        1. Was it a short engagement. You guys get married pretty quickly didn’t you say your 50th anniversary is coming up now ?

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  5. My ex and I took our first big international trip to London, Paris, and Rome in 2005. There was a long line of people to take the elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, so we decided to walk up to just the second deck by the stairs. I proposed to her there. There is a Ben & Jerry’s store right there on the second deck. I used to joke that proposing with my grandmother’s engagement ring on the Eiffel Tower was ~ok~…but Ben & Jerry’s meant it was -serious.- LOL.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I understand that people used to put a screen around Samuel Johnson when he ate, just to protect others around him from flying, spraying food.

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        1. I’ve had dinner with Garrison, twice. Nothing untoward happened either time. No spills, no loud noises, not splattering of food; nothing.

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      1. The wife of a couple we spend a lot of holidays with usually manages to tip over or break a wine glass whenever were together. She’s a delightful woman, just a bit too animated when she talks – and she talks a lot. It has come to the point where I give her a sturdier glass than the ones the rest of us use because we all know what’s going to happen.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. i have two
    one is the opposite of what you are asking for.
    art hicks was a great old codger who had the rules of the raod as part of his song and dance. he was a sales manager and when we would go to trade shows he would arrange to take the mucky mucks out to dinner at the finest joint around. in new orleans we scouted the town and decided that broussards was the joint that was the best so we went with art and his wife to the restaurant two nights before the arranged dinner and told them we would be bringing 15 or 20 people to the big happening and asked if they could suggest a menu and we couold just enter and have the meal begin. they were happy to suggest and we were treated very well for that meal and art went so far as to tip the maitre d in advance and to arrange for the credit card to be signed for and all the arrangements taken care of so we simply walked in got seated the cocktails wer delivered and the dinner began with the escargot the the french onion soup the red snapper and the creme brulee and a couple of nice bottles of wine ordered and when we were done everyone waited for the bill to come and art said oh that has been taken care of. lets go out and enjoy the french quarter.
    i saw a version of it later in harvey mackeys book on how to swim with the sharks and harvey made it look like he was dazzleing you to death. art made it look effortless. it was a wonderful experience.
    the other story is about a guy who was working in my industry and a real mover and shaker. he had all the target big wigs out for a dinner on top of the ids when that was the place to be. big dinner big business big deal and he got the evening rolling with cocktails. he got it really rolling with lots of cocktails. it came time for dinner to go from the drinking part to the eating part and everyone got up to go hit the salad bar. you know the one with the 20 foot long run of lettuce in 8 forms, onions olives peppers cheese chickpeas in little bins and the slaws macaroni salads down bu the dressing croutons and sunflower seeds? well somewhere near the onions he felt it coming and it came fast and erupted all over everything. spewed from one end to the other as he tried to hold his hand over the projectile matter it dispersed into the entirety of the situation. he was so embarrassed he ran out of th restaurant and left the big wigs form target holding the bill and the consequences for shutting down the salad bar and comping anyone within 50 feet for the evening.
    he was not a big star in the industry after that. i saw him again and he kind of slunk away.
    poor guy

    Liked by 2 people

  7. How I first learned I had fibromyalgia: at a crowded Christmas buffet party at the large and elegant home of Sandy’s good new friend, where I had never been before. I had a glass of red wine in my hand, which I meant to place on the floor but bumped my hand into an end table and spilled it on light beige carpet. I was confused because I was not aware of the end table being there and my hand I knew did not go where I wanted it to.
    Later with a plate of food in a crowd in another room, I bumped into a person then overcompensated and hit a column. To keep from dropping the food, I clutched it to me chest. I was a mess but nothing hit the floor. Everyone, almost all strangers, I am sure thought I was drunk.
    I went home and did some Internet search and found FM as a cause. Sandy called a friend who has FM, who said that yes, that was FM that made me do that. I have not been to a party at anyone else’s house, a couple at ours, since, not that we get invited to many.

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    1. You can always come to a party at my house. After everybody leaves I just let the dogs loose. They take care of everything that’s hit the floor!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Our daughter attacked her food like one of those fertilizer spreaders you see in commercials. Cheerios and peas and whatever flew in a spray from her highchair. Not to worry. My springer spaniel curled up beneath Molly’s chair. I used to reassure guests that no food item bounced twice, and much of it didn’t even bounce once.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When I brought Baby home from China, my then Irish Setter (Katy Scarlett) didn’t think I’d done anything that great. Even though Baby never chased her or puller her ears/tail, every time I would come into the room with Baby, Scarlett would get up and walk out. Until Baby turned one and got her first solid food – cheerios. Scarlett was her best friend from then on!

          Liked by 2 people

  8. i had a new years day party one year to watcch football games and enjoy smoked turkey. the turkey was on form 7 in the morning until 7 at night and it wasnt done because it was 25 below and the inside wouldnt warm up.
    the bloody marys were exceptional the smoked turkey not so much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it turned out to be the stone soup story, everyone brough a plate of this and a favorite hoiiday recipoe and a 6 pack and a desert and by the end of the day i had a table full of food and loads of booze and a half done turkey

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I guess you don’t get to be my age without having experienced your share of dining snafus (compared to tim’s story above, I have NOT had a dining disaster), a couple come to mind.

    Back in the mid-seventies I had invited my friend, Ingelise, to dinner at L’Hotel Sofitel for her birthday. We were seated next to a young couple that appeared to be celebrating a special occasion of some kind, and just toasted each other with Champagne. With their meal they had white wine, and they had a small carafe of it on their table.

    Ingelise and I were having escargots as an appetizer. She grabbed an escargot with her tongs, but apparently didn’t get ahold of it properly. Neat as can be, the escargot catapulted in an elegant arc toward the young couple’s table and landed with a plop in their carafe of wine. It happened so fast that none of us realized what had happened until it was all over, and then we all cracked up. The hilarity from our two tables attracted our waiter. Between spurts of laughter we managed to tell him what had happened, and he replaced their wine with a new carafe at no cost. A class act even if were weren’t.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I got a reputation as spiller after I tipped over a glass of red wine at my daughter’s house for the second time. At home I don’t use any of those tall narrow stemmed wine glasses that easily spil as was the case at my daughter’s house. The last time I drank wine at her house the tall slender glasses were still being used and I had close call but managed to avoid another spill.l

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am sitting in my office now wondering if I will get a chance to dine today. I am waiting by the phone to testify in court in a case being heard in another state, and there is some problem with the court room phone and I was supposed to be done an hour ago and I haven’t even been called yet and I am supposed to be done working on Fridays at 10 am. Grr!

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  12. Do I remember correctly that tim has a white carpet? At the last Blevins Book Club meeting there I spilled red wine on it. In my defense, one of tim’s dogs did the actual spilling. But as a longtime dog owner, I should have predicted what would happen. 😦

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    1. I don’t remember the spill, but I do remember that he has white carpet – because every time I’m there I think “I would be terrified to have white carpet”.

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  13. No white carpetting here, but we did just pick up an adoreable grey foster kitty.

    The resident delinquents are patrolling outside, so it will be interesting to see how everybody gets along.

    We have a secure sanctuary if they don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes! First time in over a year. This little guy is going to make a lovely companion for someone.

        Bold, sociable and very tidy in his habits.

        My delinquents are so far unimpressed.

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        1. Aren’t you worried that the foster will become a permanent resident? Didn’t your current two start out as fosters?

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        2. The 2 FIRs (felines-in-residence) won’t hear of it.

          Only one was originally a foster, and we had kind of decided we needed a friend for our tabby boy, we were just waiting for the right one to come along. We’ve returned a couple of fosters before, so we know we can do it.

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  14. No big disasters come to mind for me, but if I ever visit the Jules Verne, I’ll stage something dramatic. Just because it’s fun to have a story to tell.

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  15. I have had a couple of public disasters myself.. earlier I would mope around for days wanting the earth to swallow me but thankfully now I recover in a day or two – which is utmost essential given how susceptible I am to goofs :))

    Like

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