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.
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.
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?