Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sangria at Milestones

My mother celebrated her first Mother's Day in Canada since 1955 at a restaurant near their new abode in West Van. Fumiyo had been to Milestones numerous times before and reccommended the place, but it was as new to me as it was for my parents. They even had a wheel-chair accessible booth which we didn't have to wait too long to get. My parents have always loved eating out, and this was their first chance to do so after moving back to Canada. Milestones is in a cluster of similar restaurants in Park Royal South, including the Cactus Club (see earlier blog post), The Keg and White Spot. I've eaten well at the Keg in the distant past and recently at The Cactus Club so I was expecting something of similar quality. I noticed Asian skewers, chicken or beef, with kaffir lime. I've had wonderful meals and beverages with this Thai citrus in the past and looked forward to trying Milestones' lime concoction. The waitress told me it was very spicy. I appreciated that. Usually they just bring me the meal, which I can eat only with gallons of something very cold, if then. I surveyed the menu in search of something not obviously hot. The hamburger looked good and I was assured it wasn't spicy. It came with a BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese and a salad. Usually chain restaurants of this nature pride themselves on their unique hamburger sauces, so as to differentiate one chain from another. As my father was revelling in his strawberry French toast, my mother in her smoked salmon omlette, and Fumiyo her eggs Benedict, my hamburger arrived. I was very hungry. The last hamburger I ate was monthes ago at Red Robin, and I reported on the fall from culinary grace that meal represented. But it was still definitely a Red Robin Banzai Burger. My Milestones burger could just as easily have been a White Spot burger, which is essentialy a piece of paper with the word "hamburger" written on it. Where was the special Miletstones sauce? The bun was far from edible, the bacon and tomato and cheese all had that formulaic fast food non-identity, and the burger itself merely averted starvation. Of the salad, the less said the better. It reminded me of "salads" I'd eaten in "restaurants' in Saskatchewan that were on the menu only to reduce the stockpiles of lettuce. To say it was wilted implies that it had once been healthy, and I saw no indication of that. Ever eagle-eyed Fumiyo spotted sangria on the drinks menu cube near her and suggested I try it. The server complimented me on ordering it, telling me it was new on the menu and very good. She was right about the quality. I could wash away my cipher-burger with a delightful combination of fruit and fluids. Fumiyo and I tried to decide what kind of apple graced the top of the drink. I always make sangria with grannysmith's at home, but this wasn't as tart. I knew I detected cranberry juice and the soda certainly wasn't the President's Choice Sparkling Lemonade I concocted my sangrias out of. The wine too was different. The server told me it was a blush wine (in a sangria? how novel!) with plain soda and fruit juices carefully chosen tom complement each other. I momentarily forgot about the poor food, and revelled in the sangria.
My parents thoroughly enjoyed their restaurant outing. The fact that their residence was putting on a vast, delicious- looking spread for Mother's Day caused them no regret at having missed it (not so me- that big pile of artichoke hearts seemed to have my name on it). I've learned my lesson for Mother's Day restauranting- book Way Ahead to avoid being stuck in a fast food joint on that most popular of meal days.

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