My funny Valentine’s Day restaurant experiences

I’m happy to say that when it comes to bad Valentine’s Day restaurant experiences, I think the curse is finally broken.

Over the years my partner and I have had our share of truly terrible Valentine’s Day restaurant dates.

For instance, one year we visited a trendy neapolitan pizza restaurant in Montreal’s Little Italy. As we watched everyone else enjoy their blackened pizza, I could only taste ashes. My pizza was so charred, there was nothing delicious about it. When we complained to the server, I got flack for having eaten too much of  the pizza but they comped us with dessert. It’s been years but I can still remember the smell and taste of that burnt pizza. I felt bad for my partner for having taken such care in choosing a restaurant only to have this disappointing experience.

Burnt pizza
Burnt pizza, anyone?

A few years ago we were all set to enjoy a meal at a local haunt when soon after arriving we discovered they’d lost our Valentine’s Day reservation. We had to wait a long time for a table and it seemed the restaurant’s regular customers had the best seats. The food was mediocre. It was a frustrating night.

Our worst Valentine’s date happened at a romantic bistro restaurant in Pointe Claire Village, on the West Island of Montreal. The restaurant was lovely, in a beautiful historic house and the food looked wonderful. The problem was thanks to my “IBS” (or whatever it is I’ve had), I’ve had trouble digesting fat and every single food item was fatty in some way. The vegetarian burger might have been okay but it was accompanied by deep fried sweet potato fries. Then we polished the meal off with Croatian donuts. As I posted on Facebook:

Just after finishing dessert I felt very full and needed the bathroom. I threw up. The IBS I have is IBS-C, so I’m often feeling bloated but wow, I was sick. I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t seem to tolerate some foods at all. No more fried foods for me. I wonder too if the veggie burger was prepared in the same pan as a meat burger? Anyway…

This year’s date turned out rather well. As we headed into Montreal’s Mile Ex neighbourhood, we wondered if we’d ever find a parking spot in a city blanketed with 40 cm of snow. But we found a parking spot near our restaurant and made it in perfect time.

The Asian-inspired food at cosy Café Denise was amazingly tasty. It was affordable too and the service was terrific. We were happily surprised by their mango kimchi, slices of mango that were pickled and spicy. My partner enjoyed a pork and cilantro dish served with rice, while I chowed down on a dish that featured Udon noodles, cheese, mushrooms and oysters. I don’t normally like tapioca but their only dessert, coconut-infused tapioca topped with mango slices and tasty pumpkin seeds, was incredible.

tapioca dessert infused with coconut and topped with mango slices and pumpkin seeds
A tasty tapioca dessert/Stephanie O’Hanley

I hope our spell of bad luck is finally broken. I look forward to a future of many more happy Valentine’s Day restaurant dates with my sweetie.

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