Laughing gas at the Mandarin Oriental

We started out the evening with E ordering a “foam cosmopolitan” made with laughing gas at the M Bar.  I had a glass of white wine and was just enjoying the glass itself that it came in — like something out of a ’50s movie with these dapples or circles that picked up the light.

Then E’s friend showed up — short, stocky, long gray hair flying, New Jersey roots apparent — and told us he couldn’t stand the M Bar or the idea of wine by the glass.

We proceeded across the hall to Pierre where the hostess, dressed in a Grace Kelly-style black silk dress, hair in a bun, welcomed E’s friend back (a regular customer).  We then shook hands with Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire himself, who looked like he needed to wash his hair, and sat down at what had to be the best table in the house — a large half-moon facing a plate glass window looking out over the harbour.

A young man from Florida with very short hair served us a goofy assortment of baked goods from a basket with tongs,  wearing white gloves.  Then we started with a bottle of champagne, the top of which turned into a gold pendant on a silk cord.  From there we proceeded through a tasting menu of abalone, scallops, sea urchin, multiple dessert courses — and I don’t know what else because I was so drunk at that point.

We had white burgundy and red burgundy.  I, who am not a wine aficionado, actually was stopped in mid-sentence by the red wine which had these lovely earthy or woody flavors to it but was also yummy and not at all intense.  I asked to see the bottle several times but can’t for the life of me remember what it was…  Nor can I remember what happened to the gold champagne bottle-top necklace.

We met at 7pm and got home around 1am.  Which was an excrutiatingly bad setup for the 6am conference call (3pm PST) I had scheduled for the next day.

So, in the space of two weeks, I’ve proceeded from extreme jet lag to a bad cold to the Irish flu.

And oddly, we both found the food itself fancy, but unremarkable.  The meal we ate tonight at Nagomi — a Japanese restaurant in Happy Valley where we had an amazing plate of pan-fried mushrooms — was much more enjoyable.  The wine, however, was truly out of sight.

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One Response to “Laughing gas at the Mandarin Oriental”

  1. pcorcoran Says:

    Great burgundies are an unparalleled, transcendent experience. We had a couple different kinds at the French Laundry, one of which hit that yummy spot. (And just as you describe I’d sooner repeat the wine experience than the food experience, despite FL’s legendary stature.)

    Say what you will about other wines of the world, but the French still make the best *food* wines in my [totally unbiased, of course] opinion. 🙂

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