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23 April 2016

Sharks and Panna Cotta

Yesterday I reached a milestone: I gave food back to the kitchen at a restaurant.

How has it possibly taken me this long to get here? I'm not sure, but even if the food is terrible, I always feel some obligation to eat it. My parents clearly exercised some skilled brainwashing in this department (although my mom's a great cook, so it's not like I've suffered my whole life).

Anyway, last night I finally broke free. Jon had taken me to this pishy-posh restaurant on Eagle Street Pier called Pony Lounge. Our food was great, and we decided to go in deep with dessert. My usual go is a creme brulee or panna cotta, and as luck would have it, there was one on the menu.

Now, generally panna cotta comes out looking like a pure white flan, a creamy custard that's been set in a form, then removed and placed on a plate with fruit or chocolate or other good stuff. THAT was what I was expecting.

However, what arrived at our table was something quite different. The waitress came and I was given a short mason jar on a plate. The actual panna cotta was only about a cm thick and looked more like gelatinous milk scum stuck to the bottom of a jelly jar. It was sprinkled with a bitter cocoa nibs-granola and was topped with something I can only describe as looking like a blood-soaked medical sponge (the menu called it a blackberry marshmallow, but was much more porous and free form then your average campfire variety).

It was awful. And I couldn't bear to eat more then a bite or two.

Jon was obviously upset and said we should demand a new dessert. I desperately tried to talk him down.

"No no, someone went to the effort to put that together. I'm too embarrassed to say anything," I whispered.

"We are PAYING them," Jon insisted. "They don't want you to have a crappy experience. THEY are the ones that should be embarrassed for serving you something like that."

I finally conceded, mustering up all my courage to tell the waitress how vile this thing was that she had served me.

In the end, yes it mildly awkward, especially when they brought the manager out to get the details and offer me something new, but I fought through.

On the other side, I feel a little ashamed that it has taken me 27 years to get to this point, especially given how much I love food. Good news is that I made it. Thank you Australia for getting me here.

In other news, I have a little friend that keeps coming by to visit me. I've named him Daku, which is an aboriginal Australian name that I think seems to fit him pretty well. He comes up to the back door and peers in to say 'hello' every couple of days.

Speaking of wildlife, I forgot to mention that I saw dolphins swimming in the river while I was getting off the ferry. The ferrymaster pointed them out to me, as they were jumping out of the water. It totally took me by surprised as 1) I had assumed that even though the river feeds into the ocean that we were dealing with a freshwater situation-- do dolphins swim in freshwater? and 2) they were tiny! Like half-sized teacup dolphins. It was amazing! I may have even considered jumping in to the water and swimming out to them if I hadn't just read this on the ferry:

Yes, terrifying. So, now I will never go on that river kayaking trip I've been considering as I'm too afraid of getting mauled by a shark. But I'm happy they keep us informed.... Also glad I had never considered the possibility of piranhas.

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