Friday and the end of another week

Buckle your seat belts for a bumpy ride  -  Yesterdays lunch out was a very expensive and frustrating experience.  The situation of the restaurant could not have been better though the views were completely shrouded in fog.  The décor is modern, tasteful and warm and our table commanded great views if they had been visible.  So far so good  - the menus arrived and we set to trying to decide what to have.  The restaurant gradually filled but there were only 14 people there for lunch.   I chose a starter of scallops pea and chorizo risotto followed by a sirloin steak with green pepper sauce.  Mike chose the same starter but with the calves liver as a main course.  Our starters arrived in a short space of time and looked the part until you examined them closely.  The risotto consisted of about a teaspoon of uncooked rice floating in some cream surrounded by 3 queen scallops which had no colour at all then in the centre there was the ubiquitous handful of greenery with one wafer thin slice of chorizo carefully balanced on the top.  The first fork full explained everything, the rice was raw and the scallops were like rubber balls.  Margaret, who had sensibly had smoked salmon, enquired how it was - I explained and was overheard by the waitress who apologised and instantly took the dishes away and said they would be deducted from the bill.  Fine, but we were left with no food as we were not offered anything else.  Then my heart sank as we were given steak knives - so the meat was going to be tough!!!!  I had asked for my steak to be cooked blue in an effort to get a rare steak.  I have found over the years that if you want a steak cooked rare you need to ask for one stage less.  This proved to be the case as a small thin sirloin steak appeared dressed in very liquid cream with a teaspoon of green pepper corns and 3 small mushrooms.  The vegetables were in a communal dish in the centre of the table and consisted of about a pound of undercooked carrots, 2 medium sprigs of broccoli, a dozen completely raw sugar snap peas and some new potatoes which had been cooked in their skins then tossed about in a frying pan but not for long enough to make them tasty.  All the vegetables were completely unseasoned with the exception of the carrots which had black pepper but it depended which ones you chose as it had landed in clumps...  Margaret's steak was done to her liking and the men were happy with their liver though the quantity was not great.  Then came desert both Margaret and I chose the cheese Mike had a crème brulee and Len  a selection of  classic deserts with custard.  Len had made the right choice and his desert looked good.  Margaret and I were presented with a huge plate on which there were three slivers, and I use the word advisedly, of cheese one smoked, one blue and one mousetrap.  The garnish consisted of a small bowl with several grapes both white and black and a small dish with an onion relish which had been cooked in butter which was now cold and claggy and 4/5 small Ritz sized biscuits.  OK so now you get the picture here comes the pain the total bill was £150 this included the removal of the two starters which would have added another £14 and also £33 for two bottled of non de-script cote du Rhone which were necessary to ease the pain.  I had a diet coke as I was in charge of the wheels.  I left feeling hungry and robbed and looking forward to my sausage baguette which was on the supper menu...When we talked about the experience we discovered that Christmas dinner for 5 had not come to the same amount of money.  Mike commented "imagine what we could have had if we had given Diane the money", what a nice complement but not difficult for anyone who knows how to cook....
The dogs had had a nice walk before lunch so they were happy to have their supper when we got home and Mike was considerably the worse for wear so we piled into our beds for a sleep - Mike didn't get up until 7-30 and was delighted with his veal and caramelised onion sausages which were a free gift with our meat order.  Needless to say we didn't retire until pretty late so I am up late this morning for a change.
We have no significant plans for today other than to go to the chemist and pick up Mikes prescription, the weather looks pretty dull and cloudy and it is only 4 degrees so pretty cold.  I am going to roast a chicken for lunch today and we will see if I can't make it a better and certainly cheaper experience than yesterdays.
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