Monday 7 July 2014

Indulgence at Rouge

I have been married for thirteen years as of last month. Am I some sort of marriage expert? Hardly. I feel like my marriage is so personal that trying to give anyone advice on how to do it is silly. It's like asking you how you are a best friend to your best friend, it's not possible. You just DO it. I can tell you though, that my marriage is built on laughter, a...lot....of......laughter. If you have ever laughed out loud at this blog, you would love my husband because he is WAY funnier than I am.

 The main theme of our marriage though, is indulgence. My husband indulges me, incessantly. He has stopped by the side of the road, in a suit, to pick up a rusted old firepit and heft it into the back of the truck because I thought it had charm. Indulgence. He then took the same fireplace to the dump three weeks later because it was so rusty, it started to disintegrate in the back yard causing a volcano like lava to run across the deck towards the kids toes. He saved the children, put out the fire and didn't make me feel bad about any of it. Indulgence. He buys me Gluten Free Chocolates once a month, and reads all of my novels multiple times. He hears me when I tell him we are going to go to Antigua or Africa one day, and he will make it happen, because he indulges me.

The theme of our 13th Anniversary dinner was certainly one of indulgence.

We went to Rouge.

I have been wanting to go to the historic home of AE Cross for a while. Not only has it been ranked number sixty in the top 100 restaurants, Rouge has been a Calgary favorite for years now and after visiting last night, I can see why. It's the indulgence. Plain and simple. Rouge indulges it's guests and truly makes them feel special. Often, with higher end restaurants, even the most experienced diner can be made to feel judged and looked down upon. But Rouge has a way about it that is very unique indeed.

Maybe it's because it's in an old home that you feel so comfortable. Maybe it's the jolly reddish color of the exterior or the lush lawns and gardens surrounding the house in the middle of the urban sprawl. I think it's the people too. Rouge has hired staff that love their job and love the food they serve you and love that you love it. There is a personal touch to everything and it felt both personal and indulgent.

My Celiacs of course was no problem for the fine chefs at Rouge. When informed of my Celiacs, the  server told me with confidence that I could have almost anything I liked and that the chef's would alter my meal accordingly. He offered to get the details of any modifications for my approval but I felt so comfortable that I told him to let the chef's decide for themselves. And they did a beautiful job.

Let's talk about indulgence shall we?

Appetizer was a Risotto 'Carbonara', Poached Duck Egg, Lamb Bacon (LAMB BACON PEOPLE) and Grana Padano. My entrĂ©e was a 36 Hour Pork Belly and Atlantic Lobster, Parisienne Gnocchi and Shitake Mushrooms, Spiced Yoghurt - obviously the Gnocchi was omitted from my dish but I didn't notice because someone had put pork belly and lobster on the same plate in front of me. Basically, I just blacked out with happiness at that point. Dessert was a Flourless Chocolate Torte.....self explanatory there.

There were soft palate cleaners, presented without any pomposity, a wine suggestion made without snootiness and a genuine feeling that everyone just wanted you to love it there.

Rouge is easy to love, much like my husband.

After dinner, Trev and I asked to see the gardens and after slipping off my heels and sauntering through the spring grass barefoot, were then indulged and given a personal tour by a server Andrew and one of the Sous Chef's, Eric. Their enthusiasm was infectious and we spent twenty minutes touring the garden and property. Rouge grows as much of it's own produce as it can and indeed, while we chatted, several chefs came out with scissors, selected an herb, snipped it off and returned to the kitchen. Can you GET fresher than that? Hot house tomatoes, micro-greens and fifty year old rubarb plants square neatly in the shadow of this (by today's standard) modest house. It was indulgence at it's finest.

I don't remember ever having a better experience at a restaurant and will certainly be back.

After all, I have many more anniversaries to come. Because I will let you in on a little secret, no one on this planet, would put up with me the way my husband does. No one.  He puts up with my shenanigans, the swearing, the wild manic laughter, the crazy beyond crazy ideas and dreams and on top of all that, he puts up with my Celiacs.
 Now that is what I call, indulgence.

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