Friday, December 14, 2018

Bon Choix

I'm a connoisseur of every restaurant's second cheapest bottle of wine.
Wine List
Fine Dining Here! Make a reservation.

Dillard Sanders had spent weeks trying to obtain a reservation in the new gourmet restaurant, Bouvillon Arrière-Train*****, to no avail.  When his cousin Jim plummeted from the hay loft that day after consuming a tankard of his best whiskey, Dillard managed to infiltrate by claiming Jim's reservation.

The maître’ de (the high school French teacher Mr. Wilder who was half-French) escorted Dillard to his table, handing him a menu.  Pour voux, Mr. Wilder bowed and gracefully withdrew to another table.

Dillard examined the menu, Man, I am gonna eat fine tonight:  A “Splendid Gastronomic Feast"!  He read the header at the top of the parchment paper.   

His first obstacle came when he examined the entrees, all written in French.  The half-French Mr. Wilder returned and solicitously awaited.

Dillard, filled with anxiety, merely pointed to the fourth entrée,

Bœuf Fumé en Tranches Fines sur Pain Grille en Sauce Blanche”.**

“Bon choix”, Mr. Wilder nodded, handing him a wine list.

Dang!  I am out of my league here!  But, he thought red wine would be just fine and indicated the last one on the short list:

Ferme du Aubaine”.***

Before returning to the kitchen, Mr. Wilder snapped the white linen napkin and tossed it on Dillard’s lap.  This was a bit of a surprise, as Dillard usually tucked it under his chin.  Must be a French thing…

The half-French Mr. Wilder returned with the bottle of red wine  and presented it to Dillard, who felt confident here, having watched Murder, She Wrote one hundred times and had seen how this was handled. 

Dillard nodded, and Mr. Wilder opened the screw top bottle, and poured a bit into the wine glass.  Dillard stuck his nose in a bit too far, but recovered by sipping carefully. 

Dillard again nodded abruptly as Mr. Wilder (who was half-French) poured the wine, then departed to the kitchen.

Mr. Wilder returned with a gleaming cloche (aluminum dome cover used to keep food warm) and removed it with a flourish, setting the steaming entree in one elegant move before Dillard.

Dillard exclaimed approvingly. Not one to dither about, he savored the first bite.

Chipped beef on toasted white bread in white gravy was an unexpected pleasure, Just like Ma made…


He swirled the red wine, a fine choice with an aggressive bouquet, and that it was his favorite, Boone’s Farm, not a high stuck-up wine.


***translation:  Bargain wine from a farm

***** Rear End of a Bull

Jim, you sure missed a treat tonight! And Dillard dug in, while Mr. Wilder (who was half-French) observed appreciatively, as his mouth watered.

Apologies for:  1.  Slaughtering the French language---using an on-line dictionary may not have helped; 2.  Making fun of anyone unintentionally; 3. Suggesting that Boone's Farm is sub-standard, having enjoyed it many times myself during college years; 4.  "Dillard" is the name of department store, not the name of a person, maybe; and, 5. Abusing the name "Mr. Wilder", since I do not know of any Wilder except Gene.

 The underlined words come from a Wednesday Words challenge started by Delores, now at Muted Mumblings as a way to challenge writers. I wrote this in 2015. With Christmas being a busy time, I am digging into the Vault, finding some of my personal favorites.


Wine to beat all Wines

36 comments:

  1. Heeheehee! Fun story, thank you. What mama used to make is still the best in the world.

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    1. It is a dish we have enjoyed through out the years. Glad you had a giggle.

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  2. Nothing like chipped beef on toast. One of my favorites. Not a drinker so don't know about that Boone's Farm stuff.

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    1. It was super cheap when we were in college. Now it has a cult-type following, and its quality has improved.

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  3. Food always sounds better when said in French.

    I might have had some Boone’s Farm Apple Wine once or twice in my youth.

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  4. Everything sounds better in French, doesn't it? (She says while watching a Mandarin class...)

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  5. What a delight-full post, Susan. I actually chortled aloud at the screw-top reference. Thanks for the re-run!

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  6. Hey, I've been in French restaurants like that, LOL!

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  7. French.. I had one year sitting behind the girl I knew and later became my wife. I made a 'C' in that class, the lowest grade I ever received. She was a distraction. Then sitting at a bus stop in Naples, Italy beside a Frenchman I learned that the C was gratis, probably an F, "je n'parle pas Francais." ;-)

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  8. Smiling broadly. And remembering restaurants where the waiters bow and scrape like windscreen washers...

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  9. I hope Dillard got all dressed up for the occasion, and wore a beret!

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    1. I think he washed his face and hands, maybe shaved and put on a clean shirt.

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  10. haha I've seen some French restaurants that fit such a bill

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    1. Good. You can check that off your "to-do" list.

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  11. I always thought wine was expensive, even worse at a restaurant.

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    1. Boone's Farm wine is about $6/bottle now. Way back it was about $2-$3 a bottle.

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  12. To impress my friends I once ordered a whole meal at a restaurant in French.

    The waiter did not understand a word. It was a Greek restaurant.

    God bless.

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  13. So good to read, I'm pleased you posted it again :)

    All the best Jan

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  14. Took French in HS and when we talked the accents were so funny to hear. The French would have been appalled if they heard us. Boone's Farm wine, I remember that from the 70s. I don't care for wine but back them I remmember having a bottle or two of the apple wine. Haven't thought of that in years. :)

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  15. Oh, Susan, this is wonderful! It's hard to believe you wrote it to accommodate a given list of words. Great job!

    I could relate to the snobby French restaurant, as well as to the screw-top lid and good ol' Boone's Farm. That's what I drank once upon a time... Strawberry Hill. What was it... 2% alcohol? HA

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    1. Might have been 2%. My alcohol tolerance then would have been low, probably got a buzz.

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  16. Oh how funny, the Dad here thinks he's been out to dinner with Dillard!

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  17. That was fun. Someone gave us 2 bottles of wine year ago. I don't drink but I tasted both and liked neither. lol

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  18. Ah, well/ That's the way it pours.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!