Friday, May 4, 2012
This is an account of all my gastronomical experiences during that week.
The waitress, Christine, approached our table. What followed was a series of unanswered questions. “Hello, and how is everyone doing this evening?” Christine began.
—How are you? my friend asked.
“Would you like to order drinks?”
—A Stone Pale Ale, please, he said.
“Would you like to try our house special?”
—Where’s the toilet? I asked.
“Um, what?” Christine appeared visibly frightened, almost offended.
—Do you mean the “restroom”? my friend suggested.
“Okay, like, wow! The ‘restroom’ is…do you know where the downstairs bar is?”
—I can find it, thank you.
My friend reminded me that “toilet” was impolite in these United States. I responded with, “Oh, shit, you’re right!” The other people at the table looked at me like I lived in Europe. “So you live in Europe, right?” someone asked me. I said yes, that I lived in Estonia. They thought for a moment, then continued with, “So yeah, you live in Europe.”
On Saturday, we had the wedding itself. I believe that my favorite aspect of the ceremony and festivities—apart from the Southwestern décor, food, venue (the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo) and so on—was the company. The bride had three bridesmaids and a “bridesdude”. Two of the bridesmaids also brought their girlfriends. Homophobia, also known as “social immaturity”, just wasn’t an issue. Everyone enjoyed everyone’s company for one of the most joyful, memorable nights you could imagine.
On the way to the airport we stopped for coffee and bagels. A simple onion bagel, that dense, savory big brother to the donut. Quite often the food in the States is very good. There is definitely variety. But I actually cooked that first night, and quite honestly had trouble finding fresh ingredients, like fresh mint, Parmesan that wasn’t processed and sold in powdered form in a green can.
I love visiting the States, but I’m happy here in Estonia. It’s good to come home. The day after my jet lag was over, I baked fresh onion bagels for breakfast and homemade beef and chicken enchiladas for dinner, followed by an A.le Coq something or other. As I fell asleep that night, the question of why there are no microbreweries in Estonia went unanswered.