Now I'm At A Restaurant

Yesterday, 7th September, or as they say in the States 9/7, was my 43rd Wedding Anniversary. By a ridiculous coincidence it was the Lady Judith's wedding anniversary too. So we went out to a new Warrnambool nightspot to celebrate.

CRB is a Cafe-Restaurant-Bar. Creative name, eh? It's half-owned by Matt Ryan, former owner of a Brighton Hotel in Melbourne, but now returned to his country roots. He's brought along his Brighton chef to own the other half.

Now Ryan, is not exactly a rare family name in these parts. Down here by the Southern Ocean, if your surname doesn't start with Mac, then you're probably Irish. Port Fairy was called Belfast before the Gays renamed it. And there's Ryans Removals and even a Ryan's Real Estate that is owned by the aforementioned Matt's dad who also happens to own the building in which CRB has opened.

About a month past I sat next to a pleasant woman on the bus to Geelong (the slavegangs were out on the train tracks that day, so we had to bus it) who turned out to be the Ryan of real estate fame. And Matt's Mum. She informed me of the splendour of her boy's new venture and, convinced of her lack of bias in the matter, ventured ourselves there to celebrate 43 years of cohabitating bliss.

We were encouraged that Matt had decided to set up in the former Porchetta location, the loss of the former establishment having caused profound and widespread disinterest in the community. And certainly the menu looked a lot smarter from the start. A good selection of surf and turf, plus the odd chook dish thrown in. Well not literally thrown in. I'm sure the part-owner chef is making sure there is something thoughtfully tasty for everyone.

I had the porterhouse with chips, vegies and garlic butter.

"How would you like your steak?"
"Rare, thanks."
"Rare?" Half-surprised, half-confirming. Yes, you can get a proper rare steak in Australia these days, Dorothy. Thirty years ago the best you could hope for with a rare steak was medium. Medium was well done. And well done was burnt to a crisp. Still, apparently an order for rare steak is still infrequent enough to warrant a minor doubletake from the waitress.

CRB has a nice selection of local and other wines, all of them available by glass which is a bit rare. Except the Rowan's Lane Pinot Gris which is the one I asked for. Still, they had all the others, we were assured.

Lady Judith ordered cajun style chicken with salad, conga drums and a Rastafarian choir on the side. Just a little bit spicy, she assured me. And rhythmical.

Matt's Mum had told him we would be coming, such was her confidence in her review and the efficiency of the grapevine in a regional city of 30,000 souls. Having been informed that we were celebrating 43 years of marriage ... Hard to believe, I know. We look so YOUNG ... Matt provided a double serve of dessert wine with Lady Judith's stickydate pudding and my macadamia tart thing. Too much sweet riesling isn't necessarily a good thing, but one appreciates the sentiment.

We were hardly alone in the restaurant, sharing the venue with seven or eight other parties ranging from romantic couples like us, to a table of late middle-age women (generous, I am), and at least one family group. For a city that seems dead after 7pm the number of people eating out mid-week is amazing. But then we have some terrific restaurants and CRB has just added itself to the line-up.

Now I'm at the Movies

We went and saw The Help. It's an OTB movie - One Tissue Box - if Lady Judith's accompaniment track is an indication. Quite funny. Sorta moral. And quite moving. (Trailer here http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi809278745/ )

The two actors who play the key African-American roles, Viola Davis (Aibileen) and Octavia Spencer (Minny), are Oscar material. Emma Stone (Skeeter) plays the permanently wide-eyed Anglo-American with curly hair that looks a bit too modern for the 60s (at least as I remember). There is a villain to hate (Hilly) played by Ron Howard's daughter, Bryce. She relishes the role so much you just want to smack her.

It's fun playing spot the well-known actors in minor roles. Allison Janney, Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek and Cicely Tyson among them.

Hard to get the balance right between comedy, pathos and morality tale in this kind of movie, and it's the morality that is weakest. We end up cheering for the downtrodden victims which is admirable and worthy. But we also end up scapegoating and hating the descendants of the slaveowners. Both sides deserve sympathy of the there-but-for-the-grace-of-God kind. What a shame that we find it so hard to identify with victims unless we can find someone to blame.

Comments

  1. I agree with everything you said except that I think you can drop the "Lady" now. I reckon we have known one another long enough:-)

    ReplyDelete

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