A Trip to the Beach-Melinda & Robert Blanchard Part 2

April5

Continuing in the Island adventures of living the dream and opening their own restaurant on their beloved Island:

Chapter 6: “Six o’clock on opening night.  Our staff was in high gear.  A bond had developed among everyone; in just a short time, the common goal of creating and building this restaurant had brought us all together.  The first day of unloading containers with the Davis brothers was history now, as were the long, hot days of construction, the endless testing of recipes, and the unnerving search for ingredients.  Opening night was the culmination of what had become a collective dream, and each member of our staff had played their part.  Blanchard’s was their restaurant now as much as ours.

In the kitchen everyone was in clean, starched chefs jackets and ready to cook.  Garrilin washed the bush, as she called it, for salads.  Shabby had the grill hot and ready to go , and the rest of us nervously waited for our first order.

The wait staff bustled about, looking strikingly handsome with their crisp white dress shirts contrasting their smooth black skin.  They were proud of their Blanchard’s logo embroidered over the pocket.  With meticulous care the stemware had been polished until it sparkled, and each glass was held up to the light, ensuring that no smudges or spots remained.  the mahogany bar top was burnished to a glowing sheen, and bottles were straightened repeatedly on the back bar until each was where it belonged.  The bar refrigerator was stocked with freshly squeezed orange juice for rum punch, ice cold Heinekens, Caribs, sodas, and Perrier.  The ice bin was full, and in it, bottles of sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley chilled next to Chardonnay from Sonoma, ready to be poured by the glass.

Lowell, Miquel, and Alwyn checked the dining room with Bob again and again, straightening place settings, moving glasses an inch to the left, then to the right, then back to the left.  They recited the table numbers and reviewed the menu and the wine list for the umpteenth time.

We had arranged flowers in bud vases for the tables, picking blossoms from the garden.  Some had green furls made from a leaf, a brilliant yellow allamanda tucked in the middle, and a tiny dot of red in the center from a firecracker plant.  Others had log, leggy green shoots-almost Japanese in nature-and pink hibiscus floating in the center.

Bob and I stood in the middle of the dining room and looked around in awe.  Floor to ceiling teal shutters were flung open, and beyond them the garden s twinkled as a gentle breeze shifted the plants and flowers that were illuminated from below.  The fountains shimmered as the underwater lights bounced off the water columns dancing in the air.  Beyond the gardens the sea crashed against Mead’s Bay; our stone path, lit softl;y on each side, meandered towards the waves.  In the dining room, potted palms rustled under lazily spinning ceiling fans.  The white rattan chairs sat ready to be broken in and our dishes,silver and hand-blown crystal flickered in the candlelight,  The sound of Vivaldi filled the room.  I felt a rush of excitement ripple through my body, and I squeezed Bob’s hand.  It was like waiting for the curtain to go up on Broadway.”

They served these on opening night:

“Banana Cabanas (makes two):

Put 1/2 c Coco Lopez into a blender.  Add 1/2 c Bailey’s Irish Cream, 2 ripe bananas, 2 c ice cubes, and, if you like, 2 oz white rum. It’s great with or without the rum.  Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.”

Kath’s quote: “To be always intending to live a new life, but never find time to set about it — this is as if a man should put off eating and drinking from one day to another till he be starved and destroyed.”-Sir Walter Scott

Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>


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