Saturday, October 2, 2010

Santa Margherita Wine Dinner

It was interesting. Terry, Jenny, and Mark picked me up and then we picked up Bettina who is normally Terry's date since Bettina's husband is a Malay. I am not quite sure where Terry's husband is  (she doesn't refer to him as her ex-husband, so I don't know if he lives back where she is from or is deceased). It was pouring rain, and I had an umbrella but to unlock and go through the gate and re-lock it I had to stand in ankle deep water. So my shoes and the bottoms of my black dress pants were very wet by the time I got in the car. They told me this isn't even as bad as monsoon season. I think next time I will wear a dress as most of the ladies did. I wore nice black slacks and a nice top. I had thought about a dress but was told just dress comfortably, but I think I should dress up a little more next time.

The Hyatt Hotel is very up scale. The part of the hotel where I was, was open. I walked in and on the right was the check-in desk. Directly in front of my was a large raised platform with a nice wood floor and couches. We walked through that area and headed to the restaurant. It is an Italian Bistro.  The walls had huge opening like windows only there was no glass just blinds that they had raised. From the opening I could look out at some Pumeria trees, but I could not see any flowers from where I was. I could look down at their really nice pool and towards the beach that was just a couple feet past the pool area. It was lit up with a soft light, and I could see the waves breaking on the shore. It looked so romantic. (Yes, I think about that sort of thing when I am at a new place.)

First, was cocktail hour with wine and appetizers. Next to all the opening there were couches along the wall and then two chairs facing the couch and a like coffee table in between. People could sit there, but most stood and visited, moving from group to group. Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I met lots of people there. All of them were couples. The people were all nice and friendly. I sat at a table with: starting on my left and going around Jenny and Mark, Terry, Bettina, Francis, Julie, a German couple( I think like Maria and Franz), a German man, another German couple (that didn't come until dessert), Steve Julie's husband, Olie the wife of the German man next to the couple across from me. The food was really good. This place has lots of white people who go there I think to swim, have dinner etc. I could even have a membership there. I noticed that they 3 groups of of white people are Germans, Australians, and English.

It was a 5 course meal with three wines. There were other tables. The other large group was Asian. These people are all very wealthy. They would tell me about like while you are here you should learn how to dive. It is only a few thousand ringitt, very cheap. You should do this or that. It is only a few thousand ringitt, very cheap. Most people when they greeted each other did that whole kissing the air next to each other's cheek. Only one guy did that to me and the rest shook my hand (thank goodness).

First was appetizers and wine. I didn't have any wine as I don't like to have anything on an empty stomach. There were three more wines during dinner. I had the wine with the first course. I had the wine with the second course, but by the third wine which also tasted almost the same as the second I had just a sip or two. Luckily they don't put much in the glass, and I didn't have any refills. I am not a huge wine drinker, although this wine was very good. I was in the middle of the table. I was very fascinating to people as I am a teacher, an American, and single. The couples to my right were almost all German so they conversed in German most of the time. I did discover that the lady who was slightly across to me on my left (Maria?) was the lady who lives next to one of my students, and I have seen her when I am riding the bus.
Julie got drunk. She kind of singled me out. She would say Mel, you need to drink your wine. Mel, drink up love. Mel, you are so uptight, drink your wine. Mel, I'm so pissed, you should get pissed. On and on. Then she wanted to go dancing, and she chose me to help her. There was a small night club next to where we were eating. There was an all Asian band, and they sang all American hits. Here they are very conservative in dress, but I noticed that the three female singers had on like pleather mini skirts, sleeveless tops with low v necks and the midriff was a light see through material. They all had long hair and very high heels. I noticed when they came in after there break they would all be wearing long jackets, probably so as not to offend those who dress conservatively while they were outside of the bar. The people who are conservative (because of their religion) are not drinkers, and they would never come in a bar. When we first got there is wasn't really dancing music. But Julie wanted to dance anyway, so she was dancing, and one of the singers came down, and they were posing, and Jenny was taking pictures.  This guy Tom came and danced with the two of us and then he left. I met him earlier, but he sat at a different table. If I tried to sit out Julie would come pulling me until I came back. Others finally joined us. Julie's husband came in at one point and got her a glass of water to drink. She wouldn't drink it for him, but she would for me. He tried to pick her up and put her on one of the stools to drink the water but the stool he chose turned out to be wobbly. She was still talking to me, but it was so hard to hear with the music. She told me a couple times, You are ok. I think she was just so drunk that she was not really aware of what she was doing. I was just the lucky person she chose to hang on to, and I am too nice of a person to not put up with it. All the non dinner people I think felt sorry for me. There were lots of Asian men in there, and they looked at me like poor lady to have this drunk lady hanging on her all the time. Tom came back in and was dancing with all of the ladies. That part was fun. I finally got Julie to let go of me, so that I could dance. By then it was better dancing music. Still not great though.

A few times I thought to myself: I am amazed at all these people and all the fun we are having and how silly we are being and how free it feels. We were all between the ages of 30-60. Everyone that came in from the dinner danced. I don't feel 30 at all. On the one hand, I feel much younger than everyone, probably because even though I am a grown up I don't have the responsibilities they do of a spouse and children. At other times I feel older because I am very responsible and made sure that Julie was taken care of and did not fall and hurt herself or get dehydrated with all the drinking and then lack of water.
I think if some younger people saw us they would be amazed that even though we aren't super young anymore we can have just as much fun and dance just as hard as they can. I am sure many of them would think that after dinner we just went home and went to bed. 

I eventually, after midnight sometime, left because it was starting to get crowded, and it was a tiny room, and it was too hot for me. It was so hot in there that all the windows were fogged up. With the popularity of the club I would think they would have made it bigger. It must have been when the club really got going.  I went back out and joined Terry, Bettina, Francis, and Mark while they visited until it was time to go. I watched all the people coming to the club. They all had to have a metal wand waved over them. They were all Asians too. Steve finally hauled Julie out by the time we were leaving. She saw me, and she was like Mel, and then we couldn't understand what she said. Her husband was like, I think Mel is tired of taking care of you. He had her stay behind while he got his car. I left with my group and then we found out that Jenny had escorted Julie out to the front. One of the guards was in front and like holding out his hands to catch her if she fell down the steps, but didn't get close enough to touch her. Steve finally arrived and helped her in the car. She shouted to Terry. Terry, where was you when you were dancing ( Terry didn't dance). I didn't go to bed until 2:00 and had a hard time falling asleep. I took a shower because several of them are smokers, and so were smoking at the table. Some of the one's closer to me did wait until the end of dinner. I woke up at 7:00 and couldn't get back to sleep.
I wanted to take pictures of the hotel and beach, but I didn't want to look like a tourist in front of all of them. 

The menu:
Cocktail- Marinated Mussel, baked cherry tomato, grapefruit vinaigrette
Bruschetta tomato
orange poached prawn, lemon chili vinaigrette
Beverage- White wine: Santa Margherita Estate Pinot Grigio 2007
or Campari Soda and Aperol Orange
I thought the mussel was a mushroom. The shrimp one also had a green or black olive at the end of the stick.

First Course: New Zealand Lamb loin, mustard dressing, orange salsa, mini chili vinaigrette.
White wine: Santa Margherita estate chardonnary 2008

It was like a salad with a thin slice of the lamb loin. We all cut our lettuce with our forks. They all ate very delicately for every course, so I tried to as well. To eat slowly and sit up instead of hunching over (which I do when I am home alone and reading while eating).

Second course: Ricotta cheese ravioli, black mushroom truffle, spinach, sweet cherry tomato sauce
Red wine: Santa Margherita Estate Sangiovese 2007
It was one large ravioli.

Third course: Apple sorbet (it was a little too frozen, and we had to let it melt some)

Fourth Course: (We chose between 2)
Pan seared Salmon fillet, zucchini, fennel, mushrooms, oregano cheese sauces, arugula oil
Slow baked Marinated duck breast, mashed potato, radicchio salad, grapefruit cinnamon sauce, red wine reduction

Red wine: Santa Margherita Chianti Classico DOCG 2006

Fifth Course:
Green Tea Panna Cotta, Poached Pear, Chocolate stick, strawberry sauce
The green tea panna cotta was a white jiggly substance with half a strawberry on top. It did taste good though.

Coffee or Tea- I passed on those.

The portions were very small, so I didn't get overly stuffed eating them. I was just pleasantly satisfied. I went with the duck.
They could not fathom that I had never had duck before. That we can't get it in back in my hometown. Or that we don't have fresh fish at our grocery store.
I have been to very upscale restaurants before and eaten very fancy dinners, but I think this was the fanciest. There was the 3 wine glass for the different wines during dinner, and a glass of water. The menu was rolled up and tied with a red ribbon (that is not new). There were 3 forks and 3 knives. Then they brought us a new fork and spoon for our dessert.  The waiter came around and unfolded our napkins and put them in our laps.

I am unsure if I will do it again. Next time it might be better since I hopefully will know more people and have more to talk about instead of answering questions about how fascinating I am being single, American, and a teacher. We could chose where we sat, and so I think I would sit in a different place next time. I was not horribly bothered by the people speaking in German because most of the time when I am places and even the office at school the people are conversing in Malay, and I have no idea what is being said.  I am not super shy like I used to be, but I am still reserved and somewhat shy when I first meet new people. So I think to sit back and mostly listen to conversations, but at least they are normally in English so I can understand what they are saying and can contribute if I have something I would like to share.
I forgot to mention that when I went to get my umbrella I asked the guy who had taken Mark's credit card to run. I said that some lady took it when I walked in. He asked if she was fat and chunky. I said I don't know she was just regular. He told me not to give things to them because they usually get lost. He brought the lady back, and I asked her. She pointed to where it was, and he got it for me. The real deal was not that someone took it but that he didn't understand what I was asking. He had asked Mark the same thing about the girl being fat and chunky. Mark didn't agree either. We both thought that was rude, and she was not fat or chunky. She was not stick skinny but she was slender.  We couldn't believe the guy asked us that.


  1. Wow, what an experience that was! I can't even imagine how elegant your meals and service were...I laughed a bit when I read about that Julie slapping your butt:) How funny! I'm not sure how I would have reacted to that!!! The dancing sounded like so much fun though...I hope you go back and keep looking for that special "guy!" Ha...sorry, just had to throw that in:)
    Am so glad you have your water has to be so much better being able to run warm water over sore muscles, etc. Glad your landlord was okay with it all in the end! I was telling Fred about the water heater and he said he can't imagine taking a cold shower, especially in the morning!

  2. Yes, it definitely was an experience. I think if it had been one of my close friends, and we were goofing off, and I knew everyone there, it would have been no big deal. But I only met this lady once before, and most of the other people I had just met for the first time that night.
    I know it would kind of be nice to find that special guy here, but I think almost everyone I met is a couple. There was one guy who might be single.
    Yes, I am very grateful every time I shower now for the warm water. It is so nice. Like yesterday morning I kind of had a kink in my neck, and it was great to have warm water to loosen them up. I know, and I thought my landlord charged me for the extra cost because of the problem, but he didn't. So that was nice that he paid of that and was ok paying for that.

  3. Okay, now I see the comments...not sure why I couldn't view them before...I just got done doing a dance DVD and have to make some supper now...Sandi and I were going to go to a district wellness Zumba class today after work, but it got cancelled this morning:( So, had to work out on my own which is not fun!

  4. At least you worked out. I brought one Pilates video and it still sits on the table. I don't feel awake enough in the morning to do it. When I get home from school it is so hot. I gave up going for walks in the evening because it made me feel worse instead of better. They have gyms at some of the hotels where I could get a membership but then I would have to get a cab every day to go. There is a park with a nice walking path but it is too far from where I live. I see it on the bus in the morning. That is when people are out walking since it is not hot then, but I don't think I could get up any earlier to even walk around my neighborhood.

  5. Well, I am not very good at working out consistently...just go in streaks depending how often I can talk myself into it. I am pretty good at doing my Total Gym every other day.
    Are these comments just between you and me? Or can all of those on your blog read them?

  6. Everyone can read the comments. I think you might be the only one who reads my blog though and if someone does read it they may not check out the comments.