Here we are, out for our 16th anniversary dinner last weekend!
Forgive me if you’ve already heard this story before, as I do tell it every year around this time : We were introduced by a mutual friend, Alison — Nick had gone to school with her and I had met her at a place she and I worked.
She told me about her friend Nick while we were out one evening, and how she thought we’d be perfect for one another. But I’d misunderstood something she’d said about him, which I took to mean that he wasn’t the guy I was looking to meet at that particular time. So, I didn’t follow-up with her about him. Then, a couple of months after our discussion, she called me up specifically to tell me about him again. She really thought we would get along well, and being the good friend that she was, she didn’t want me to miss out on meeting this terrific person.
She had recently started dating a man she liked a lot at the time, who she had been introduced to by a friend, so she wanted the opportunity to pay it forward. As it turned out, she and her man were married two months before we were, and they just celebrated their 16th, too.
So, I agreed to an introduction, which came via an e-mail copying in both of us, 5 minutes after the phone was hung up. She made the introduction and then stated that her “job here is done.”
Note that this was 17 years ago, before internet dating sites existed, so meeting through an e-mail was not at all common. We chatted back and forth a bit, and decided to meet for coffee on the following Sunday afternoon. Also, digital cameras didn’t exist yet, so we had no photos to exchange beforehand, making our meeting a true blind date. He told me he’d be wearing a red shirt, so that’s what I was to look for.
When I got to the cafe (Future’s on Bloor Street), there were quite a few men sitting by themselves in the place. I stood in the doorway and looked around, but could see no red shirts. I did spot Nick though, not knowing that was him, and the thought ran through my head that it sure would be nice if my blind date was with that guy. Then, and I can remember this like it was yesterday, that guy slowly pulled down the zipper of his jacket to reveal a red shirt, while looking at me with a flirty little smile. So, he made me laugh before I’d even spoken to him in person.
During our first weeks together, one of our dates was a romantic dinner at a French restaurant called Le Select Bistro, that was located on Queen Street West, just west of John, at the time.
We were married one year after that first meeting, (well, minus a week because our venue of choice was not available on the exact one year mark). The place we held the ceremony, dinner and dance-party reception was a beautiful old mansion tucked away on an extremely dark and quiet street, that was Wellington at the time. It was at 424 Wellington Street and the place had a very bohemian gothy air that we both loved.
The interior had lots of wood, a massive creaky staircase, crushed velvet drapes, and very moody lighting. It was run by a cool elderly couple, who told us they had originally used the building as a home-base to an art commune back in the 60s and 70s.
Fast forward 16 years, to a couple of weeks ago when we were discussing where to go for our anniversary dinner. The obvious choice was Le Select Bistro. It was no longer located on Queen Street West, though. No, now it is located on Wellington Street, right beside the very place where we were married!
When we made the reservation we mentioned that it was for our anniversary dinner so that we’d be given a quiet table. To our surprise, not only were we seated at a lovely table, within a little candle-lit niche that looked to be designed for romantic dinners for two, but we were also greeted with a glass of champagne on the house, and best wishes for a happy anniversary, which was a very nice touch.
↑ My Movember Man … growing a mustache for the month to raise awareness for men’s health issues. His ‘stache is funny and has made us laugh a lot. He has this certain way of wiggling it that gets me every time. ↑
Our server was great. I asked if it was ok with her if I photographed her opening the wine. Then, she and Nick had a chuckle about the pressure she was under not to break the cork in front of the camera …
The wine was The Family Tree, made at Henry of Pelham estates in the Niagara Region.
To eat, we both had a salad followed by Steak Frites, mine with sauteed shallots over-top and Nick’s with a nice green peppercorn sauce.
For dessert, Nick had Chocolate Cake with Mango ice-cream and I had creme-brule. Everything was wonderful.
The mansion next door has been shut down as a venue for years now, and when we told the server we’d been married there, she was surprised. She said that she’d worked at the restaurant for five years and had never seen the place open.
After dinner, I walked up the driveway of the old mansion to get a picture. It looks exactly like it did 16 years ago, except that, back then, there were two lanterns, lit by real fire, gracing the entrance way. I would sure love to have a look around inside that place today!
↑ Our wedding was in the mansion right next door to the restaurant, back in 1999. ↑
We thoroughly enjoyed our special date at Le Select Bistro — the food and atmosphere were perfect. The location made for a wonderful walk down memory-lane, and for a brand new memory of a happy marriage celebrated.
Thank you for taking a look,