We’ve all had a dining experience at a canteen teeming with fellow feasters, bustling wait staff, blaring music, and been overwhelmed with the penetrating hum of noise and anxious rush. Luckily, there are places like Ze Foodiebus that give one a bit of an escape from the hustle.
This week was full of said hustle and not what I would describe as effortless. Between deadlines at the magazine, the last week before bills are due, work stressors beyond understanding, sickness in the household and the typical ups and downs experienced in a relationship I was exhausted and I had a demeanor that closely resembled if not entirely impersonated Grumpy Cat. Luckily, I feel blessed to have times like this past Friday night which was replete with overwhelmingly juicy oysters, Brut Champagne, and buttery pate at Sonoma, delightful Kampot pepper and lime won tons at Chuck Norris Dim Sum and saccharine passion fruit cocktails at the WUPP’s monthly Eighty8 party with some of my favorite comrades Allison and Duncan. Still though, it wasn’t quite what I needed pull out of the emotional end of the month slump.
Saturday started off a bit uneasy and strained, but after open, honest conversation and persistence, I could feel the weight of the past week begin to shed. That evening I was treated to an unexpected dinner at, surprise! Ze Foodiebus. I had visited this quaint, secluded eatery roughly a month and a half ago with Ashley Louise, as previously described in a blog entry and was overwhelmed with pleasure by its character, offerings of simple yet enticing French gourmet, and above all, the beyond delightful owners and chef, Nanou and Bo. My favorite Scotsman, Mr. Munro, had logged that information away and made necessary advance reservations at the charming dinner retreat.
As we sat (with one other couple in the extremely exclusive dining area, available for a total of four patrons) commenting on the tenderness of the steak seasoned with local pepper and sea salt and the perfectly roasted baby potatoes, I sensed something evocatively special about the experience. As Nanou poured us glasses of wine and gingerly translated the French menu for us, I felt as if we were part of something that had happened purposely, time and time before. These restaurateurs chose their method of service and style of dining intentionally; it is undeniable that Ze Foodiebus is geared toward intimate meals, presumably between lovers or close confidants. I began to think of the couples they had seen frequent their restaurant and the stories they must hear and the emotions that are unleashed in such a personal space. I felt warm towards the couple sitting a mere two feet behind me. That if they were experiencing the same feelings as I was toward my dining partner, Ritchie, they must walking through their days with everything rose tinted and enveloped in strange mixture of excitement and tranquility.
It’s been a whirlwind year. From April 2012 when I first visited Cambodia to this day where I celebrate my sixth month living in Southeast Asia, my life has been overturned and kicked up with wild abandon. Not one thing do I regret, and only look back on past relationships, choices and lives fondly. I try to set my gaze on the day I am living, pushing away excessive thoughts on the future and remind myself that this, this is as close to perfect as things can possibly be.
I sit here in an extremely air conditioned room, filled with deep dark cherry wood, Egyptian cotton bedding, the sounds of garden parties filtering through the window, the faint smell of coconut rolls and green apples in the air. The soft lights illuminate my surroundings perfectly and Jesse Morrow croons from my laptop as I type. I write from Le Meridien Hotel in Siem Reap, a delightful and unexpected getaway mixed with some business and a lot of leisure.