I despise pastels and petting-zoo animals. Wolfing down chocolate-shaped chickens is my idea of a good time on any day of the year, but I can't be bothered with Easter beyond one Cadbury massacre or two. I do love spring, though. "Everyone loves spring," wrote Colette, because "everyone loves what is beautiful, what is young-dangerous." Indeed, amid the puffy-cheeked bunnies and the sugar-high children, there blooms a dark eroticism in the puddle-wet earth and the cherry-blossom air that opens me like the sluttish mouth of a tulip. Such a lusty season deserves a night to commemorate it. And what better venue for such an event than Globe restaurant in Montreal, a glitzy haunt famous for its sexy disco decor and its decadent food served up by hot young creatures in leather. I opted to spend my Good Friday suffocating in my best dress among the beautiful people, smoking cigarettes as carelessly as a fourteen-year-old, with my fork in the eye of the Easter Bunny himself.
Price: $60 per person (taxes and tips not included)
Drinks: Wine by the glass $9-$12,
wine by the bottle $35-$2,500
Vegetarian Options: No
Smoking: God, yes
Payment: Cash and major credit cards
Veronica's Verdict: Never an unsexy thought
Spring always inspires a change in my "the road to excess leads to the palace wherein more excess awaits" lifestyle. Winter's indulgences (nay, necessities) had exiled me from the Eden of my whorish wardrobe for a while, so on the ides of March (a great Day One) I decided to take my fate into my own hands. After ten days of restraint-a humble grape at dawn, vinegar and anger at dusk-I somehow managed to stuff myself into the slinkiest of numbers. Though I couldn't breathe, I did look a dream and therefore felt equipped to deal with the onslaught of impossible beauty I had been forewarned would machine-gun me when I entered the infamous Globe. But as I parted the lips of the blowing black curtain at the door, I found a quiet restaurant dimly lit by candles. At the helm stood a lanky, blonde, bucktoothed hostess, grinning. It was only when she left her little podium to guide us to our table that I saw the full threat of her: the skyscrapers of skinny leg ending in leather boots and buckling into Lolita knees, the napkin of a skirt. And she was only one of an army.
At Globe, it is impossible to, in the words of Homer Simpson, think unsexy thoughts. The place possesses a seventies porn chic that one sighingly sinks into like a deep leather cushion: Alcoves of pillowed wooden booth. Burgundy reptilian skin chairs. Mirrors and mirrors and mirrors. Dark blue o's in the wallpaper. Everything screams harem-from the oysters to the disco music to the troop of pouty-lipped Stepford-esque waitresses in microscopic skirts and satiny, pink Chinese tops with peekaboo necklines. Our server was a taupe-coloured, fawnish creature I instantly wanted to crush. But eventually I had no choice but to lower my gun, since she was sweet, attentive and polite to both my companion and me. Though the place was quiet when we first walked in, it was packed within minutes of us sitting down. A sea of beautiful people crashed against the bar. Dashing boys with carefully tousled hair and flashy shirts leaned and grinned. Women with violently feathered hair smirkingly exploded from tight tops, their miles and miles of nubile leg teetering on glittery heels.
The menu made my mouth water. What I really wanted was the Townships foie gras parfait in a brioche bun with hazelnuts and jam, followed by Bugs Bunny in schnitzel form, accompanied by Yukon mash and rabbit pot pie sauce. The roast suckling pig also sounded just the thing. As did the chicken-wing risotto with grana cheese. I suppose I wanted everything. When I had walked in from the lusty rain, decadence-egged on by gnawing hunger (I had not had my grape that morning)-had permeated my every nerve. But in the end, the thin parodies of waist, the slender thighs and the perfumed air made a spiteful penitent of me. Virtuously, I ordered the endive salad, followed by fish-the oven-roasted hake with asparagus. My friend ordered the ripe-tomato salad with avocados, pine nuts and goat cheddar. I begged her to have the bunny or the pig as an entrée (when exercising discipline, I am never above voyeurism). But she wanted the duck, and far be it from me to insist on depriving a woman of her prey of choice.
Though I only tasted a crumb of the bread, I can tell you it was excellent-that toothsome kind with the good crust. The salads were as gorgeous as the Fabio-esque food runner who delivered them. (I am happy to report to concerned parties that the males in this joint are as comely as the lasses.) The endives were beautifully dressed and generously complemented with Stilton, walnuts and thin matchsticks of green apple, topped with a confetti of chives. Though I'm certain the foie gras would have fared highest on the fat scale, my starter was no diet meal. I suppose I could have chosen to order the Mr. Daigneault Salad Greens with Apple Vinaigrette and Seeds. But nothing is so depressing to me as the coupling of the words "salad" and "seed" in the same sentence. The ripe tomato with avocados, pine nuts and goat cheddar was so unctuously good, it sang the body electric. I ate most of that as well.
Leaning down and opening her mouth, one waitress even allowed herself to be fed some morsel from the palm-oil hand of a dark-haired gentleman. This live-action Maxim absolutely must be seen to be believed.
I did not overdo the cocktails, drink a bottle of wine and pass out in my port-my usual practice on decadent nights. The wine list by the bottle is excellent at Globe, but the wine list by the glass isn't so great (though each glass comes as a minicarafe and is a generous portion), and regardless my plan had been to limit drinking. I had a small carafe of white, enough to delude myself into feeling as young and beautiful and dangerous as the world I had entered-but not so much that I would scarf down all the bread in that imbecilic rush of joie de vivre that wine inspires in me. I was good. I was even having fish on Friday. (I really did want that bunny.) The white flesh, however, was as tender and yielding and sacrificial as any in that room. The asparagus were peeled and ever so delicate and fragrant, draped like Medusa hair over the fish. Logs of polenta lay underneath, surrounded by a wreath of heavenly apricot-coloured homard sauce. I had only a bite of the polenta, but I liked what I tasted. All was lovely and light. My friend orgasmed over her duck.
Whether decadent or dietic, dessert, for me, is always treacherous country. What I wanted was the food runner. What I should have had was the fruit plate. But the idea of fruit for dessert is as dismal an alley to wander as that whole business of seed-sprinkled salad. So I ordered the panna cotta (my passion) with lemon curd and graham crackers. The fuzzy logic of the dieter, made fuzzier by two Pinot Blancs, compelled me to conveniently believe that a dessert lighter in colour is lighter in calories. Because I am sentimental and impossible, there will never be a panna cotta so celestial as the maple-syrup one I had at Bu, but the swallow I took of this generous portion was a little taste of easterly heaven: the angelic whiteness of the panna cotta oozing primrose-yellow lemon curd from the middle reminded me of the delight I always feel when I reach the nucleus of a Cadbury egg.
At this point in the evening, Globe was at its meat-market best. One couldn't see the forest for the prey. This is not the first time I have likened a restaurant to Hooters, yet I can't help but offer up the comparison once more. Frédéric Mourin's voluptuous delectables are hardly on a par with vagina-shaped fish sticks, and I suppose leather and lace is a little more upscale than orange gym shorts and bug-eyed owls cruelly stretched by silicone abominations, but the women here are as smilingly pleasant and accommodating. Leaning down and opening her mouth, one waitress even allowed herself to be fed some morsel from the palm-oil hand of a dark-haired gentleman. This live-action Maxim absolutely must be seen to be believed. So, having taken my coat from the hot coat-check girl, having been thanked and thanked again by the hot waitress and the hot hostess, having made my way out the door through the hot crowd, I walked back to the car, letting the sweet, wet wind scream around me, full of the answer to why everyone loves spring.
Veronica Tartley (Mona Awad) has eaten, shamelessly or barely at all, in nearly every city in the world. She enjoys rain, hurling things against walls and walks on the beach. She lives beautifully in an undisclosed location at the edge of the known universe. There, she weeps her mascara tears, churns butter in the old style and listens to French accordion music.