Friday, June 08, 2007

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, part I

Reading in the Dallas Morning News Tuesday that The Mansion on Turtle Creek was closing its restaurant for renovations this summer (part of it will remain open in limited service) in order to update its look set me to thinking. Not only is the look changing, but also the attire rules, jacket and tie no longer being necessary in the main part of the restaurant. Seeking to widen their patron base in light of all the current high-end competition, The Mansion is wanting to move out of its "special occasion" status to one considered for general dining. Although I bet a bunch of people do that already, to us it was always a special occasion and will most likely remain so. And we won't be wearing jeans if we have to drive 90 minutes and spend that kind of money, no matter the menu and prices are being revamped as well.

As you can see, this is part I. Happens to be part I of III. I'd like to tell you about three special occasions for us at The Mansion.

We had gone as guests and also celebrated our 20th anniversary there (dinner on the Verandah, a night at the hotel, followed by breakfast at McDonald's so my spouse could be back in town to work by 9--we've remembered it well and with a smile). But just before that, we had decided that our sons, ages around 10, give or take, could use a lesson in the rewards of hard work and life-planning.

We had season tickets for the summer musicals that year and Les Miz was coming. I had seen it and loved it and thought the boys would tolerate it. We got two more seat in another section and I would sit there with one son, my husband taking the other to the better seat and we would switch them at intermission. To start off this day of "this is what you can do if you're willing to work", we would take them to The Mansion for lunch.

I borrowed jackets for them since they seemed to grow too fast to maintain their own and we set out. For starters, the younger didn't see a thing on the menu he would eat. Translating this politely to the waitstaff was my job. He was extremely kind and when we suggested son liked fruit, a lovely fruit plate appeared, slices of various seasonals arranged in a coil. I told him to eat every bite.

First son has always been of a more adventurous nature and he started with the tortilla soup and moved on from there. We all indulged in creme brulee and to this day it is the boys choice of dining out dessert, to the point that it was featured at second's wedding rehearsal dinner and the first worked until he could make it at home.

But the corker was our fruit lover about halfway through the meal. He's a great observer and he'd been scoping out the place, the people, and the way things were run. Leaning across the table, he whispered: "You know, I bet our waiter makes a lot of money." "Yes," my husband answered, "but it's a lot of hard work."

As to the play, the boys slept through part of it and told on their father for doing the same.

We never repeated the experiment.

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