We subscribe to a ticket discount service called Goldstar. Every week we get an e-letter with the latest performances that need to sell a few more tickets right away. Last week Zinzanni was on the list for about 40% less than the usual cover price. We decided to grab that opportunity right away, and fortunately our friends G & W were able to join us.
The four of us were seated in our own booth, which would have been large enough for six or even eight people. Guests are urged to dress wildly, and there is a lovely gift shop filled with feather boas and the like to encourage people to get a little zany. Rik and I wore the LED light-up heart pins which we received as a wedding present so many years ago, and I pulled out my mother's mink stole and a fancy rhinestone necklace.
Zinzanni takes place in a European spiegeltent decorated with mirrors, a "big top" for aerial acts, a stage, and many booths lining the heavily decorated wooden walls. It was extremely comfortable to sit back and enjoy the three-hour extravaganza.
G, W and Rik each wanted a cocktail, but I opted for "nothing but champagne from now until the finale!" (That's a quote from a favorite Broadway show, La Cage Aux Folles.) The menu, designed by local chef Tom Douglas, was delicious:
Smoked Salt Spring Island Mussels, Brie, marinated artichoke hearts, shaved red onion, and cucumber spears. Drizzled with light Balsamic vinegar.
Carmelized Sweet Onion Soup, seasoned with thyme, sage and Italian parsley in a beef-based stock. Festooned with Beecher’s Pike Street Gruyere toasted crouton.
Crisp arugula and red butter lettuce, lightly dressed in classic red-wine vinaigrette, sprinkled with Laura Chenel chèvre and toasted green pistachios and topped with roasted red baby beets.
Prime Beef Tenderloin
Northwest prime cut beef from the Double R Ranch in Okanagan, slowly roasted to medium rare perfection and dressed with a savory merlot demi sauce, served over olive-oil and herb oven-roasted celeriac and seasonal vegetables.
Broiled Steelhead topped with sautéed capers, cherry tomatoes and lemons, set atop a chive-potato croquette and finished with nutty brown butter sauce. Served with seasonal vegetables.
Medley of Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Chard, and Beecher’s Flagship Cheese in a savory Custard, with a side of Garlic-fried Chick Peas and crisp Green Beans, garnished with Tomato Confit.
High Frequency Molten Chocolate Cake
With a dollop of crème Anglaise.
The entertainment was even better! "Radio Free Starlight" takes place at a 1930'-ish radio station and features sophisticated clowns, wonderful singing, and acrobatics and aerobatics like we could hardly believe. Each course of the meal is paced with care so that the hijinks and music complement the dining. The entire cast was terrific! And because we sat so close to the entertainment, we were even more wowed by everything.
There were only two down sides to the evening: 1) They don't allow any personal photography, so we couldn't take a picture of ourselves without paying for it, or unless we stepped outside in the rain; and 2) EVERYTHING except the dinner and show has an extra charge: a photo; the bar (understandable); extra side dishes, even bread and butter. It took further inquiry to determine that the $10/person service charge represents a tip mostly to the kitchen and bus staff, with a very small portion going to the wait staff. One is expected to tip on the balance.
But we had a fabulous evening, that ended with a lively chat with a cast member from Montreal who did not already know about the bagels at Eltana. All in all, a wonderful way
to celebrate our anniversary!