a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Aug, 2020

First foray into public dining

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Yesterday was Mark and my 22nd (!) wedding anniversary. To be honest, both of us almost forgot about it. I understand why. It’s been hard to keep track of the days. In fact, I recently had to set the clock on my desktop computer so it shows me the day of the week as well as the month and date. Sigh.

So how does one celebrate an anniversary in the midst of a pandemic? We are usually  low-key about anniversaries – no gifts etc – but  we do like to splurge on a nice meal. This year we opted to go to the Keg in Westboro, for a few reasons:

  1. – It’s walking distance from our house.
  2. – They have a big outdoor patio, and I’d actually never been.
  3. – When we were planning our wedding 22 years ago we were thinking of getting married in the garden there. At that time it wasn’t a Keg, it was an independently-owned restaurant called Maplelawn Cafe. I had an image in my mind of a parade of wedding guests, all of us walking together from our house to the restaurant to celebrate our happy day. (Sidebar: We made some initial inquiries and they bugged us for an answer and a deposit. We decided to go elsewhere and not very long after that they went out of business!)

I arrived first. Mark was running late, just having dropped his father back home from a medical appointment. I waited at the restaurant entrance as per directed by the signage, with mask on. A hostess confirmed by reservation and brought me through the restaurant to the patio, which is in the back.

Me on a patio

Once seated, I was able to remove my mask. Some other small details which may someday be of interest to future generations: Our server was masked the entire time. The paper menu was replaced with a small card with a QR code, which opened a web page with the menu after you scanned it with your mobile phone.

I ordered a Keg-sized mojito and enjoyed the view while I waited.

The patio at the Westboro Keg is quite pretty. It’s a walled-in area with lots of trees and greenery. I was impressed and relieved to see how much space there was between each table.

I didn’t have long to wait. Mark arrived, we ordered, ate, and drank. The service was friendly and attentive without being overbearing. I felt a tiny bit rushed because we couldn’t linger. We were told we had to be out of there by a certain time because there was another seating following ours. I was ok with this, for the most part. Things are different now and we have to accept it.

When’s the last time we dined in a restaurant? I can’t even remember.

After we paid the bill we took a turn around the lovely walled garden. We visit here often but it was particularly showy and full yesterday, golden in the early evening light. I was tempted to sprawl out in the grass – despite my dress and heels – but fought the urge.

We walked home through Westboro Village, happy and full. I thought about what it would have been like to walk home in a wedding dress. Back at our house we enjoyed a treat from Merry Dairy for dessert. It was a lovely way to end the day.

2 Responses to "First foray into public dining"

1 | Amy

August 13th, 2020 at 11:28 pm



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  • andrea tomkins: It was gorgeous and we had amazing weather. It went by too quickly... as it always does. :)
  • Peter G.: You know you are in a good place when even the dog is smiling. Looks like it was a lovely and likely deserved getaway.
  • Nora B.: So nice to see photos of J&D's beautiful cottage. A wonderful place to get away for a little while from our crazy world!
  • Luis: Never buy a Maytag appliance I have had mine for two years now and the washer and dry suck. Washer leaves soap on clothing and dry doesn’t dry.
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Wedding anniversaries and pandemics - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] This is what we did for our anniversary last year, by the […]
  • andrea tomkins: Thank you Sally! It was so peaceful... very restorative. I look forward to our camping trips every year!

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


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