There are definite perks to this job of mine. There are the definite challenges, but I can overlook this when I get some swag opportunities along the way.

A “Cocktails and Food Hospitality” tour was held by a company which owns different restaurants and clubs in the city. Front desk/concierge types from most of the city’s hotels were invited to participate. These are restaurants which, normally, are way above what most of us could afford outside of a very special occasion, spaces meant for the well-heeled or at least those who aspire to be well-heeled and will indulge in the high price tag. Anyway, above my budget. The purpose, then, was to introduce us to these places so that we can authentically tell guests what the experience and food is like. Apparently, during the summer there are two such events like this a week! Whee!! The operating principal for impressing us seems to involve plying us with booze — not that I am complaining!

So, those of us who were off work last night got dressed sharply and went out to be wined, dined, and courted by establishments who would love for us to promote their venues to our guests. I do believe that our contingent was the largest and the loudest (and the most self-promotional). And the best looking and dressed, according to my manager. We may have been a bit full of ourselves, but I think you almost have to be in this competitive business.

I wore my best (er, my only) summer dress and let my hair down, literally since I normally pin it up or back at work. My manager has now told me I am no longer allowed to pin my hair back at work, and that I must wear it long and curly at the desk. Okay . . .

Anyway, we started out at The Courthouse Market Grill and Chamber Lounge. This spot is housed in an wonderfully gothic old Court House which was built in 1852, featuring a large Grand Hall with beautiful, detailed and very high vaulted ceilings and the perfect lighting and atmosphere for evening dining. I spotted a huge fireplace. Our group was directed to the outdoor patio, which had brick flooring and a nice view of the city surroundings. And then there was this open, free-for-all bar serving unlimited beverages . . . trays of sangria floating around, and scrumptious appetizers. Apparently, there is a bar in the cellar in a spot which once held prisoners in solitary confinement. This is now a wine cellar, bar and cocktail space.

Next, we walked around the corner to The Rosewater Supper Club. Doesn’t “supper club” sound so posh, as opposed to “restaurant”? It is also housed in a Victorian-era building, and has this wonderful hardwood floor with embedded patterns reminding me of something ot of the Renaissance era. It seems to specialize in large banquet events and business lunches/dinners. I really loved the roving waiters who kept touching up my glass of red wine (the smoothest red wine) — dangerous but so wonderfully generous.

I was disappointed, however, by the teensy portion of gnocchi that was supposed to have been my supper — they gave us a hell of a lot of bread for that reason. It was the lightest, richest bit of gnocchi pasta I have ever had, but there were only six small pieces and two pieces of cold shrimp in a broth. The smart people had ordered the cornish hen, which was more of a meal-sized serving (and so very good)! This is when I started to slow down on the red wine!

We were taken to an upper floor level with crystal, multi-coloured, petal-shaped chandeliers, and served fresh banana-rum crepes and little cornucopias filled with a tangy, smooth berry-mousse. And there was more booze (!) but I went for the nice coffee.

Then we were hauled into double-decker buses, limos, hummers, and classic cars to take us to the C Lounge for MORE drinks and club dancing. I loved this spot — cascading waterfalls built into the walls, the comfiest leather loungings stations, a great DJ, make-up artists in the ladie’s room offering touch-ups . . . outside, there was an illuminated pool of water surrounded by deck chairs and VIP curtained cabanas, with another large bar at the back (but no music piped outside, which wasn’t so fun). There is nothing like this place back on PEI — it was beautiful and, yes, terribly sexy. And I was handed SIX drink tickets while there, which I mostly gave away (I’m not a heavy drinker, and since it was work/career-related I did not want to gets smashed)! It was so great to let loose and hang out and dance with co-workers and managers outside of work, and I can’t remember the last time I went out dancing with friends. We also got to meet a few other people at other hotels and tourism attractions in the city, but there wasn’t much real networking/mingling going on.

I’m very glad I did not have to work today. The rest of the week, I am working 6:30-3:00, which means I am waking up at about 4:30 AM . . . so I’m enjoying this day while it lasts!