One dish too far

by Heather Brainerd

This story is part of our 'Funny Spa Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Ed Yourdon.


Last winter, my incredibly romantic husband took me on a little getaway to Mirbeau Inn and Spa in charming Skaneateles, New York, a Monet-inspired elegant-yet-cozy retreat. We were both quite looking forward to our two days of being together, just the two of us, in such sumptuous surroundings.

After checking in and enjoying a delicious, light lunch by the roaring fireplace of Mirbeau's wine bar, lounging in the truly spectacular outdoor aqua terrace (while fluffy white snowflakes drifted lazily through the rough-hewn timbers overhead), we went back to our beautifully appointed room for a siesta. We then proceeded to head to the dining room for quite the splurge - the Chef's Tasting Menu dinner. It was delicious, amazing, spectacular, and well... way too much food. My husband and I started making quiet comments to each other about the large quantities, not wanting to offend the chef with any seemingly critical comments, for the meal was truly the height of deliciousness.

No more than halfway through my main course, I whispered to my beloved, "I just can't do it!" "But there's only two more courses!" He whispered back.

I set down my fork and leaned back, the sign that I was officially and irrevocably done. He took the cue and signalled our waiter, quietly explaining the situation. "I'll see what I can do," the gentleman replied.

A few moments later, we were told that we could either stay for both the cheese and dessert courses, or take just the dessert course with us. For the price of this meal, I thought to myself, we should be able to take both courses with us! However, by that time I was feeling far too sick to argue. We took our dessert course to go and waddled back to our room, an unusual predicament for two active, fit people.

Here we were, alone in our luxurious room at our romantic inn and spa, no children, no dogs, no phones to interrupt us, and we were far too painfully full to even contemplate romance. We flopped down onto the bed like beached whales, moaning in discomfort rather than desire. The ridiculousness of the situation hit us, and our groans turned to giggles, then to outright laughter.

"Stop!" I cried. "It hurts too much to laugh!"

We finally got ourselves settled down, turned on a rerun of some forgettable sitcom to distract ourselves from the pain, and fell asleep holding hands.

So much for romance? Not quite. There was still the morning. And leftover chocolate truffles!

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