Company party

Last night was the annual Bergeson Nursery Christmas party. I decided we needed a little change of pace, so we went to Sander's restaurant in Grand Forks, my favorite. The Sander's crew did not disappoint. We had a grand time.

Started with calamari (squid) and goose pate as appetizers. Then they brought a copper container of clams to each table. We ran out, they brought some more. And some sauteed mushrooms. A Greek salad, then the main course. Prime rib was the big favorite. Some had salmon, others had chicken.

But the desserts at Sander's are always the highlight. Creme de carmel is their specialty, and it was fun to hear one of the high schoolers who works for me, a sober lad of 17, announce that the creme de carmel was, "by a long shot the best dessert I have ever had."

Another lady who helped us out last spring said, "This is the most fun I've had in eight years." I asked her, what happened eight years ago? "Oh, that's when I dumped my dead boyfriend." Well, was he dead when you dumped him, I asked? No, she replied, just the relationship was dead. He's still kicking. "Don't worry, I didn't dump him in the Wild Rice river."

The Sander's crew delays a long time between courses. When they announce the next course, with the full description of sauces and wines and spices and method of cooking-- everybody oohs and ahs. "Tonight, we have a real nice cut of prime rib, rubbed in white pepper, marinated in garlic, best served medium rare, with a side of horseradish sauce" and so on.

The owner and head chef of Sander's, the legendary Kim Holmes, circulates the restaurant in his loud Zuba pants and chef's top, making sure everything is going well. His voice is like a trombone. You can hear him coming from around the corner.

Somehow Sander's manages to serve fine food in a fun atmosphere. Baseball caps are just as at home there as tuxedos. Nobody seems to care. The wait crew is well trained in keeping things comfortable and fun. True professionals, many who have been there for at least 10 years.

They do keep your wine glass full, though. Didn't realize I was downing that much Chardonnay. Pretty rough headache this morning! Good thing we took a bus.