Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Milestone's random act of kindness

This is my friend Lynn waiting for her dinner at Milestone's restaurant the other day.   Notice the fact that Lynn's hair is really short.  That's because Lynn has just finished chemotherapy treatments for Breast cancer.  What you can't see from this photo is the fact that she doesn't have eyebrows or eyelashes either.  The reason you can't see that is because I just finished taking photos of Lynn at my apartment for a record of how she looks before surgery and had to paint on her eyebrows and lashes.  Lynn just finished her chemo treatments a couple of weeks ago and will probably be getting a mastectomy next month.  She wanted to document this point in time before her surgery, so I offered to help her with the photos.  What she forgot was the fact that I did makeup for 30 years.   But this was a different makeup job than I would have normally done.  Because Lynn's immune system has been compromised by the chemo I had to be very careful about the makeup and tools I used on her face, so I opted to use a couple of never used brushes and cotton pads, q tips and minimal tugging on the eyes. What does this have to do with food you ask?  Nothing, but the reason we ended up at Milestone's in North York.   Last week Lynn had a post chemo party at her house and friends gave her gift cards.  One of those gift cards was for Milestone's restaurant.  She wanted to thank me for taking her photos of her so she asked me if I wanted to go to Milestone's for dinner with her.  Since the Milestone's is within walking distance of my place and it was just about time for dinner I thought it was a great idea.

When we sat down Lynn told the really nice waiter that we just finished taking photos and then asked if a chicken dish was spicy.  He said it was kind of spicy so she told him that she had to be careful of spicy foods because she just finished chemotherapy.  The manager walked by and he asked for confirmation on how spicy it would be.  They both suggested another chicken dish for her.

As soon as the waiter left the lady at the table beside us came over and said that she noticed her coming in and the cancer haircut.  She said her daughter just went through cancer treatments so she understood that look and what she was going through.  They talked for a bit and I think it made Lynn feel good to be acknowledged and have her share her story.    I snapped this photo while Lynn was sending a text message to someone telling them about doing the photo shoot so i thought it would be fun to take a photo while she was texting that.  That's why she is looking down.

Anyway.. back to the food aspect.   I ordered the original chicken dish she asked about called the Harissa Chicken.  It was on brown rice with a yoghurt sauce and green beans and carrots.   Super healthy and perfectly seasoned.  It did have a bit of heat but not too much for me to handle but might have been different for Lynn's compromised taste buds.  It was delicious and look how beautiful it was presented.

After our chicken entrees we ordered the shooter glass desserts.  They were super rich and Lynn contemplated ordering another dish since she couldn't eat her chick peas that we in her chicken dish, but after having those desserts we were pretty full.

She put down her gift card and a bit of money in case it went over and went to the bathroom.   The waiter came by and cleared the table but didn't take the gift card/money.   At first I thought that was odd and then I though maybe he will just come back to deal with the bill.   Lynn came back to the table a few minutes later and then the manager came over and bent over and quietly told Lynn that since it was her first nice meal out after her treatments that he wanted to comp our meal.  He was really sweet about it and tried to be very discreet and respectful.   A few minutes later the waiter came over and asked if we heard the good news.   We thanked them both for being so kind and generous.  Lynn told them that it made her day.    She still has her gift card and plans to go back again soon.

I have always liked Milestone's because they try and give you great service and try and change up the menus every now and then while keeping a few favourites on the menu.   What I also like about Milestone's is that I used to have monthly sunday brunches and Milestone's was one of the only restaurants that welcomed a big group and didn't rush us out the door but let us enjoy our brunch conversations.   It truly is a great place to celebrate Milestone's even if one of them is finishing chemotherapy.

I really love the decor and atmosphere in most of the Milestone's restaurants.  It's upscale casual and I always feel comfortable there.  I have gone for many birthdays and other occasions but this time their service really excelled and the food matched the service.   This is how restaurants should do it.    We don't expect to get free meals but it's nice when servers and managers listen to their customers needs and try and accommodate to their needs.    If I was a restaurant critic with a star system I would give them 5 stars for this visit. 

Other restaurants could learn from this example.   Lynn had a few rough days of making the big decision between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy so things like someone going out of their way to make her feel good really put her in a good frame of mind.

It's not always about the food.   The service and atmosphere is just as important for the whole experience of dining out.

Thank you Milestone's North York.  We will be back.

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