Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Weekend, Day 1 - Long Live the King!

The day started way too early for my liking. Is this Valentine's thing really all that it's cracked up to be, I asked myself. I formed cinnamon rolls and whipped up mango mousse and wondered if it would be a good day at Nilgiris.

Then he landed at the TH at 9 a.m. sharp, armed with apron and attitude. He set up extension cords and tested waffle irons: "Our biggest fear is if we blow breakers," he pronounced. My biggest fear was that no one would show.

Don and Norma were taking over the kitchen to show us how it was done in the good old days, the days of the Dairy King where people came for a coffee, stayed for a burger and ended up befriended by the genial proprietors.

Even though the place has changed ownership several times and is unrecognizable today, people still call it "The King" and Don and Norma get asked almost every week if they would take it over again so that everyone could once again meet their friends at their favourite hangout.

Debs and Caite arrived from Calgary and got into the action: Debs started whipping up vats of batter and cooking the sausages; Caite arranged the tulips on each table. BA walked in and made beverages for the sanctioned early birds. She had come in the night before too, and had written the menu board:

And just before 10 a.m., a line started forming outside the front door.

Norma spooned strawberries on piping hot, crisp Belgian waffles and piled on the whipped cream, aided by Angie, who kept up with all the other orders. The Sisters were everywhere, taking orders, getting coffees and teas, jollying Don along. And Don, back in his element, saw all his and Norma's old friends who love them and remember to this day that there was no place like the Dairy King in the days of Don and Norma, and there never will be. 

"It's time for some PR," stated Don and surged forth out of the kitchen. "Hey, Boy," he boomed to Ron. "Some places still haven't caught on to you - you're allowed in here?" "Fred, I saved that waffle for you from the King - it's 20 years old and still as good as ever! Eat up!" 

People wandered back into the kitchen to give Norma a kiss. The Sisters, who had come to have breakfast, rushed around filling up coffee cups and clearing tables, happily taking orders from one of the best bosses any of us had ever worked for.

The frenzy lasted until 2:15 when we ran out of sausages and there was just enough batter left for the staff to have a waffle each.

We had served over 50 Belgian waffles, topped with strawberries and whipped cream and accompanied by breakfast sausages.

It wasn't quite the Dairy King - we didn't have to wear brown pinafores! - but the spirit was the same and the people were the same and the love was the same.

Don and Norma came back for dinner later that evening.  They had had a rest and were talking and laughing, full of reminiscences. What a lovely time it had been!

Happy Valentines Day, you two. We love you more than you know.


  1. oh. now i'm homesick; for you, for the tea house, for "the dairy king"...for my purple chairs.

    for some reason, this post in particular has broken my heart.

    in a good way.

    i love you.

  2. That sounds awesome! If we hadn't been so busy, we might've showed up:). Do you think you'll make it an annual thing or maybe a couple times a year?

  3. Meleah, it was a lot of fun! And we want to do it again this summer - are you all planning an Alberta vacation?!

    Kimberley, you always "get it", even when you're far away. Thank you, dear one.

  4. . . . and Long Live The Longs!

    This was a great idea, K. Heaps of love and laughter to top the whipped cream.

    Legacies are made one little thing at a time. As the DK was in days past, Nilgiris has become the place to be in trois lumps.

    Long live the Queen of the Hills!


I love to hear from you! Please leave me a leaf to read ...