Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More about the anniversary dinner.

I swear I'm still thinking about what a delightful evening we had at Tony's in St. Louis celebrating our thirteenth anniversary. So, I'm putting it all into words both for your salivating enjoyment and so I can look back on it to see if all the future anniversaries might live up to it.

I wore the earthy skirt I ordered from Target and a crisp green camp shirt. Not as formal as I would have dressed if we'd be at home and had a closet to choose from, but we were living out of the suitcase, so you go with what you have. Jeff wore his snappy khaki pants and a great blue button down business shirt.

"Ah, Mr. Boschert, we've been expecting you," the Maitre D said. And then... "Would you mind if I loaned you one of our coats while you dine with us?" Ouch. I suppose this is the kind of moment that a young man dreads if he is trying to woo his love, but when you've already been wooed, this just becomes a comedic part of the whole experience. They gave him a 46 R. Hmmm check back through my blog and see if you think that was the right size. Not. He's trim and athletic. Oh well.

We started with an eggplant tampande, complimentary of the chef. We spread it on crusty bread and it was sweet, fresh and delicious.

Jeff was impressed by the beautiful square glass chargers that were set at each place. The eggplant arrived in a tiny ramekin, on top of a fancy china plate and that sat on top of the charger. Of course, all this was whisked away when we were done.

The menu had about seven courses all listed separately. Goodness, where to start? We decided to order just appetizers and salad and decide on the entree later. I ordered Cold Chicken Curry Soup -- topped with a dollop of something that amazingly creamy and rich. Crème frach? Curried Butter? Not sure, no matter... delectable! Oh, and any hesitation I had about the concept of cold soup is completely banished.

Jeff ordered snails on an Artichoke Bottom in a garlic butter sauce. I tasted one slice of the artichoke. Yum.

For salad I ordered spinach with avocado and Roquefort cheese. The waiter prepared the whole salad tableside and it was delightful. I always feel so virtuous eating spinach salad. It's so much better for you than plain Jane lettuce. That Roquefort is pungent. Not for everyday eating.

Jeff ordered tomatoes with gorgonzola and balsamic vinegar. He said it was good. It looked lovely.

Are you wondering what we drank? Just water with lemon. I'm not a big wine drinker and again with the feeling of virtuosity whilst drinking the water. Our glasses, of course, were always being filled by one of the many waiters.

Silverware was whisked in and out depending on our orders also.

Then the waiter brought back the menus so we could again peruse the entree options. Jeff chose Three Kinds of Veal. (Not three separate plates, but three small pieces of veal served different ways all on one plate. The waiter said that they had all been on the menu separately and that people had so much trouble choosing that they put them all together. Great idea.) There was Veal Marsala, Veal with Lemon and Capers and Veal with Garlic Sauce and Topped with bits of Artichoke. I ordered Pan Roasted Salmon and Roasted Vegetables. We never cook fish at home, but I like salmon and am always pleased when I order it at a restaurant. It was served with a Dill Cream Sauce.

Several people have commented that the presentation must have been wonderful. Well... yes... but... not in the way of creating some exotic structure with fresh herbs, or squiggling some sauce on the plates, or stenciling some design with dusted chili... in fact, the actual presenting of the meal was the presentation. Not just the salad was prepared tableside, almost everything was. The kitchen sent out all the components of the meal, the waiter brought his little burner cart around and put it all together while heating it up right next to us, then spooned it directly onto our plates.

Now back to my entree. The salmon was great. The roasted vegetables were stunning. I was completely shocked. I am so not a vegetable lover. I ate every bit of the asparagus (white and green) red pepper, potato, and squash. This is so unlike me. I can't say what made them so spectacular. They were dry, meaning they did not seem to be marinated in anything or coated in olive oil (EVOO for my Rachel Ray fans). They were charred in some spots -- which was perfect. Might they have been grilled? Cooked under the broiler? Tossed in a hot pan? I must know. Please give me your advice. I'll be buying vegetables at the next farmers' market. (Sonji, aren't you so proud of me?)

And then of course there was dessert. Jeff ordered crème Brule which he (and everyone else on the face of the earth) loves and I do not. I did try a bite. Still don't love it. I ordered a Cafe Mocha. I didn't get what I expected there, but it was still lovely. I expected more milk and some froth or whipped cream on top. It was darker and naked on the top. And we shared flaming bananas over ice cream. Can you even believe I didn't order chocolate? Not to worry, there was a tiny plate of chocolates and itty bitty cookies compliments of the chef. I ate all of those.

We enjoyed a bit of small talk with the waiter. It was his last night working there. He was off to become the wine director at a country club. There is definitely a whole culture in the restaraunt world.

I also enjoyed our dinner companions, meaning the folks I was eaves dropping on. A family with two little girls, maybe 8 and 11. Arg. I can hardly imagine taking my kids to a fancy place. Another dad with his late teenage daughters. That seems more practical, charming in fact -- and a good way to teach charm. My dad took me to the 21 Club in New York City when I was about 16. I had artichokes that night too. Also two gentlemen who were not too friendly to the bus boy though they were best buds with the waiter. Irritating. Also a couple celebrating their 35th anniversary. He gave her a bracelet that night too... hid it under her napkin while she was in the bathroom.

I'll be 57 when we celebrate our 35th anniversary. I'm feeling so thankful and eager for our future together. Lots more wonderful dinners at fancy places, and at our dining room table, and in front of the TV, and at McDonalds and in the park and...

11 comments:

Diane said...

Happy Anniversary! Sounds romantic and lovely. Delicious sounding meal, too! I roast veggies in the oven all the time...toss them lightly in EVOO
:-), spread in one layer on a jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet, and bake under high-ish heat (400 ish?) until they start to look done. And I don't like creme brulee either, btw!

Gerrie said...

Steve and I are celebrating our 41st anniversary on Labor Day week-end. We are driving up to Tahoe to stay at the Hyatt Regency for 3 nights. It is on the Nevada side so there will be gambling - HA!! YOur dinner sounds fabulous. Steve and I went to avery swanky restuarant in New Jersey once. It was out in the country in the summer time and he went sans sports coat. You know the rest of the story - only it was an ugly turquoisish polyester jacket and too small. He was mortified!!

Kathy said...

Deborah - your dinner story is even more fun to read after hearing first hand! Building memories for a lifetime.

We had a wonderful & fun-filled visit with you all!
love Mom

gabrielle said...

What a wonderful anniversary....congratulations. Hope that on your 35th there is a diamond of some sort under your napkin. Our 25th is this coming May. Our kids are planning a do of some sort. Ronnie is heading for the hills in fear of having to wear a tuxedo.

Scrapmaker said...

Thanks for sharing your special time with us....may you have many more wonderful years together. I will be 56 when we celebrate our 35th...except it's only 6 years away! Jen

Deb R said...

Happy Anniversary, Deborah!
The evening sounds wonderful.

(I also think the restaurant's veal combo idea is inspired.)

Liz said...

Yummm... what a wonderful description of your evening out. I love the way you observed your neighbours...

Karoda said...

Deborah, envisioning such a lovely anniversary dinner, I became teary eyed while reading your post :) I've been w/ Peter for 20 years and we have to work harder to generate such romantic moments like this. hehehe

Helen+ said...

Happy anniversary. I still have fond memories of your wedding and gracious brunch the next day!

I love roasted veggies, too. Our standard is quarterd potatoes and baby carrots, but it changes seasonally.
Prepare (wash, quarter, whatever) 1-2 c veggies per person. Put them in a ziplock with about 1/4c olive oil (and 2tsp rosemary or other seasoning). Spread in a single layer, bake at 425-450 for about 45m-1h (less for peppers or quicker cooking items). After they've baked 40 m, turn over (or just give pan a good shake)--that's what will get multiple sides all crispy and good.
Eat hot!

Helen+ said...

Happy anniversary. I still have fond memories of your wedding and gracious brunch the next day!

I love roasted veggies, too. Our standard is quarterd potatoes and baby carrots, but it changes seasonally.
Prepare (wash, quarter, whatever) 1-2 c veggies per person. Put them in a ziplock with about 1/4c olive oil (and 2tsp rosemary or other seasoning). Spread in a single layer, bake at 425-450 for about 45m-1h (less for peppers or quicker cooking items). After they've baked 40 m, turn over (or just give pan a good shake)--that's what will get multiple sides all crispy and good.
Eat hot!

Joanna said...

Such a nice night! I'm glad that dad taught us to love a great meal at a great resturant.

I roast the veggies on the grill on a peice of tin foil. No EVOO. I spray the foil with non-stick before I put it on the grill.

You could also use your pizza stone, it is so seasoned that they should turn out nice. High heat, short cooking time, turn often.