The day started with lunch with my parents at a local French place, and some delicious Onion Soup was had, complete with the required gooey melted cheesy topping. I also had a massive mesclun salad in preparation for a rich dinner sans veggies. Bundled safely back into their car by around 3:30, the 'rents got home safely long before the first flake fell.
On to dinner:
Apparently I have walked past Scarpetta many times (including this past Saturday) without ever knowing it was there. Well, now I do, and aside from the snooty woman running the front of house, it was a pleasant evening. The prosecco at the bar was lovely, and their 15-page wine list runs from $34-$800, so you can find things that won't destroy your dining budget.
Ooh, and before I forget, the promised photos of me in my fabulous new party dress:
The food was quite good, but some dishes were lacking that extra element that has sent me into paroxysms of joy at other places. I started with the Sea Scallop (yes. one sea scallop.) with porcini mushrooms and a sunchoke-sauce they pour over the top at table. The scallop was cooked perfectly, but I thought it was missing something. Maybe the mushrooms hadn't developed enough flavor, I don't know, but I hoped for something with more depth.
Mike started with a puree of Chestnut Soup with marrow dumplings, of which I was not offered a bite, and which was all gone at the end, so it must have been good.
We both had the Ash-Spiced Venison Loin for our main course, which came with polenta-bacon dumplings and a dried cherry & cabbage bed. Now, I love venison, and you rarely see it on menus, so I always jump at the chance to have it. (Really, I love all gamey meats. Bring on the Bambi & Thumper, Donald or Daffy, or one of the many Disney singing birds of the forrest. I love 'em all.) Unfortunately, I discovered that "Ash-Spice" just tastes like they dropped the loin in the bottom of the fire pit and had to dig it out before serving. Mike liked the "earthy" aspect it gave his venison. I had to cut away the edges to eat the (perfectly cooked) inside of the meat. Oh well. Lesson learned.
Also, my brother picked a red that went beautifully with the Sicilian-Spiced Duck Breast I was given a bite of, as well as the Foie Gras Ravioli, but did not really go with our Ash-venison, so that was disappointing. (The ravioli, however, was to die for and I would sell one of my ovaries to have some more RIGHT NOW! But as it was actually a plate of 25 of the suckers (shockingly generous for the type of establishment) and I would have eaten all of them myself, and then my dress would have exploded off of me... it's a good thing that I did not actually order it for myself.)
<--My birthday evening's sommelier ... are we an awesome gene-pool or what?
We finished with various desserts and a wonderful frizzante red from Northern Italy (that I will soon have stocked in my own wine collection) and I got to make a wish:
Believe it or not, I did not order a dessert on my birthday (made up for later by Page Trish & Mike behind the bar at Dusk who brought chocolate cupcakes!). So I got this little plate of cookies with a lit candle and I made a wish and got the waiter to take the obligatory "birthday dinner" photo. Which I am not including here. Instead I shall post the "you know your party was a success" photo from later in the evening.
All told I had a wonderful 30th birthday. And the snow didn't start to stick to the ground until long after I was in bed, so we survived that part as well. Thank you to all who attended, or sent me a note, or in any way contributed to celebrating my entry into a new decade.
And for those who caught various planes, plagues & viruses within 24 hrs of the night, you so owe me belated drinks/cheese/hang-out time. I am available for dates starting next week. :)