Sunday, May 31, 2009

You Can Never Go Back

Today is my and my husband's anniversary (yay, us!). Since the anniversary itself is on a Sunday, we decided to celebrate last night. Orignally, we were hoping to be attending the game six Stanley Cup semifinal game at the UC, but let's just say that wasn't an option after Wednesday night.

Instead, my husband decided to take me out and surprise me as to the location. All I was told was that he needed to wear a jacket, and I should dress appropriately. Hmmm.

As we drove into the city, I had a suspicion of where we were going, but I said nothing. As we got off at the Ohio exit, my suspicions grew. When my husband continued on Ohio past Michigan, I was certain.

I smirked to myself as my husband turned north on St Clair (he never lived in the city and doesn't know it well). As we passed the nondescript entrance to the restaurant that on the opposite side the road, I quietly pointed it out. Oh. Yep, I was right. We were headed to my favorite restaurant, and the only one where I can possibly spend that much money on food (once every few years) and not need reimbursement from a corporate expense account.

Isn't that sweet? They even made up menus for us with our anniversary noted on it. They're all about the service there, which I love. It's one of the very few restaurants I know of that still abides by the etiquette of serve from the left, take from the right. And when they serve and take (and pour water), they do it simultaneously for the entire table, which I also love.

This wasn't just a dinner at TRU though. My husband lucked into the chef's table for our reservation. Yep, we sat in the kitchen. Ok, we sat beyond the kitchen in a little room where we could see the kitchen through the windows and the open doorway. It was still pretty darn cool, though!

When our menus were presented to us, I was already pretty sure I knew what I wanted. In fact, every time I've ever been to TRU, I've ordered the same thing -- the chef's collection. It's a ten course meal that you have no say in other than letting them know if you have dietary restrictions.

I love not knowing what's coming next and seeing all the different inventions as they come out -- especially since each person at the table gets a different selection. My all time favorite is the marinated variety of raw fish that is served in a glass pyramidal cylinder that sits inside a small glass globe with a beta fish swimming in the globe. And yes, my description of this leaves much to be desired. Suffice it to say: YUM.

When I peered at the menu to see how much the chef's collection had increased in time since I had last been there -- and it had been awhile, I now realize, since my husband had never been there before. I was saddened to see that they now have a prescribed chef's menu that lists out what each course is. And that it was only nine courses now.

My favorite course had always been the caviar staircase. It consisted of four types of caviar with the appropriate toppings, each nestled into a small square glass cup that sits partly atop the one before it to make a staircase. It's absolutely gorgeous and so much fun. It's now an add-on. A $250 add-on. I assume this is per person, but there was no way I was spending that much money, so I neglected to ask. *sigh*

I still went with the chef's collection, and they were able to accomodate me. I don't eat foie gras, and instead I received a skate dish with spring vegetables that was delicious. My ramp and rabbit risotto was also made without the morels that I can't bring myself to eat.

I could go on and on about the food -- from the amuse bouche that they serve prior to the meal and prior to dessert to the fun roasted butternut squash and lobster cappuchino style soup -- but I know my descriptions can't do it justice. The flavors are so well-balanced and so fresh with additions of spice and herb that I would never dream of doing on my own but that fit so well each time.

Our dessert was just as good - an almond mousse on a sponge cake with a hazelnut cracker. Before that was the cheese course with a fabulous selection of cheeses to cleanse our palate before the aforementioned amuse bouche. We were also presented with one of Gale Gand's famous homemade rootbeer floats that has creamsicle ice cream instead of the traditional vanilla. Sadly, I don't like root beer, but my husband says they (yes, he had both of them) were wonderful.

At that point, dinner appeared to be over. I told my husband that I was sad because they appeared to have stopped my other (besides the caviar staircase) part of dinner. They used to bring a cart of special little bite sized desserts that you could choose to put into a cool little chinese takout container. It was always a really neat memento of a wonderfu evening.

They haven't fully gotten rid of this fun tradition, but they have modified it. There's no takeout box. Instead, what you choose, you eat there. It was definitely much more fun the other way, but I did enjoy my treats. I selected a kiwi lollipop (and yes these are all bite sized), a blueberry milk chocolate "lollipop" and a hazelnut creme puff.

As we were finishing these bites, they brought out one last little treat for us. It was a hot chocolate truffle. Nope, it doesn't taste like hot chocolate. Instead, it's a take on hot chocolate. They must freeze the liquid mixture before dipping it in the ganache for the truffle and then letting it melt inside the solid chocolate container. It's truly liquid, and I was glad of the warning not to bite into it but to put the enire truffle in my mouth -- and I'm a nibbler, so it would have been a disaster. The hot part came from the spices. It reminded me of Mexican chocolate with the cinnamon and pepper flavors. Regardless, it's yet another unique treat.

And my sadness at not having the chinese takeout box of bites for later was ameliorated. As we were walking out the restaurant to retrieve our car, we were each presented with these.

It wasn't quite like going back in time, but ohhhhh it was a good dinner. And I'm satiated for a good while now. My husband did good.

Then we move on to the actual anniversary presents. Remember, this is the man who gave me leftover candy (that I don't actually like) for Mother's Day, along with a child finder system that is just a teensy bit too paranoid for me.

He did pretty well on this count, too.

First up as a gift card to White House Black Market, which is my absolute favorite store. The majority of my clothes come from there, with the exception of the ones I wear when I am on Mommy duty -- you know, the random t-shirts and capris and the like. I love having an excuse to have to buy something there. In fact, I may need to do a little online shopping tonight. And yes, I'm a Black Book member with them.

My next gift was a corn zipper. Granted, this is a kitchen gadget that I didn't yet have, and he is awfully cute. Do you see the neat smiley face? But ummm corn on the cob should stay on the cob. And I'm of the Alton Brown philosophy that most tools should multi-task. When I make my super yummy pasta salad (that my husband admits was the impetus behind the gift: he wants me to make it soon) that calls for roasted corn removed from the cob, using a knife to cut it off works quite well. This one may go back, but ... I may also be able to talk myself into keeping it. I'd never have bought it for myself though, and isn't that what gifts are all about?

This last gift is a great one. Karen provided a wonderful recipe for these delicious chocolate cherry bites that I've made several times (I can't find the exact post -- in fact, I search for it awhile ago and gave up but she kindly emailed me the recipe). And each time I make them, I have to borrow a muffin tin from one of my neighbors. The recipe makes 36 of these suckers, at least the way I make them. I have only a twelve tin, and I'm just not patient enough to keep going back and back to do additional loads, as they're a bit labor intensive. I think my neighbor will be happy to know that I'll no longer be calling her to borrow her pan. Again. Gee, now I'm wondering if this wasn't a hint from my husband, too!

As for me, I got him a gift he's pretty happy with, too. I'm taking him to Vegas on the 12th for a few days. We're staying at Wynn again, which is a great hotel. I'm not big on gambling, but I love the people watching. I also arranged for one of my good friends to join us, so my husband will have company in his craps and poker activities.

He was happy with it. And we've learned this time that we want the prix fixee meal at Yellow Tail. Last time we were there, we had a light dinner before a show then went to Yellow Tail for more snacking type fare. Best. Seafood. Ever. We aready have a reservation for Saturday night at Yellow Tail.

Do you feel like my life revolves around food? Yeah... me, too. Sometimes. I promise not to talk about the Coffee Toffee Caramel Sundae I had from Oberweis as our anniversary treat tonight. Nope, not a word.

Happy Anniversary to us!


Cookie May 31, 2009 at 10:53 PM  

Happy Anniversary!
That is so sweet that he took to your favorite restaurant and had menus made up!

WeaselMomma June 1, 2009 at 5:01 AM  

TRU sounds like an eating adventure. I wish there were pictures to see those fabulous presentations! Happy Anniversary and have a great time in Vegas!

septembermom June 1, 2009 at 7:25 AM  

Happy Anniversary! What a lovely time together:) Very nice, thoughtful gifts. Vegas should be fun! I'm jealous :)

Kori June 1, 2009 at 8:57 AM  

Oh how wonderful. Happy Anniversary!

Roxane June 1, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

Happy Anniversary! I'm so glad you guys enjoyed your evening :)

MaBunny June 1, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

Sounds like you had a great anniversary!

Melisa Wells June 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM  

Happy anniversary!!! Many more!!!

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet June 1, 2009 at 6:32 PM  

Wow! What a wonderful anniversary! Happy anniversary! Care to share some hot chocolate truffles?! YUM!

Debbie June 1, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

Wow! And I'm just hoping from something from the dollar menu at McDonalds!

Michelle June 1, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

Cookie - Thanks! And technically, the menus weren't him, but ... we'll give him the credit ;)

Weaselmomma - Oh but it is. My husband brought the camera, but I couldn't bring myself to take pictures. I needed you there!

septembermom - Thank you! And keep in mind the thoughtful gifts... sometimes miss the mark. This time, he did good!

Kori - Aww thank you!

Roxane - Oh we did. Although we walked in the door at 11:20 or so, I went upstairs and I was asleep before my husband had his shoes off. Literally.

MaBunny - We did! Plus, we had t-ball beforehand and I made it to the gym. All in all good!

Melisa - Thank you!

Sherry - Ummm there was only one for each of us? I do want to think about how they did it and maybe try it at home... or convince some people I know who own a chocolate shop in town to make them!

Debbie - Aim high! On the plus side, if your husband falls though, at least you know your kids can help out ;)

morninglight mama June 1, 2009 at 9:35 PM  

Happiest of anniversaries!! And holy fancy dinner, Batman!! Sounds like a fantastic time. :)

Michelle June 1, 2009 at 9:37 PM  

morninglight mama - Thanks! It was fancy but ... totally fun. Maybe we'll make it there again in another five years. Or ten ;)

Tami June 2, 2009 at 6:57 AM  

I am bummed about who is playing in the Stanley Cup too!! Happy Anniversary!

Michelle June 2, 2009 at 8:46 AM  

t.t. millers - At least someone is! Too many people are happy about the Red Wings. I would have love a replay of '92 with the Penguins and the Hawks... with the Hawks winning this time!

Unknown June 3, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

I eat vicariously through your posts! Happy Anniversary to you and Jeff!

Michelle June 3, 2009 at 9:59 PM  

Megryansmom - I love that comment. Eating vicariously... I'll have to remember that one :) And thank you!

Angela June 4, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

Wow, I am super jealous! Sounds like an awesome meal! I love places like that with all the different bite size treats you get to sample.

Wonderful gifts from (and for) hubby! you both did a great job! You'll have a ball in Vegas. Can't wait to see pix!

Michelle June 4, 2009 at 7:08 PM  

Angela - I'm all over that, too! I love tapas for that reason. Have I convinced you to trek up to Chicago for the food yet? ;)

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