28 November 2010

Birthday Dinner No. 1 & No. 3

I ended up having three birthday dinners. No. 2 was on my birthday, which also was Thanksgiving. (See the next post about that.) My parents and my daughter and her family were at that dinner. But my son was in Wisconsin with his wife’s family on Thanksgiving. So we planned a birthday dinner with his wife and kids for the Monday before Thanksgiving. My daughter and her son were able to come; but my son-in-law had to work.

I had a recipe from the New York Times that I wanted to make. It’s a butternut squash and mushroom Wellington. (Click here for the recipe.) It really wasn’t too difficult to make, and it turned out really well.No59v2 (2)

My son looked at some recent issues of Bon Appetit, and he picked a recipe that he wanted to make that would go with the Wellington. It was pancetta, asparagus, and peas with pasta (recipe here.)

Since it was a birthday celebration, I decided to open a special bottle of wine. My wife and I visited the Imagery Winery in Sonoma a couple years ago that produced Italian-style wines. We bought a half case of different varieties. For this dinner, I opened a Barbera. It was really great.

So besides our family dinners, my wife and I usually have a birthday celebration dinner out at a restaurant. I really wanted to go to Meritage in St. Paul. I’ve written about it before. It’s my favorite special occasion restaurant in the Twin Cities. We had a reservation for the weekend before my birthday, but we cancelled it because of bad weather. And the Saturday after Thanksgiving the restaurant was closed for remodeling. So instead, we went to Café Lurcat in Minneapolis.

I consider Café Lurcat to be a reliable, excellent restaurant for a special occasion. It pretty much lived up to my expectations. We arrived a few minutes early, so we weren’t surprised when the hostess told us that we’d have to wait a few minutes. We actually didn’t mind since we quite like the bar at Lurcat. We found a comfy couch and settled in. Linda picked a special martini. I asked if the bartender could make a Sazarac cocktail. The server wasn’t familiar with that drink, so I thought I was out of luck. But when he arrived with our drinks, he had my Sazarac. Yum.Lurcat

Just as our drinks were brought out, the hostess told us that a table was ready for us. So we brought the drinks with us into the dining room. But we didn’t so much like the table, so we asked her if we could wait until something else opened up. She very graciously obliged. So back we went into the bar where we finished our cocktails.

About the time that we finished our drinks, another table was open. We liked it a lot better and so we began our dinner service. The food was very good. You can read my review on Yelp here. But as my review indicates, we were quite disappointed with the service. At the end of the meal, we spoke to the hostess, who also was the manager. She sorted things out to our satisfaction.

Three birthday dinners, all quite different. I enjoyed them all, and had a very happy birthday week.

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