What a day! I’m so thankful to have such a wonderful family and great friends. My birthday has been a time to reflect on all the important people in my life. I have received so many messages today from friends I haven’t spoken to in years (thank you facebook for birthday announcements haha!) and I truly appreciate that I was in their thoughts today.
On to dinner. I went out to dinner with 5 of my close friends. It was intimate, cozy and extremely enjoyable.
My Side of The Table..still have pink eyes 😦
I apologize for the not so stunning pictures. I was hesitant to use the flash on my camera since it was such a dark restaurant. My friends also think it’s so weird that I find the “art” of good and wine/food pairings. (Honestly, sometimes I find it hard going out to eat with people who don’t really appreciate good food, anyone with me?) I started with a necessary glass of wine:
Petite Sirah (Ravenswood, CA)
I ordered the Petite Sirah from Ravenswood, CA. I really enjoyed the flavoring of this wine. It was fairly mellow with a slight buttery finish. The flavor of cherry and current lingered with a hint of spicy ginger and smooth vanilla. I don’t typically choose red wines with sushi (I prefer Riesling or Gewürztraminer), however; with my appetizer and meal, I felt this would be a nice pair.
While contemplating the menu, we were served a bread basket (unpictured because we all jumped at it the second it came out) that was composed of 7-Grain Sourdough, Miche (french country soft sourdough) and Jalapeno Corn Bread. Since I work in the bread department, I am very familiar with these varieties, and knew that I had to go for the 7-grain. The crust is coated in sunflower seeds and rolled oats, with a soft nutty interior. I seriously could live off of this stuff, it makes the best toast in the world and is the perfect base for left over Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches!
For an appetizer we ended up splitting 2 Margherita Pizzas between 5 of us and our other friend decided to get the squash soup topped with a brie cloud! It looked fantastic but I wasn’t sly enough to sneak a photo before she finished it!
Wood Fire Margherita Pizza
The crust is essentially a cracker. It is so thin and crisp, allowing for the phenomenal ingredients on top to really shine. This pizza is composed of roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and coarse sea salt. Basically it is heaven. The tomatoes are so sweet, the basil is potent and the fresh mozzarella….can you think of anything better than fresh mozzarella? I always want to try the other pizzas on the menu, they have such interesting options such as a Duck Confit Pizza with roasted shallot, port reduction and dried blueberries, and a Tapanade Pizza with goat cheese, olive spread, arugula and white anchovies. Even with the mentality of wanting to branch out and try something new, I will always and forever be a sucker for the simple yet elegant Margherita Pizza.
For my main course I ordered a sushi roll entitled “Eel Next Door”. The roll is composed shrimp, cucumber, tomago (sweet omelet), spicy mayo and avocado, topped with eel.
Eel Next Door
I never wanted this to end it was the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and smoky. Umami? I have tried a lot of sushi in my life and there is nothing better than sushi rice that is correctly prepared, and sushi grade fish. One of my friends ordered the yellow tail roll, and I also had a piece of that. I don’t prefer yellow tail, but this was succulent and so flavorful! I feel like no matter what I ordered off of their menu, I could never be disappointed.
Naturally a meal isn’t complete with out dessert. It was my birthday so I needed CHOCOLATE! My friend and I decided to split (aka I ate most of it and all of the ice cream) the Molten Chocolate Cake with Bittersweet Caramel Ice Cream, Caramelized Pecans and a Port Reduction.
Half Devoured Molten Chocolate Cake
It came complete with a candle in the raspberry, and my friends sang happy birthday to me in hushed tones (haha I didn’t want to make my birthday a big to-do). This was so delicious that I couldn’t even wait to grab my camera before we broke into it. It had a caramel dust around the ice cream, and a vanilla wafer sticking out of the cake. It was so rich but every bite was pure bliss. I also had a few bites of my other friends Flourless Ricotta Cake with Almond Semifreddo. The cake was delicious and flavored with orange and almond. I really liked it but I LOVED the semifreddo. It was dense with an intense almond flavoring and coated with sliced almonds.
Aside from my family not being with me, my birthday was everything I could have asked for. It was a day filled with love, good friends and of course good food. I will be returning home this weekend, to continue birthday celebrations with my family and twin brother, maintaining our long-standing traditions.
Here’s To Another Year,
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