Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Dinner and a Show


Last weekend Matt and I dropped Alex off at the grandparents (thank you!), and headed off for an evening by ourselves.

We had dinner at Cappucino's. We'd eaten there before and knew it was a pretty good place.

I did, in fact, bring the camera with me...but apparently, the batteries were dead or bad or something. So, sorry...no pictures.

First, it was Prom Night! So many teenagers, all dressed up. The guys? Most of them looked pretty good, if a bit uncomfortable. The girls, though...I think most of them were going for the 'hello, I'm an enormous slut' look.

And when did prom dresses get so...stylish? I remember them being more like something Molly Ringwald would wear in a John Hughes movie. Suddenly, fifteen year olds are wearing cocktail dresses! It's like that men's clothing company commercial, where the founder says the Mom her son's attire isn't what she should be worried about, "it's what she's (the prom date) wearing".

I did see one girl in a rather unusual, and attractive, red/black/white, geometric-patterned gown that I really liked. It's true she looked like she was going to pop out on top, but I admire her selection.

Anyway...on to the food.

We started off by sharing an appetizer of baked Brie.

Oh, this is such a lovely dish!

A small wheel of Brie, with sun-dried tomato pesto on the top of one half, and basil pesto on the other, baked. Served with toasted, buttered bread slices, as well as the reddest strawberries I've ever seen, cut and fanned. Luscious seedless red grapes. Thinly sliced green apple, fanned. And thinly sliced orange wedges.

Fantastic! Matt's a basil lover, and I like sun-dried tomatoes more than he does, so we split the Brie neatly down the middle. That was a nice piece of cheese, let me tell you. Buttery, smooth. Mmm...and the fruit was fresh and ripe and made us think of summer (although we were experiencing an uncharacteristic cold spell; temps got down to the thirties that night).

We each had a house salad next.

I figured the house salad would be relatively safe. It arrived, and it looked pretty good. A mix of greens, broccoli (florets with an inch or so of stalk), shredded cheese, diced tomato, and what I thought was chopped black olives.

Matt asked our server what it was, and he told us it was bacon.


"I'm sorry", I told our server. "I'm a vegetarian."

We had the best server I've come across since Dromoland Castle, in Ireland. I made apologies, telling him I had no idea the salad came with bacon.
"Not a problem", he told me. "I'll take this back and fix it."

Well, he came back about four minutes later, salad plate in hand...sans bacon.

"I added a couple of veggies, to take the bacon's place", he told us.

Wow...I got thinly sliced mushrooms (which I ate, surprising myself even more than Matt), as well as three pepper rings...green, red and yellow. Matt claimed I ended up with a better salad then he did.

And then our main dishes arrived.

First, let me say this: Cappucino's knows how to structure a meal. Our server was attentive, but he never rushed us. He made sure my ice tea had refills (bringing new glasses, rather than pouring more), he checked to make sure things were satisfactory, but he left us alone to eat after that.

It was a busy night, but our server always seemed to be just where we needed him. We had enough time to enjoy each course, to have a leisurely meal and good conversation (ok, we were responsible for that). I know the restaurant was booked, and told walk-in's there was at least an hour wait for a table. They could have hurried us along, but they didn't.

I got about the only vegetarian dish on the menu: Cheese and spinach manicotti. I'd ordered this the last time we were there, and liked it. This time...the cheese seemed a bit saltier than I remembered. Still, nice creamy cheese, finely chopped spinach (I hate biting into long stringy bits), with a good tomato sauce.

Matt ordered the free-range rib eye, with steamed asparagus.

I watched him take a bite, and waited. It's common to see him take that first bite, eyes closed, head bent slightly down.

I waited. Finally "Well?"

Oh, he loved it!

It was a big piece of steak. And according to Matt, more tender than a plant-eating beast ought to be. Not that he was complaining. It was also more on the 'rare' side of medium-rare, but for Matt, that was also good.

We each ordered dessert; for me, a piece of New York-style cheesecake. Matt, a praline and Chantilly ice cream.

I only eat cheesecake when I go out. I love cheesecake. But, Matt doesn't like it. So I'm not going to make one and have it sitting around my house, or I will end up eating the whole thing! It's on these rare nights out that call for something special that I indulge.

Good slice of cheesecake, too. Topped with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. Just the way I like it (I skipped over the double-chocolate cheesecake they offered). I find I don't really care for too-sweet desserts anymore. Cheesecake is perfect. And Cappucino's was.

Matt loved his ice cream...I had a bite. The ice cream flavor was good, but what stood out was the fabulously crunchy praline. Intense.

In the end, we were there just over two hours. We were served really good food by attentive wait staff, and spent time together...without the constant interruption of "Mommy, Mommy". (Don't misunderstand: I'd die for my son. But it's good to get away every now and then!)

We then headed to the Clarence Brown Theater for a production of The Long Way Home. But I have a feeling you're less interested in the play!

4 Thoughts for food:

At 3:35 AM, Blogger Niki said...

Yes! I've noticed the very same thing with formal dresses on schoolgirls. When I was at school (and I'm only talking 10 years ago here) our dresses were, well, formal. Long, shiny etc. Certainly no plunging necklines or splits up to/down to the waist! But, in working at my old school (a girls' school) I noticed that the teenage girls appear much more worldwise and street smart than when I was a teenager. I don't know if it is a good thing or not, to be honest. I can see both sides of that argument.
My friend and I 'blame' the Spice Girls & Britney Spears et al. for this - suddenly it was all about girl power, and dressing provocatively - which was taken up by pre-teens as well as teenagers. To see a 9 year old girl in a boob tube (with no boobs) and tight hipster jeans (with no hips) makes me a bit sad, really.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Eh, it's been just a bit longer for me (fifteen year reunion next year...not that I'm attending!), but it still amazes me how much has changed.

I agree the influx of pop princessess has affected the way girls are dressing...for us, it was Madonna. I guess she's not quite the fashion maven these days (what with all the name and religion changing...Ester?...taking up all her time), so somone else has to take up the mantel. And effectively, Madonna has officially passed it on to white trash Brit (the SG are so far out of the picture these days, I hate to put too much blame on them). I mean, I'm happy I had a son and not a daughter! Much fewer clothing-related battles in my future.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Niki said...

My mum keeps saying how relieved she isn't bringing up a teenage girl today. She reckons it'd be so much more difficult! (of course, she had it pretty easy with me, to be honest!)

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Yeah, I'm with your Mom!


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