|My Birthday Dinner
||[May. 21st, 2007|01:40 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
My birthday week didn't really work out to be the pile of joy I'd been hoping for... I switched my days and nights around, sleeping all day Monday and Tuesday, getting up Wednesday to have a lovely lunch with lillibet at Mifune where I discovered that there is such a thing as salmon belly sushi. OH! MY! DEITY! That's some damn fine stuff.
So I was all happy to have had such a lovely time and to be awake enough to switch my days and nights back. I went home, logged in, puttered a bit, went downstairs to shower and took a long nap instead. That was the rest of the day. That night I had a bad attack of IBS that kept me up til 7am, so I slept all day AGAIN Thursday. Thursday night, lingering after-effects kept me up until 7am again. Friday I had TOO MANY THINGS TO DO, handling a phone interview, two client calls, lunch, and two client visits (where I got some work done). Friday night, I slacked and watched a bit of TV.
BUT, the BF managed to make us reservations at Mistral for Saturday at 6pm. Something to look forward to!
Of course, I slept Saturday until the last possible minute, grabbed a shower, dressed nice, and off we went. Since we ran late, we drove and the BF found parking near the restaurant.
Oh, the food we had...
First, Mistral has THE MOST attentive waitstaff of any restaurant I've ever patronized. I dropped my butter knife and it was gone before I could lean over. Our waiter brought me a second cranberry juice with lime and set it down moments after I'd finished the first. Then he did NOT bring me a third, which was perfect.
Second, it's a beautiful place. They seated us immediately, even though we were a few minutes late. It's a big open space, and rather loud, but lovely to look upon. The tables were close, but not claustrophobic, and the chairs were quite comfy. The silverware looked hand-hammered. There was a small but brilliant candle. And the tabletop greenery was an artichoke in a small pot. Hee!
Third, the food was BRILLIANT.
We started with a tiny loaf of rustic bread - hard on top, soft fluffy interior, and a slightly overdone bottom (for me; I understand this is de rigeur for most people) - cut into four pieces and served with local butter and a small pile of freshly-made hummus with a sprig of rosemary. Quite delicious and a small amount went a long way.
We ordered dinner and I admit, I got a bit confused. I ordered the tomato, mozzarella, and oregano pizza as an appetizer and it turned out to be a dinner item. The waiter tried to gently dissuade me, but I was too dense to figure out what he was trying to say. Oh well. It was stunningly good. Thin crispy crust, perfect tomatoes, both fresh and aged mozzarella, and fresh oregano sprinkled on top. YUM.
Fortunately, the BF helped me out by consuming a couple of slices so I didn't look like a complete pig.
Then I had the duck. And oh, what a duck it was. I don't know what sort of magic they performed, but they managed to keep all the duck fat between the meat and skin. There had to be nearly a quarter inch of duck fat on this bird and it was HEAVEN. The skin was just the right sort of crispy. My half a duck sat atop a lovely pile of wild mushroom risotto (with just the slightest amount of chew, which is how I love my risotto), that made me love mushrooms (normally tolerated, occasionally enjoyed). It also had spinach - yay spinach! And the duck was garnished with a dried cranberry gastrique. I don't know what they used for the reduction, but it was sweet and perfect. The cranberries were reconstituted to the point of being almost candied. The only downside was that, due to the perfection of the combined flavors, it lost a little something when I ran out of cranberries (yes, I tried to make every forkful contain some duck with fat and skin, some risotto, one or two mushrooms, a bit of spinach, and a cranberry or two). Fortunately, I ran out just before becoming too full to breathe. I was unable to finish my poor fowl. Also, I regretted not studying bird anatomy a bit before trying to dissect the half-duck as I couldn't quite manage it with any grace.
The BF ordered the grilled tenderloin of beef with horseradish whipped potatoes, garlic toast, and asparagus. He said it was quite tasty. I don't eat beef, so I can't render an opinion. The presentation was impressive, though. The whipped potatoes were served in a hollowed out baked potato skin with one perfect potato chip sticking out, standing straight up. The chip was translucent, so you could see that they had fried a leaf of parsley into it or between layers. The BF presented me with the potato chip, so I got a taste of both it and the horseradish mashies and they were quite delicious.
For dessert (of COURSE we had dessert), I had the warm chocolate torte with a scoop of Mistral's own vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was served in a tiny cup, about the sizes of a Reese's Peanut Butter cup wrapper and was like the superfine cousin of the standard cone. The torte was orgasmic, the perfect combination of dense chocolatey goodness with a warm, gooey center. I must remember NOT to inhale when eating things that have powdered sugar on top, though.
The BF had the Belgian chocolate ice cream, which he enjoyed.
Along with dessert, I had some green tea and the BF had black tea and we were pleased. A wonderful aide to the digestion, green tea.
Props to Alphonso, our attentive but never obsequious waiter.
I love having dinner with my BF. He is an excellent conversationalist.
We paid and toddled back to the car, where we'd been ticketed. It would have been cheaper to go with valet parking. Ah well, lesson learned.
Special thanks to gdaniels for his recommendation of Mistral.
The food was clearly too rich for me and I suffered a bit of gastric distress that kept me up again. But it was absolutely worth it.
Sunday was nice, but I had no brains left, so I managed to attend a brunch and get a bit of work done, but that was it. Oh well.