Another Blissful Year August 5, 2009Posted by Toy Lady in Family, Home, random stuff.
Another July draws to a close, and Peeps and I celebrated our wedding anniversary last week. You may recall last year’s less-than-perfect evening. Well, this year, our anniversary fell on a Friday, and we were determined to celebrate properly.
Or at least as properly as we can when we have a hurting pup at home and we’re still getting up at 4 the following morning . . .
To a nice restaurant.
One with cloth napkins, even.
In fact, this is how fancy we got – I put on makeup, and not only did I shave my legs, I even painted my toenails!
Oh yes. A magical evening!
Meanwhile, some friends had recently celebrated their anniversary, and they couldn’t stop raving about a restaurant called Rooney’s. Then Peeps mentioned the place to his employer, who is also familiar with, and recommended, it.
Reservations for two at 6:30, then.
So we google-mapped the place, then Peeps entered the address into his magic box and we were set.
We knew there would be construction and/or traffic (believe it or not, there actually are some people left with jobs in downtown Rochester!), so we left ourselves plenty of time. We also knew that the building is set on a tiny little side street (which I had never heard of) in the middle of a residential neighborhood. And I, at least, learned on my trip to Vermont that the GPS isn’t infallible. Do NOT get me started.
We actually found the tasteful-looking building quite easily, arriving nearly half an hour early for our reservation. The maître’d who greeted us was delightfully gracious, asking if we’d like to be seated.
He also took our bottle of Special Anniversary Margeaux to the wine waiter (who was actually a wine waitress) to be opened.
You remember the Special Anniversary Margeaux, don’t you? We bought it when it was a thin, tasteless baby Margeaux, and we’ve opened a bottle each year on our wedding anniversary and watched it grow and mature. It just keeps getting better and better . . . kind of the way my dear husband does.
Awwwwwwwww. . .
We were happy to be seated in the front window, with a view of the street and the flower garden.
I didn’t take any pictures of the dining room – I’m just not comfortable whipping out my camera and snapping photos in strange places, and I just would have felt stupid asking.
I mean, what am I going to say?
Ooooh, this is such a nice place. Kin Ah take a pitcher?
Yeah, I couldn’t do it. Fortunately, there are pictures of the dining room on the website, as well as an interesting history of the place, so if you’re that interested. . . have at it. Otherwise, just take my word for it – the place was gorgeous. Small lace-covered tables, candles, wall sconces, and hardwood . . . everywhere.
But good looks will only take you just so far (not that I’d know about that!) . . . so what about the food? And the service?
The dinner menu reportedly changes daily, though I suspect there’s a certain structure to it. . . several seafood dishes, including shrimp, scallops, salmon. A ravioli dish (the only meatless entree on that evening’s menu!). A “mixed grill” – hunks of various beasts, grilled. Chicken, lamb. . . reliable, yet fresh and new every day. I like that idea.
We started our meals with crayfish cakes – they were perfectly seasoned, lightly breaded and pan-fried. The crust was crisp without being hard, and the cakes actually tasted of crayfish, not bread. There was just a hint of southern “crawfish” taste, but it was comfort food all dressed up in its best, if that makes sense – served with a drizzle of a red pepper sauce on a wee bed of some sort of corn-and-dried-split-pea salad which, to be honest, looked kind of doubtful on the menu.
Do not doubt. It was perfect with the crayfish – an elegant, yet almost rustic, accompaniment to the perfectly breaded and sauced patties.
The waitress was attentive, as was the water-glass-filling guy.
So our dinner.
I had had dental work done the day before, and the dentist warned me to stick with something “soft” like fish. Oh goody. Of everything on pretty much any menu, seafood is most likely to be my last choice. But I didn’t want my teeth to fall out or something, so I ordered the salmon. That would be artichoke-crusted salmon with bamboo rice and shrimp butter. I have no idea what bamboo rice is, but shrimp + butter = YUM. And I have yet to meet an artichoke I didn’t like, so I figured this was the way to go.
I enjoyed a thick, moist, perfectly cooked salmon fillet with a topping of, well, artichoke. It was beautifully seasoned, and it was obviously fresh artichoke hearts. I don’t know how to describe it – it was artichoke in crust form. The bamboo rice kind of left me cold at first (it was GREEN RICE!), but the more I ate of it, the more I liked it – it was almost like it was drenched in some sort of shrimp-scented butter – very subtle, but ultimately, perfect. Alongside the fish and rice was the vegetable du jour – a lively mixed fresh vegetable – haricots verts with julienned carrots, zucchini and summer squash. Again, perfectly cooked.
I was actually only able to eat about half of my dinner. The thing about dental work? Chewing quickly becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing, actually.
I brought my fish, rice and veggies home, though, you can count on it. The rice and veggies were a quick lunch Sunday, and the artichoke salmon I flaked into a bowl with about a teaspoon of mayonnaise for salmon salad sandwiches for lunch on Monday for each of us. It was not half bad . . .
Peeps ordered the mixed grill – a combination of grilled pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin and lamb chops, along with smashed potatoes and the veggie described above.
He generously gave me a bite of each, and, even though I could barely chew, it didn’t matter. This meat, every piece, practically melted in my mouth! Who needs teeth anyway? It was more perfectly cooked than I even knew was possible! Each piece was individually, perfectly seasoned, with its own jus, which was just assertive enough to “match” its corresponding meat, but gentle enough to work and play well with the others.
I only wish we could cook anything that well at home.
Then came the dessert menu.
You did look at it when you visited the website, right?
First, I’m going to say – I can’t remember the last time I ordered dessert in a restaurant.
Yes I can. It was in Toronto, in 1999 and it was chocolate mousse, and, actually, I didn’t order it, Peeps did, and we shared it. And it was delightful.
I’m not a dessert person, not really – especially after a delightfully satisfying dinner. But this was a special occasion.
And they had homemade ice cream. Homemade cinnamon ice cream.
Plus, the helpful, friendly waitress mentioned that I could have two different scoops – I can pick among several daily selections of ice cream or sorbet.
They are TRYING to kill me, aren’t they?
I went with a scoop each of home made cinnamon ice cream and vanilla. You can’t very well go wrong there, can you?
Peeps, on the other hand, went the “wild and crazy” route and ordered what’s called the “Chocolate Bomb” – a combination of chocolate and caramel mousses and whipped cream and sauces . . . Well, look at it. It’s fricking amazing. And, believe me, it tastes just as good as it looks!
I would go back to Rooney’s every weekend – if someone else was paying. Since that’s not likely to happen, I’m happy to save it as a “super-special occasion” place and just know it’s there when something worth celebrating happens. Every bit of the “dining experience” was delightful - the food, the atmosphere, the service. I couldn’t find anything to fault, even if I wanted to.
Of course, the fact that I was enjoying dinner with my best guy, celebrating another year of our “happily ever after” doesn’t hurt, either.