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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Belated Birthday Celebration

My birthday was last Tuesday. We had home group, and we were still feeling sick and basically were exhausted, so I thought we should postpone our celebration. Our priest's family made me a big birthday card with the our children during home group, and we pulled out ice cream, chocolate syrup, chopped nuts and whipped cream for an impromptu sundae party and that was about it. It was fun, and it was about all I could take.

Well, little did I know that Rich had actually been planning with them for a dinner that I've been wanting to do for some time. If we hadn't been sick, we would have done this last week.

Last night, I got home late with the children after visiting with some friends. I'd called Rich and asked him to start dinner so we could feed the kids in a hurry and get to home group. He was making dinner when I came home, and had most of it plated when we arrived. Only there wasn't anything for him or for me.

Now, I was starving. I hadn't eaten much during the day, because I had been so busy. I'd had three dried apricots, two chocolate chip cookies and a hot dog. A mushy, not so nice slurry hot dog at that. So, I started making up a plate for myself. Rich told me not to fill up because he had dinner taken care of.

We had about half an hour before we needed to leave for home group, and after I asked him where it was and he just replied that he had it taken care of, I said that we didn't have time to stop to pick up something, and I was starving, so I was going to eat. He just said not to eat too much. I told him he'd better tell me what was going on, because I was on the verge of a low blood sugar headache.

He said we were going to home group, but we weren't staying. He had reservations for The Melting Pot for dinner and our priest's family was going to watch our children for us as a birthday present. They have a summer deal and I'd wanted to try it for a couple years now, but we just haven't had the chance and the money at the same time, and Rich had talked to Fr. Joseph about how he wanted to take me there, and we'd need babysitting, so Fr. Joseph offered to watch the kids with their children, so we wouldn't have to hire a babysitter. They had been scheming this for a little while, I guess, and so Rich made the reservations, and we were set.

We had a cheese fondue with bread cubes, vegetables and green apples, then a salad, then the meat fondue in a court boullion with potatoes, zucchini (for me), mushrooms (for Rich) and broccoli. The meats we had were shrimp, salmon, beef tenderloin, chicken and a teriyaki marinated sirloin. I had a very expensive cocktail, which was lovely, but not really worth the price, it was only because it was my birthday party that Rich said I should go for it. It was made with PAMA pomegranate liqueur and cranberry juice and a couple other things along with a lime wedge. I will look for that liqueur to bring home.

As if we weren't stuffed with the food we had already eaten, along with the pace of the meal (it takes a little while to eat it, so you actually feel full, instead of stuffing yourself beyond capacity before you can even tell), we finished off with a chocolate fondue. It was a flaming turtle. Chocolate, caramel, chopped pecans and flambeed at the table. We had a cheesecake slice to eat with it, as well as pound cake cubes, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, and marshmallows, vanilla and chocolate. Since we couldn't take it home with us, we decided to finish it off, even though we were so full. It's a good thing we had a little walk to where we parked.

edited to add: I forgot to mention that our waiter was a great fellow. When I mentioned something about our children, he asked how many we had. He didn't even flinch when I said five, so we knew he must be a family man. He had four - all under five. He had a four year old, twin two year olds and a two month old. It was nice talking to him a little bit about parenting small children who are close together.

The evening was lovely and was only marred by one thing. We learned the value of the valet parking. Although we locked up our windows, doors and trunk because we were in downtown Tacoma, and we have a dirty, older model, minivan, which is usually enough deterrent from someone stealing, we forgot about one thing. When we got into our car, and Rich turned the ignition, the little ding went off for low gasoline. Someone had siphoned the gas from the car.

Fortunately, since we were parked on a hill, there was enough in there to get us to the gas station before we went to pick up the children. Also, I take a little bit of pleasure in the fact that the criminals went to all of that trouble for about three gallons of gas, since we were just shy of a quarter tank and they left probably a half gallon or more in the car. We had already been planning on getting gas, and didn't have enough time to do so before we dropped off the children, for which we are now thankful.

We live in a small town, and it is pretty safe and relatively free of crime. We don't even have to lock our car here. On top of that, we live in the ultimate gated community on the airport, and have security people who come through a couple times a night. So, it just doesn't cross our minds that people would steal the gasoline out of our car.

Anyway, we called the Ramos' and told them we'd be later picking up the children and why. Fortunately, with six children of their own, they know what it is to look after children and weren't worn out by having ours so late (it was 11:20 when we arrived at their house). Their oldest had already gone to bed when we got their, but their next two quizzed me on our dinner and wanted to know that we had had a good time. We definitely did, and we will not be eating out for quite some time now, but it was worth it.

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The Pama liqueur is really good over ice with the juice of one lemon squeezed into it. It's been my favorite cocktail this summer.

I actually just brought something home to try this week - Chateau Pomari, a new competing pomegranate liqueur that I spotted in the state store for the first time two days ago. I plan a side-by-side comparison -- but it's going to have to wait until a more festive occasion arises than "Michael is home from work, woo hoo!" :)
Happy Birthday! Glad you had a great evening out and got to celebrate in style! The food sounds amazing. Just reading your blog made me hungry and it is 1:00am here! May you live to 120 and know only good things!

Belated wishes for your birthday!
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