Saturday, October 25, 2008

a date with my beautiful wife

It almost never happens. Less than once a year for sure. But last night, due to the gracious offer of my sister, I was able to take my wife on an overnight date. I had just the place in mind.

I took off from work a little early and we headed down to Woodinville to visit The Herb Farm. I heard about this place from a friend I work with so we met him and his wife there. Since I travel a lot with my job, the hotel was covered (Marriott points!). We arrived early enough to do some "just the two of us" shopping (again, that never happens). We took a picture of us in the hotel room mirror. So this what we look like, but backwards. If you want to really know what we look like, you'll have to hold the screen up to a mirror to set things right. Confusing, I know.

We arrived at the restaurant at 6:30, a half-hour early, in order to tour the gardens. It was dark and I didn't want to be the irritating guy with the big camera and blinding flash so no pictures of the tour. The restaurant specializes in all local ingredients and herbs picked that day from their farm. We got to sample some of the herbs that would be used throughout the night and see the "recycling system" (2 pigs). Though the restaurant has only been around in it's current form for about 7 years, it's racked up quite the acclaim.

Apparently 5 diamonds is a pretty big deal for people who know about such things. We just came because our friends told us it was an incredible experience and were willing to come with us.

We sat down and looked at the menu. There are no choices at this restaurant. It is nine course meal fashioned after the theme of "A Mycologist's Dream". All the courses featured local mushrooms gathered by a local mushroom expert. I had never heard of most of the mushrooms.

Shortly after being seated, the head chef, who looked way too much like my friend Tim, got up and went through all the courses, explaining his reasoning for combining certain ingredients, how everything was to be prepared and neat little stories about how he was able to acquire all the ingredients used in dishes. I love listening to people talk their passion. Listening to this former White House chef talk about his creations was immensely enjoyable. Before even trying anything I already knew I was going to love it.

6 of the courses came paired with a wine selected by this lady who knew way more about wine than anyone really should know. Again I refer you to the whole "talking your passion" thing. But I admit my wine pallet is not nearly developed enough to fully appreciate all the thought and care she put into picking the perfect wine for this food. But I enjoyed it all. Even the dessert wine at the end.

Before the first course, the entire staff came out and was introduced, including which prestigious culinary school they'd attended and which premier chef they'd studied under. It was incredible. Even the guitar player had attend some renowned conservatory of music in Spain. He was great, by the way, and we were seated right next to him.

Finally the first course came. Carrot soup from that day's harvest in their "beyond organic" gardens. Crab and artichoke cocktail from Drayton Harbor and wild bear's tooth mushroom tempura with aioli (tasted similar to calamari). At the end we decided it may have been the best course of the night (other than dessert) but it's really hard to pick one out of nine when they're all so good. We didn't take pictures of the other dishes. Kinda got wrapped up in conversation and the whole experience.

The next day as our excursion wound to a close we really started missing our kids. We were reminded that as much fun as an overnight date is, we're nowhere near deprived to only have do this once per year. As we talked about them pretty much the whole way home, it became clear that there is precious little that we'd prefer to do without them. I know a lot of families take their "date night" very seriously. Since our kids go to bed at 8PM every day, we kinda feel like we have a date night every night.

But it's still nice to do something special. We don't eat out a whole lot. It not healthy and always seems to cost more than it's worth. But something like this is more than just eating out; this a epicurean experience of the highest caliber. And I get to give my hard working, homeschooling wife a night on the town, away from all her normal concerns.

And wow; she cleans up pretty well. And no I'm not talking about the house. (even though she's good at that too)


Anonymous said...

Ah, Mike, you are a good man! You treated your wife to a GREAT meal and getway!! And you're right, she is beautiful. And she's beaming in her love for you! Glad you all had a great time!!

Cutzi said...

How fun! I'm so glad you took your camera along and shot all these great pictures. The food sounds phenomenal and you both looked dashing!

Stacy said...

1: Amy! Cute dress! Is that new?
2: Amy! Cute jacket! You look so chic! :)

3, 4, and 5: Ewwwwwwwww about the mushrooms. ~shudder~

6: Love that final picture of you, Ame... very cute!

Joyce said...

Wow, what a fantastic experience! It sounds like "interest based education" for the home school dad and mom.

Sounds like you both had a wonderful time. :)

Zepmom said...

Hey, sounds like you had a wonderful date..what a great place!

KAMILLE said...

How great and fun that you had a night away. The dinner sounds like a great experience in itself.

amy said...

Thanks guys.

This post is a little embarrassing for me. But I am glad you can all see what a good man I was given!

And this place really was that amazing!

Kristen said...

How cute are you guys? Loved seeing pictures of you both and hearing about your night out! Way to cherish that hot mama Mike!