Today is one of those days where I am reminded in no small way how incredibly blessed I am. After chatting with a very dear friend who has some very difficult decisions to make, the boys and I had a good old-fashioned "barn raising" with the Lincoln Logs, and as I sat there with them, I couldn't help (in between preventing the older one from "playing the drums" on the smaller one's back, and keeping the younger one from utterly destroying the aforementioned barn) but think,"I have it ridiculously good. I really do." Despite sciatica, broken bones, endless winters, and a husband with a long commute, God has heaped blessings upon innumerable blessings on my head, and all I need to do is take a good look at what I have while saying,"Thank You, God." I usually don't wax too philosopical these days, so I'll move on by saying that one of the things I count among my greatest blessings are the wonderful memories I have of delicious dinners that I have had with husband, especially certain culinary experiences we have encountered while traveling. Yes; I know I am odd and slightly obsessed with eating/food/cooking, but would I be a respectable American citizen if I wasn't just the teensiest bit obsessed with food? I should say not!! *ahem* Anyway, one dining experience that has stood out in my mind lately has been the infamous "Lobster Dinner while on our honeymoon in Maine". I knew that this was one food story that I definitely wanted to share on this here blog, so HERE WE GO...
Ahhh. Maine. Beautiful Maine. The most perfect place to be in August. At least, August of 2004. The last place on earth I'd want to be in January, but nevertheless; an ideal location for two newlyweds who decided that the last thing they wanted to do on their honeymoon was to go to Door County, The Dells, "Up North", or any other typical Wisconsin getaway that most Wisconsinites would see as perfectly acceptable for a honeymoon getaway (no offense, typical Wisconsinites). So where did we go? Niagara Falls. Vermont. Bar Harbor, Maine. Portland, Maine (you guys REALLY need to consider putting in street signs. One would be a good start). New Haven, CT (meh). AND (drum roll, please!!) CLEVELAND, OH!!!!! Hey. Don't knock it. We had a fantastic time at the Indians game, and for me to have a fantastic time at a baseball game is, well, nothing short of a miracle. AND, of course, being the lunatics that we are, we drove. No planes for us. Just a good old-fashioned road trip, and we had a ball. We knew one of the highlights of our time spent in Maine would be a real, honest-to-goodness, Maine-caught lobster dinner. The best part? It was going to be paid for by Steve's company. Yep. We were going to go all out, and after resting from our ridiculous 7-hour jaunt from Middlebury, Vermont, to Bar Harbor, Maine (we were naive enough to take the scenic route, forgetting to factor in one teeny-tiny little obstacle: MOUNTAINS, and lots of 'em), we found the fanciest place to eat lobster at in Bar Harbor, and quickly made reservations at the Rose Garden Restaurant for the following evening. After a small glitch of plans, which involved me needing to stay in our room all the next day and drink vast amounts of cranberry juice ( no further details are needed- trust me, you really don't want to know), we rescheduled our dinner for the following evening and watched old reruns of "Three's Company" instead. Thankfully, I made a speedy recovery, and before I knew it, we were dressed to the nines and heading out the door to enjoy a most opulent lobster dinner.
The Rose Garden Restaurant was the "sponsored" restaurant of the Bluenose Inn, a simply gorgeous hotel just outside of Bar Harbor. We chose it partly because of my childish glee over the name "Bluenose Inn", but mostly because it was FANCY FANCY FANCY. And that was exactly what we were going for. Steve wore a most handsome deep navy dress shirt and perfectly fitting gray dress pants, both of which have disappeared from the face of the earth since that day, and I wore my cherished pink and white diagonal plaid dress (which I bought from J.Crew days before our wedding), and a delicate white cardigan to accompany the ensemble. Oh yeah. We were, as Steve is wont to say, stylin' and profilin'!!! We were quickly and ceremoniously ushered in to a perfectly charming dining area that was decorated completely in roses and garden...STUFF. It was beautiful. It reminded me of being in an English garden. We began to survey the menu, which also was beautiful and weighed about 5 pounds. Shall we begin the first course? Very well.
Steve ordered: The Seafood Bisque
Mary ordered: Sir William's Prickly Pear and Pomegranate Chilled Soup
Steve's soup was the epitome of an outstanding bisque. Thick, creamy, so very comforting and a luxurious, velvety texture that cried out to be savoured. I also got a kick out of the little tentacles poking out here and there, but I restrained my enthusiasm and ate like an adult. My soup could not have been more different than Steve's, but it was delicious as well. When the waiter brought out my soup, I waited until he left, then gleefully whispered to Steve,"It's PINK!!!" Yes. I had a bowl of bright pink soup sitting in front of me, with a glorious swizzle of some purple stuff sitting on top of the pinkness. I ate it. All of it. It was very, very good, but also excruciatingly sweet. It's one of those things I am not quite sure if I would still like, due to how my tastes have changed in the past 5 years. At any rate, the first course was a smashing success. Next course, please!
We both ordered: The Maine Lobster Dinner.
Perfection. Velvety, buttery, not in the least bit tough or sinewy. Drenched in a butter sauce and accompanied by some delectable baby potatoes and sauteed patty-pan squash. We savored each and every bite. And that's all I have to say about that. Are you ready for dessert?? Very well.
Steve ordered: A Trio of Sorbet nested in Phyllo
Mary ordered: Chocolate Truffle Whipped Mousse.
I honestly think Steve ordered the sorbet because it was the closest thing to ice cream he could find on the menu. He didn't get the whole phyllo dough thing, and to be perfectly honest, neither did I. But the sorbet was outstanding! I specifically remember the blackberry sorbet. Lovely. On the other hand, my Chocolate Truffle was AMAZING!! It was the most adorable little tower of chocolate mousse encircled with a gilded dark chocolate shell ( I worried a little about ingesting a precious metal, but it hasn't seemed to affect me too much). It was also surrounded by the usual edible flowers and decorative little blips of chocolate ganache. I loved it. I am quite sure I have never tasted such intense, densely rich chocolate in such a beautiful, soft texture. Ahhh...as I write this, I am becoming aware of a very intense craving for good chocolate enveloping me. Hmm...I'll do something about that later. Anyway, other than the fact that one of our waiters look frighteningly like Liam Gallagher of Oasis ( I was only slightly obsessed with Oasis during my early college years, which involved a crush on Liam), and it was a little weird watching Liam Gallagher grinding fresh pepper into my husband's soup, and it was kind of wierd flushing fresh rose petals down the toilet before going about my business, we had the most amazing meal and the most delightful time together. And the price was right!! I have never pursued acquiring the recipes from the Rose Garden Restaurant, but I just might have to. So, dear reader, whoever you might be, tell me. What was your most memorable dining experience? I would love to hear your story.