Silver Valentines

My husband’s Valentine’s card to me (courtesy of Hallmark) brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.  The printed saying touched me,  but his handwritten note sent me soaring:

Maybe someday I’ll find the perfect words to tell ou how much you mean to me … I know I’d like to spend forever trying

I mean this from the bottom of my heart.  I would love to spend another twenty-five years with you.

Love, Terry

My card pales in comparison, talking about being empty nesters and finally reaching the ‘someday’ dreams we’d had on hold for so long.  And the scarf I’m crocheting is but half finished.

I did at least have my hair done, bought a couple new shirts and a new pair of pumps for our date Saturday night.  Even though the wait at Red Lobster on Barry Road approached an hour, we had a wonderful dining experience, trying a couple of flavorful appetizers (the bruschetta was outstanding as well as the pan-seared crab cakes).  We split the Admiral’s Feast because we each like half of the offerings (Terry loves clams and shrimp, and I love scallops and flounder).  For dessert, I got the decadent Chocolate Wave (a four-layer chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream) and Terry took home a strawberry cheesecake.

Speaking of cheesecake, I made my first one today.  Not being a fan of cheese (just ask anyone in my family … I despise cheese), but knowing that Terry loves that particular dessert, I bought a no-bake cherry cheesecake mix to attempt.  Three easy steps later, and several hours in the refrigerator, I hope the cheesecake is delicious for him.

I took a few more sunrise photos this weekend, but I’m still disappointed in my efforts.  I’ve done some search, found a few good blog postings about digital photography with some great tips on dealing with the unique challenges of the digital medium.  I hope next weekend’s efforts will bear better fruit.  Here’s one of the better shots from this morning’s sunrise:

Sunday Sunrise with Contrails
Sunday Sunrise with Contrails

And so ends one of our 25th Valentines weekends.  Since I met Terry in 1983, and we got back together in 1985, there is no ‘hard and fast’ 25th for Valentine’s Day.  There is, however, a rock solid date for our 25th wedding anniversary, which occurs in less than three months, on May Day, Sunday May 1st, 2011.  We are still deciding where to go for that auspicious occasion.  We visited the Peppercorn Duck Club on our 15th and the Savoy Grill (if I remember correctly) on our 20th.   Last year we enjoyed Avalon in Weston, and would like to return there as well.  I thought of returning to the Peppercorn, but we still have time to decide.  Anyone have any other suggestions?

Restaurant Review: Macaroni Grill

I treated myself to lunch at the Macaroni Grill Friday.  The pleasant atmosphere and strains of jazz standards created a relaxing ambiance.   I selected the Scallops and Spinach salad from the lunch menu, one of a dozen or so items containing less than six hundred callories.  Seared and succulent scallops perfectly complemented the wilted spinach tossed with aged prosciutto, roasted garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil.  I prefer my spinach crisp and cool, but the flavorful combination satisfied my lunch palette.

Before my salad, my server brought a large (well, large for one person) warm loaf of bread and provided extra virgin olive oil and fresh ground black pepper.  Never one to turn down bread, I ate every last crumb.

My husband and I will have to try this establishment for dinner some time, although it’s a bit far from home for our usual date nights.

Restaurant Review: Paulo and Bill

Five days later, but still a fond memory.  Last Saturday evening, I took my hubby, Terry, out for a light dinner on the eve of his birthday.  Again, we’d recently watched an episode of KCPT‘s Check Please! that featured the Paulo and Bill restaurant on Midland Drive out west near I-435.  I called ahead, since it was a Saturday evening and anticipated a large crowd.  They accepted reservations, so I reserved a table for two at 6:30 pm.

We arrived early but glad to have called ahead as the only parking spots available were for handicap access (which Terry has temporarily until his back recovers more).  We were seated almost immediately once we identified ourselves.  Our server was gracious and knowledgeable of the specials and the menu. 

For an appetizer, we tried the Garlic Bread Bruschetta that came with various toppings like goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes (roasted in balsamic vinaigrette), caramelized onions and roasted red peppers.  Beautifully presented and delicious to devour. 

While the specials sounded wonderful, we wanted some lighter fare so ordered Pizza Classica version of their Wood Fired Stone Oven Pizza with a couple of caesar side salads.   The greens were fresh and crisp and the pizza flavorful. 

We promised the server we would return, on a less busy evening for both us and the restaurant, to sample more of their appetizers, entrees and desserts.   We enjoyed the night out and another great restaurant suggestion by Check Please!

Restaurant Review: Nick & Jakes (Parkville)

It’s Friday night and the typical ping-pong Q&A you expect from a 20 plus year married couple trying to decide where to eat out.  I routinely attempt to defer to Terry, since his stomach and diet limit our choices some evenings.  He was craving a steak and none of the local Leavenworth haunts sounded appealing.  Nor did anything at the Legends, which on a Friday night at six o’clock is a frightening experience, especially when looking for a parking spot.

Terry and I occasionally watch KCPT‘s Check Please and recently watched the episode featuring Nick & Jakes in Parkville.   We jumped in the car, and enjoyed a sunset drive down K-5, I-435 and MO-45 in the Bonneville, which has new quieter and grippier tires and full synthetic motor oil (again thanks to Terry who took care of all that car maintenance earlier in the week).  Once we arrived, we easily found a nearly front-row parking spot.  The wait, however, we were informed was at least forty minutes and they were out of pagers.  We weren’t in any hurry (knowing that Friday nights can be crowded) so we stood in the foyer.  Within five minutes, we had a pager, and we were seated in less than twenty minutes.

Our waitress greeted us and asked if we’d every been to Nick & Jake’s before.  We hadn’t, so she cheerfully informed us of the amenities and specials available for dinner that evening.  I chose one of the specials, a grilled king salmon with a walnut crunch topping and bourbon maple drizzle, with grilled asparagus and a salted baked potato (as opposed to the steamed potato most often served in restaurants).  I substituted the potato in for the sweet potato and apple casserole, as I don’t like either sweet potatoes nor baked apples.   Terry ordered the sixteen ounce rib-eye steak  (medium rare) , also with a salted baked potato.  For an appetizer, we ordered the Irish nachos.

Terry enjoyed the appetizer, which was comprised of thinly sliced potatoes (fried like slithly thick potato chips the size of a potato), smother in jack and cheddar cheese (melted) and bacon with a ranch dipping sauce.  I tried a few of the chips with the least cheese (if you know me at all, you know I don’t voluntarily eat most dairy products, especially cheese).  We took half the appetizer home with us, as we didn’t want to spoil our appetites for the main course.

I asked for (and received) margarine with my baked potato (harder to come by than you might think) .  Yes, more of that dairy aversion syndrome I suffer from.  Our main dishes arrived in a timely manner and were presented pleasantly and appealingly on the square white plate.

My first bite of salmon amazed me.  Quite possibly the best salmon I have ever eaten.  Simply astounding.  The asparagus was crisp and flavorful, although slightly larger than I normally prefer to eat it; still excellently prepared and presented.  I saved the potato for last, making sure I savored all the salmon and asparagus before dabbling in starch.  Terry was proud of me for ignoring

Terry proclaimed the rib-eye the best prepared and tenderest steak he’d ever eaten.  I had a couple of bits of the steak and it was delectable.

One final serendipitous perk awaited us, when the waitress informed us desert was on the house for first time guests.  Although I desparately wanted to try the chocolate cake, I deferred to Terry’s preference of carrot cake, which we took home to try later.   Each of us tasted a bite when we arrived safely home.

We will definitely be returning to Nick & Jakes in the future, perhaps to try their Sunday brunch (next weekend – Sunday – is Terry’s birthday so be sure to wish him well!).

To ensure Terry took his after dinner nap (aka a food coma), I stacked some wood in the fireplace and lit the first fire of Fall 2010 in the Moss residence corner fireplace.