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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Stony Brae for a New Year's Dinner

The husband and I have definitely had a tumultuous year so we are welcoming 2013 with open arms and decide on Stony Brae for dinner.

We've been spending quite a bit of time together during the holiday season and I actually worry for a minute that we will be that couple that doesn't speak during the meal.  Does it happen?  Do two people just ran out of things to say?  Or do they decide to coast?  Coasting leaves people stranded.

We're not going to make it if we coast.

The outside of the restaurant is seasonally decorated.  It's warm and welcoming.

Tasteful decor continues inside with a simple table arrangement.

The real icicles outside the window perfectly accent the corner tree.

The holiday menu is Prix Fixe with five courses.  Everything looks and sounds fabulous.

We begin by sharing stories about what we remember from the past 29 New Year's we have celebrated together including our own house party and many we have spent at my husaband's good friend's house.

Our culinary adventure begins with a simple warm "bread biscuit" on a wooden board with chilled butter.  The crust is firm but not crumbly and yields a soft and doughy center.

"Remember when I hollowed out a loaf of Italian bread and threw the little balls of dough at people at our party," my husband laughed.

"Yes, and I remember you doing your best Saturday Night Fever dance moves.  I have the pictures to prove it.  I also remember you being in bed for 2 days after the party."

The crab cakes are lush, sweet and tender as well as a generous portion.

I begin with the bacon and chive tart topped with carmelized red onions.  A savory start that sets the tone for the rest of the meal.

The other diners are a mix of couples like us and groups of four or six.  Laughter.  Stories.  The unspoken hopes for the new year.  A new start.  Another chance.

The salad is dressed and while I prefer to eat mine without dressing, it is light enough to still taste the actual vegetables.

Soup.  The hug of a meal.  An embrace from the inside.  I love soup.  His, the French Onion of course and mine, the Butternut Squash - also no surprise.

Mine is silky and smooth.  The creaminess is offset by the two croutons and in a way, I wish for more of the crispy bread.

"What do you look forward to in 2013," we ask each other.

More physical activities like bicycling, he would like to change careers, I would like to sit still and be disciplined enough to finish writing the book I have started.  We agree we want to be together.  A fine start indeed.

A classic roast chicken with potatoes and asparagus for him.  The poultry is succulent, the potatoes are crisp and the asparagus just tender enough.

I ordered the Brontosaurus, I mean pork shank with orecchiette and I am drooling just to look at it in the deep bottom plate.  The bark is well seasoned and crisp, the flesh is fork tender and sweet.  I am overwhelmed by the sheer size of it but smiling from my satisfied soul by the taste.  I gave it my best effort but had to ask for most of it to be packaged for home.

A pot of tea.  Talk of the future and what our life may look like when our sons are out of the house.  What will we be like as empty nesters?  What do we want it to look like?

If he has dessert it is almost always an apple pie, crisp or crumble.  Tonight is no different.  We know what we like.  We know what we want.  I also know I am full.  I try a spoonful of his but that is as much as I can handle.  Well, that is as much food as I can currently handle and so we ask for my dessert to go.

We laugh our way home, watch a bit of television and have some champagne.  I finally decide to taste the eggnog bread pudding with vanilla ice cream.

We continue to make plans for our tomorrows together and days we will decide to stay together and be Fed Well.

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