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Um, this wine should be in my mouth all the time. Y'all, I don't drink wine. At all. Ever. Because I don't like the taste. I drank many, many glasses of that Silver Oak, and it was delicious. There was a wardrobe malfunction before we left for the restaurant, and I panicked, thinking I wasn't dressed up enough - these were the partners of a major company we were dining with, in a major restaurant. (Just voted the best in the nation by Esquire, I thank you. Go, Dallas!) Turns out... I really really didn't need to worry.

Pardon me while I get a little sniffy.

Okay, this PAINS me to say, but it's pretty much across the board for Big Wigs in Texas: very good at the wheeling and dealing, very good with numbers, very uncouth. *wince* These guys didn't degrade to the level of gum chewing at the table, but we weren't going to have a conversation about art, literature, or philosophy. Dollars and cents? Yep. And the voices were VERY LOUD. THEY TALKED IN CAPS. Ack. Also, I said something in response to a question that referenced Dickens, and they all looked at me like I had grown an extra head. *siiiigh*

Now, fine dining is really easy: use your silverware from the outside in. Unless, haha, Richard Gere tries to trip you up by ordering snails. But you can be charming and have a horsey laugh and after George Costanza tries to get a piece and you slap each other, and Richard Gere walks in and knocks him out while you put your shoes on, you can live happily ever after. Wait... (And here, they whisked away your silverware after every course, something I've seen in many places. New silverware is brought before the course is set before you. Easy peasy.)

We had an amuse bouche (Top Chef watchers? You know what I'm talking about.) ONE. BITE. It's one bite. You don't dissect it with the tip of your spoon and daintily eat teeny chunks of each individual ingredient. 1) You look like you don't like it before you've even tasted it - the ONE BITE - and 2) you don't dissect your food at a dinner table! Also, it's ONE BITE. Like, the SIZE.

One of the up-and-comers that was there with her husband (both Mormon) just gave off that rube vibe. Sorry, but there it is. He came back from the BATHROOM, marveling at how "classy" it was. Don't call things "classy." Elegant, lovely, well appointed. Otherwise, it sounds like: "Gosh darn, them fancy-assed crappers done flushed on they's own! How the hell they know when to do that? *hitches up pants* Them's classy shitters, y'all!" They also picked apart every dish that they were served and made FACES when they got something they didn't recognize. BEFORE THEY EVEN TASTED IT. And... believe me: there was NOTHING on that menu worthy of making a face at. She did admit to liking BENNIGANS. Yeah, that really compares. *head desk* "um, can you take away this pan-seared, honey glazed halibut and bring me an Awesome Blossom? Thaaaaaaanks."

And, I get it. I get that people like burgers and fries or their mom's meatloaf, or something like that. As in, that's the food they crave, they're used to, etc. But for Pete's sake, why not live a little? We're talking ONE MEAL. You'd rather have chicken tenders from Wendy's than a delicious Maine lobster caught THAT MORNING from one of the best restaurants in the country? Or hey, you like burgers? Have the steak! Goodness. And this was relaxed fine dining. You didn't have to wear a tie, in other words (but men did need a jacket. It's not like The Mansion where on Saturday it was Tops and Tails - which... Okay, I've been there one time, and it was AWESOME. Same chef, btw.)

Also, and I cannot stress this enough (all bartenders will agree) DO NOT ORDER A VIRGIN COCKTAIL. It's lame. It's time consuming for the bartender. Also, WHY? What's so delicious about frozen mixer?? Freaking BYU coeds, I'm telling you... (my cousin does the same thing every time we went out, and it drove me nutso. Also, she would always complain about how it tasted. BECAUSE IT IS MIXER. Without the KICK.)

Okay, the FOOD I ATE, hogod.

Amuse bouche: halibut and fingerling potatoes with... dill? A cream sauce pulled it together. YUM. One bite, woe.
Appetizer: foie gras on caramelized grilled peaches, scallop on tangled greens. The foie gras was FLAWLESS. The duck did not die in vain... (I really shouldn't like foie gras, but it is SO DELICIOUS.)
Main: the Buffalo tenderloin on grits with a butternut squash taquito. I cannot stress how perfect that cut of meat was. And the grits weren't Flo grits, they had a wonderful flavor (this is the sort of food Tre on TC made on occasion - it's Dallas eating, y'all.)
Intermezzo: honey ginger peach shooter (so grood!)
Dessert: Blueberry Ginger Almond Crisp with lemon sorbet. If I hadn't been about to pop, I would have licked the dish clean. Except that I know better. :D

Is this a southern thing? (Jess, I know you know this stuff.) Is it those boring cotillion outings we all had to do down here? I mean, if you're not sure, watch other people. That wouldn't have done you any good at *my* table, but still. GOD I SOUND SO BITCHY. I just hate standing out because of foolishness, if that makes any sense. As mothers here would say: Act like you've got some sense.

As I must have ingested a million calories, and that's from the wine alone, I'm off to do a loooong walk. Hoo, my tum is still happy. And I would really like one of those intermezzo shooters in my mouth this very minute. YUM.

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soundingsea
Oct. 9th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
Pity that the company was so déclassé, but at least you got to enjoy a pleasing meal!

As a vegetarian I can sympathize with wanting to know what is in everything, but if you're not sure you can eat it, just don't. A few hours of hunger isn't deadly. Making a huge fuss is rude!

And people who actually prefer chain restaurants to good food? Are insane. No two ways about it.
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
They asked if anyone had specific dietary needs when we arrived (vegetarian, religious, etc.) and they have specific menus for Kosher, etc., so no one would have to ask if there was so-and-so in the dish.

I cannot imagine preferring Bennigans (I mean... BENNIGANS!) to the excellent food we had last night. Some people... (Heeeee!)

I tucked in to my own fare and was very happy, so there's that. :D
mireille719
Oct. 9th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
*I* know this stuff. And despite being brought up in Georgia, I didn't do cotillion (despite desperately wanting to) because it offended my father's Yankee ultra-liberal sensibilities.

And hell, I like Bennigan's. Not a bad place to grab a burger. And am perfectly okay with the concept of the virgin cocktail (though I would not order one in a fine dining restaurant--in Bennigan's, though...). And with people dissecting their food carefully if they have a serious food allergy.

But in general? Eat the food, act like you have some home training, and do NOT rave about the classiness of the toilet. *g*
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
Hahahahaha, RIGHT!! (Oh, and I mentioned it in a comment above, but they asked - discreetly - as we entered our dining room if anyone had specific dining requirements based on religion, beliefs (vegetarianism) or allergy. So... they covered that base individually.)

And yeah, I'm not above a big bacon classic from Wendy's, nosirree, but we're at an excellent restaurant!! *head desk*

But in all seriousness, those toilets were badass. HEEEEE.
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solipsiae
Oct. 9th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Hey! I meant to tell you: I had such a great time on Friday! Throw more parties! MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS! Your house is beautiful, the food was delish, and watching your hubby cough a bunch was totally sweet. :D
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
ANGIE!!! I had so much fun Friday - next party I throw, I'll relax more and hang out instead of walking around refreshing everyone's snacks. :D

I loved having you there, and Carlos was such a nice guy! You will come to all my parties! Eleventy One!1!!
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xochitl42
Oct. 9th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
Them's classy shitters, y'all!

As soon as I'm breathing properly again, I'll respond.

...Okay. First, ignore the green pallor to my skin. Merely envy--despite the hoo-hahs you had as dinner company. I mean, if they'd had any sense, they would have done as you suggested--taken cues from the surrounding patrons, behaved in a reserved manner.

But we're talking about inherently senseless people. Financial engineering does not a social engineer make.

Surprisingly, this situation is also true of many Long Island BigWigs. Same crassness, different accent. More spandex (for the wives!).

And slightly on the topic of chain restaurants v. real ones--every time I see somebody walking into a Domino's or a Pizza Hut in New York City, I wan to DECK THEM. Get a real slice, you university transplant yokel half-wit frat reject!

So, er, yeah. I'm glad you got to enjoy mind-bogglingly yummy food!
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah - I'm learning that about the average Financial person, which is weird, because you'd think that being around money would impart a certain je ne cais quoi... (Hahaha, spandex. Here it's dressy denim and 2,000 cowboy boots.)

I cannot understand how someone could eat chain pizza in NYC!!! That is sacriledge. And when I was in Europe, I boggled at people going to Subway and *gasps* McDonalds! YOU'RE IN FRANCE AND ITALY, omg. What on earth!!
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHAHA YOUR ICON!!!!!!!!!!
The wait staff was excellent. Perfectly melted into the background, but had personality when addressed, which I like better than some French fine dining where you can't tell if you're being talked down to, you know?

And what I like about Dean Fearing (he's been a staple here for over 20 years) is that he's Texan through and through. He likes the finer things in life, but he wants to be comfortable while enjoying them. :D He specifically left The Mansion so he could have his regulars come eat without worrying about the dress code. (Basically, what you'd wear to a nice reception. I wore dress pants.)

Mmmmm, food!! Anne, I love it. I LOVE FOOD. (And you!)
(Deleted comment)
entrenous88
Oct. 9th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. Just -- fine food deserves fine company. I'm so glad you got to go to the fabulous restaurant, but sorry you had to eat in the company of the face-making capslock people!
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHA!! Yes, Entre, omg. I kept thinking how much you would have been fun to dine there with. All the delicious foods (and they had a separate vegetarian menu, as well as a Kosher menu, etc.) The CHEESES, holy smokes!!

And natch, I had the blueberry dessert based on our chat yesterday. *beams*
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a2zmom
Oct. 9th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
The food sounds awesome, too bad the company wasn't divine.

I love good food, but for people who don't, don't waste your money on a good restuarant. It's insulting to the chef.

(Thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday.)
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
See, yes. If it's not your thing, then hey. There you go. But to pick and make faces? Come on. That's the basics of polite behavior!

(Absolutely! I felt terrible for missing it on the actual day! And many more, sweetheart!)
southernbangel
Oct. 9th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
THAT FOOD NEEDS TO BE IN MY MOUTH STAT. Ho GAWD, I'm salivating like crazy here because I WANT THAT TENDERLOIN. And the shooter! And the amuse bouche (which, WTF? EAT IT IN ONE BITE, MORONS.)

What Southerner *doesn't* know table settings/silverware/appropriate fine dining behavior? I mean, we're not the only two boggled by this, right? I know every region will say "we have manners!" (which yeah, you do. Or at least I hope you do) but southern manners are a whole 'nother ballgame. WE INVENTED HOSPITALITY. At least, that's my story.

KEY-RIST.
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
"WE INVENTED HOSPITALITY" Ahahahaha! I think there may be a few people who might argue that, but fuck 'em. Even Princess Di couldn't get into Kappa Kappa Gamma. :D

That buffalo was so delicious, Lee. It absolutely melted on my tongue. (The foie gras was also like the best piece of meat ever. Good lord, I love me some duck liver.)

I'm debating a croque monsieur or a recreation of the amuse bouche for my lunch. You know, in lunch portions. DECISIONS DECISIONS!
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brunettepet
Oct. 9th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Well, at least the food was amazing. I really don't understand people being so weird. Doesn't it bother them to pull those pained faces? My MIL is totally like that. Even at our house. She actually told me she thinks fresh herbs are "too spicy." Um, what? She loves chain restaurants because they're "safe." Whatever.

That butternut squash taquito sounds intriguing. I was going to make ravioli, but maybe I should be more adventurous...
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
Herbs are too spicy? The funny thing is how (semantically speaking) that's wrong. Herbs are plants you can eat in their entirety. Spices are the bark of a tree. :D PLANT NERD. *points to self*

The butternut squash taquito was SO GOOD. Spicy, flavorful, creamy. And crunchy outside. NUM.MY!
adnault
Oct. 9th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
THe one thing I would NEVER skimp on is good food/good dining.

I'm jealous reading this.
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
ME, TOO! God, I love food. Delicious, beautifully prepared food. And someone to take away the dishes when I'm done. BLISS.
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lwbush
Oct. 9th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
Sounds like some of the kids we went to Korea with. We're at authentic Korean restaurants (like, in Seoul), and they're all eating nothing but the white rice and begging for McDonalds. They missed some of the most incredible food they'll ever encounter - we have many Korean places around my home, and none of them are quite as good as the real thing was, even though they're run by people who are so authentic that they speak little English, and should be. But I can't find that awesome chicken stuffed with rice and stewed in spices anywhere here. sigh

And, man, could those people you were with be any worse if they wore t-shirts emblazoned with "RUBE" across their chests?

Still, the food sounded to die for. Glad you at least got to enjoy the experience.
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness, how much do I love Korean food?!? I learned to quit being picky in college when my Asian roommates mocked me for my food eating habits. From then on, there's not anything I won't try twice.

And yeah - if you don't have the perfect seasoning here in the States, it's just not right somehow!

AHAHAHAHA - that would be a terrific T-Shirt! Heeeeee.
samsom
Oct. 9th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
I will never understand peeps who look for chicken nuggets on the menu of a clas -er, elegant, restuarant. Try something new, I tell 'em. But no, they'd rather dissect the food on their plate and proclaim it 'weird' then yearn for a burger.

I will always prefer something unrecognizable to a Big Mac.
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHA (your classy joke, hee!) And seriously, we're talking ONE MEAL. It's not like that taste of something you didn't care for is going to be with you for years to come - stop off and grab some chicken nuggets on the drive home.

I mean honestly? I would eat that weird Chinese fruit that smells like a dirty baby's diaper, but tastes like creamy goat cheese. I WOULD TRY IT!
floweringjudas
Oct. 9th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Damn, that menu. Daaaaaaaaaaamn. *envious*

Also OH GOD with the virgin drinks. Shall I tell you about the virgin margaritas that my brother's wife (still can't quite call her the sister-in-law) is Known For in Provo? OH HOW IMPRESSED YOU WILL BE.

Also also I don't get people who won't try crazy things. I can understand sticking to one thing if it's the hole-in-the-wall Chinese place down the road and you always get One Thing because you're pretty sure it isn't anyone's pet and if it is, there's enough sauce on it that you wouldn't be able to tell, but COME ON. FINE DINING. LIVE A LITTLE. Order something you can't pronounce!
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
GOD, that's such a fucking Utah thing, am I right? It's like they want 7-11 slurpees at a restaurant! Or a smoothie, I can't decide which. But by all means, fill me in on the deets of his New Bride For The Eternities. *rubs hands*

And it's not like they didn't have normal fall back items. They were just REALLY REALLY GOOD fall back items. Sheeeeesh. I mean, chicken breasts! Everyone can eat that, bar vegans.
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enigmaticblues
Oct. 9th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm from Nebraska, and we have our share of hicks and rubes. But hicks and rubes ought to know that you eat what's put in front of you without complaining. And you use your inside voice. This is learned in kindergarten, and if you don't know that, you need to go back.

But the food sounds amazing.
stoney321
Oct. 9th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHAHA, "Inside voice!" Yes!! I should have - in a teacher-like tone - said that, heeeee!

(OMG, the food was divine. I want to eat there right now!)
spikendru
Oct. 10th, 2007 03:53 am (UTC)
That place sounds fantastic! But, dude! You seriously need to post the vegetarian menu so I can drool along with you!
stoney321
Oct. 10th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Aw, shucks! I'm not vegetarian, so I didn't request it. As a result, I have no idea what is on that nor the Kosher menu. :(
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Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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