Saturday, April 9, 2011

Switchin' Up Friday Night

By the time Friday night rolls around each week, I am one tired mama.

Friday nights at our house usually consist of take out or a lame dinner (because mama loses her cooking inspiration as the week moves along), super overtired kids who end up crashing into bed around 7:30, and the same conversation about how we wish there were better movie choices on On Demand or that we would manage our Netflix queue in a more organized fashion.

We are invariable in bed (or falling asleep on the couch) by 10:30.

Exciting stuff. Sometime routines like this can start to feel -- quite routine.

We were recently offered the opportunity to switch up our Friday night routine and try something new. So we did. Cottonelle Brand (yes, the makers of toilet paper) arranged for a swanky date night for us. A car service (so fancy!) picked me up at our house around 5:45 and then we swung into the loop to grab David from work.

Next, we were off to Graham Elliot for a fabulous meal. Want to hear about our meal? Okay, I'll tell you.

I started off with an Elliot Spritzer ("pineau de charantes, haus-alpez orchard apricot, organge bitters, cremant d'alsace"). I honestly don't know what any of those things are, but I can highly recommend the cocktail. David had something called the Scarlet Letter made with gin. It was apparently tasty, but it certainly wasn't as sparkly and pretty as my beverage.

As we looked over the menu, we munched on the most amazing popcorn I've ever had (Parmesean cheese, truffle oil, fresh chives). We decided to order a la carte instead of doing one of the tasting menus because we wanted to try a bunch of different dishes. We each eat half of our plate -- and then we switch. This way, we get to try six different dishes. Maybe not the most polite fine dining behavior, but . . . whatever.

For our cold course, I have the fluke tartare and David had the game birds. Both were delish. For the hot course, David had a sweetbread empanada and I had the chicken noodle dish -- a deconstructed version of chicken noodle soup. This was one of the tastier things I had the pleasure of eating in my whole life. The dish consists of "thyme tagliatelle, celery x5, carrot marshmallow, and hen veloute." So the dish contained a orange puffy marshmallow, crumbled carrot "cereal," a little piece of chicken wrapped in the homemade noodle and various other components that I couldn't identify. The waiter then poured the "hen veloute" -- which is a fancy word for the most delicious chicken gravy I've ever had in in my life into the bowl. I would eat this dish every day if I could. Despite the very unconventional presentation, this was delightful comfort food.

Then we were on to the main course (more food!). David ordered the black bass with smoked leeks, salted marcona, tomato marmalade, and creme fraiche. Super yummy. I had waygu beef with trumpet mushrooms, roquefort custard, salsify frites, and arugula puree.

The food was fabulous. My date was charming and handsome. It was a delightful Friday night. The experience reminded me of how important it is to take a break from our busy, daily routine and try something new. I am always so glad that we made the effort (and I am reminded of how much I like to hang out with my husband).

Cottonelle, the folks behind my "Friday night switch" are holding a sweepstakes now through may 1st. Each day, you can win a new prize that might help you switch things in in your own routines. Prizes include digital cameras, couples massages and manicures for a year. Check out to enter to win and learn more about how this fun giveaway works.

Disclosure: Cottonelle Brand provided us with complimentary car service and two American Express Gift Cards (one for dinner and the other for pizza and snacks for the kids and babysitter). We also received a 12-pack of Cottonelle Ultra bath tissue (which I have yet to open, but seems like nice, soft toilet paper).

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