Extraordinary Dining Experience

Last night my sweetie and I took advantage of a Groupon coupon for a really high-end restaurant. It is owned by a chef who was cordon bleu trained in France, has been a James Beard nominee many times and a finalist multiple times. It was a 6 course tasting meal, and the coupon brought the price down from $195 to $95 for two people. Then we bought it on a day Groupon was giving 25% off everything on the site, so we paid $71.00 for two dinners. They pair each course with a different wine, for an additional fee of $55 each, which we paid full price for at the restaurant, and it was well worth it.

I have never had a meal like this. Our server was a young man, 24 years old, who was so knowledgeable about the food and the wine, and was so friendly, and funny. The GM of the restaurant came to our table twice, and made us feel so welcome. The food pleasure built, from a first course of an amazing butternut squash soup, through the salad, the pasta (which was divine) and the main course of fillet mignon or scallops (we ordered both and split them). After the main course was a plate of cheese and fruit, and then a small strawberry shortcake for dessert. They served the most amazing breads, and a couple of palate cleansers during the meal. The wine was so perfectly chosen, and enhanced each course. Our favorite wine was the red zinfandel, served with the cheese and fruit plate. I couldn’t pick a favorite food. Every course was perfect. The intensity rose to a crescendo with the main course and gently brought you down with the cheese and fruit and a small serving of dessert.

We had a 7 PM reservation and left there at 10, and had no idea where that 3 hours went. Talk about being pampered. It reminded me of how I felt when I went to a spa for the day a few years ago, and spent the same amount of money having a massage, a facial, lunch in a terry bathrobe and flip-flops and martinis, lol. Just luxurious. To be spending it with the man I love, and whose company I really enjoy, made it so special, and to be in Florida, where the temperature was around 60, and I could wear a dress with a light sweater and be comfortable made the evening the stuff of my dreams.

The place was packed, on a Tuesday night. We were so impressed by other things, like the kitchen being behind a counter, but not a wall, and the gleaming appliances, and the unstressed attitude of all the staff. We LOVED not being rushed through, but being encouraged to enjoy and take our time and really taste everything. They wanted to immerse you in the experience, not feed you and refill your table.

This evening was something you might do once or twice a year, unless you can regularly spend $300-$400 for dinner for two. It was a special special thing. We found out that they do serve a fixed price 4 course meal between 5:30 and 6:30 for $36 and think we might try that sometime when we are celebrating something special. Also they serve lunch (though you need reservations for that too) and our server said it’s exceptional as well. I’m going to try to get my sis and her hubby up here to do that with us sometime.

The pictures above are of the menu and the wine pairing list. The name of the restaurant is Cafe Ponte (that’s the chef’s name). We told them the Groupon brought us in but the food and service will bring us back. It was so nice to treat ourselves to this. Now we both have to lose a lb or two that were added onto the scale this morning though.

Amazing experience. Feeling blessed this morning to have had it. Love and light.

Have Mercy on Those

i have always loved Phoebe Snow’s music.  She was an extraordinary woman, who pretty much gave up her professional life as a musician to care for her daughter.  This song has been running through my head all day, so I though that maybe if I posted it, I would stop singing it.  But if I don’t, well, it’s a great song.  I can totally relate to the lyrics.  Hope you enjoy it.

Unexpectedly Getting Grounded

Yesterday I spent the day with some old friends from Iowa, where I grew up. We have been friends since we were 11 and 12 years old. Yes, we’ve been friends for over 50 years. Our lives have gone on in different directions but about 7 or 8 years ago we all got together again, and it was like all those 40-something years we hadn’t seen each other just melted away.  We’ve seen each other almost annually since then.

Funny thing is, I had not been looking terribly forward to this visit. Not that I didn’t want to see them, but there was a lot going on in my life in the last couple weeks, issues with the house, some tentative plans about the future that I’m not ready to share here yet, and also in great part because the friendship with one of this group that lives near me has been strained in the last few months, and I felt uncomfortable about that.

We decided to meet at my house and go get lunch. There were 3 of us, and Dan , and another boyfriend of one of the girls. As it turned out, it was a really nice day, no issues, we got caught up, walked around my little town, and then came back to my place and drank wine and ate pizza til around 9 pm. The friend with whom my relationship is strained was not there which eased things for me. They had seen her, and we were able to talk about the situation, and they eased my mind about it. We made plans to get together Thursday again, and our other friend will come. I volunteered to pick her up, so I think that situation will resolve itself, and I’m very happy that’s how it’s turning out.

When they left, I told Dan (who knew how I’d felt about the whole thing) that it was really good for me, because old friends tend to ground you, to remind you where you came from. I know I am very fortunate to have them all as friends still. There are not a lot of people who have friends around that they went to middle school with. I’ve been lucky in my life to make and keep some very good friends. These girls from Iowa with whom I was inseparable through jr. high and high school, and a group of friends from CT where I lived the next 45 years. And now I have a small group of friends I’ve made here in FL that I love. My BFF from CT gave me a sign when I moved out of my ex’s house that says “Friends are flowers from the garden of life.” That is so true. I am so fortunate.

Which leads me to mention that a WP friend, who had closed her blog down, has started it up again. Her name is tRe, and her blog is A Cornered Gurl. She is a very very talented poet, and regularly inspires me to dig deeper when I think I’ve maybe run out of verse. So glad to have you back tRe! Check out her blog at https://acorneredgurl.wordpress.com/

Love and light, everyone.