dave recently alerted me to the fact that it is dine out month in halifax again. last year, while i was pregnant, we got out twice to enjoy the fancy dinner options: once at five fishermen and once at press gang. this year, the only menu that JUMPED at me was from five fishermen, and since we had such a positive experience last year, and some tasty crab cakes at the summer seafood festival, i thought it was a good enough reason to attempt a fancy 3-course meal with X.
we planned for a tuesday dinner at 6p thinking the place wouldnt be too crowded and we would bother the least amount of people, if indeed X became a problem. so, the day came and it was snowy out. snowy enough that i called the restaurant to make sure it was going to be open, because i didnt want to walk down there in nice-ish clothes and find a "sorry for the inconvenience" sign on the door. luckily though, they were staying open for the night.
when we arrived and were seated we had a corner of the restaurant to ourselves, so i relaxed a bit. no one seemed horrified by our presence and we werent getting any dirty looks so the night was looking good so far. we quickly gave our waitress our order (since we had reviewed the special menu online and made our choices ahead of time) and went over to their unlimited salad and mussels bar. dave loaded up a plate of mussels and other things and ate while i entertained X. then i hit the salad bar and made a plate of fruit and greens for Xs dinner, and i had a few bites of salad bar offerings before the hot food came.
i ordered the "pan seared local sustainable steelhead trout with citrus scented israeli couscous, grilled artichokes, and lemon mustard seed chutney." the israeli couscous we had had here last time was so memorably fantastic that i was giddy to eat my first spoonful of this citrus version tonight. unfortunately the flavor didnt pop and the couscous was quite clumpy. the fish was good but nothing memorable. for me, the stand out items on the plate were the grilled artichokes. smokey and tender. they had a wonderful flavor. i think i could have eaten a whole main course of nothing but that. so, at least there was that yumminess.
dave ordered the "blueberry honey glazed duck breast with sweet potato and apple mash, pistachio & rosemary pesto." the duck was decent but for me there were too many bites with pieces of fat too big to ignore. i wanted to chew and swallow them, but i just got grossed out after a while. the duck meat itself was tasty, but overall i wasnt impressed. the sweet potato mash was too sweet and blah for me. X liked it though. lol.
dessert arrived shortly after and we were able to finish our meal with a proper dessert for the first time in almost a year. i ordered the "valley apple & 'terra beata' cranberry cake with brown butter ice cream and calvados caramel sauce." the cake was dry and lame and because of X i wasnt able to have the brown butter ice cream, something that dave was able to reap the benefit of. he made the same "yum yum" noises he used to make while eating something with salted caramel in france, sooooo, im thinking the ice cream was a hit. daves dessert was the "deconstructed black forest cake (dark chocolate cake, bing cherry compote, chocolate fudge sauce, kirsch whipped cream)." the dark chocolate cake and fudge were of respectable chocolate quality, so we thoroughly enjoyed it. i couldnt do the whipped cream, but dave said he barely noticed the hint of liquor. im not a big fan of cherries, but the dessert was good despite that element.
(my dessert; daves dessert)
so, how did X make out? great! she explored the restaurant until the main course came and then she sat in her high chair with us and gorged on fruit, salad fixings, buttered bread, and the occasional scoop of sweet potato mash from mom. she had a big appetite that night which thankfully meant she was willing to spend some time at the table. she was actually in more of a go, go, go mood than normal tonight so things could have ended badly if she hadnt been interested in sitting to eat.
(Xs "before" plate; X and her plate enjoying dinner)
in the end, it was nice to get out and show ourselves that we can enjoy a fancy meal with X. dont get me wrong, in the future, i am very pro-babysitter, but while that isnt an option here i am happy to know we can succeed in this endeavor. it was a bummer that this particular fine dining attempt wasnt very impressive but at least there were some side dishes that were top notch.
and, if you are now exhausted of reading about food, you can pump your fist along with this anti-foodie article i recently came across. although, i honestly wouldnt categorize myself as a foodie. i just dont like chain restaurants, i like trying new things (especially when friends are involved), and i like to pay for things that are worth my time and the calories.