Monday, July 11, 2005

Just for the Halibut!

We finally celebrated Frank's birthday. His birthday dinner out was postponed due to a New Mexico work trip, his call schedule and to give him time to finish moving out of his apartment. It was well worth the wait. I had arranged for us to go to Cafe Caprice , the traditional French meets American "fusion" restaurant in the cozy old home formerly occupied by Basil's. The owners, Paul & Joni Constantine are the ultimate of hands on leadership. Paul is the chef and Joni runs the front of the house. With Joni's help, I chose our menu ahead of time in order to have a decision-free evening for the birthday boy.

We arrived and were seated immediately and introduced to our server, Kelly. Glasses of a semi-sweet Gunderloch gew├╝rztraminer were served along with a complimentary tidbit to tide us over until our appetizers arrived. What a nice concept! The little cashew curry bites were a unique taste and went well with our wine, as did the shrimp and grilled corn salad on tostones and hot chick pea fries with smoked salmon, capers, anchovy mayonnaise and a touch of diced tomato and red onion. The chick pea fries were incredible--a light but earthy flavor that is perfectly paired with the salmon. You'll never think of a bagel and lox again after trying this dish. The delicate fries make a bagel seem like a brick.

After clearing our appetizer plates, Kelly placed a complimentary basket of sourdough, rye bread and mini muffins on the table. We indulged a bit while waiting for our next course. For our entrees, I had ordered a half bottle of La Crema Pinot Noir and was happy with the flavor although it is a bit bold for our tastes. Frank was very happy with his house smoked ribeye and warm potato salad (more house fries than any potato salad I'm familiar with). The restaurant serves an original recipe worcestershire sauce that tastes nothing like the bottled variety. I can honestly say that it will be next to impossible for me to use Lea & Perrin's ever again after enjoying Cafe Caprice's version of the steak sauce. My halibut was the highlight of my dining experience. Not a regular menu item, the thick filet was sauteed and paired with a shallot malt vinegar butter sauce. I almost licked my plate. Had our table been any more secluded I would have. The tangy but subtle sauce was pefection. It complimented rather than overpowered the sweet flavor of the halibut. My Yukon Gold mashers disappeared almost as fast as my halibut, and I swirled all remaining sauce into them before literally scraping my plate clean with my fork. We also had sides of fresh veggies, but they served more to highlight the main portions than as standouts on their own. Dessert was a house creation dubbed Austin Cream Pie, a light but decadent dessert with a dark chocolate shell...mmmm! Kelly served it with a sparkler birthday candle and Frank and I both wished on it before blowing it out. Cafe Caprice definitely served up a delightful meal. The service was excellent and the popularity of the almost two year old establishment firmly in place, if having every table filled on a Friday night is any indication of success.

After dinner, we joined a few friends at the Mean Eyed Cat for drinks and fun. Jake and I played a few abysmal but enjoyable games of pool, proving yet again that those dreadful geometry classes I was forced to take in high school taught me absolutely nothing about angles. We celebrated Todd's return stateside from his work in Germany...laughed it up with Emma & her crew...and Michelle and I tried our best to get into trouble but alas, we were the most well behaved trollops in the place. Countless pitchers of beer were served but thankfully Frank's calls for shots were not met as the MEC does not serve hard liquor. We stayed out entirely too late but it was a good celebration, even if it was 2 1/2 weeks overdue. Now we can move on to other celebrations, namely, it is now MY birthday month. Hee hee hee, it's all about me!

Saturday was spent mostly on the couch. Ahhh, fond memories of Saturday on the couch. I was there all of the morning and part of the afternoon. That evening we traveled far South, as far as you can go and still be in Austin, to Jackie's housewarming party. Her house is terrific! The backyard is the ultimate party arena, with a huge patio area and horseshoe throwing decks in front of the garden. Inside, it's all vaulted ceilings and sunny, open space. Her kitchen is marvelous and definitely the heart of the home.

Sunday was The Big Event of summer: Adrian's first birthday party. (I'd love to post pics of him eating his very first chocolate cupcake(s) but my fear of weirdo perverted pedophiles keeps me from doing so. You never know who may be reading my blog.) The party was held at Brentwood Park and even though it was hot, we had a wonderful time. Adie was passed from person to person and we all managed to keep him from eating pebbles despite his best efforts. He was joined by all his adult friends and family (Diva YaYa and the Grandparents Reinhardt came to town) as well as Allah & D'Avion. Allah & D' had a great time with the miniature kites from their goodie bags. We were all estatic to learn from Sherry, their foster mom, that the boys will be placed for adoption as a sibling group. Although they are not related by blood, they have lived together since infancy. To separate them for adoptive placement would be horrible, but was a possibility when one of the birth mothers decided she wanted her son back. Luckily, when the court was running behind she stated that she couldn't put her life on hold and had to leave to go pick up her check. For some, money is more important than children. The boys will find a home of their own with loving parents. Great news!

The Frederick & Jed imposed "no gifts" rule wasn't quite broken but was bent fairly well by a few, notably Grandma Reinhardt with her numerous "trip gifts not birthday gifts". Adie racked up college fund money to the tune of $400 from those of us who obeyed the no gift rule. There were a few sanctioned gifts, including Wade, Adrian's new Cabbage Patch doll. Adie loves Wade. He'd grab him by the hair and pull his face up to his in order to chew on him. Mmmm, Wade tastes like chicken! Adrian had a wonderful time and passed out on the stroller ride back to the house. The first set of pics has hit Freddy's snapfish prepared to ooh and aaah over 100 of them! The other papparazzi will be sharing their photos soon. Adrian is growing so fast...he's crawling at lightening speed and will soon be walking. He's already taken two unassisted steps. Way to go, baby!!

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my weekend. Leave me a comment and tell me about your's!


Sean said...

that's the same motto on one of my bike jerseys.

btw: i buy my bike this evening, I hope they have it in stock so i can ride away with it.

Kaya said...

Congrats on new bike ownership, Sean!