Saturday, August 29, 2009

My palate and purse have never been so pampered.

This time last week I was in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada...And as luck would have it, I'll be back there in less than a week but that's another post for another Saturday night. Until last Friday, I had only seen the famous Vegas sign in passing, but I'm sure glad that Ryan had the idea of stopping for a quick photo op on our way to dinner. You see, we were on our way to one of those fancy all-you-can-eat buffets down on the strip which is why Ryan was suited up and I was wearing a dress that is never allowed to be thrown into a washing machine. Ever. Or else all of the George Jefferson's of the world will have to file for bankruptcy and move on down to the West side.

Now, those of you reading this who know me at all will immediately know that I would not be caught dead going to a buffet dressed in something that has a belt with it. In reality, Ryan had made dinner reservations at the nicest restaurant that I have ever been to. EVER. And no, I'm not using sarcasm or facetiousness here. It was that nice. Let me tell you, that Alex over at Wynn certainly knows how to make a meal. In fact, he's so good that he has his very own restaurant. Admittedly, I was slightly nervous to eat in such a nice restaurant because well, being a Brownie Girl Scout in elementary school and a member of a sorority in college can provide a girl with only so much social know-how. Fortunately, Ryan recommended that I go with the tasting menu which meant that the only thing I had to do was pick out what bread I wanted when the bread boy [that's his official job title I'm sure] came to our table and tell the waiter how I wanted my Wagyu prepared....which apparently I enjoyed the steak tartare so much that I went a little crazy and said medium rare, but the waiter advised me to go with medium. So I went with the expert's advice.

The truth is, I have referenced this meal at least once in conversation every day since last Friday night. But it's absolutely worth referencing so I'm going to continue to do so until I'm at least 75. Let's see, I don't even know where to begin. Maybe the little chair that was beside our table specifically for my purse. I was sold the minute Ryan pointed that out because I know that any place that will treat my purse well will certainly be good to me too.

Now for the food. It was amazing. I tried to narrow it down and just pick out a few favorites but I couldn't. So for you foodies out there, enjoy...

*Heirloom Tomato and Octopus Carpaccio with Parsley Puree, Brioche Croutons and Osetra Caviar Delamotte, Brut, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne, France MV...[Remind me to tell you three readers a little story one day about how I almost choked on my octopus during this course.]
*Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Sweet Corn Custard, Chanterelle Mushrooms and Coral Butter Tensley, Blanc ,Camp Four Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, California 2006
*Olive Oil Poached Kanpachi with Wax Beans, Roasted Purple Artichokes and Black Olive Oil Henri Boillot, Les Charmes Premier Cru, Meursault, Burgundy, France 2005
*Veal Sweetbread Vol-au-Vent with Red Chard, Sherry Soaked Bing Cherries and Toasted Almonds Louis Jadot, Corton Pougets, Grand Cru, Burgundy, France 2005
*Japanese Wagyu Strip Loin with Black Truffle Pommes Dauphine, Roasted Porcini Mushrooms and Sauce Bordelaise Elderton, Shiraz, Command, Barossa Valley, Australia 2003
*Coconut Tapioca with Tropical Fruit, Toasted Vanilla Custard with Maple Poached Peaches and Crème Fraiche Ice Cream
Klein Constantia, Vin de Constance, Constantia, South Africa 2004

This doesn't even include the bread. My favorite was the buckwheat cherry roll. Nor does it include some little treats that we had in the beginning that were compliments of the chef. I'm telling you all...Alex will treat you right. Nor does it include the little sweet treats that we got at the end of our meal. Nor does it include the cappuccino. And then just when you think there couldn't possibly be anything else, there was. As we were rushing out the door to the show, I was handed a little pack of macaroons for the road. Yum.

Speaking of the show, Ryan got tickets to La Reve which is also at Wynn. Holy cow. It was amazing. I'm pretty confident that I just sat through the entire show wide-eyed with my jaw dropped because that's what happens when country girls are taken into town to see a show. If you ever find yourself in Vegas, I highly recommend that you get yourself to this show especially if you like acrobatics and dancing and music and water. And if you don't like any of those things before the show, I promise you will afterward if you just give it a shot. It was definitely a night out that I will not forget, and I know that I am quite a fortunate [and very appreciative] girl to get to experience such fun. The rest of the weekend was great as well. On Saturday, Ryan made omelets and we made perhaps a slight dent in the ever-growing list of movies that I've never seen but must see by watching Glory, Tropic Thunder, and Miracle...along with a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Perhaps the common theme that runs straight through this entire blog post is our appreciation and respect that we have for quality entertainment.

Sunday we went to church, had lunch with a family that Ryan knows, went to see The Time Traveler's Wife [insert my two cents here: read the book, rent the movie], had dinner, and then it was time to head to the airport and say goodbye. But who really likes goodbyes, anyway? As luck would have it [or something like that], my plane was broken which meant that my stay was lengthened for a few more hours. No complaints here. And the cherry on top of all of the other cherries on top? Delta dollars for my "trouble".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One Friend. Two Friends. Old Friends. New Friends.

This past weekend, Ryan flew into Atlanta and we headed north to Tennessee. Our destination was Dale Hollow Lake where we spent the weekend camping, practicing proper West Nile prevention measures, getting most of our daily allowance of calories from Patrón and baked goods, and lounging around in the water.

Unfortunately, before Ryan left Vegas his iPhone went a little haywire so we had to rely on GoogleMaps from the computer as our navigational guide. Apparently I indicated that we wanted to take the long, scenic route with multiple yard sales because this is pretty much what we saw for the better part of 133 miles...
In case you're upset that you missed this glorious event, no worries: it happens annually so go ahead and mark your calendar for next year or just bookmark this website. Personally the only thing that I can think of that is worse than traveling to multiple yard sales along a curvy mountain road is visiting 5 TJ Maxx and Marshall's stores each on the day after Thanksgiving. Needless to say we did not stop even though Ryan felt that he would certainly find some great treasures for his new home. We finally made it to Byrdstown sometime after the sun went down. Our timing really couldn't have been better though because our camping pals arrived just minutes before we did. Fortunately we did not have to immediately set up camp on Thursday night since we stayed over at the Sportsman's Lodge. And let me tell you, they are quite serious about sports there. In fact, I was introduced to cornhole. Too bad all of those years of pitching as a slow-pitch softball player weren't enough to carry our team through to a victory.

On Friday morning, we were up bright and early to head out to the lake. Holly's parents had a fantastic breakfast waiting for us at the boats because they had the foresight to know that Patrón alone isn't the breakfast of champions. After breakfast, we headed out to get a good spot on the water. Dale Hollow Lake is absolutely beautiful. It's surrounded by all sorts of undisturbed green space. It's quiet. It's clear. And for a girl who has logged most of her lake hours on Lanier or Hartwell, it was a nice change.Needless to say, I was super excited about lounging around in the water on a nice summer day. The fact that I was keeping such good company only added value to the experience.After spending most of Friday morning sitting out on the boat and then cooling off in the water, Ryan and I took the Sea-Doo out after lunch for a ride. And then we got lost. Ok, "lost" is a bit dramatic. I like to think of it as our bearings were a little out of sorts so it was a bit of an adventure. I wasn't really worried because we were obviously safe. There was plenty of gas in the tank. It was broad daylight. Besides, Ryan's in the Army so surely that means he's got some sort of internal GPS that can be activated in a worst case scenario situation, right? Luckily we didn't have to find out the answer to that question!
On Saturday, we left camp pretty early to head back out to the lake. And in case you're wondering, "camp" was not the houseboats in the above picture. I just included this picture to remind myself that there are some people in this world whose "once in awhile weekend home" is a bazillion times nicer than my "everyday home". It gives me incentive to continue making the big bucks by working for the state of Georgia.

Skiing was high on the agenda on Saturday. Here, Ryan celebrates after a successful run...
Victory was his! Now I don't really like to brag, but I think that Scott would benefit greatly...if he just observed me for a little while to pick up a few moves.
...I'm just saying. Skiing was the morning activity, so after a strenuous afternoon of floating and sunning and staying well hydrated, we got all prettied up for dinner. [I use the term "prettied up" very loosely here when referring to myself because let me tell you all, I was a vision. This girl can only go for so many days without her hair products!]Cruising to dinner on the pontoon was a whole lot of fun though and we were able to enjoy quite an amazing sunset once we got there.The truth is, the lake was great, the food was great, the drinks were great, camping was great [even though my back still hurts, but we won't discuss the signs of aging that are presenting themselves in my body today]...everything was great. But what made all of those things great was the people. This weekend was the first time I had met any of these folks, besides Ryan of course, yet everyone was so nice and welcoming. It really just adds more evidence to my theory that the Midwest is very much like the South except for the fact that "y'all" isn't used on a regular basis. Or ever. As the lone Georgian, perhaps I'll work on the incorporation of slang into the vocabulary of everyone else next year. Or not.
And in case any of you, my three readers, have chosen to live vicariously through me [and might I recommend that you take up needlepoint for some added excitement to your life if you have] and wish to see more pictures from last weekend's fun, you may do so by clicking here.