Since Cassie tells me she did her one quarterly post yesterday, it falls on me to decide whether to mention our Anniversary celebration last night.

What the heck, I’d like to do a quick recap, because it was a most wonderful Anniversary indeed.

The afternoon started when I arrived home, roses and card in hand, and got cleaned up because Cassie had made dinner reservations for us at one of the ‘foodie’ places in the Twin Cities, The Saint Paul Grill.

Now, I know that you folks come from all walks of life, and the idea of eating dinner at a ‘fancy’ or exclusive restaurant may be so familiar as to be boring.

For myself, it’s something I have only ever done when single and traveling in foreign countries. I don’t know why, but we have never actually spent any time together in an exclusive or upscale restaurant in the states, not at this level.

We were going to eat dinner there on the evening that we went to see Jim Brickman in concert last month with the St Paul Symphony Orchestra, but they were booked solid.

This time, she had managed to snag a 6 PM table for us, and off we went, giddy as can be.

Let me be more specific about our dining habits. Alex likes McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and, for SUPER fancy eating, a nice Mexican resteraunt where he gets to eat nice fresh warm tortilla chips and salsa, followed by chicken nuggets and fries. So that is our dining out experience, unless it’s a night out, just the two of us… when we go super upscale… at TGI Fridays or Chili’s.

Neither of us has the ability to eat a single meal out without continuously thinking about what we could be doing with that money instead.

We both love the Food Network, we both like Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, the Food Challenge competitions, Alton Brown, Emeril, Chopped… we love watching fine food being made. It’s the personal spending of the huge sums to buy it for eating that makes us stop and give a Keanu-style ‘Woah’.

So this was not a normal occurance, it was a most special occasion. A totally different experience for both of us.

My darling wife had the 10 oz Top Sirloin, with a side of Mac and Cheese. This was, of course, not simple pedestrian Mac and Cheese, but had the little au gratin crunchy sprinkles on top, and bacon mixed in.

Mmm, bacon.

I had, for the first time in my entire life, true honest to goodness Pan Seared Scallops.

Yes, I know. I grew up in South Florida along the coast, I worked a summer on a deep sea fishing boat working the tourists, I spent a lot of time working with, living around, and eating fresh fish of all kinds.

I ain’t never had fresh pan seared scallops before, and I’ve gotten quite tired over the years of watching people rave about them on the cooking shows.

Now, in my mind, this food was being judged quite severely. I cook steaks, I know what steaks cost, and by god I want to know what makes this steak worth $20 bucks.

$30 scallops, I have no problem with that at all. I consider myself getting a bargain, fresh scallops in Minnesota.

But for a steak.. and the $20 top sirloin is the cheap, bargain basement cut at the Saint Paul Grill. You can go up to a $60+ steak if you so desire.

I have to know, what the heck makes this such a special steak. The ambiance? I brought my wife, the Grill can’t top that for ambiance.

So Cassie let me try a bite of her steak.

Okay, that was a mighty fine steak. I give credit where credit is due, that was a wonderful steak. Boy, howdy. I’ll give it to them, my grilled steaks, no matter how I marinade them, never come out that insanely fork tender or delicious.

My scallops were simply divine. There is no other way to describe them.

However, I made a teeny mistake in eating them. I tried to make the meal last as long as possible, knowing that I would probably never have scallops again.

Nice, fresh, piping hot scallops are divine… but when they cool to lukewarm? Not so much. Kinda wasn’t really enjoying what had been ambrosia, once I let them get cooled.

Note to self; that habit I learned in the Marines of wolfing down my entire plate of food in under 30 seconds? Yeah, sometimes that’s not such a bad plan after all.

The memory of that first perfect scallop will linger on for quite some time. I could almost… ALMOST consider doing that again. But so many of their other courses also sounded yummy, so I think on a return trip… well, that was a mighty fine steak.

We finished the meal with dessert, of course.

For Cassie, the Banana Cream Pie, and for myself, a half order of the ice cream sundae with chopped walnuts, whipped cream and Ghiradelli chocolate sauce over Izzy’s vanilla bean ice cream.

Cassie’s pie was tasty… yes Cal, she liked Pie… but that sundae?

Okay, I don’t know where in hell you find Izzy’s ice cream, but that vanilla bean ice cream?

I could see killing, or at the very least maiming with intent, someone for another shot at that ice cream. And you can keep the damn chocolate and stuff off next time, stop messing with perfection.

Yes, it was a fine meal, two hours spent having a wonderful time together, pretending to be the kind of folks that eat out like this all the time, nothing special to it… and most likely the only couple in that crowd discussing the fine points of WoW over a $110 dinner.

When we got home, we then did what all happily married couples do on their Anniversary.

We logged in, and I tanked while Cassie took her brand new level 80 Retribution Paladin on her first Heroic run, a fast spin through The Nexus.

Afterwards, basking in the afterglow of a fine Heroic run, she showed me the gift she had gotten me for our Anniversary.

This wonderful wife of mine, she gave me a gift, a gift that told me just how much she loves me.

She got me Guitar Hero: Metallica for the Playstation 2.

Now that’s true love, right there.

And my gift for her?

I promise not to SING while I play it.

I love you forever, sweetie! Thank you for a most enchanted evening!

29 Responses to “What a wonderful Anniversary it was”
  1. Bunnyfer says:

    Glad you guys had a great time…I dont have children, but my husband and I share a lot of the same things as you and Cas..A “nice” dinner for us is Ruby Tuesday…LOL, and if we really want to be adventurous and spend money, we dine on Disney property(living in Central FL has some perks!), which can be a wallet buster…but at almost EVERY meal be it at Wendy’s or something upscale, we ALWAYS discuss WoW…makes me wonder what people think sometimes when coming to our table..LOL

    Happy Anniversary guys…and here it to MANY more!

  2. bigbearbutt says:

    Oh, and describing the food during our lunch period here was my way getting revenge.

    Enjoy that Hot Pocket!

  3. Kaelynn says:

    Sounds like a good anniversary! I believe that ice cream is from Izzy’s Ice Cream Cafe in St. Paul. Bobby Flay did one of his throw downs with the owner. I haven’t been there yet, but I’m glad to hear the ice cream would be worth the trip from the southern suburbs.

  4. Flawlless says:

    Awesomesauce.

    We sometimes go out to a nice chinese all-you can eat place for lunch.. $9 each.
    for our first valentines, we went to my then favourite restaurant, spent about $100 and were severely dissapointed, I got my steak almost raw, she got hers almost bounce-able, we complained, they tried to charge extra for doing the order right.. terrible evening. never been there since.. now we go to our lunch-place for fancy eating, the evening all-you can-eat.. $12 each, no chicken-wings in the evening, but I can deal.

    Congrats on the beautiful missus :)

  5. bigbearbutt says:

    Kaelynn, according to that, Cinnamon and Vanilla made by Izzy’s are both available at Kowalski’s Grocers… and I happen to know RIGHT where one happens to be on the way home from work. Hmmm.

  6. Mannyac says:

    Glad you and Cassie had a great dinner.
    Again, Congrats.

    btw…I MISS KOWALSKI’S!!!!!!!! Best grocery store(s) ever
    Nothing like it here.

  7. Kelarr says:

    There’s also an Izzy’s off Nicollet downtown. Can’t remember the cross street though.

  8. Neil says:

    I’ve fallen into that same mistake with scallops, myself. However, I’ve found that if you order a dish with said scallops in a thick, creamy sauce, they hold onto their warmth for much longer. I once had bacon-wrapped scallops in a cream sauce with risotto, and it was amazing. I managed to eat half of that absurdly filling dish and it was warm throughout.

    Congratulations again on your anniversary, and I’m glad you two had such a great evening :)

    But you know – deep down, in your heart of hearts, YOU KNOW – that your gift to her is going to evaporate in short order, right? I give you five songs at most :P

  9. ech says:

    Grats on your anniversary. My WoW-playing wife and I dinged 30 on our marriage in March and celebrated with a cruise from Rio deJaniero to Valparaiso. We spent our anniversary day cruising through the Straights of Magellan. We played some WoW on the cruise and had ping times of 1300 to 13000ms, depending on the seas.

    $20 for a steakouse steak is cheap, BTW. Prime beef that is properly aged is expensive, even wholesale. And scallops, if done properly, are wonderful.

    And if you ever come to Texas, get some Blue Bell Vanilla Bean ice cream. Most excellent (as Keanu would say), and available at grocery stores for the princely sum of $5 per half gallon, less if on sale. Blue Bell supposedly invented Cookies n Cream ice cream, and still make it by crushing Oreos straight out of the retail pack and mixing with their excellent Homemade Vanilla ice cream.

  10. Rowtan says:

    “When we got home, we then did what all happily married couples do on their Anniversary.”

    Definitely a Laugh out Loud moment … here’s me thinking we were the only ones who did that!

  11. Stupid Mage says:

    Makes me wonder if they shot the steak out of an air cannon…

    So glad you had a nice time. Both of you really deserve it =)

  12. Stupid Mage says:

    Oh yeah, thank you so much for sharing with us so we can envy your after dinner activities.

  13. thebitterfig says:

    interesting steak tip learned from mark bitman (NYT food writer) when i heard him on the radio once: take a steak, rub in salt and pepper, put it on a metal rack (i think of smallish cookie cooling racks) on top of a plate in the fridge. leave it there uncovered for a few days. sear and cook as normal. supposed to be a really good steak that way. basically, home-aging.

    anyhow, i’m happy for your night, and more happy for your 8 years.

  14. BrownBear says:

    The St. Paul grill (in the bar, particularly) is a wonderful place to g for being indulged.

    The Izzy’s mothership is on Marshall avenue just east of the Marshall/Lake bridge. The cones are freshly made waffle cones with an elegant chocolate in the bottom to control dripping, and a bonus mini-scoop (the “izzy”) on top. Most definitely worth the trip.

  15. CapnTuna says:

    The wife and I once spent $100+ on breakfast after an anniversy night out in the French Quarter, New Orleans for the geography challenged. She had grew up on the westbank of the city and had never been on a night out in the city. We ate at Brennan’s. Check out the menu sometimes. I had fried oysters, hey it was on the breakfast menu, she had poached eggs on lump crabmeat and bananas Foster for desert.
    BTW she refuses to let me take her there again.

  16. Rakhman says:

    Happy anniversary, mine was on the 20th oddly enough and we went out for steak and some garlic madness. The wife doesn’t play WoW however, so there was less of the after-dinner WoW action :(

  17. Bellwether says:

    Happy anniversary!

    <3s

  18. Redaurora says:

    Man that was cute :)

  19. Asara says:

    Wow. I have never been quite so jealous of anyone in my entire life. That’s perfection right there, BBB. You guys have a beautiful thing going, I tell you what! :)

  20. Pike says:

    Happy anniversary to you <3

  21. Kathrine says:

    As family who enjoys all different types of food, we absolutely appreciate the work and art that goes into making delectable dishes. Doesn’t mean it has to be expensive, but a lot of thought and care put into it.

    We fine dine on occasion but it is an expensive habit and so it’s a special event. There is something to be said about atmosphere, excellent service, knowledgeable staff and food that brings a smile to your face as it opens your taste buds.

    So glad you had an amazing evening and can’t wait to see where you go for dinner next yearJ

  22. Ambermist says:

    I came looking for feral advice, since I have finally decided to go for the Druid Trifecta and have a gear set for all three specs (god help me), but I had to read this first. It really does sound like you had a great anniversary!

    But I got a chuckle from “Yes, it was a fine meal, two hours spent having a wonderful time together, pretending to be the kind of folks that eat out like this all the time, nothing special to it… and most likely the only couple in that crowd discussing the fine points of WoW over a $110 dinner.”

    About 4 months ago, my then-fiancee (known in game as Ultraking) took me out to dinner to celebrate our tax return and our upcoming nuptials. We’re like you guys; Burger King and Taco Bell when we’re eating out, or the local nice Mexican place the rare occasion when we have the money for it. But he surprised me with reservations at the Melting Pot (some of the most awesome and most expensive fondue you can put in your mouth). We had drinks to start, something we never ever do, and then a spinach-cheese fondue appetizer with bread and veggies, a main course of shrimp, salmon, pork tenderloin, and two cuts of beef in bite-sized pieces that we boiled ourselves alongside potatoes and mushrooms in a Jamaican-spiced stock. For dessert, a decadent chocolate and cherry fondue for pieces of cheesecake, strawberries, marshmallows, bananas, and Rice Krispie treats. It was the nicest and most delicious meal I’ve had in a long time, and a night I will certainly never forget.

    $110 dollars later (coincidence?), we were full, very happy, and had discussed the finer points of our guild’s progress and members, different aspects of improving my dps, and how much we hate paladins on the battleground.

    It was a good time. :-)

    And yes, we did get married, in case I forgot to mention that.

  23. Rootgrrl says:

    The Grill serves up some mighty fine vittles, no question. Try their bone-in ribeye sometime, although if you don’t like $20 for a steak… Or maybe I’m thinking of The Lex. My wife and I just celebrated an anniversary too! But neither of us remembered until her mother called (I know my anniversary, I just don’t know what day today is). Just as well, I’m still recovering from our marathon dinner at Corner Table.

    CapnTuna – Breakfast in the French Quarter, fried oysters, poached eggs on lump crab? That actually brought tears to my eyes. Sounds glorious.

    Man I’m getting hungry.

  24. Kolan says:

    Happy annivesary guys.

    Cheers

    Kol

  25. Ruune says:

    Great anniversary. For our ten year anniversary we splurged on some of the best food we could think of – for us it was one of the best Japanese restaurants here. I get to eat posh every now and then for work, but it can be a real treat to do it with the nearest and dearest. Hellishly expensive but a great treat for a special occasion.

  26. T-Sonn says:

    BBB & Cas – I love you guys. We should totally hang out sometime. I’ll let you grill, I’ll bring the pasta salad.
    Seriously – I’m so glad you had a great time, you both deserve it. If it helps at all with the rationalization – tell yourselves that you saved that $110 by always picking up the generic canned veggies instead of the Del Monte. Since I started working from home, I do the hub’s shirts instead of taking them to the cleaners. There’s always some place you can cut costs so that you can afford a treat now and then!

    Best to you both!
    Oh – and if you’re in the Quarter, Beignets and chicory coffee at the Cafe Du Monde. /sigh

  27. Cassie (not that one) says:

    Happy belated anniversary from another Cassie (…who is moving in with her beloved bear tank in a few days).

  28. Dwarrow says:

    Congratulations, BBB and Cas! This brought a smile to my face… knowing there is another couple out there who balk at restaurant prices but who discuss WoW endlessly while they’re eating out. Thanks a lot for sharing this experience with us, I’ll make sure my husband reads it too.

  29. Lynyrd says:

    Note to self; that habit I learned in the Marines of wolfing down my entire plate of food in under 30 seconds? Yeah, sometimes that’s not such a bad plan after all.

    I also picked up that skill, but in the Army. I find it quite useful most of the time, but I also worry that I’m not enjoying the food as much as I could or perhaps should. Food Network is pretty much all I watch any more and if I can find one of those stand mixers with the flames on the side at the Salvation Army store I’m getting it. Digression aside (is there another place for it?) I really enjoy your blog. Can’t believe I’ve been playing wow for 3 years now and never seen this before.

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