Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Birthday dinner

Thanks to my three regular readers for the birthday wishes. You all are very kind.

For my birthday gift, my dad took me, a few family members, and a friend to one of the trendiest/most expensive restaurants in El Paso. I'm generally not a food or restaurant snob. I don't mind eating at cheap places. But just once, I wanted to see what the "best" was, and possibly relive a tiny bit of the restaurant experience I had in New York City.

So off we went to enjoy an amazing meal. For my first and second courses, I had fried crab with a sauce that had bacon and avocado in it and a fillet of toothfish (whatever that is) with spinach and red seaweed tendrils on top of it. It was good, though the portion size of the fish was a bit large and the flavors were really strong, so I could only finish half of it. Two of my dinner companions ordered a salad that was placed on a bowl with several live goldfish in it. Whoa, now that's not something you see at Red Lobster. One relative ordered a "lobstertini," like a shrimp cocktail but with lobster, that came with a tiny bottle of vodka on the side. For me, though, the highlight of the meal was dessert, an amaretto creme brulee. The waitress had to show me how to puncture the top of it and pour the amaretto sauce in it. It was sooooo yummy. I also ordered a cup of coffee with dessert and it honestly was the most perfect cup of coffee I've ever tasted. It came with two biscotti, a tiny white ceramic creamer, and a long white tray with sugar cubes and tiny stirring spoons.

It was definitely a memorable experience, but as I remarked to my friend who came with me on this food adventure, I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon. The bill was, predictably, huge, and in the end it seemed ridiculous to spend that much on one meal. The pretentiousness of it all got to me, too. Do I really need an army of waiters to present my food? Do I need these exotic ingredients I've never heard of? Mostly I think we all felt sort of out of place there; my family members and friend and I all acted sort of hushed and different from our usual loud and lively selves just because we were at that particular restaurant. Still, it was good to try something new on my b-day, and if I was judging purely on the food, it's certainly the best restaurant I've been to in this city.

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