Monday, May 23, 2016

Our Second Anniversary

Dave and I have been married for 2 years!  Wow, time really does fly.

Since our first anniversary was so awesome, the bar was set pretty high for this year's celebration.  Dave and I agreed to skip doing any gifts since all of our extra money has been going into house projects and we're planning a big trip for the fall.  So when we won a $100 gift card to any Stephen Starr restaurant in the city a few months ago, we knew just when we'd use it.  We perused the choices, but after a friend told us we had to try Morimoto (as in the iron chef!), we decided to book it for the Saturday before our anniversary.

Our evening started with a train ride downtown with tons of rowdy kids on the train.  Apparently there was some electric dance concert geared at high schoolers where they throw wet paint on you.  The conductor warned us to watch where we sat on our way home... 

Our first stop was The Franklin Bar, a cool speak easy style spot, hidden down stairs, that only admits as many patrons as there are seats.  We got there not long after they opened for the evening and were sat immediately.  The menu was full of elaborate drinks with silly names and some ingredients that were a mystery to me.

I settled on the Willy Wonka inspired three course tasting menu, which started with The Golden Ticket, a delicious take on a pina colada, which was my favorite of the three.  The second drink was The Everlasting Gobstopper, which was warm!  I thought it tasted like Thanksgiving in a glass.  The final drink was The Fizzy Lifting Drink, which I was really excited for but I actually hated.  The server informed us that it was supposed to taste like an adult root beer with sarsaparilla.  I thought it tasted like a gross jaeger bomb.

We ended up chatting with the couple next to us the entire time since she ordered the same thing.  It was fun to compare our thoughts on the different drinks.  The tasting ended with a small dollop of some type of minty ice cream and I got the golden ticket!

The server gave us two golden tickets, which were good for a free drink upstairs, so we headed up to the other bar to grab one more beverage before we left.  How fun is this shark drink?!

Our next stop was Morimoto.  When we arrived, we were surprised to find out that they had no record of my reservation!  I pulled up my email from OpenTable but still nothing.  I was starting to get kind of upset, thinking is this going to completely ruin our night?  And then they sat us immediately!  I was still feeling a little stressed until our amazing waitress Alice came over and all my worries disappeared.

After we each picked a cocktail, we decided on one order of the eight course seasonal tasting menu and five additional selections, all to share, so we could taste as many things as possible.  And just in case thirteen different dishes weren't enough, the chef sent out a complimentary smoked salmon appetizer.  I have no idea why I didn't bring my camera along, but please understand that between the mood lighting and the quality of my phone camera, these pictures really do NOT do the food any justice! 

Our tasting menu started with one of my favorite dishes of the entire meal, the tuna tartare topped with caviar.  I love tuna and this dish was perfect.

The next dish was something we picked off the menu, the lobster ceviche salad.  It was so fresh and bright.

Then we had our second tasting menu item, a cold udon noodle dish with skipjack tuna, a soft boiled egg, onion, and crunchy seaweed.  The tuna was tasty, but this dish was not one of my favorites.

Our tasting menu continued with a sashimi sampler with delicious tuna belly, swordfish, and more.  Oh and one little soft shell crab on the end that Dave claimed before I even had a chance!

Next up was a dish we selected, the 10 hour pork 'kakuni' which was braised pork belly with hot rice porridge.  This was amazing!  The pork belly was absolutely delicious.

Our fourth tasting menu item was barbecue squid with foie gras and a foamy apple puree.  I wasn't sure how I would like the foie gras, knowing that it is duck liver... but there is a reason it's a delicacy.  It tasted pretty great on its own and even better with the squid, which was so good.

At this point, we were served small palate cleansing drinks.

The fifth dish on our tasting menu was a live diver scallop.  I wrote down that it came with a chocolate sauce, but I don't remember the chocolate taste being very overwhelming.  The scallop was tasty, but I think I would've preferred it wrapped in bacon and covered in butter haha.

Our next course was the entrée special of the evening, duck served with pickled strawberries, white asparagus, and a red miso emulsion.  The duck was perfectly cooked and so tender.

And then, the dish we had been anticipating all night!  We kept seeing a skillet come out to other tables with some kind of meat and it smelled amazing.  So when they placed the sizzling Wagyu beef down on our table, I could've have been happier.  The server asked us if we were comfortable with this kind of dish, I'm guessing since the beef was pretty rare (it was browned on the skillet-down side), and we replied that we had been waiting for it!  The beef was from Japan and it melted in your mouth.  It was definitely a highlight of the evening.

At this point we were starting to get a little full, but we knew we were almost there when the sushi sampler came out as the seventh course in our tasting.

Our final selections off the menu were a spicy tuna roll and some swordfish, which were both excellent, but we probably could've skipped them.  Dave was super full, but I wasn't leaving anything behind.

Our meal ended with the eighth item in our tasting, a mango pudding with green tea sorbet.  The pudding was ok but we really enjoyed the sorbet.  We also received complimentary champagne for our anniversary, but at that point in the meal I was basically done putting anything else in my stomach!

The meal was pretty expensive but so worth it (and that gift card really helped too)!  The service was wonderful, each course was perfectly timed.  We were never rushed through a dish, but never waited very long for the next one.  Every time something new was delivered, we received a thorough description of each component.  The food was absolutely amazing.  It was fun letting the chef surprise us throughout our three hour dinner and I'm so happy we were able to try so many different things.  It was a meal I will not soon forget!

Unlike dinner, our train ride home is something I'd like to forget as soon as possible!  We were on cloud nine reminiscing about our meal as we walked to the train station, when we were surrounded by a pack of two dozen paint soaked teens.  It was obvious they were headed to the train station, but it wasn't until we arrived that I really grasped the gravity of the situation.  They were everywhere!  The train station and all the platforms were littered with sopping wet teens, drenched in paint, looking a bit less lively than earlier.  The girls were all in basically nothing and all looked freezing since it wasn't nearly as warm as when we arrived in the city earlier.

We huddled with a group of non painted people on the platform and pondered if we were officially old (since we were saying things like "our kids will never do anything like this") until the train arrived and the mad rush to the door began.  People were pushing and shoving and I just didn't want to touch anybody.  Luckily, we found seats right by the door of the car and sat down with some people who were not bright pink!  The train was packed with the aisles full of people forced to stand and it seemed like we were never going to leave.  And that's when the guy two seats behind us started to seriously annoy me...

Although they weren't painted, we were sitting with a bunch of high school kids who had apparently enjoyed some Jack Daniels at the Dierks Bentley concert.  One kid specifically thought it was hilarious to yell whatever random thing came into his head, mostly terrible rap lyrics that the whitest white boy from Royersford was not doing any justice.  Half of his friends thought he was funny, the other half seemed just as annoyed as we were.  We were barely out of the city, when the "are we there yet" started on repeat.  When the entire train started chanting for someone to kiss, suddenly two transit police appeared and we had some relief.

Everyone was pretty quiet and I was starting to relax a little bit when we started to see a little situation develop.  There was a man standing at the door and when he first spoke to the transit cop, I thought maybe he was mentally disabled.  He was missing quite a bit of teeth, struggling to communicate, and just kind of off.  The cop was trying to explain to him that he was on the wrong train completely and said she was going to help him at the next stop.  I started to feel concerned for the man when she walked away to deal with something, but we had zero interaction.  He was looking forward at the door the entire time, holding onto the handle to keep himself steady.  I felt relieved when she returned, knowing she was going to help him.

That's when things took a turn!  She asked him if he was ok and he said no, that everyone was picking on him and to tell them to stop.  When she asked him who, he looked over at us, pointed directly at Dave and then followed up with the words "I'll f*cking kill you!"  We were like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!  Out of all the loud obnoxious drunk people on this train, this guy picked Dave as his tormentor?!  At this point, it was obvious the guy was definitely on drugs and I never felt happier to be in the presence of a police officer!  She quickly diffused the situation and they both got off at the next stop.

The train ride from hell continued with more screaming from the previously mentioned annoying kid and the hatred was brewing inside me as the train car kept getting warmer and warmer.  Thankfully the kids we were sitting with were not drunk and we had a nice time chatting with them... and making fun of their friend.  By the end of the ride, I was completely fed up with him.  I may or may not have told him to shut his big mouth and offered to punch him in the dick... but I kept things classy and soon enough we were off the train.

I'm still in disbelief that such a wonderful evening had such a terrible ending... but it is an anniversary I'm sure we won't forget!


  1. Holy train craziness! Glad everything worked out. And wow -- two years! I remember you getting married like yesterday, time flies girl! Happy Anniversary!

  2. First off, congrats on your anniversary! Second, it is now a life goal to have a multiple-course tasting meal with omg palate cleansing drinks. I can't even. So fancy! Finally, I can't decide to laugh or cry at your account of the train ride home. I've been on my share of "can this just be my stop please" train ride, but this one had something for everyone! Glad you made it home safe without too much incident!


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