Monday, June 16, 2014

the best anniversary dinner yet

It was one of those weekends where I did stuff, but nothing at the same time. On Friday night we tried to go to the new taco place in our suburb, but the slow-moving line was out the door so we settled for crappy pizza instead. Since we're going to Austin in a few weeks, I of course need new clothes so I bought this dress and one I can't find online - I wore the second one to dinner on Saturday night so clearly it was a need and not just a want, right?

Andrew watched the show The Wire years ago and it never caught my interest. He has said for years that I needed to give it a try, so this weekend he basically made me watch it. Six episodes in and I'm still not a fan. I'll probably tough out the rest of the season so I can quit it once and for all. I'll let you know if I change my mind. We didn't see my dad for Father's Day, but I did go see my mom and step-dad since my nieces finally got to Houston late Sunday afternoon. The six year old can spell and the almost fourteen year old is into screaming music and rolled her eyes at me, so it was a great visit. I always take them out for their birthdays when they come for the summer and asked the little one what we should do - she said she has never been to Chuck E, Cheese and that I should take her. That kid knows a sucker from a mile away being that I hate to tell her no. So guess where I will likely end up in the next two weeks?

The star of this weekend, though, was our anniversary dinner. We ended up going to Hugo's Mexican Restaurant, which was recently nominated for a James Beard Award (and lost to my beloved Underbelly). We've been for brunch many times, which is always fantastic, and had two dinner experiences there: one great, and one subpar. Luckily, this time was completely amazing.

Andrew had margaritas and I had blackberry mojitos - summery and not too sweet. We started with the goat cheese and corn stuffed squash blossoms and the beef cheek mole (pronounced "mole-ay." It's a popular sauce in traditional Mexican cooking). The beef cheek was tender and the mole was rich and tasted great on blue corn tortillas with onion, cilantro, and tomato. For my main course, I got short ribs with mole, greens, and mole cornbread. Everything was fantastic but the sweet cornbread with the dark, more bitter mole stood out the most. Andrew got cochinita pibil - pork cooked in a banana leaf that came with habanero sauce, black rice, refried black beans, guacamole, and pickled onion. He made me half a taco with everything on it and it was so well-done - sweetness, acidity, crunch, tenderness, heat, and cool - everything you could want in a bite of food. Andrew radiates this certain happiness when he's enjoying a particularly good meal, and I hadn't seen this level of excitement in him in a while. It was great. We had a side of smashed crispy potatoes that were also tasty but unnecessary due to everything else we had. Never ones not to go all out, we ordered the cafe de olla (coffee brewed with sugar and cinnamon) and each got a dessert. Mine, a flourless chocolate cake with a hint of pepper and coffee ice cream, was so good I wish it never ended. Andrew's capirotada, a Mexican bread pudding, had a texture I didn't love, but he was okay with it. It was a great meal, good and mostly casual atmosphere, and great drinks. This is the best anniversary dinner we've had yet!


Needless to say, this week will be spent trying to understand more of The Wire and thinking of something to take a six-year-old to do that's even better than Chuck E. Cheese. Suggestions welcome.

25 comments:

  1. Haha I actually Loved the Wire! Although it terrified me and now I will never go to Baltimore ever (it was baltimore right? it's been a while)

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  2. I made Little K promise me last night she would still think I'm the best mommy ever when she's a teenager, she agreed but I think I should have her sign something. I'm not sure I can handle eye rolling that isn't my own.

    You are BRAVE for Chuk E Cheese, I'll put Little K on a plane and you can take her too so I don't ever have too. :)

    Your dinner looks/sounds so amazing. I'm glad your anniversary dinner was a hit, it makes it all the more memorable.

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  3. I don't think I could survive a Chuck E Cheese night...I prefer to take kids to more grown-up places and make a big deal out of it :) And then promise a toy for good behavior. OMG, your description of Andrew radiating a happiness...P says the same thing about me when we have an exceptional meal..too funny. Glad you guys had such a fantastic anniversary dinner!

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  4. I haven't den the wire either. Glad your anniversary dinner was a thumbs up! Love the dress you picked!

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  5. I am jealous of that dinner. ;) D gets the same way when he has a great meal. Glad your anniversary dinner was a success!

    Hmmm, I am not a fan of Chuck E Cheese. Both of my nieces went there at least once though. I think it is some kind of right of passage for childhood. When my nieces were younger, I was big on giving my nieces a "day of fun" for their birthdays. We would do things like going to the park to play, eating ice cream, shopping for a new toy, going to the movies, or whatever they were into at that time.

    Good luck with the teenager. That is a different beast all together. Both of my nieces are teenagers now and a trip to the mall is always a big hit. Though they both still love ice cream dates!

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  6. Amazing dinner. Everything sounds fabulous.

    I hope you had a great anniversary!

    Ugh Chuck E Cheese.

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  7. I went to Chuck E Cheese once with our niece and nephew. I hope I never have to go again, lol. Dinner looks and sounds awesome!

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  8. If you find yourself at Chuckie Cheese...have a beer....or three first!

    Your dinner sounds so lovely! Yummmmmm. You had me at coffee ice cream with that desert! I never leave room for desert and its a damn shame. Next time we eat out, I need to make sure I order one. Life is too short to not!

    Your dress is cute!

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  9. oh.my.goodness.stop!
    This looks so flipping yummy! Now I'm starving.
    Kallie - But First, Coffee

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  10. 1) i really like the dress you got! 2)You should really give The Wire a chance!

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  11. You eat such interesting things! (and I mean that as a compliment!) I need to try more adventurous and creative things. I am pretty much willing to try anything at least once, but when it comes to spending money on food at a restaurant, I generally gravitate toward meals I know I am guaranteed to like. And my husband is not adventurous when it comes to food AT ALL. So that makes it a little challenging too. Some of it might also be where you live. We don't have much in the ways of creativity in South GA. Just a lot of fried chicken and such. haha!

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  12. I'm totally jealous of your meal! It sounds so delicious and like it was a really nice night! I love that Andrew was getting so excited about the food!

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  13. hahaha--my baby sister is 7 and she knows that her big siblings can't bear to tell her "No"...and works it to her advantage, too....those little kids are pretty smart...

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  14. As always your dinner looks amazing! A mojito sounds so good right about now.

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  15. That dinner sounds incredible! I used to take the kids I babysit for to Chuckie Cheese. It actually isn't bad. They run around the play area and you can relax and keep an eye on them while multi-tasking :)

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  16. I know I say this all the time but I have to get my butt to Texas for some yummy Mexican food! And OMG Chuck E Cheese, brings back so many childhood memories, I hope you win lots of tickets when you go so you can get yourself a nice price ;-)

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  17. Alright, that is food porn. And Chuckie Cheese scares the daylights out of me!

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  18. Mmmmm...Your anniversary dinner is seriously making my mouth water...

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  19. Oh my gosh... Pete has been bugging me since the beginning of all time about The Wire, too! It's his absolute favorite. I gave it a shot but didn't even make it through half of the first episode, bahaha!

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  20. Yay. Sounds like a fantastic anniversary dinner. That is one of mine and Shawn's goals to go out to more local but insanely good restaurants.

    I had always heard such praise for The Wire. I think we made it to season 2 and neither of us could get into it.

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  21. Mmmm blackberry mojitos sound delicious

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  22. Your anniversary dinner looks AMAZING. I love Mexican food but never seem to try new things whenever we go (oh, yeah. I'm one of those.) I'm thinkin I should start to branch out a bit. That mole is sounding pretty fab right now!

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  23. Aw happy anniversary! Give The Wire a chance. I was also slow to pick up on it but saw the awesomeness after season 1. (Season 2 is meh lol) but it's one of those shows you have to watch as a whole like True Detective. Tells a great, detailed story.

    Thanks for linking up with MMG (sorry I'm behind!)

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  24. OMG! That dinner looks amazing! I'm so glad y'all had a great anniversary!

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  25. I'm glad the anniversary dinner went so well! (See, I knew I would read about it once I started to catch up.) ;)

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