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Friday, August 14, 2009

The Night We Accidentally Spent Our Life Savings On Dinner


J and I hit the town last night to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. It was really fun. Well, first it wasn't so fun--because of traffic (...because clearly I was expecting heavy traffic on an early Thursday night...) it took almost 2 hours to get to Salish Lodge. Luckily we had each other to talk with (or, at least J had a starving, crazy wife to yell "Don't let them cut you off! Do you not SEE the Obama sticker on their window???).

Salish Lodge is a fine restaurant and spa located atop stunning Snoqualmie Falls. The gorgeous landscape of the rolling hills, towering pines, and amazing sunset set the stage for a really romantic night. And, lucky for us, J has a Primecard from Microsoft, which entitles us to buy one, get one free at many fine dining joints around Seattle, including this one--also the sole reason we thought we could afford dinner here.

We had a seat by the window overlooking the falls. We could see the spray billowing up from the plunging water, creating an ethereal mist that settled in the trees and rocks. It was a clear night and the sun's marmalade-colored rays lit everything with warm, honey light. The evening absolutely glowed. The restaurant had a Greene and Greene arts and crafts feel with rich woods, and dark,earthy finishes. A fire crackled in the fireplace. The wait staff walked around somberly in suits, offering one-at-a-time selections of artisan breads.

My eyebrows rose as I looked at the prices on the leather encased menu. The small font did nothing to disguise the hefty price tags attached to each item. Well, it's our anniversary, I thought, and after all, everything is really 1/2 price. I even paid the $10 extra so I could "upgrade" my "Three Course Dining Experience" to include the prime ribeye. Yes, I know it's fatty, but it was the only steak option on the menu (and let's face it, this girl isn't going to get some paltry salad if we're eating out). The Three Course included a Small Plate, an Entree, and a Dessert. And I was hungry.

Our statuesque server had a light foreign accent, and seemed like maybe she had chosen between career options of "restaurant server" and "military interrogater." She didn't seem like someone to mess with. She never smiled, and replied to each of my menu selections with a brusque "Definitely." She presented our aptly-named Small Plates. I got the quail, and J opted for "Hot Rocks", which were bits of kobe beef seared tableside on, well, hot river rocks. J and I each thoroughly enjoyed both bites.

The problem about being a mom of small kids is that I'm always in a hurry. I've always got a schedule, I always need to be efficient, and it's counterintuitive to me to take more than two hours eating dinner. Yet, that was the pace of the restaurant. Maybe someday I will grow up enough, and be sophisticated enough to enjoy savoring the delicate flavors and letting the essence of dinner linger for that long, without feeling any urgency. But last night, I just couldn't relax quite that much. And we were on the babysitter clock. (I will save the matter of Babysitting Rates in Seattle for another post).

We enjoyed the unusual and pleasantly surprising flavors of salmon and prime ribeye for dinner, and the cheesecake (with strawberry gelees and six tiny drops of basil-mint sauce on the side) and strawberry shortcake for dessert (with a strawberry spritzer to be drunk before tasting the cake). We basked in the cozy interior glow beside the now-dark landscape, and reminisced about our nine years together.

Then the bill came.

J's and my eyes bugged out of our heads when we saw it. I thought, surely that can not be right! Even with the Primecard, it was much, much more than we had anticipated. Apparently the whole "buy one, get one" had some limitations to it. J and I met each other with unbelieving half-smiles on our faces.

"Wow, we've come a long way in our dining these past nine years," I joked.

I'm not even going to tell you how much it was. I'm too embarrassed. We just had to laugh as we drove away, thinking of the new milestone we'd reached. J assured me that nine years of marriage was worth it.

And, at least we didn't do the valet parking.

6 love notes:

Jessica said...

I love your storytelling. I was so wrapped up in it that I felt like I was there. I have been waiting to hear about this, so I am expecting VIP treatment next time I see you (meaning you get to tell me the price) :) It's the only way I can make an informed decision on if I want to go there :)

Zann said...

I know where that place is! It is very pretty. We thankfully never dined there but it sounds delightful minus the bill. Happy Anniversary!!

Happy Mom said...

Congrats girl!!!
Pricey places make me nervous!

Amy R said...

Oh, no! I can't imagine David laughing. No way. Cry, maybe. More likely his head would explode. I'm just really glad J didn't explode & ruin your anniversary. And happy anniversary.

Liam's Mom said...

"J and I each thoroughly enjoyed both bites." Priceless sentence!

You are darling as ever. I am glad you both agreed the price tag was worth the 9 year celebration. We are off to spend that kind of dough tomorrow night for our anniversary at Sundance.

Melissa said...

That is so funny, only because we've accidentally done that before too; a few times actually. You'd think we'd learn. It makes for a good story and a fun memory. And now you know...