At Home: A Birthday Dinner for Michael

Channeling the poet Robbie Burns about the best laid plans….* We were in the city last Sunday excitedly anticipating celebrating Michael’s birthday the next day at EMP. We’d already done some pre-actual birthday-celebrating beginning with a delightful dinner on Friday at Del Posto. We’d been three times for lunch but this was the first dinner. (Photo set here.)  On Saturday, we had a sensational dinner at betony, one of our favorite NYC restaurants which we’ve been to numerous times since it opened in May 2013. (Photo set here.)

On Sunday morning, we awoke to find that Mother Nature was about to put the proverbial crimp in our plans. A blizzard** was going to assault the city on Michael’s birthday with a predicted 30 inches of snow! The timing was snow starting in the early evening and then ramping up to blizzard status after midnight. Our reservation was for 8 p.m. We figured we could probably make it to the restaurant, but our fear was because the meal is very long, we’d have trouble making it back to our apartment (three avenue blocks away) through howling winds and drifting snow. So, we did something that we’ve never done before at EMP. We canceled. Yup! We’ve been to EMP more than 100 times, and this was the first time we’ve ever canceled!

After a lovely brunch at another of our favorite spots Union Square Café (Photo set here), we went back to NJ Sunday afternoon and set about preparing for a birthday dinner at home the next night cooked by yours truly. Michael wanted an aged steak. Whole Foods opened near our house last year, and they age steaks in-house. So, we headed over there, chatted with the butcher, and selected a gorgeous ribeye.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

This was the only thing we needed to buy, so we were all set.

The Birthday Dinner

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

Michael uses the Coravin to pour an excellent Bordeaux.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

At my suggestion, we started with French Onion Soup Gratinée, one of his favorite soups. So perfect for a wintry evening.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

We’re fortunate to have an indoor grill which I used to cook the steak.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

To be honest, I always worry about getting the temperature of a steak exactly right. Michael likes it rare though he will accept medium rare. Luckily, I managed perfection!

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

By the way, my husband is probably the only man in America who does not grill — outdoors or in.

I had asked Michael what sides he wanted.  He chose Potato Gratin and Broccoli.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

Potato Gratin

The steak was juicy and had great flavor, the gratin was creamy, and the steamed broccoli with salt, pepper, and lemon butter was tasty.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

When I asked Michael if he wanted me to make something fancy for dessert — perhaps, a soufflé? — he said he preferred his favorite Breyer’s Vanilla doused with Kahlua.

At Home:  Birthday Dinner for M.

It was, if I must say so myself, a delicious meal. To quote another famous poet: “All’s well that ends well.”***

The photo set from this dinner can be viewed on my Flicker here

Notes:

*The exact lines from the Burns poem are:
“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”

**Of course, we know now that the blizzard didn’t happen, but we still feel we made the right decision based on the forecast at that time. Better safe than sorry!

***For the literary-challenged, that would be Shakespeare.

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