17 November 2011

Surprise Dates

As I mentioned a while back, I planned a surprise date for Joe and I for our four year anniversary. (Gosh, time really does fly, doesn't it?)

And the biggest surprise of it all was, I managed to keep it a secret from Joe until we were standing right in front of our date venue. 

Sure, I may have doled out a few hints along the way....."it's four hours long"......."and we need to bring three bottles of wine"......but I kept it a secret.

A half-off Yelp deal helped make this an affordable date night out for a special occasion. 

Our venue? None other than Cook Au Vin in Bucktown for a French cooking lesson.

Our menu? The Vuitton Menu:
Starter: Coquille Saint Jacques
Lutees live scallop filled with Mornay sauce and julienned vegetables.

Finished product.

What it looked like on the inside. Yum!

Entree: Poulet Chasseur
Sauteed chicken cooked in a mushroom, white wine, Cognac, and tomato sauce. 

Side: Tournee Vegetables
Seasonable vegetables cut to have precisely seven faces, cooked to perfection, served with decadent sauce.

Desert: Far Breton
Traditional prune cake from Brittany.

When we arrived, the table was set and appetizers of French butter, rosemary goat cheese, brie, and chorizio were set out alongside freshly baked bread for us to snack on as we cooked. 

I've heard reports of French butter being far superior to American crap, and let me tell you, SO true. I loved the butter. 

There were three other couples plus the charming chef. We learned things like how to roast garlic, how to perfectly roast a red pepper, that smart kitchen prep involves starting with cleanest to dirtiest (translation: prep the chicken last - you won't have to worry about contamination and you skip the need for multiple cutting boards/knives). 

We learned how to set things on fire, how to properly juilenne vegetables, and what oils to use. How to look cute in dorky hats, how wine makes everything better, and just how much the French really do love their butter (holy cow!). 

The food was amazing. The fun of the meal was in the prepwork. And I'd call our anniversary date a success! 

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