Katie Did and Katie Does
#Resound11: Best Meal
Categories: #Resound11

Prompt 11 – Best Meal: What is the best meal or best food that you have eaten all year? Did you make it? Did you get it at a restaurant? Do your best to describe the food and the experience with us.

I’ve had many truly fantastic meals in 2011, including some memorable dining experiences around my hometown of Buffalo, such as:

  • the first Valentine’s Day dinner I had with my boyfriend at Merge, the restaurant where we first met;
  • my birthday meal at La Tee Da;
  • the surprisingly incredible lemon pepper scallops I discovered at the unassuming Papa Jakes;
  • the mouth-watering prosciutto-wrapped roasted pears with homemade gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce at Blue Monk;
  • and the super mega delicious shrimp-n-grits and pork belly with apple glaze appetizers at my favorite local spot, Shango.

And then there were the fabulous dining experiences I had out of town, most notably:

  • an unbelievably romantic meal with Dan on our last night in Bruges at a cozy, off-the-beaten-path Flemish restaurant, Bistro de Schaar;
  • eating atop the Euromast with my reunited classmates overlooking our lovely Rotterdam;
  • some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing in London;
  • and the unforgettable shrimp and polenta with tropical fruit salsa I had at The Parrot Club in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Just to name a few.

I must admit, I ate pretty well this year. And maybe that’s indicative of another story for another time…

But as wonderful as each of those meals were, the one that stands out the most to me–for reasons beyond the amazing food–was when I took myself on a date to the Buffalo Chophouse.

You read that right – I took myself on a date. And I make for delightful company, if I do say so myself.

Dan was away throughout the course of the entire fall season, but, at my request, tried to come home as many weekends as he could manage. He started his travels in August, so by November, I had grown extremely weary of being separated. On a Friday night in early November, as Dan took a redeye home from the West Coast, I decided against ordering take out and sitting in front of my laptop the rest of the evening trying to catch up on work. Instead, I put down the take out menu and thought about going to the Buffalo Chophouse. For those reading this outside of Buffalo, the Chophouse is one of the nicest–and priciest–restaurants in town, and is a place I have never dined at before, figuring it would be saved for a “special occasion.” Little did I realize that special occasion would come on a random Friday night when I was by myself. But it came, and I found myself putting on a great outfit for dinner.

Sometimes, you need to step away from work. Sometimes, you need good, nourishing food that doesn’t just do something for your stomach, but for your soul. Sometimes, you need to get dressed up – for yourself and no one else. But you must always listen to yourself when these urges come calling.

During the 5-minute ride from my house to downtown, I told myself this was a treat I was giving to myself. I’ve realized over the years that you can’t minimize the importance of actually giving yourself things that you enjoy, and it’s equally as important to recognize this gesture, as it’s a mutual sign of appreciation and respect for yourself. With the complexity and hectic pace of every day life, it’s all too easy to neglect ourselves and our own needs, which makes incorporating these gestures into your life that much more important to maintain a level of sanity.

I arrived to the Chophouse and opted for valet over finding parking on the street. Date night had officially begun.

I chose to sit at the bar rather than at my own table, which is not what I would choose if I had someone accompanying me. But why I chose the bar is simple – it opened myself up to having conversation with strangers, if I chose to partake in it (the ‘if’ is what was key to that sentiment). That said, I opted for the corner seat, away from the action but with a clear view of it. I was, afterall, on a date with someone that I wanted to give my full attention to, and who was deserving of it.

What did I order? As you can see from the pictures, I did not have one of the steaks or fine cuts of meat the Chophouse is known for. I had an incredibly satisfying bowl of lush lobster soup, accompanied by warm baked bread and olives, a Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, all pared with a glass of Chardonnay. I finished the meal with chocolate mousse drizzled in homemade caramel and chocolate sauces with fresh fruit. I didn’t need a steak to make me feel like this was a complete and luxurious meal. I took my time with each bite, really tasting the food. I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I find myself eating too fast to even enjoy what it is that I’m consuming. Well, not this night. I savored every morsel.

I chatted a bit with the bartender, and observed those around me: the man eating his “usual” two seats down from me, making small talk with the other bartender; the group of three couples at the other end of the bar who were waiting for their table; the two seemingly single women who were there having a drink together but perhaps were looking for someone else’s company that night. I then drew my attention to those sitting at the tables and observed the mood amongst the diners. Then to those working at the restaurant and their fluid movements passing between tables. Nothing about the scene escaped me, and I soaked it all in with my wine. When I wasn’t observing what was around me, I observed myself. I noticed how content I was with myself. And that contentment turned to gratitude, saying to myself, “Thank you for thinking of me – I needed this.”

And I did need it. We all do. So, the moral of this story is (for you and for me): make time to treat yourself to whatever it is that you need, be it a meal, a vacation, a run, time spent alone reflecting or just not thinking at all. You will thank yourself for it.

 

Date night dinner: Lobster bisque, kalamata olives, fresh baked bread, Caesar salad, glass of Chardonnay

For dessert: Chocolate Mousse with carmel and chocolate sauce and fresh fruit

2 Comments to “#Resound11: Best Meal”

  1. nicole says:

    I love this so much!!!! I love “me” dates 🙂

  2. Katie says:

    “Me” dates are a necessity from time to time!

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