Santa came a little early for Nathan AND John and me. Yesterday, with Nathan spending the day with his dad’s family, my Johnny and I had a romantic, wintery dinnner-and-a-movie holiday date. Movie first, the new Bond flick Casino Royale. What a totally raucous, sexy, clever, action-packed blast! (And nice blue eyes, James…)
Then on to dinner at the highly regarded Bayport Cookery, in pretty little Bayport, Minnesota, just-south of Stillwater on the St. Croix river. I’d not been there before and that’s a damn shame, because it is extraordinary. Cozy and gorgeous, we were seated in front of a (real!) roaring fire in the beautiful Mission-style dining room. We opted for the 5-course dinner (choices are 9-, 5-, and 3-course) with wine pairings…truly outstanding. Opened with silky chestnut soup garnished with black truffles. On to grilled swordfish over braised saffron lentils. Then rosy pork tenderloin over creamy risotto with a few drops of garnet-red cherry port sauce. And then the “main course” of New York strip alongside a slice of crispy potato galette and garnished with bordelaise and a smidge of fresh crabmeat. I opted for the cheese course for dessert – raw milk manchego served with a tiny, warm, phyllo-wrapped fig. John chose – of course – the chocolate grand marnier creme brulee and loved it. At just a few special bites each, the courses were perfectly proportioned and we left feeling satisfied, not ill (novel thought in a restaurant these days, sadly). The service was friendly and top-notch. The pairing wines were thoughtfully chosen and delightful. In sum, we enjoyed a gorgeous, romantic night and a lovely way to ease into Christmas…
…which we kicked off this morning, allowing Nathan to open his Santa gifts (as I said, Santa came a bit early to this house since Nathan won’t be here tomorrow morn). I baked Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake, dividing the batter between a pan of mini-muffins (for us) and a couple of small loaves (for Stace and my aunt Mary). Even ol’ Sigs got in on the action! He’s been pretty busy this year, celebrating his 15th Hanukkah/Christmas holiday season by knocking ornaments off the tree with his wagging tail, snagging hors d’oeuvres off party-guests’ plates, and hosting a playdate (of sorts) with Digby. Rooooo!
And oh! I can’t forget to say how much fun I had at dinner Thursday night with Suz, her Cousin Ann, and Kim at Salut Bar Americain! We had our pommes frites, as promised, and they rocked – of course! Bearnaise dipping-sauce could make damn near anything taste good, mmmm. (I think I’d eat cold pommes frites off a dirty floor if I had Bearnaise sauce alongside, ha.) I also opened with a couple of delicious raw oysters, followed by a yummy salad. I’ve certainly had my share of delicious holiday meals – and it’s not technically even Christmas yet!
So another tonight – as I said earlier, beef stroganoff for John, Nathan, and me. And then tomorrow out to Mary and Bruce’s for more family and feasting – NICE!
And although it’s a day late – Happy Birthday Kathie!!!
As the year draws to a close, I want to say a great big thanks, my friends, for reading my blog and trying my recipes – it all makes me feel great! I am so grateful for the blessings of family, friends, health, and abundance. I hope you’re having a lovely, peaceful holiday season! My best wishes to you and your families!