Jason and I got dressed up and went out to dinner for his birthday. Normally, dinner out for us is the 4:45 seating at Casa Durango, our neighborhood hot spot for burritos and carne asada. Antonio doesn't mind that we bring little miss discards cheerios on the floor and we like the food. Someday, she'll stay up past 7:00 on a regular basis and we may be able to dine out with the general population again. Until then, dinners out are either with the no-teeth set (oldies and babies) or it's s big deal that involves babysitters. If I have to pay a babysitter, I'm going to do dinner right. So, for Jason's birthday we dressed up and went to El Gaucho. Sure, it's expensive as hell, but I got to put on a dress and the fancy shoes.
Our Lucy sitters arrived early so they could play with her so we headed to the restaurant early. We enjoyed a cocktail at the bar. We had all night to give each other love eyes so a rap with the bartender is fun. We discussed the merits of infused vodkas. (Don't be surprised if we whip up a batch for the summer.)
After our cocktail hour we were escorted to our table, a lovely two top in the back of the dark candle lit section. This restaurant had a few sections that, in my observation, are seated based upon your mode of dress. The well lit section above the bar seems to be filled with the jeans and t-shirt crowd, the section we were in had the suits, jackets and ladies in sparkle gear or dresses. There is an elevated ring of booths around the perimeter of the dining area and those were occupied by request during the reservation process (maybe next time that will be my request.) There is a second level that is mostly private rooms for larger parties. I asked the waiter about the segregation of diners based upon their mode of dress and he (in his tuxedo) swore up and down that it wasn't true. However, not one t-shirt was in our section, nor have I ever seen it in my many (4) visits to the Gaucho.
We brought our own bottle of wine from our collection and were happy to pay the $25 corkage fee. We never would have paid the restaurant price for that wine, and we had been storing it for a while. It was yummy.
Our dinner was wonderful, although my fillet medallions were overcooked and in spite of the dark location I could tell immediately. Our waiter arrived back at the table within seconds and pulled a flashlight from his tuxedo and took one look, gasped in horror and whipped my plate away before I could say "oh... I'll eat it". While I waited they brought me a plate of the most heavenly mashed potatoes that God ever created. I knew better than to smear them all over my face, but I really wanted to do it.
Jason and I talked like we were on an amazing first date about everything under the sun but we also gossiped about the people around us. We like to try and pick out the people on a date, the bored married couples, the people who are fighting and those that either have just had sex, or will be having sex in the next 90 minutes or so. To our right were two tables of two, a young couple with a bouquet of roses and petals sprinkled on the table and within arms reach an older couple who seemed to be celebrating a birthday - again with a small bouquet of roses. I felt bad that I hadn't thought that far ahead in requesting flowers to make Jason's birthday dinner that much more special. (I'm such a jerk.) To our left was a larger table and the couples arrived separately. The first to arrive was a couple in their late 20's, she was a lovely blond and he a dark haired dreamboat. They seemed happy and chatty with each other. However, when the second couple arrived, a brown haired woman with a man who looked eerily like the first guy the blond clammed up like someone took a crap on her skirt. (what!?) Anywho, when the older couple arrived it was clear it was the parents of the two men and the ladies were the wives. Instantly, the dark haired woman started talking and laughing with the mom and the blond didn't say another word the whole night. Everyone but her ordered appetizers, steaks and drank wine. They had a great time. She however ate salad, drank either water or a tall clear cocktail and seemed to be wishing for death. I thought how awful it must be to be happily in love with your man but not connect with his boisterous family. Frankly, the family seemed fun so the poor girl came off like she has a major stick up her butt.
We lingered over dinner and dessert and the older couple to our right finished dinner and left. I noticed that they left their roses on the table, so after a few moments I said to Jason, "I'm getting you flowers." Without even having to stand up, I reached over and pulled the small bouquet onto our table and we proceeded to talk and enjoy our night. Maybe a minute later the woman was back, in her coat, standing at her former table. The waiter arrived and she said, "I forgot my flowers, but they aren't here." HORROR. I felt badly and was terribly embarrassed. I fessed up immediately and as I handed them to her I sad "I'm so sorry, we thought you left them. Happy birthday." She looked confused, took the flowers and left without saying a word. (I'm sure I don't come off very well in her version of the story.) I turned back around and Jason was laughing at me. Clearly, my horror was humorous. I'll give him credit for acknowledging that it was a no harm, no foul situation.
A moment later the waiter arrived at our table with a new bouquet of roses in hand and pointed to the other table of two and said "that couple over there would like you to have their roses." HORROR. If you thought I was embarrassed before, imagine how that was compounded upon realizing that the folks around us saw me steal the flowers and then have to give them back. I leaned over and said "you don't want to give me your roses, I'm a common criminal." They laughed and said "enjoy!" Jason and I had a good laugh... well, he laughed and I tried to compose myself.
As the evening wound down we were ready to head home and our waiter brought us the bill (horror again, but it was expected) and reminded us to take our flowers home. We were just getting on the freeway when I remembered that I forgot to grab the roses. Oh well, at least the generous couple had already left and didn't see me abandon their sweet gesture.
Happy Birthday to my special guy, next time I'll buy you your own roses.