Saturday, December 31, 2011

My birthday dinner

***Please excuse quality of photos.  I only had my iphone and not my camera!  Eeks!***

I had the MOST wonderful birthday ever!  It started with a surprise party (a post on that is forthcoming) and ended with an afternoon and evening with my husband down in Orlando.  We had reservations at The Vineyard Grill at The Ritz Carlton.  Our friends from church offered to keep the boys for us so we could have the night to ourselves.  


We left early due to traffic and I'm so glad we did.  Otherwise, we would have missed our reservation.  Traffic was awful!  As we walked in the lobby, we made a quick stop for hot chocolate in the lobby.  It was fabulous.  


Be sure to notice the scruffy beard on my hubby.  He had a few days off during the holiday season and decided not to shave.  I actually liked it.  He kept it this way until right before the Christmas Eve services when he HAD to shave.  


Back in October, we were brought here for dinner by a couple in our church.  To say it was amazing is an understatement.  The food was great but the service...oh, the service!  It was OFF THE CHAIN!  So, when it was time to decide where to go for my birthday, it was a no-brainer.  Fortunately, they were able to work us in even though the holiday season is incredibly busy for them.  


We arrived and were greeted by the sweetest young lady then taken to our table.  As you can see, they go the extra mile to make you feel special.  
We were happy to see James, our server from our last visit.  Because of the way he treated us then, we will call ahead and request him every time.  He is that good!  Not only does he do an incredible job, he even remembered details about our order from our visit two months ago.  Seriously?  Who does that with someone they have only met once?  


We ordered an appetizer while we tried to decide on our entrees.  The shrimp were HUGE and delicious.  (and pretty!)
I had the filet last time so I stuck with it on this visit.  It was perfect.  Actually, my mouth is watering now just thinking about it.  Maybe I should go back soon just to make sure it was as good as I thought it was?  I ordered a side of Truffle Grits.  I actually find it quite odd that I ordered grits.  Up until a few months ago, I hated grits.  Now, I seem to order them and even crave them.  The truffle grits were good but nothing close to how good the black garlic grits were last time.  Once again, who knew I liked grits?
Dan had grilled swordfish and really liked it.  I think it may have been the first time he has ever ordered swordfish but it was a good decision for him.  James encouraged him to try it and he was glad he did.  His side dish was a huge bowl of mushrooms.  They were quite tasty.  


While we were waiting on our food, Fabiola, the pastry chef came out to see us.  We met her last time so it was great to see her again.  She is incredibly kind and gracious.  She already knew it was my birthday and told me she had been working on something special for me.  After we were done with our meal, she came out again with this!!!




James took a picture of us with her.  Doesn't she look fun?  She is such a delight!  (A delight?  I've never used that to describe anyone before!?!?!  But, she totally was a delight!)  Probably one of my most favorite things about The Ritz is the homemade ice cream.  Last time we were there, they brought out the most wonderful sorbet I have ever tasted.  It was coconut and simply amazing.  Dan doesn't even like coconut and he loved it.  Well, in true fashion, they brought that out too.  And, they introduced Dan to a new strawberry sorbet.  Yummy, yummy, yummy!


This cute little guy was on my dessert platter.  I told Fabiola I was taking it home to show Jonah and she went to the back and came out with a few more for me to give him.  You'll see that picture below.  She made these out of gum paste.  (I think that is what she said?!?)  Isn't she talented?




After we were done with our meal, we sat and talked to James and Fabiola for quite a while.  We discussed several things with them, including the many ice cream flavors they make at The Ritz.  She told us about a Maple Bacon Pecan Ice Cream she made recently.  The next thing we know, she is gone and heading back to us with a sample.  I am a huge fan of sweet and salty but I'm still not so sure about this one.  I didn't hate it but I wouldn't necessarily order it.  That is mainly due to my extreme love of the coconut sorbet!!!
Before we left, we made sure to get a picture with James also.  He is seriously THE best server I've ever encountered.  He (and the team at The Vineyard Grill) do an incredible job.  I'm so glad we were introduced to them.  The food is wonderful but the people there make for a wonderful night out.
Since I posted on Facebook about my wonderful birthday dinner there, I've had three different people ask me about it and tell me of their plans to try it out.  Seriously, if you live here, it is a must do!  Let us know when you go and we'll be glad to introduce you to our friends there.  They helped make my birthday one of the best of my life.  

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