Steve decided on Al Dente Ristorante, a great Italian fine-dining restaurant. Many years ago, I was a regular at Al Dente. All the staff called me Mr. Duane, and I got a lot of comped stuff and special treatment. They would decorate birthday tables with baloons and centerpieces, bring by free bottles of wine now and then, make me special dishes and desserts. Back then I had this VIP card that basically let one member of the party eat for free. So a $200 bill for four people would get cut down to about $150 (drinks weren't covered). The restaurant adds a 10-percent gratuity, but I would always leave a good chunk of money saved from the "free diner" deal with the server -- 25 percent to 40 percent tips are VERY much appreciated by serving staff. LOL
I began with a nice, cold beer -- Asahi, a Japanese brand. The restaurant also provides two different kinds of bread for free -- a kind of modified focaccia (they used to serve this with roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil on the side, but no they use some kind of piquant spread) and pizza bread in long, thin, triangle slices with a light topping of cheese served with this amazing, creamy aioli. Delish!
I had a great appetizer before the main course -- antipasto misti, which consisted of a grilled scallop and prawn (which I donated to R and T), carmelized onions, buffalo mozzarella with a tiny dollop of pesto, tomatos, sweet and sour bell peppers, veal carpaccio, ansiago cheese and bruschetta. Mmmm ... Almost went with the mushroom soup, which S had, because they make amazingly tasty, creamy soup there, but I felt like having thinly sliced tortured baby cow instead.
There were so many delightful choices on the menu, plus several chef's specials. I changed my mind several times. First, it was going to be the ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms, then the rack of lamb and beef tenderloin combo, then the mushroom risotto with foie gras. In the end, I decided on the grilled chicken breast with garlic-porcini mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and a lovely sauce.
OH ... MY ... GOD!!
Did I ever choose right. The mushrooms alone were worth it ... they were ... fuck they were sheer divinity on the tongue.
I skipped dessert. S got an awesome personal tiramisu, complimentary for the birthday boy. R and T shared a super rich chocolate souffle thing filled with molten chocolate and served with a scoop of ice cream and some freshly whipped cream. They seemed to enjoy it very, VERY much.
For me, I pretty much settled on coffee. Rich, flavorful, delectable, strong Italian coffee.
A lot of pics were taken, but I only have one that has me in it, and the picture isn't that good, so you don't get to see it. And I figure none of you have any real desire to see S or R or T or even her husband K. Maybe once I get pics from R and T that have me in them too, maybe then I'll post them.
GOLF WITH THE GODSONS
After almost four solid days of mostly rain, amazingly Sunday dawned clear and sunny, and the weather held up through the day. We once again played Admiral Nimitz Golf Course -- it's nice and open and flat with no water to endanger golf balls, plus it's usually not too packed, which makes it ideal for me and S to take the boys out.
I started off rather shitty; just couldn't get any part of my game going, except my putter. Several one putts, a couple of them rather long, kept my score from blowing up too big. I managed two pars somehow on the front nine (which was the course's back nine) but also shot a triple bogey and two double bogeys -- and even there, putting kept the score from getting too crazy -- a 47 on the front, 11 over par.
On the back nine, after a quick lunch (cheeseburger and fries), I started off horrible. Only a 12-foot putt let me escape with a triple bogey. None of my other shots were working at all -- not my driver, not my fairway woods, not my irons, not even my wedges.
But on the next hole, a par-5, I turned things around. I hit a decent drive, then hit a decent 3-wood to about 115 yards from the green. But I couldn't find the ball initially, so I dropped a provisional. Just 15 feet head, as I drove the cart up, I found it. Lucky me. Hit a 9-iron to just off the green, about 50 feet away from the pin. I hit a bump-and-run with an 8-iron and it rolled up ... and up ... and IN for the birdie! Woo-hoo for me!
By the way ... I realize that only Knight is likely reading this part of the post. LOL
It was bogey golf for the next three holes, then par, then an unfortunate double because of a bad decision, then par-bogey to finish at 8 over 44 for the front, for a 91 total, which is pretty good for me. If I had gotten warm earlier (shoulda stretched more or got to the course early to hit the driving range!), I would have broken 90 for sure.
But there's always next weekend for that.
And the boys again had a lot of fun. A is getting to be pretty dead solid perfect on putts inside of 8 feet ... he holed quite a few of those on Sunday. He's also connecting more often off the tee ... on one hole S and I both hit shitty drives that only got past his by about 30 yards! LOL ... As for J, I think he likes to play mostly because he gets to be with me, his dad and brother, but he does get excited when he catches a good one. And, of course, there's always the thrill of pressing the gas pedal for me.
There you go. That was the weekend. Hope yours was good too.