Yes, that's the traditional pizza-sized chocolate chip cookie that marks
Jeremy's birthdays -- this one saying "Happy Birthday Kitchen Magician"
in recognition of Jeremy's culinary skills (and especially the Mother's
Day dinner that he had prepared on Sunday).
For his birthday dinner, Nancy and I took him to Gracie's in Providence. Gracie's is a true gourmet restaurant -- which is why this
wasn't just a place to eat dinner out but was a birthday present to Jeremy,
a true foodie dinner for a food fan. Gracie's strives, whenever possible,
to prepare and serve fresh, local, artisanal foods. Their menu changes
monthly, based on what their local suppliers can provide. (We joked that
not only does their goat cheese come from Rhode Island goats, but the kitchen
staff knows those goats by name.) Here is their May menu (but,
of course, if you are looking at this after Memorial Day, the menu will be different).
When we were seated, they poured us small glasses of a sparkling white
wine, just a gesture to welcome us and they knew it was Jeremy's birthday.
Then we had a bottle of Bryon Pinot Noir, which was a birthday gift from
Ben, the guy who owns the restaurant where Jeremy is general manager (who
had called Gracie's and ordered it). We all decided to have the chef's
choice special, which consist of multiple smaller sized servings of entrees
selected by the head chef from the current month's menu. You have a choice
of five items or seven items and we chose to get the five item option,
but Jeremy also ordered the foie gras. (Or, as the menu says "Hudson
Valley Foie Gras," which is served with strawberry rhubarb preserve,
toasted pistachio, aged balsamic, and ginger sponge cake -- and which Jeremy
pronounced to be "creamier than cream.")
This was a leisurely meal; we were seated and sipping the sparkling wine around 7:15
and we left just before 10:00. There were many kinds of bread offered to us throughout
the meal, our water glasses never got below halfway, and when, at one point, our waiter
told us there would be a slight delay, our next course would be delayed by five minutes, and
then poured us glasses of another wine that he thought would go nicely with that delayed course.
The food, needless to say, was not just good, it was exquisite, incredible arrays of flavor and
texture. We all found that we kept closing our eyes as we ate to concentrate on the marvelous
flavors and textures.
Jeremy was very happy. (So were Nancy and I -- but, after all, this was
for his birthday.
Then we came home for the traditional birthday cookie but none of us had
room for it.
(Jill did not come with us because she had been hit by some intestinal
bug that kept her from wanting any food at all. She is feeling better today,
although still a bit wiped out.)