September 18, 2011

A Perfect Birthday Celebration for My Husband...

How do you plan a perfect birthday celebration for someone? Recently I was wondering what I should plan for my husband's birthday. The celebration was to be on a Friday evening and the details were to be secret until the time arrived. I know my husband's favorite restaurants and other places he likes - but I wanted to pick some place special, some place not everyday. I know he enjoys French cuisine and jazz so I decided try to include these elements in my plan for the evening. After a bit of research and a few telephone calls I decided to take him to dinner at La Chaumière and then to Blues Alley for a jazz concert. (My only challenge was keeping these plans secret until it was time to go out.)

Finally my husband’s birthday arrived and after work we headed to La Chaumière in Georgetown for dinner. This was my first time dining at this restaurant so walking down the sidewalk I was hoping it would a be the perfect spot for a birthday dinner. I was delighted when we arrived and were seated at our table. The interior of the restaurant is rustic, old school French and the atmosphere is romantic and relaxed. We brought a bottle of wine that Jonathan had purchased at Ansonia Wines to drink on his birthday. Our waiter brought us glasses and opened the bottle while we faced the difficult decision of what to order to eat.

Then menu at La Chaumière is classic French - salads, onion soup, escargot, mussels, stews, and more... After much mental debate I decided to get Palourdes Farcies à la Provençale (baked clams) for my appetizer and Fricassée du Pêcheur (fish stew) for my entrée. Jonathan ordered Boudin Blanc (housemade chicken and pork sausage) to start and Tripes à la Mode de Caen (tripe stew) for his main course.

Boudin Blanc

After ordering we were served warm bread. (Unfortunately the butter was not European-style cultured butter, but the bread was very good.) Soon after our appetizers arrived. My clams were baked with butter, parsley, and garlic - similar to the traditional preparation for escargot - and were very good. And like with escargot there was plenty of melted butter and herbs to soak up with bread. Next came my entrée, the fish stew. In addition to fish, the stew also contained a variety of other seafood and vegetables- clams, shrimp, mussels, scallops, potatoes, and carrots. The broth was richly flavored and delicious. I was very happy Jonathan enjoyed both his dishes (as well as tastes of mine) immensely. The meal was wonderful and comforting - a perfect birthday dinner.

Fricassée du Pêcheur

Tripes à la Mode de Caen

Following dinner we took a walk down M Street window shopping in the warm summertime dusk. As it was getting dark we had about an hour until the jazz concert began so we decided to stop for a drink at the lounge at the Four Seasons. Bourbon Steak, the restaurant in this hotel, has a fashionable lounge are with both indoor and outdoor seating. Due to the fact that it was a nice summer evening, all outside tables were occupied, but we were able to find a nice spot inside to enjoy a glass of wine and dessert. (There were several tempting desserts on the menu at La Chaumière, however, we had wanted to take a walk and enjoy the outdoors between our savory and sweet courses.) Even though it was Jonathan’s birthday, he allowed me to pick the dessert. I chose chocolate, of course. Specifically we shared a chocolate pot de crème with crumbled cookies, ice cream, and toasted hazelnuts. It was lovely!

Chocolate Pot de Crème

Finally, it was time for the concert. This was my first time at Blues Alley and it is located in an alley off Wisconsin Avenue. Once inside it was a dimly-lit space with small tables tightly packed together. We were seated a few rows back from the stage and settled in to enjoy the show. The performer was Freddy Cole. I am not a jazz aficionado, but had a wonderful time at the show. And the best part was watching my husband Jonathan smile as he listened to the music.


Rambling Tart said...

What a wonderful birthday you planned! Your meal sounds absolutely incredible - though I admit I would never, ever order tripe on purpose! You have a brave hubby. :-)

Bethany said...

Jessie- the first line and the last line of this captivating birthday dining celebration are pure eloquence. I can exactly picture the tone of your pleasant evening. Loved it.

Jessica said...

@ Krista - My husband is braver than I am when it comes to eating lots of things. And he not only eats them - but he enjoys them too! :-)

@ Beth - Thank you!