Friday, January 14, 2011

Tonight is Date Night, at least that is what I have always thought Fridays are. We still honor the date night tradition even though we have not been on an official unmarried date since 1973. In our early marriage when babies were born and money was tight "Date Night" would be something as simple as walking round the mall and having a coke, or going to the drive-in theater with babes in tow. We would make a sandwich and have a canned drink each, have the kids fed and bathed with beds made in the back of the car. We could go to a double feature for next to nothing, providing the early feature was kid appropriate. They would halfway watch the first movie and drift to sleep. We would not fall asleep until midway through the 2nd movie.

Spring forward 30 or so years and we have a totally different date night routine. If Son3 is having guests for the evening, date night means take-out food and a rented DVD. We don't really stay in their face or space, but we are here if they are. It's not really a true date, but it's necessary plus we have found some fabulous places who will accommodate take out

If it is high school football season, date night means leaving our house at 5:45 headed for a football stadium, and eating a hot dog washed down with a bottle of water. Not a lot of dining pleasure there but I know we will miss it when Son3 leaves for college.

The rest of the Friday nights in the year are filled with dining at various restaurants. That does not mean all fine dining at all. We might grab late night burger at Purple Onion, a bowl of soup at The Dip, or go somewhere that requires better clothes and party manners. It is really just based on what we plan to do before or after the meal. Like everyone we tend to be creatures of habit and will hit the same places one time too many then become burned out on it. That happened with Dodiyo's recently. 3 weeks in a row is just too many and something really good becomes ordinary. Tonight (with the fatal Dodiyo overkill fresh on our brains ) we decided to run down to Fox Valley.

Score on for the home team! 1 very dirty martini each and some conversation at a nicely private table set the stage for the evening. Hub had the seared tuna with shrimp and crab covered with some house sauce they make. After tasting it I think it was a highly gussied up hollandaise. I am not sure what else came with his plate because my attention was totally on mine... Seared Duck with whipped sweet potatoes and sauteed spinach. It was wonderful, and I would like to say I enjoyed every single bit, but in truth I quit eating when everything was only half gone. The only reason I agreed to go there with no discussion was the dessert. The triple cream brulee is destination worthy. I only order a meal there so I can have it afterward. Truth be told, I would love to order only the cream brulee (double portions?) and coffee. What can you say about 3 pots of brulee? One is a perfect classic cream brulee with the wonderful crunchy caramelized sugar on top. Perfectly soft yet the cream holds its shape on the spoon. The second (my personal favorite) is the Triple Sec version. Actually just like the first but with triple sec in the cream and finely ground orange rind in the sugar topping. The third is the Godiva Irish Cream. It is also delicious but pales compared to the others. Now my mission is to find someone who has worked there who will tell me exactly how they are made. I can make a pretty decent cream brulee, but as much as I have tried I cannot replicate these. Years ago, I was on a similar quest for the recipe for the White Chocolate Bread Pudding from Prairie Fire Grill. I finally found a guy who worked in the kitchen there and begged him for the secret. He claimed they all had to sign a binding statement that they would divulge no recipes to anyone. When I asked him what it would take to get the recipe (since I was not going to open a restaurant as competition) we agreed a case of Bud Light would be a fine trade. Now if any of you work or know someone who works at Fox Valley, please let them know there is a desperate woman who will find an acceptable barter item for the recipe!!!! I simply must have it!!


  1. You have no idea how many crab cakes I've made, trying to replicate FV's recipe. I used to dine there about once a month and got really close to a waitress whose brother was a chef there...still no secret sharing!


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