Happy Anniversary

We celebrated our 11th anniversary on the 24th of June, with an day spent childless and with no particular plan in mind with what to do with this free time.

It was hard to come up with a plan for this year. Last year we spent our anniversary in Quebec City and enjoyed wonderful, wonderful food, beautiful scenery and a charming city.

Our trip began with a lovely meal at Aviatic-Club. I can't recall exactly what we had for dinner that night, and didn't take out my camera to take pictures, but do know we enjoyed the grown up and unusual taste combinations. We ended our meal sharing a bento box style dessert, which had a little bit of everything. I wish I had had the foresight then to have had my camera with me. Oh well.

On the evening of our actual anniversary, we chose to dine at the highly recommended Laurie Raphael. As a young couple with young children, we had never had the opportunity to enjoy such fine dinning before. We were also very obviously the youngest patrons in the restaurant that night.

Laurier Raphael does not have a "traditional" menu that details what goes into each item. Instead the chef provides you with three items that will go into the dish. My entree involved duck, but also included fois grois and I believe truffles.

Again I don't have many pictures. I did bring my camera this time but was discouraged by my husband from taking pictures at what was clearly an upscale restaurant. This was pre-blog. Now I would ignore him and let the staff know I intended to take pictures throughout the evening.

I did get one picture though, of Warren's dessert. Listed as Maple selection, it included a piece of sugar pie, maple ice cream, and maple creme brulee, topped with cotton candy. Other patrons in the restaurant stopped to see this dish brought to our table.

Mine was not nearly so dramatic to look at - a trio of creme brulee. Pistachio (my personal favorite), vanilla, and "plain." I'm not normally much for creme brulee but mmmm'd every bite of this.

We also learned while we were in the restaurant that the chef taught cooking classes. Unfortunately we hadn't known about this in advance or I would have spent part of my weekend trip apart from my husband, learning from a talented chef. If we ever go back, I'll be reserving my spot in advance. I might even be able to talk my husband into coming with me!

After such a wonderful 10th anniversary, how could we possibly find something we enjoyed as much for our 11th anniversary?

Rather than try to compete, we eventually decided to go with what we knew we liked, Thai food. We googled Thai food in Ottawa, read up on recommendations from Chowhound, and despite all that we eventually decided to go back to the same Thai restaurant we had gone to on our last date out, Sukhothai in Bell's Corners. Nothing fancy, but the food was wonderful. Expectations were high, and this time, I brought my camera.

We started out with Pho-Pia Goong, spring rolls stuffed with whole shrimp. They were crisp, fresh and not at all greasy. It was the first time that night I questioned when purple cabbage had become an authentic Thai vegetable as it decorated nearly every plate we had.

As a main course we ordered three selections, along with rice, served family style. I think they got one wrong. We ordered Tod Gra Tiam Prik Thai, sauteed chicken, pork or beef with garlic and pepper sauce. We asked for pork but as you can see from the picture, we got beef. Neither one of us realized it until after we had begun, and we were very much enjoying the beef, so we said nothing.

I think of the three items, it was my favorite. A touch of sweetness to the sauce and the beef was still tender.

Next we ordered Goong Pad Med Ma Muang, sauteed shrimp with cashew nuts and dried chilli. A bit of heat, but unless you ate the dried chillis, not too hot. Lots of cashews and lots of extra sauce, good for mixing in with the rice.

Our last selection was Pad Kee Mow, spicy, fried noodles with beef, chilli, mushroom and basil leaves.

This one was disappointing to me. The flavor was alright, again not too spicy but still with a bit of heat to it, but the texture was wrong. The noodles were thick and short, like egg noodles. The cabbage that had been displayed on the side of the previous dishes dominated this one instead. It was difficult to get to the noodles without receiving some.

While not the classy evening of last year, or even as good as our expectations had hoped, it was still enjoyable. The wonderful company, and the celebration of 11 years of marriage, combined to make it a night worth remembering.

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