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chapeau and cassis

    happy birthday

    BF's birthday last week was full of food, wine, more food, more wine, and three straight days of bloated happiness. I initially didn't intend to blog about this since I prefer natural day lighting and take terrible shots at night but you know what? Forget it, why not? So here you are, two great meals at two superb restaurants in San Francisco to celebrate Brent's being born 25 years ago. Wow, that's such a bizarre number.

    scallop and pesto risotto with lobster bisque
    filet mignon
    chocolate cake
    (click through or hover over photos to see what we got)

    Four course prix fixe meal at Chapeau for two. Keep in mind I am not including photos of at least three items (fried tiger prawns, creme brulee, etc.) and that all of this food was consumed by TWO people. This was our special night together on the night of his birthday! Of course, Brenty brought the wine but we started off with two kir royales while we waited for our table. Chef Philippe was so adorable and always checked up on us although it was a fairly busy night (on a Tuesday, wow). BF were both surprised to see that we paid so little (well, by fine dining standards) for such spectacular food... for the quality meal we experienced there I'm sure you'd easily pay double for it elsewhere (the atmosphere is so much less pretentious, too). If anyone was wondering, BF got the duck dish while I went with the filet mignon. We had originally intended to just get the three course meal but when our waiter described the tasting fish of the night, a scallop perched on top of a pesto risotto and drizzled with a lobster bisque, we knew we couldn't say no. Overall, it was a memorable meal. I think we may go back this summer for their early bird menu.

    Actually, I have a funny story that goes along with this. By the end of the meal, I was so full that I asked BF to zip down my dress in the cab; however, I was wearing my FAVORITE silk shirt underneath and I was so bloated that the zipper got caught and would not budge. Well, when we got home, after a couple pulls and tugs, the zipper came off COMPLETELY and took off a large chunk of my top. If that is not a sign of a successful dinner, I don't know what is.

    shrimp and scallops
    (click through or hover over photos to see what we got)

    The next big meal came less than 24 hours later but this time we were in a bigger party of friends. Cassis was a lot less crowded (well, we were actually the only other party in there) but it was ideal for our large rowdy group. Most of us passed on the prix fixe by ordering a la carte and shared appetizers which included two pizzas (marguerite and campagnarde), escargots, and foie gras. Don't ask me about the wine, I just remember that there were two hefty magnums involved which were demolished by the end of the night. Most of the people in our party were persuaded by our waiter's description of the duck cassoulet (which no one was able to completely finish) but I had scallops and shrimp a second time in a row. Why not? Live large, it's not every day you can do this.

    And well, now it's back to the reality of instant ramen noodles and ham sandwiches. One day I'll have a steady job and will treat myself to amazing meals on a weekly basis (hah) but until then, these trips will be sparse. While I do enjoy reliable hole-in-the-wall joints, it's fun to go out once in a while and let loose. Even if your favorite clothes end up ruined...