On Saturday, we got the birthday festivities started to celebrate my 27th b'day! On Saturday morning, Saunders and Katie Anne gave me my big gift from them... a hammock and stand for the back yard. I love it! It was something I was really hoping to get for my birthday. I'm so excited to have a place to relax outside that is not- ewww- touching any nature. ;) I spent two hours outside yesterday afternoon, reading my magazines and relaxing on the hammock!
Katie Anne and me- opening my hammock!
Katie Anne and her daddy.
Saunders putting it all together.
Ahhh... this is what I call summer relaxation!
Katie Anne relaxes in the yard... thanks to the Lancasters for the cute dress!
Then, on Saturday night, Saunders surprised me with a trip to home in Buckhead, which is the restaurant just opened by Richard Blais, one of the finalists from Top Chef. Since I ADORE Top Chef and I'm a huge fan of Richard's, this was an amazing surprise! We had an INCREDIBLE dinner...
Amuse bouche: Raw oysters with Tabasco Sauce pearls - created with liquid nitrogen. Very tasty, bright, and fresh. Since we'd seen Richard make the pearls (aka Dippin Dots) on Top Chef, it was so exciting to eat them ourselves!
Starter: Saunders had the Roasted Foie Gras with pickled strawberries and buttermilk pancakes, while I had Chicken Fried Sweetbreads with sausage gravy, granny smith apple, and rocket salad. (Don't Google sweetbreads... you don't want to know.)
The foie gras was AMAZING. Literally melt in your mouth. With the pickled strawberries and pancakes... let's just say Tom Colicchio would describe it as a well-composed bite. The sweetbreads were also very good- again, neat to eat something I'd watched Richard make on tv.
Main Plates: Saunders had The Big Veal Chop with greens and porcini mushrooms. The chop was great- sous vide and so tender. The greens were very sour and the porcini not quite cooked enough for Saunders. I had the Shrimp and Grits with andouille sausage, Florida citrus, and she-crab butter. If I had that for dinner every night for the rest of my life, I would die a happy girl. So incredibly good. If I didn't think it would've been incredibly rude, I would've slurped up the remaining butter when I was finished.
We also had family-style veggies to go with our dinner... carrots, potatoes, bread and butter pickles, and turnips. The potatoes were just okay, but the turnips and pickles were very good, and the carrots were delish. The server said the secret ingredient is local clover honey. Yum!
Dessert: Saunders had red velvet cake with cream cheese ice cream, and I had sour cream pecan cake with sweet tea ice cream. Both were heavenly... especially the ice creams. I know sweet tea ice cream sounds nuts, but it was actually smooth and delicious. I wish I had some right now!
We got to see Richard several times! Although he didn't come to our table, we did see him out and about in the restaurant several times, and we got to hear him talking to a table of folks he seemed to know really well who were sitting right next to us. Also, there are portholes where you can see in the kitchen, and we got to see him cooking- and he was really cooking! So, I was so thrilled to actually eat something created by one of my favorite celebrity chefs.
What a great birthday surprise!