For our anniversary, Zack made us reservations at an Irish restaurant far outside of the city in Bee Caves called The Emerald. He made sure to check that there were vegetarian options, and although we didn’t initially plan on making this spot our anniversary restaurant, the promise of a semi-extravagant five course meal made it seem like a perfect place to spend some quality time relaxing and reflecting. When we pulled up at the restaurant, it immediately reminded me of a tiny cottage outside of San Antonio that my father loved to go for some authentic British tea. It was quaint, and seemed to fit the turning-into-fall evening perfectly.
At the beginning of our anniversary dinner, we found out what the “luck of the Irish” truly means. It’s an ironic phrase. They’re not a lucky people, and we started off the night pretty unluckily. As we walked into the homey Emerald Restaurant in Bee Caves, we realized we’d left our camera at home, so we had to use Caitlin’s cell phone camera to snap a picture of ourselves. After two failed attempts, (one because she held the phone backwards and one because her finger was in the way) we got a good one of us laughing at our goofiness.
We had a minute before we were seated and that’s the moment when we realized that we both thought the other had purchased the Groupon for the 5-course meal. Neither had. And what we both had budgeted as a “free” meal that we’d paid for with a $100 Groupon credit, was now going to potentially be a nearly $200 meal. Even if we didn’t get alcohol*.
We both felt guilty, embarrassed and increasingly poor after having thrown a party and gotten each other anniversary gifts. I was not looking forward to writing this post at that point, I’m not gonna lie. Miraculously, the luck of Wittbloom** overcame the luck of the Irish and we had a wonderful meal.
*Instead, we got some tea in an effort to calm us down. I think it worked — and if nothing else, it was delicious.
**This is a phrase worthy of being embroidered on a pillow, if only to remind us how lucky we really are.
We started the night with some hot, fresh soda bread and with homemade butter and strawberry butter*** which were all delicious, but we still felt badly about the mix-up with the lack of Groupon. I’m not going to lie and tell you we just got over it and had a dream anniversary dinner. It took a bit of time. While we worked through it, I got a creamy potato soup that Caitlin couldn’t eat because of the duck broth, but I enjoyed the scalion kick and creamy taste. Salad was the weak link in the course, with an odd dressing (spicy tomato vinaigrette?) and we were still getting back to the excited feeling we had when we arrived. The entree’s helped. And the cherry sorbet palate cleanser.
***We know it was strawberry because I tasted the butters.
Caitlin got the vegetarian plate, which she was more than skeptical of before it came out. “It’s just like stir fry, without rice,” she figured. Two minutes later, she was in heaven, eating a tomato stuffed with cheese that tasted impeccably like a deep dish pizza and marveling at the sweet, savory carrots**** and potatoes.
****I can honestly say I’ve never had carrots so delicious in my life. I don’t know if they dipped them in the tears of angels or what, but they were like candy.
The cheesy tomato was the piece de resistance. Caitlin’s wide eyes signify “delicious things are in my tummy and there are more of them coming.”
In my platter, I got half as many vegetables and stuffed tomatoes as Caitlin, but I also got a nice piece of Chateaubriand (steak) with mushrooms and mushroom sauce dripping off of it. It was a perfect size, moist and the mushrooms were a great touch.
Whoa, swans!***** Our waitress/hostess/woman who ran everything was a saint******. She offered to let us buy the Groupon deal there, which ended up saving us over a hundred dollars. Halfway through our meal, we were the only ones there, so she paid us even more attention and the chef came out twice to check on us. As the CD of Irish music played through its third time and we started to recognize all the songs, we split some Irish whiskey Jameson cake with whipped cream and cherries and left with full bellies and warm hearts.
*****I’m taking the swans with me to work today. Both to keep me company, and so I can eat the food inside of them.
******Our waitress really was the sweetest woman of all time. She had a soft-spoken way about her and cooed with an Irish lilt. She really went above and beyond to take care of us.
The food was delicious and the service even better, but the thing I liked most about the meal was how we were able to not blame each other for the Groupon mix-up and come together to enjoy each other’s company and make the most out of the situation*******. The Emerald is a great place to check out on special occasions and I’d like to go again. Caitlin said it’s the kind of place her dad would especially love, and I totally see that. We’ll have to find another excuse to go west for this gem.
P.S. Sorry the photos are such bad quality. I’ll be getting a new iPhone soon, so that should help. And hopefully we won’t forget Caitlin’s “good” camera.
*******I wholeheartedly agree. Zack and my ability to work together and overcome situations like this (read: his ability to talk me down from having a panic attack) is what makes us so strong.