In my last post, I opened the floodgates to the discussion of the birthday I just celebrated on May 5. It's only fitting to continue this series with the sublime birthday dinner I enjoyed at XIV two days later with the wonderful friend to whom I've given a producer credit on two other occasions. He certainly deserves it again here.
I don't know about you, but every once in a while, I find it's best to stow my camera and be present at the dinner table. Although that means a photoless post, it was oh so worth it to just be in the moment.
As soon as the server greeted us, she wished me a happy birthday (thank you, Mr. Producer!) and asked if either of us was interested in the vegetarian menu. When I asked her for the vegan menu, she quickly retrieved it and let me know that she would not be bringing me a portion of bread because it's not vegan. A dining experience is always so much better when the staff is well-informed and eliminates the need for vegan inquiries.
My appetizer that evening was the Fried Green Tomatoes Salad (from the menu: Fried Green Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Mustard Frill, Sherry Emulsion), which was not fried at all. Instead, the plate arrived with very thinly sliced fresh green tomatoes that looked likely to be heirloom, topped with slightly-burst cherry tomatoes, all atop a bed of frisee. It was lightly dressed to allow for the flavors of the tomatoes to shine.
For my entree, I chose what had been my favorite course of the tasting menu I had my first time at XIV, the Charred Broccoli Rabe (from the menu: Charred Broccoli Rabe, Sushi Rice Cake, White Soy Vinaigrette). I loved the textural and color contrast between the tender-but-not-soft, dark green broccoli rabe and the slightly sticky and seasoned rice.
Dessert was a must for this birthday celebration and I ordered the Bitter Chocolate Sorbet (from the menu: Bitter Chocolate Sorbet, Spiced Pecans, Espresso, Cocoa Nib). If you read my Follow Your Heart birthday post, you will know that I was overjoyed when this dessert arrived bearing a lit birthday candle on which I could make a wish. Fortunately, there was no singing involved to draw the attention of other diners (I'm easily embarrassed), but I was incredibly appreciative for the thoughtfulness of the birthday candle.
With excellent conversation and delicious food, this was truly one of the most memorable birthday meals I've ever experienced. I am so grateful!