September 2, 2008

Back at work, already?

Even with a few days off, it feels like I was just here.

It was a nice holiday weekend. I did some actual labor, by getting started on some home improvements. We offset our hard work with tasty meals, and by enjoying time in the pool and spa. Weather was quite nice, as well. Too bad the rest of the country didn’t have such glorious weather. I kept an eye on Gustav all weekend hoping the best for all those in its path.

We kicked off the weekend with cheesesteaks from Straight from Philly Steakout for dinner on Friday, those always hit the spot. Saturday I shopped for all the items I needed to paint the downstairs bathroom and bedroom, along with new kitchen cabinet hardware. Then, I met Frank for lunch at Siena Deli (Tropicana/Eastern). I ate some of Frank’s sub and a couple slices of Sicilian pizza. The deli is under new management, thankfully the food was just as tasty as before. When I got home, I switched out the hardware on the kitchen cabinets. The new look is a huge improvement. I’ll be overjoyed when all the gold fixtures in the house are phased out.

Once I wrapped up that project I wiped down the walls and baseboards in the bathroom and bedroom to prep for paint. Then we headed out for dinner. We took the Trans Am out, enjoyed the ride and wind whipping through our hair. We wound up at Cheesecake Factory, after trying to eat at Lucilles BBQ and Fuddruckers. Both were extremely crowded.

This was our first visit to Cheesecake Factory, it was pretty good, but I like Grand Lux their sister restaurant better. We had a fire roasted artichoke to start, flavor was great, just too much work for such little fulfillment. I prefer artichoke hearts. For entrees, Frank had crusted chicken romano and I had crispy chicken costoletta. Frank's dish reminded me of chicken parmesan. Mine was tasty, breaded chicken breast in a lemon sauce with mashed potatoes and asparagus. We ordered cheesecake to go. Frank got tiramisu and I had strawberry. His was much better than mine.

Sunday, we had Fuddrucker's for lunch. We ran over to Wal-mart afterwards to buy a wall mount for the new TV. We installed that. Not where we had originally hoped, but it will do. I pulled weeds in the backyard. Then, I taped off the bathroom to get started for paint, but never got further than that because my feet were sore and I had a burning sensation in my left leg. Standing on the tile for long periods really does a number on me. Frank ordered a pizza and wings from Amore for delivery. We watched misc shows on our newly mounted TV.

Monday, I got started on painting right after I woke up. I cut in and wrapped up when Frank got up. I asked him to take down the light fixture, my plan was to spray paint it, but Frank suggested we replace it. We ran to Lowes, and picked out a new fixture. I got one coat on the walls while Frank soaked up sun in the pool. I joined him after I finished up. Frank installed the new light fixture, then I applied a second coat of paint. I took a break to make dinner reservations on for Capital Grille to kick off restaurant week. I removed the tape from the walls and trim to reveal my newly painted walls. It looks great. The new color is called tide pools. I didn't get a chance to take pictures, I'll have some to share soon, though. I love what color can do for a room. I still need to paint the trim and doors, but I'll wait until I do the bedroom. I showered and got ready for our 6:30 reservation.

When we got to the Capital Grille there were signs posted saying they were closed for the holiday. Why was I able to make a reservation, then? Your guess is as good as mine. Frank said, since we're here (Fashion Show Mall) we'll eat at Stripburger. The weather was perfect for outside dining. It took about 5 minutes for the hostess to seat us. Then we sat at the table for a bit and not a soul acknowledged us, a couple more minutes passed and we gave each other identical looks... let's get out of here. We walked over to Wynn. I was interested in Daniel Boulud and Stratta's menus for Restaurant Week.

Our first stop was Daniel Boulud, they only had seating available in the lounge. Despite the tasty menu we opted not to dine. Instead, we made reservations for tonight. We walked over to Stratta. They were able to seat us right away. We made our selections, we snacked on bread and crackers dipped in pesto while we waited for our first course.

Frank started with braised beef pansotti and I had assorted bruschetta. The pansotti is very similar to ravioli, just more filling and less noodle. It was served with roasted onion and brown butter and sage. I had three varieties of bruschetta: roasted peppers, onions and mozzarella, tomato basil, and eggplant wild mushroom. All were very tasty. Frank and I each ate half of our appetizers and then switched. It's nice to sample a bit of everything.

Our main course was up next. Frank went with chicken scallopine. It was well prepared, artichokes and roasted tomatoes were served alongside the chicken. It was covered in a white wine sauce and topped with capers. I ordered seared sea scallops. They were excellent. The scallops were paired with dried tomatoes, zuccini ribbons, and a fresh basil butter sauce. Again, we shared, my scallops were the standout. Just delicious.

We wrapped up the meal with dessert. Frank had a great cappucino with traditional tirimisu. I chose toffee cake. It was truly heavenly, I can't recall having a better dessert. It was chocolate cake, with toffee crunch pieces and it had a hint of espresso. We were giddy as could be when we finished. Service was superb throughout the meal. We would gladly return to Stratta. I'm thrilled Restaurant Week gave us the excuse to try it.

We came home, made margaritas and hit the spa. A perfect end to a productive, yet, relaxing day.

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