Saturday, December 12, 2009

Enough for an army.

The office Christmas party was last night. For us, it's a reasonably elegant meal out at a local eatery where most of us probably couldn't afford except on very rare occasions. We are not getting Christmas bonuses this year, in light of the economy. But offices were encouraged to continue their Christmas parties.

We went to The Capitol Grill in nearby Lombard, adjacent to Yorktown Mall. We went there last year and had a phenomenal dinner with superb service from a very, very knowledgeable wait staff. The boss was sick, really sick, and couldn't attend. AND, as happened in 2007, we went to eat at the start of what turned out to be a major snowstorm.

This year, the boss was well and the snow had come and gone. The food was, again, incredible and our waitress, very knowledgeable and personable but not in the "HI! I'm Judy! I'll be your server!" fashion. You don't know whether to tell them to halve the dose or double it.

One of the "highlights" of the evening was when she took our order. Everything is a'la carte, so you mix and match your salads with your entree with your sides. The sides are huge, so we ordered a couple of several different ones and passed them around.

She started with the boss' wife and then asked me for my order. Then we mentioned the sides and Jon piped up to order those and his meal. Then his girlfriend ordered. Next was Mike and his wife. Our server trotted off to the kitchen. At that point, we realized the boss had not ordered. She had completely forgotten him when she got sidetracked taking the sides order down. We had a hearty laugh just as she returned, more than a little embarrassed to say, "Hmm, I probably should take the boss' order, right?"

I had a chocolate martini to start. I asked if they could make it with vanilla vodka and the bartender almost apologetically asked if Grey Goose vodka was acceptable. I guess so? That was followed by appetizers of shrimp cocktail and prosciutto wrapped mozzarella. I had a spinach salad with warm dressing and applewood smoked bacon. My entree was seared citrus salmon which I had with mashed potatoes. It was served on a bed of sliced asparagus but I'm not an asparagus fan. I had a white zinfandel to accompany the entree. This was followed by hot Earl Grey tea and a quarter of what you see below.

This is one of the biggest pieces of chocolate cake I have ever seen. The waiter handed the plate to me and, seeing my eyes grow wide with astonishment said, "If that's not a big enough piece, we can have the chef cut a bigger one." As much of a choco-holic as I am, I could not finish it and brought it home to eat today. I've been picking at it all day.

It's a very, very moist cake with milk chocolate frosting and chopped and whole hazelnuts in the batter and on the side.

There was enough food for an army. We wound up spending $25 less than last year with the same amount of people.

It's always a good time when we do this and we were grateful that corporate didn't tell us to shelve the Christmas party this year. We would have wound up doing something else, maybe pot luck or going for pizza. But an elegant dinner in a fine restaurant at this time of year makes you feel a bit more valued.

Sure I'll share. Let me get you a fork.

Beverage: Huckleberry tea


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