Gail and I celebrated our anniversary on Saturday. Twenty-seven years earlier, we were married in the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. We therefore make it a habit to return to the Olympic for our anniversary dinner. Not every year, but many, including this one. We eat in their Georgian Room, one of the most beautiful dining spaces in the city, and with excellent food too.
We’ve always enjoyed chatting with the Georgian’s sommelier, an Austrian man who has a way with stories. While we were looking over the menu, we discussed our plans with him and ordered glasses of prosecco to start, with a half bottle of the 2008 Domaine Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape for later. Gail started with the Dungeness Crab Bisque, served with two mini crab cakes in the middle and crab pieces above, over which the soup was poured. I had a salad that I don’t see on the current on-line menu: warm spinach, lardon, and a tiny fried egg. And something called Guinness melba, which was a long, thin, curled piece of bread, made with Guinness, that was buttered and baked. Beautiful presentation; excellent flavor.
For our main dishes, I was leaning toward the rack of lamb, but when Gail ordered it, I went for the T-bone steak. Hers was listed on the menu with four accompaniments. Each was prepared in a block about one-and-a-half inch square and maybe three-fourths of an inch high, the four squares laid out in the center of the plate to form a three-inch square with the lamb on top. It looked beautiful. One of the squares was a mashed pea concoction with tomato jam on top. I ate some of it at the end. It was sublime. Another was spinach, another lamb shank, and I don’t remember the fourth. Gail chose well.
The distinctive feature of my steak was its presentation with three sauces: béarnaise, peppercorn, and cabernet jus. Each was in a square dish, the three lined up in a row along one side of the long rectangular plate. The steak occupied a good part of the rest of the plate, along with three fingerling potatoes, three mini onion rings, and three asparagus tips. Everything was superb, but it didn’t have the overall balance of Gail’s. I might have liked more asparagus. I would have loved her pea mash.
For dessert, the Georgian always offers two soufflé options. On the current menu, there’s a black and white and a soufflé of the day, which on Saturday was coconut-blackberry. Gail ordered the first, me the second. We did so when we ordered our main dishes, so we were surprised at the 25-minute gap between our plate removal and soufflé arrival. Something went wrong between the waiter and the kitchen. No matter. We weren’t in a rush, and when the soufflés did come, they were perfect.
Oh, I forgot the amuse-bouche. What was it? Some kind of cherry concoction. I can’t quite remember. Gail loved it. I thought it was low on flavor, but Gail called it subtle. At the other end of the meal, after dessert, we were served two little truffle cakes, maybe an inch in diameter, each with a cut in the middle into which a dropper was placed with raspberry syrup to be squeezed into the cut. Part way up the dropper was a thin sliver of chocolate to be slid off and eaten. And, since it was our anniversary, we had a special presentation. “Happy anniversary” was written on the plate in chocolate, with two lit candles standing on the plate. The truffles were surprisingly dry, once the syrup was swallowed. By design, I suppose, but we found it puzzling.
How did they know it was our anniversary? Well, I told them, when I called two days earlier to request a particular table. And, I had flowers waiting from Topper’s, the florist conveniently located on the basement level of the hotel.
After we paid, we carried the flowers out and went up half a floor to the mezzanine level, which forms a balcony ringing the lobby. At the far end of the balcony on the left is the Kensington Room, where we were married. We always peek in, though when nothing is going on there, it’s difficult to see anything, what with the lights out and the curtains drawn. After failing to see, we wandered into the main ballroom to have a look, then went down to get our car.
A lovely evening. Happy Anniversary, Gail.