Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Night at the Opera

ETA two hours . . .

My brother and nephew are about two hours away and I've done just about all the cleaning I'm gonna do so I have time to post today. I'm really excited to see them. It finally got cold too, so they'll get some real Chicago weather to enjoy. I'm loving these grey fall days. Don't get me wrong, I do love my clear blue (if it's cool enough) skies, but there's nothing like a grey autumn day in Chi-town.

I've been trying to think of things we can do while they're here. Friends have given me some good suggestions. The only thing is, we're not really a touristy kind of family. Our idea of a good time is eating at the diner down the street and taking a walk around the neighborhood. I'm sure we'll have a good time either way.

And now a report on my night at Opera. It's a beautiful restaurant. You walk through red velvet curtains into a large room with tables spread pretty far apart. Everything is unique--the brick walls have a flower-motif painted on them, the windows have red velvet curtains, the lighting is perfect, and the ambiance is a good blend--it's quiet, but there's a hum of activity just below the radar that tells you everyone is being taken care of.

The waitstaff were all nice and friendly. Everyone ends up waiting on you at one point or another. The service was a little slow, but you shouldn't eat there if you're in a hurry.

I started off the evening with a Madame Butterfly--a watermelon cosmo with citrus Absolut and a twist. It was just slightly frozen and it was perfect. Lynda had a drink with cucumber and sake (I can't remember the name) that was also really good. But I have a sweeter tooth, so was happy with mine.

Everyone's food was excellent. For appetizers, Lynda's lamb ribs were barbecued to perfection; Larry's scallops were to die for, and Bob and I had the richest, spiciest hot and sour soup I've ever had. They bring vinegar and pepper on the side so you can adjust it to your taste, which I thought was a nice touch. It was so rich I couldn't finish it (and if you know me you know how rare that is). Terry had some Maine lobster spring rolls that were exquisite (I'm running out of adjectives here and I haven't even gotten to the entrees).

Lynda had the Singapore Noodles for her entree; they looked delicious and she said they were. Bob had Beef Kung Pao that had the most tender beef I've ever tasted in a Chinese dish and it was seasoned to perfection. Larry's shrimp looked and smelled divine (alas, I'm allergic to shrimp and so must rely on his report rather than first-hand experience) and he attested that they were, indeed, scrumptious. Terry had the Hunan pork (a chop and a loin) served with vegetables and mashed potatoes. He said it might just be the best he's ever had. And I had prime roast that came with vegetables and the most delicous little squash and potato fritters I've ever had. The steak was slow-roasted and had the most delicate barbecue taste. It was delicious.

Larry ordered the tasting menu and it came with dessert. The cake was good, but there was a scoop of curry ice cream and a scoop of anise ice cream that were incredible.

But the standout of the evening were the mirrors. They were so clean and crisp that it seemed like you were looking through a window into another room.

All in all one of the most pleasant dining experiences I've had. Great atmosphere, great food, and most important of all, great company. The only problem was that I woke up with a bit of a hangover. One drink, slipped slowly through the course of the whole meal, and still I get a hangover. Sheesh!

I can't wait to see where we go next month (and we are going next month, right?) . . .

1 comment:

Bonne Marie said...

I am shrek-green with envy that you ate up the OPERA!

I am lusting after that scallop dish - have heard about it before...

Have a great visit with your family - mine are due around the next holiday *weekend*.

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