Sunday, October 15, 2006

Couple Drinks to Forget They Can't Afford Hot Date They're On


SLOUCH-WIFE GUILT DISCLAIMER: (I'm feeling major pangs of guilt as I get this post underway because my constantly-productive husband is scrubbing both toilets and I’m merely clicking keys on a laptop he kindly revived from the Boeing graveyard for me. The stench of grime-eating bleach shames me that much more. My husband’s such a martyr ... in a good kind of way. Now he’s folding a colossal load of whites I neglected all day. I’ll return to posting when I finish flogging myself for being such a slack-ass housewife. Actually, I’m off to help my dutiful spouse with the chores. Shoot. Aw man, he only let me fold a handful of socks. I know I’m lucky to have him, and I’m thankful that I do, but sometimes the guilt stemming from my own inertia is consuming. Whinge, whinge.)

Now onto the real point of this post:
Last night I got all gussied up in deep burgundy lipstick and sexy black high heels for my husband. For the first time in what feels like months, we left our three lil’ chitlins behind with the babysitter, a hot bag of SmartPop and Garfield 2 on DVD and WENT ON A DATE!!! Yes, an actual date at an actual fine dining establishment, one that doesn’t give away crayon packs and laminated (wipe-able, those clever smarties) kid menus.

Instead of battered chicken tenders, French fries and chocolate milkshakes that come in plastic chain restaurant cartoon themed kid cups you can take home, we indulged in the following:

- ten perfectly caramelized pearl onions drowning in gobs of stringy, melted gruyere fromage
- exactly one half-cup of overly peppered and generously buttered spaghetti topped with a poached egg
- a handful of chewy, black in-shell Mediterranean mussels sautéed in pungent sherry and garlic


Oh, I forgot to list the demi-demi-baguette complemented by a divine few tablespoon dabs of taste bud zinging cilantro-intense Gaucho Chimichurri sauce and a meager smattering of farmer’s market salad.

The mini salad, my favorite part of dinner, was comprised of a luscious assortment of butter lettuce, watercress, Point Reyes Bleu Cheese and crisp, sliver-sliced Asian pears.

Yes, as you have likely surmised by now, we spent the first half of our long awaited Saturday night date at a much too swanky, much too pretentious, much too overpriced tapas restaurant.

In the end, including tip, we doled out a whopping 75 bucks for a pint-sized trifle of haute California-Mediterranean-European fusion cuisine that, while mostly delicious, didn’t so much as crack a dent in our hunger. The NYC style ultra modern bistro was refreshingly minimalist in décor, disappointingly minimalist in server demeanor and, yes, expectedly minimalist in portion size.


So why did we go to Biggs bistro knowing that its specialty is tapas, defined by as (esp. in Spain) a snack or appetizer, typically served with wine or beer, if we were so damn famished? Go ahead and blame lazy me for not doing the research ahead of time. What else is new? I've always had snooty taste and a knack for picking high brow eateries we can’t even come close to affording right now.

Yes, we knew itsy, bitsy appetizer portions were in store for us. We figured we'd sample a bunch of tasty tapas plates and fill up that way. What we didn’t expect were the hyper steep (over)prices (ranging from about $13 to $23 for single tapas plates), to the point that we refused to pay “that kind of money” just to fill our bellies, even if the fare was mui delisioso. Again, I should have peeked at the menu to size up the prices (and then walk right out).

Add in drinks, (a teeny, weeny) fine dessert, gas money and a (beyond great with our kids) babysitter and we could’ve bought ourselves a brand spankin’ new 80-gig, 20,000-song iPod.

We spent the second half of our official kid-free night on the town freaking about the money we’d spent over at Biggs, as in Bigg prices.


How do you mend a broken budget on date night? Go right across the street and spend more! We did just that at an always-crowded for good reason creperie-café reminiscent of our brief travels in the Moulin Rouge. La Creperie Cafe was much more suited to our style, taste and shoestring budget.


The joint was so packed we could only squeeze in at the wine bar, which was fine by us. For only 8 frugal smackers we scarfed down (remember we’d left the last restaurant with gaping holes in our bellies) a massive Poire Belle Helene sweet crepe topped with chocolate sauce, sliced pears, toasted almonds, Frangelico liquor, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. (Don’t worry, mom. You’re every-single-Sunday-of-my-childhood French-Canadian grandmaman’s recipe crepes are still ma favorite par excellence!)

Is there anything less sexy than minding a tight budget during a hot date? I’ll swallow the sacrifice, though, to continue to stay home to raise the kids on a single-budget on a newly mortgaged house in Southern California. Can any of you relate? Do any of you pinch pennies on dates too?

At least my husband and I are (barely) able to go out and eat from time to time. Many single-income families around here scarcely have food to put on the table in the first place. How many members of those families could we have fed with the dough we dropped on date night? I think we'd start with our own and then go from there.


Back at home tonight, my husband cooked up a sweet dinner made up of bacon, Monterey jack cheese, and shredded carrot stuffed steak and good ol’ Stovetop stuffing. And I have the heartburn to prove it.

Ps. Tonight I discovered that my 2-year-old, Lil' Miz Pigtails, can suck her thumb, pick her nose and sleep all at the same time. My petite, dextrous one can also wake up and demand that mommy disposes of her nocturnally excavated boogers.


At 12:57 AM, Blogger Genilimaa said...

Read your comment at Montchan's and followed you back to your site!

Last year August, we celebrated our tenth anniversary. We got babysitters and went out - for the first time in four (4!) years!
This year, we've been to the movies once. If we really apply ourselves, it could become a recurring annual event. Who-ho!

At 1:40 AM, Blogger mad muthas said...

my dear girl - i fear that having children has spoiled your appreciation of the finer things in life - like getting ripped off in fancy restaurants (waiter? have we eaten yet?). your stovetop supper sounds just right to me, though - and i'm free on thursday if you'd like to invite me over for more of same. i trust you have ketchup - if not, i'll bring my own.
now - while you were out being feckless and irresponsible - did you actually manage to talk about anything apart from the children? cos that's the thing. you think - right, we need some time to ourselves ... then find the only topic of conversation that really grabs is the sproglets. frankly, world affairs are just sooooo dull by comparison. still - i bet you looked fab in your high heels!

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

Unfortunately, we were just coming off of a tiff earlier in the day so we didn't talk about much other than the snooty waiters who hovered seemingly in hopes of watching us ooh and aaahhh at their tiny tapas wonders. At restaurant number two of the evening out, we argued and he walked out. Fun. So much for dates. The making up part was GREAT, though. Oh, and we try not to talk about the kids on our dates but I usually spoil that.

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Mary said...

Your ads over here in England are for The London Dermatology Clinic and an Acne clinic. we need something more interesting!
Love Mary

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

Tell me about it! Google generates ads based on my keyword content. I'm waiting until my blog has aged 90 days as advised by BlogHer Ads to apply to begin running their female, parent and mommy blogger targeted ads. Check them out at Shoot ... the kids are up early. Time to get A. ready for school anyway.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger scribbit said...

You've got to get out and feel like grown ups with a fancy meal once in a while. Sounds fun and looks tasty.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Quite humorous blog. Stumbled across this one on accident...just clicked on the Next Blog section up top.

I found myself having to stifle my laughter while my loving wife slept in the adjacent room. I like to think of myself as the martyr in my marriage, but the wife will never admit it!

Also, we have a decent tapas restaurant out here, and the prices range from 7-12 bucks...not bad, right?

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