I’m not quite sure whose birthday it was yesterday, but I know one thing. I really enjoyed celebrating it.
Even though the party lacked the surprise element, it was a wonderful evening with friends. I absolutely adore hosting people and having a house to host in makes it all the more exciting. (As does the ability to open my door and let people in vs. running down two flights of stairs to let people in a gated apartment complex over and over again.) And even though Dennis the Dentist didn’t exactly approve of our shenanigans, there was something really fun about standing around on our driveway with friends.
With the party behind us, any many Facebook birthday greetings on the Fiance’s wall, we celebrated his birthday with a quiet date night.
One of our favorite places to dine in Kansas City is at Blue Stem’s lounge. For foodies, it is a fantastic place to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail and some delicious non-bar food. Unless your definition of bar food is beef tartare or smoked slamon with caper, onion, egg and creme fraiche. I can’t help you there.
We lucked out because not only are their lounge menu prices fairly reasonable (considering the quality of food), but they have a fabulous happy hour special – half off their small and large plates. Don’t be fooled by the term “small plate.” These are not tapas. As the fiance discovered the beef tartare is really a meal in and of itself.
We started with a selection of pickled vegetables. Okra, cauliflower, peppers, green beans…oh yeah. These were not your grandmother’s pickles, but something entirely fresh and crunchy with lingering spices. (I apologize if you believe your grandma’s pickles to be unsurpassable. But you really should try the Blue Stem version. Then we can talk.)
As I mentioned, the fiance enjoyed the beef tartare. He’s not a huge fan of eggs, and this version was topped with an egg yolk. But it didn’t stop him from diving in. I (not a beef fan — cooked, cured or otherwise) nibbled on a few of the fresh potato crisps that garnished his plate.
Now I’m usually a big fan of the spicy shrimp fricassee served over creamy parmesan grits. But since the fiance can’t eat shrimp and it was his birthday, I decided to order something he could taste.
I picked a newer item on the menu – the pork cheek parpadelle. It was a bit of a food risk for me. But I like pork. The former vegetarian in me prefers not to think of the specific animal parts as I’m eating them. But let me tell you – pork cheek = tender and succulent. The homemade (would you expect less?) parpadelle was excellently made and had an almost creamy texture to it.
I’ll probably return to the shrimp & grits next time, but I’m glad I ventured into a new food experience last night.
For drinks I absolutely love the Blue Stem margarita. The drink itself is very well-done – nice and crisp and citrus-y. But what makes it really special is the garnish — a pepper stuffed with feta cheese. Heaven.
The fiance had a cocktail that had rootbeer milk in it. I’m not sure what else went with it, but I tasted it and it tasted like a creamy rootbeer soda.
Despite kind offers from the bartender to buy the fiance a birthday dessert, we skipped the sweets and left full, happy and returned home to enjoy a special bottle of wine and a movie (Adventure Land – if you were wondering. A much better version of Kristen Stewart than her angsty Twilight gig.)
At the end of the evening, I asked the fiance if he had enjoyed his birthday. I had to check because I enjoyed it so much that I thought I might have hijacked it. Nah, he loved it just as much as I did.
P.S. If you like meatloaf, Blue Stem just added it to their lounge menu – like moments before we walked in last night. It apparently includes a hard boiled egg in the center. I bet it’s divine, for meatloaf that is.