We went to The Range Restaurant in Salado last night for our first anniversary dinner. We both feel like we paid too much for filler.
The Range is a restaurant that was built inside an old country home. It has a romantic atmosphere, nice silverware, decent wines. It’s a nice restaurant. I didn’t like the umber Pepto color of the walls. I felt like I was sitting inside of a human internal organ.
Elise had the Robert Mondavi Chardonnay. I had the Mondavi Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon.
My lovely wife decided on her dinner after our waiter tossed his list of evening specials on our table. I was borderline appalled. He literally walked up to our table and tossed a little beige index card between us. On it was the list of specials written by hand.
Elise asked about the crab stuffed portabella mushroom entree. Our waiter stated that the Chef had just created that item and it looked really good. Okay, if you’re a Chef, you let your staff taste your food so they know what to recommend and are able to answer questions.
El had the special: Crab stuffed portabella mushroom with pasta and a mushroom cream sauce. She received a large plate full of large pasta tubes with a humble crab stuffed portabella mushroom cap in the center. The proportions were way off for this expensive entree. The sauce was okay. The crab was okay. The pasta was aplenty. I might have been okay with paying a fourth of the price for her dinner. We both agreed that I could easily come up with something much more flavorful and proportional.
I had the pork tenderloin with ‘home fries’. I felt like I got somewhat of a better deal on my dinner. The pork was tender and juicy. The caramelized apple jus was good as well. What I didn’t like was the pound of French fries that monopolized my plate. When I read ‘home fries’, I expected fire roasted potato wedges or something of that sort. This time, I can honestly relate this experience to McDonald’s. My French fries tasted and looked like the tried and true cholesterol sticks from Micky D’s – only mine were more thin in structure. I was tempted to ask for a bottle of ketchup. I didn’t. Instead, I ate my French fries with a fork so I could trick myself into thinking that I was eating something fancy.
Our waiter didn’t provide us with much availability. I could hear a football game on the television at the bar. I’m sure he was over there tending to whichever two teams were playing. I recall him coming to our table only once to check on us. My ideal waiter makes an occasional satisfaction inquiry, checks drinks, replaces bread, etc. I explained to Elise that my ideal waiter should not be intrusive or bothersome. He or she should verbally check on a table a couple times throughout the meal and ‘make rounds’ – walk within arms reach or earshot in case a patron needs anything. Our waiter dropped off our food and later brought us our bill. He did take our picture outside of the restaurant after we told him that it was our anniversary.
I think we’ll chalk this up to experience. We won’t be going back to The Range. We could have paid a fraction of the price at the grocery store and I could have created a better meal. Elise and I were wondering if perhaps The Range doesn’t have the necessary volume to lower their prices. In our opinions, it’s definitely not the quality of the food that warrants such high prices.
Aside from the taste bud let down, we had a really nice time. El and I enjoyed each others company. As usual, Elise dominated the conversation. I answered when prompted. Typical us. The funniest part of the evening was me listening to my inner voice. I sat directly across the table from Elise, I heard everything that she was talking about but I kept thinking to myself: “Man… she is unbelievably gorgeous.” And no, I didn’t have my whiskey goggles on – I was nursing a single glass of wine. I sat there across from my wife and reveled in how beautiful she is. She’s the most beautiful person in the world to me. I’m extremely lucky to have her. Next time I see Steve and Joanne, I need to give them both a high five and say “Good job!”
We came home after dinner. We drank the champagne that Bob and Evelyn gave us for our wedding. We ate a piece of our wedding cake. After having heard otherwise, we were surprised with how good our cake tasted after being in a cryogenic state for 365 days. I think wrapping it in Saran Wrap, tin foil, Saran Wrap, Saran Wrap, tin foil, Saran Wrap and tin foil helped preserve it. It wasn’t quite as moist, but it was still really good.
We poured a couple more glasses of champagne and Elise sat me down so I could open my present. She bought me A Clockwork Orange on DVD. I’ve been wanting that movie on DVD forever. It’s definitely in my top 5 list of favorite movies. She also gave me a little book that she wrote. It’s a little personal chapbook, bound by wire with a brown cover, black pages and silver handwritten text. On the cover is a collaged silver and white, three tiered wedding cake with white flowers. In it she wrote beautiful things about me and how happy she is. I’m not going to explain in detail because it’s personal and it’s mine.
Before I could even turn the first page, I started crying. I hopped up and went to the bathroom to get some tissue to dry my eyes. I semi-jokingly told Elise to never tell anyone about that. What she wrote for me was extremely meaningful and it brought me to tears. It takes a lot to make me cry – Elise did it though. I don’t know how to explain it, but what she wrote means so much to me. It’s good to know that I’m appreciated.
I then gave Elise her present. We decided that we weren’t going to get each other anything for our anniversary. We always say that and never do it. I decided that I would be a little more practical this time. I bought her a gift certificate to a certain well-known lingerie store. She’s been saying for a while now that she needs/wants new underwear. I figured the gift certificate would be practical and a little elegant. I also got her a card and wrote her a little heartfelt poem. I also had roses sent to her at work on Friday.
All in all – we had a very nice first anniversary. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.