Happy Belated Valentine’s Day

It's been a busy week, with school starting and coordinating Vday plans, but surprisingly I found time to cook and bake several times, so there will be updates forthcoming as soon as I get off my lazy bum to write them heh. On Valentine's Day, I was pretty excited to get my very own big heart shaped frosted cookie :D Apparently there was a lunch meeting and this cookie was the only one left over, which my boyfriend nabbed and presented to me at lunch. Yum! It was chocolate shortbread with royal icing on top, rich and buttery. We shared the cookie, but I refused to break it down the middle on principle, so we just ate from both sides until we got to the middle lol. I've always thought Valentine's Day cookies are so pretty, and even though it was a left over item from an event, it still made me giddy :)

For dinner, my boyfriend and I got off work early without any concrete plans, and after discussing it briefly we decided to relax and order in for Italian food and watch a movie together. We got our dinner from Stefani's Pizzeria, which consisted of tortellini alfredo for my boyfriend (we ordered fettucini alfredo, but apparently they misheard us), and linguini carbonara for me. We also got a nice complementary Caesar salad, soft garlic bread, and some flatbread to go with the salad. I really liked my linguini carbonara, it wasn't made with a cream sauce like most carbonaras are, instead it was made with a white wine sauce, with olive oil, shallots, mushrooms, and prosciutto. I really liked the flavor of the white wine in the sauce, it was a strong but refreshing taste that went quite nicely with the rest of the ingredients. 

We watched the Bucket List while we ate dinner, and it was such a sweet movie and it made me cry at the end. I don't know why it was given such poor reviews, but we both really liked the movie, even though it's not really a Vday kind of film. I'm a big fan of both Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and the both of them were just wonderful in their roles. Yes the plotline is mostly formulaic and yes it moves a little slow, but the movie isn't meant to be action-packed, and I feel like both actors did a great job telling their story, and it was certainly moving. Critics might be right most of the time, but there are still many times when you should just let your own intuition do the judging.

Then for dessert we shared a decadent molten chocolate cake together, which I whipped together in no time at all (recipe to follow, with less blurry pictures). It was a delicious way to end the day and I liked being able to add a homemade touch to our meal.

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On Friday night, we had made reservations to eat dinner at McCormick & Schmick's, which is a chain seafood restaurant similar to Legal Seafood. There was a coupon for $20 off any entree, so we thought it would be nice to get dinner at a pricey restaurant without breaking the bank. The atmosphere was a bit stuffy for me, and not very romantic, with the place catering mostly to the older folk (something like a men's club). We had a pretty crazy meal that night… first we were seated in a center table, surrounded by cozy wrap-around booths, which made us feel like we had gotten brushed aside in the seating department. Next our table tilted heavily to one side if we both leaned on it (poor weight balance on the legs?), and our table candle was not lit. We ordered our food and started off with soup, clam chowder for me and Maryland crab soup for my boyfriend. (Sorry for the black & white photo… I accidentally had my flash on, after setting the white balance, so the whole thing came out with a terrible tint of blue that I couldn't fix in photoshop… so I just discarded all color information altogether haha). The thing with this restaurant is that they are very heavy with the salt in everything. The chowder itself was not bad, but a bit too salty (I definitely prefer Legal's chowder) and not as creamy as I expected it to be.

Next came the entree ordering mayhem. They have a special menu every day, based on the fresh seafood they get, which I thought was a nice idea. I was especially interested in their Atlantic salmon special, which was salmon stuffed with blue crab, shrimp, and brie. I ordered that, and Greg ordered their broiled seafood platter, which had salmon, shrimp, scallops, crab cake and stuffed clams. Later the waiter comes back to tell me that they were out of the stuffed salmon, so I had to change my order to their jumbo seared scallops instead. Then 10 minutes later, the waiter comes back to tell Greg that his dish was also out, so he had to then change his order to a yellowtail sole. Well, after all this, it's been about half an hour and our orders for dinner were just going in. Plus, we never got bread and butter, which every other table had gotten, so we had to ask for it ourselves. Finally, a server came with our dishes, and puts down a plate in front of me that I don't recognize… I stared at it for a minute, and that moment our waiter just happened to be coming by and said to the server that it wasn't my dish. Turns out, it was the broiled seafood platter that Greg originally ordered but they had run out of… interesting. So the waiter was clearly very embarrassed and confused, as the other dish the server was carrying was Greg's yellowtail sole. So the waiter gave the original seafood platter to Greg, and took back the yellowtail, and then shortly thereafter brought out my scallops entree. Very confusing.

Anyway, my entree was seared jumbo sea scallops with a saffron risotto and lobster sauce, with a side of steamed vegetables. The scallops were huge, and it doesn't look like it but I actually got 4 of them, which were more than enough for me to even finish. The saffron risotto was, although overly salted, still quite good. It was creamy, and the rice was al dente, with a slight crunch in the center, which I really enjoyed. This is the second time I've tried risotto, and let's just say the first time was terrible, with a lump that was dried and flavorless. So while this risotto was a bit too salty, it was at least better than any other time I've tried it haha. The scallops came in a bit of a brown sauce whose lobster flavor was pretty strong, not at all like lobster cream, but more like lobster stock in a sauce, reminding me a little bit of lobster bisque. The entree was very filling, although it didn't look like that much food at first. I was only able to eat 3 scallops and 2/3 of the risotto with all the veggies before I was completely stuffed to the point of being in a bit of pain heh. So certainly the portions were more than adequate. Mine and Greg's entrees were both about $24, and the soups were $6 per bowl, so the total for the meal after using the $20 coupon came out to about $45 before tip. It's not a bad price, but I think I can get a more satisfying meal experience elsewhere for that price, and less salty overload for sure heh. The one thing M&S does do very well though, is sell desserts. They don't have a dessert "menu" on paper, instead it's presented on a tray with all the desserts molded in very realistic looking plastic. They pick up each dessert to show you and tell you about it, so that it becomes very difficult to deny when the time comes. Luckily we were just literally stuffed to the gills and couldn't handle another morsel of food, but there was a very interesting looking "edible chocolate bag" filled with white chocolate mousse that looked quite delicious. Maybe another time…

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