Anniversary Celebration

This weekend was our big anniversary weekend. Since 2 friends had the nerve to schedule their wedding on our 10 year anniversary weekend, we had to postpone our dinner until the weekend after.

We had been thinking for quite a while as to what we had wanted to do for our 10 year. Remembering that we had just taken a trip to Victoria, B.C. in December, we couldn’t afford the time off again, so we opted to make reservations at a restaurant we had always wanted to dine at: The Hobbit in Orange.

The Hobbit is one of Orange County’s few 5 star level dining facilities which caters to a maximum crowd of only 70 patrons. They do a single seating in the evenings for a truly spectacular 7 course dining experience. Let me tell you they did not disappoint. The service was exactly what one should expect from an award winning restaurant. As guests, we were treated as people, rather than just table numbers, as everything was done by name. Their bar selection is admirable, and their wine cellar is enviable.

The one downside to the evening was the heat. Unfortunately, the Hobbit is a converted house which does not have central air in the upstairs lounge and bar rooms where the evening begins. Being a high quality facility, they prefer jackets and ties are optional, so I ended up in my wool suit and tie sweltering in the small 2nd floor bar. Luckily, the dinner starts off in the wine cellar with Champagne and Hors d’oeuvres, which was a pleasant way to cool off in a comfortable 52 degrees. A far cry from the 109 degrees outside…

After milling around the cellar and selecting your wine for the evening (we went with the Chef’s pairing of course), we moved up stairs to our table for appetizers, the fish/fowl course, and the salad course. All were spectacularly presented, and tasted as wonderful as they were plated. During these courses, both Jean and I became acutely aware of the “pace” in which dinner was being served. The timing was impeccable! We neither felt rushed, nor ignored. At every point where I would think to myself, “Ah… I am now ready for the next….” a plate would be sliding on to the table at my position, and a glass of wine was being poured.

And to ensure the pacing would allow for all 7 courses to be consumed without feeling like you were about to explode, there is an intermission after the salad course and before the main course. What a wonderful idea! After intermission came the sorbet and main course followed by dessert. All with their well matched wine pairings.

Edited to inlcude the menu as posted by my lovely wife:
The Hobbit Menu
Course 1: Champagne and Hors d’Oeuvres
Course 2: Papaya and Key West Pink Shrimp, Tarragon Cream (2004 Domaine Seguinot Bordet Chablis, France)
Course 3: Marinated Kurobuta Pork Loin, Espresso Scented Couscous (2003 Kermit Lynch “Cuvee” Cotes Du Rhone, France)
Course 4: Soy Glazed Duck Breast, Poached Bartlett Pear, Frisee in Vanilla Pineapple Vinaigrette
– Intermission –
Course 5: Berry Sorbet
Course 6: Prime New York Steak with Braised Leeks (2004 Justin Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles)
Course 7: Boca Negra with Pistachio Mousse, Banana Creme Anglaise (Yalumba “Museum Reserve” Muscat, South East Australia)

Then a nice little surprise: we were served the Hobbit’s “Super Secret Anniversary Drink”. This was a wonderfully sweet liqueur of unknown origins, as they seemingly won’t tell you what it is made from. Absolutely delicious though! Of course I couldn’t allow dinner to be finished off at that point, so I ordered an espresso and a glass of scotch as my digestif. The scotch was one I had not had as yet, and was the perfect cap to the evening.

Yes, I finished off with a “Glenlivet 1969 vintage”. I will borrow and re-write a few words from Jim Murray’s review of this fine whisky: On the nose, sherry, but fabulously clean and precise; deftly smoked. The palate is dry with an oaky start; malty; mild brine shows quite early with a fruit-cake richness. It finishes with Lots of oak and intense malt: bittersweet and a chewy yet exquisite finale.

By the end we left the restaurant around 11:00pm, making dinner a good hearty 3 and a half hours. The champagne in the cellar began at precisely 7.30pm…

What a wonderful way to celebrate 10 years of marriage and 15 years of our relationship. Sharing such a meal is truly a once in a lifetime event. It was the perfect balance of excess but muted and refined celebration. No big to-do, but it still felt like we had honoured the occasion properly.

17 thoughts on “Anniversary Celebration

  1. I love you guys. I hope that my relationship will be like yours, never faltering, and full of love and friendship, of course with the ability to mock occasionally as needed 🙂

    1. occasionally???? 😉

      And thank you… I will dispense my one iota of true knowledge and wisdom with regards to reelationships: Make sure you are friends first and foremost, everything else is icing.

    2. Now, don’t go thinking it’s been problem-free 😉 We just have the sense to sit down, hash things out, and make things work. Communication is KEY.

      Oh, and it’s a regular mock-a-thon at Chez O’Donnell, believe you me!

      1. Can’t agree more – communication is what’s kept Elspeth and I together – That and coming to the realization that the other person isn’t going to hate you forever and run away just because there’s a problem, and most (if not all) problems aren’t about “fault” (we both grew up in houses where “fault” was important – and it’s taken us both a long time to figure out that that’s B#<<$h!t!).

        Happy many more!

        (and, the Hobbit is *awesome* ) THough… if they could raze the Orange Hill restaurant and move the Hobbit up there to have the Orange Hill’s view, I’d be broke from eating there once a week…

        1. Razing the Orange Hill and replacing it with the Hobbit would truly kick ass, and we’d be right there with you, broke and all.

          We found the Hobbit equalled Club 33 in terms of service, with the added benefit of NO DISNEY TOURISTS crap. Much more refined because of it.

    1. Thanks! And if you ever find yourself on the left coast, let us know. We’ll see what we can do to take you out to a very nice dinner. Given enough lead time, maybe even the Hobbit 🙂

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