The ugliness of the early spring "BROWN" that encompasses the entire city in its annual spring sea of mud and muck was much easier to deal with this weekend because we spent the time with our visiting family. Even yesterday's strong, cold wind didn't dampen our enthusiasm to get out and about for our last day together.
We are so grateful for the clear highways and warmer temperatures that made the travel for our family go well and we pray for similar conditions to accompany them home.
It was a weekend of visiting, way too much good food, a bit of shopping for decent white balsamic vinegar and an evening out for the guys at the IMAX to see the latest Star Wars venture.
Last night we celebrated my husband's 65th birthday and our 40th anniversary at Memories restaurant on Victoria, just off Broad Street. They have an extensive menu of "oldies but goodies", many items we haven't seen on restaurant menus since the late '70's and early '80's, items like Chateaubriand and Coquille St. Jacques. "Memories"is an apt moniker.
The wait staff was helpful and pleasant. Being it was a Monday evening the restaurant was far from full so no one was rushing us and there was time to kibbutz a bit with the staff. The prices were reasonable and they obviously have a decent chef, if the meats were any indication: beef and lamb so tender they truly almost melted in the mouth.
Our relatives ordered from the set meal March Madness special menu. For $40 a person had a choice of escargots or a lamb chop, followed by a choice of green salad or caesar salad, followed by a choice of various beef or chicken entrees, followed by either a banana cream or strawberry shortcake dessert. The lamb chop wasn't a huge success as it was tough, unsure the escargot was completely up to standard, but the rest of the meal was apparently quite delicious. The entrees included lovely teensy potatoes, carrots and green beans and decorative swaths of purees. My husband enjoyed thoroughly his half rack of lamb with the same mix of vegetables and a delicious beet puree in a red wine reduction. He was thrilled to have a bowl of lentil soup with his meal.
I enjoyed the delicious Coquille St. Jacques but for the price another scallop or two, or another of the relatively large shrimp would have been appreciated. The pre-dinner buns were stale, but were redeemed by the warmth that melted the garlic butter so evenly. My spinach salad was very nice indeed, despite the overcooked bacon bits. If it hadn't been for recent dental work I doubt that would have been an issue. I LOVED the old fashioned vinegary dressing the spinach, chopped fresh mushrooms and walnuts, and hard boiled egg were bathed in. It has been decades since spinach salads have been served to me with what I consider to be "proper" dressing! Spinach needs that acidic "kick" to bring out its best flavour.
I had the brulee for dessert. Normally I am not a fan of brulees with fruit on top, but this one had a dollop of fruit compote adorning it and it was most tasty! It was all I could do not to pick up the little dish and lick out every last bit of the creme! hahaha
My few complaints about the meal are just nitpicking. It was a lovely dinner and my husband and I wouldn't hesitate to return. I believe the most expensive single item on the menu was the $60 pound of lobster tails. The entrees ranged from about $22 to $54 and the appetizer prices ranged from about $10 to $15. I didn't even glance at the dessert prices...as soon as I saw the brulee I knew I would have it and shut the menu, so I'm sorry but I can't tell you what the desserts cost. There are Greek platters for sharing, huge group sized caesar salads made at the table, many fish entrees along with an extensive selection of beef and chicken dishes, a few lamb dishes.
So my husband and I have many tasty reasons to return to Memories the next time we are after an old fashioned, reasonably priced fine dining experience. Thank you family for treating us last evening in honour of our special celebration days.
As a special treat for us, when the server discovered the reason for our celebration, she brought 2 single serving bottles of wine to the table for us to take home, each festooned with ribbons and a hand written greeting on the bottles. It was a nice touch and they are presently cooling in our refrigerator.
I think as much as the good food, I enjoyed Memories because of the attentiveness and attitude of the wait staff. That too was a nice old fashioned touch.
So our meal last night was an extra special way to end our family visit. We have plans now forming for spending time in Edmonton with them during our summer holidays as it has been awhile since we were last there. Our holiday plans have been non-existent thus far what with our son likely by then to be no longer living in Vancouver, our usual holiday haunt. Edmonton has a great many interesting things to do for visitors and residents alike that we have never taken the time to explore, so it appears this is the year to do that.
Well, today it is back to the reality of office work for my husband and for me it is back to laundry, bill paying and grocery shopping. I had fun Sunday afternoon leading the vocal warmups at choir practise and am looking forward to next week's warmup leader and whatever that person has to offer. We have a ton of paperwork from yesterday's bank appointment to look over as we try to parlay a few dollars into some kind of long overdue retirement fund. We have income tax we need to get done soon.....and on it goes.
It was absolutely wonderful to have a break from the same old same old this weekend and just enjoy some family time. We are now looking forward to our summer holidays more than we have been. That month is no longer a gaping void in this busy year.
Thank you family for coming all this way to see us and thank you for everything you brought us as well...the tomatoes are DELICIOUS and we are looking forward to trying the rice and quinoa mix.
Safe travels home! See you again soon!!