California Grill

Paula & Hunter’s 10th Anniversary Dinner

I want to begin this review by saying how lucky I felt to be included in the 10th anniversary celebration of this very special couple.

 

I first became familiar with them when about 4 years ago I read Paula’s dining report on the DIS boards from their 5th anniversary trip to Disney World. This report gave me the inspiration and encouragement that I needed to convince my DH to celebrate our 25th anniversary with a trip to WDW back in 2010…and believe me folks, this was not an easy task so I needed all the encouragement I could get. ;)Never in my wildest dreams though did I think that 4 years later I would not only be able to call these two great people my friends but that I would be in attendance at their 10th anniversary celebration. And while it was great to read about their 5th, I must say that it was twice as great to actually be there for their 10th anniversary celebration at…

 

 

There were 7 of us in attendance at this dinner, including Brenda & Michael, their son and his girlfriend, and myself, in addition to the guests of honor, Paula & Hunter. Our table wasn’t quite ready when we arrived so I went out on the balcony to take some photos.

First of the Grand…

 

And then of the not so grand…

 

Nothing says tropical island getaway like a view of a crane and a fork lift or two. ;)

Anyway, it wasn’t long before we were seated by the window at a large table that had been decorated with Mickey confetti.

 

Hunter quickly made good use of his napkin and confetti…

 

 

I’m not quite as talented as Hunter, but I managed to make a a little napkin/confetti creation of my own…

 

 

I know, I know…it’s pretty lame compared to Hunter’s. I’ll try to do better next time. :laughing:

I started by ordering a cocktail while I looked over the menu…

 

 

 

Twisted Mai Tai – Mount Gay Rum, Crème de Noyaux, Orange Juice, and Pineapple Juice with a splash of Lime

I’ve had this twice before at California Grill and will probably have it many more times because it suits my taste perfectly…sweet and fruity! :thumbsup2

However, though I knew exactly what I wanted to drink, I had no idea what to order for my dinner. And while I tried to concentrate on the menu ( which by the way had a few changes since we were there just four days earlier)…

 

…I kept getting distracted by the beautiful view.

 

 

After taking about a million pictures, I decided that I needed to make some decisions…unfortunately they were not particularly good ones. :worried:

But before I get to the bad, let me first show you something good…very, very good! ::yes::

 

And a closer look…

 

 

This was the amuse bouche that was presented to us by Paula & Hunter’s friend, Chef Eddie.

 

All I can remember about this is that it was a fried stuffed pepper and that it was delicious…one of the best things that I ate that evening. :thumbsup2

Next came the bread basket…

 

Oh, and here is one with the butter…

 

I don’t like the new bread, much prefer the old stuff…but let’s not go down that “bread” road again. :laughing:

Now for my first mistake, the appetizer which I ordered…

 

Delta Asparagus Soup with Roasted wild mushrooms, smoked olive oil and lemon clouds

Ok, so here was my thinking process when I ordered it. I like both asparagus and mushrooms, olive oil is fine, and though I’m not a huge fan of lemon I figured that as long as those clouds didn’t open up and pour lemon-flavored rain throughout my soup I could deal with them. ;) However, if I had paid a little less attention to the view and more to the menu’s description of this soup I would probably not have ordered this. For some reason I thought that this would be cream of asparagus soup, even though nowhere in the description does it mention the word “cream”. And the description was accurate. So as unappetizing as this looks with its bright green color and the globules of olive oil floating on the surface…well I’d have to say that unfortunately it tasted equally as bad. Sorry but pureed asparagus is just not my thing. Maybe when I’m old and toothless, but for now I’ll pass. ;)

Anyway, thankfully Paula offered me a slice of her flatbread appetizer…

 

BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread with Coffee-brined Pork Shoulder, Apple Butter, Queso Fresco, Coffee-BBQ Sauce

Needless to say, Paula made a much better choice…this was yummy!!  While I didn’t try it, their other appetizer was also very good, Pork Belly Nigiri….

I did a little better with my entree choice…

 

Bell & Evans Chicken – Zuckerman Farms asparagus gratin, Benziger olive oil potatoes, cabernet-chicken demi

 

This was a huge chicken breast and was good, but not great. My first few bites of it were good, but then I just got bored with it.

For me the real star on this plate was actually the asparagus gratin…

 

Now that was some asparagus that I could be enthusiastic about…you know, really “sink my teeth into”. ;)

But the best part of my meal was yet to come. Hunter had clued us in on the sweet surprise that he had in store for his lovely wife so we were all ready, with our cameras in hand. Here is a photo of the surprise being delivered…

 

The cake that Hunter had chosen for Paula was so beautiful that I felt a little guilty about eating it.

 

But I overcame my guilt pretty quickly once I’d had my first bite. ;)

 

This was a delicious marble cake with chocolate mousse filling which was beautifully decorated with fondant icing. As far as icings go, this one was actually pretty tasty…not overly sweet or heavy.

We concluded this special evening by going out to the balcony to watch WISHES…

 

 

 

Heart-shaped fireworks, perhaps in honor of Paula & Hunter’s special occasion? ;)

 

And then the Kiss Goodnight…

 

 

 

HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY PAULA & HUNTER…may you have many, many more!!!

 

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