Christi and Pat took us out to dinner tonight.  This has been a tradition for the four of us for years.  We have gone out to dinner literally coast-to-coast.  It’s a great tradition, indeed.

Tonight, it was the Basque Cultural Center in South City.  I lived mere blocks from it back 1986/87 or so, but had never eaten there.  I love being introduced to places that have been around forever.

The adults started off with their Kettle One martinis.  Pat and I declined, choosing to talk a mile a minute, instead.  Conversations always flow in 80 different directions.  It’s so much fun carrying on multi-faceted conversations… The topics always range from politics to travel – to food.  Who’s seen who, done what since our last meeting.  Non stop.

Martinis consumed, we started off with a great cauliflower soup.  Served family-style, bowls were filled, and a crock of soup left on the table for refills. The soup was rich and creamy with a really well-pronounced cauliflower flavor. We knew lots more food was coming, so none of us opted for more.  I was tempted, though…

Next, a light and delicious Veal Stew was served.  Tender chunks of veal with mushrooms, carrots, onions, celery in a velvety-smooth sauce.  It was rich and full of flavor. Thank the stars for French bread.  I was able to sop up every drop.  I could have made a meal of this – but there was so much more still to come…

The salad course came next.  Tender greens and red cabbage with a creamy garlic dressing.  Lots of fresh cracked pepper to top.  I came close to licking the plate.

I was starting to feel just a bit full.

And then the main entree was served…

Christi and I chose the Poulet Cordon Bleue.  Tender chicken breasts wrapped around a sensational ham and cheese filling.  I couldn’t quite place the type of cheese, but it was rich and creamy – almost brie-like. There was a really simple sauce served with the chicken.  Simple, but really flavorful.  Roasted potatoes and fresh mixed vegetables rounded out the plate.  Every bite was a taste sensation.

Pat and Victor chose the Rack of Lamb Provencale.  An 8-bone rack of lamb.  Huge  Perfectly cooked, with the same potatoes and vegetables.  Simply delicious.

It’s amazing how much one can eat when one is talking and laughing non-stop.  I knew I was getting close to the breaking point, but at the same time, I wasn’t paying attention.  We just ate and talked and ate some more.

And then plates were cleared and coffee appeared.  Good, black, dark roast coffee.  And desserts.

Spumoni ice cream and a really rich and flavorful Basque cake of sorts.  I didn’t catch the name, but it sure was good.

For more than 2 hours we sat there enjoying great food and even greater company.

We have seven more major meals planned with people in the next 4 days.  And then 4 days of doing nothing but eat on the train.

I think I shall be letting out the wastebands of all my clothes when we get home.