The other day I celebrated my birthday with wine, women and song, not a bad combination if I do say so myself. We went out for dinner, and then my Bride allowed me to share the evening with Shirley Jones, the Academy Award winning actress.
We started off the evening with dinner at a new restaurant Café ML, which is owned by the people that have the Beverly Hills Grill and Streetside, two restaurants that we have gone to and I have written about. This is a trendier restaurant then the other two in regards to the plates that are offered, the offering are more in the concept of small plates or tapas. With the quality of the plates, but because of the nature of the restaurant, which has great service I might add, this would be a better venue for a group, rather than dinner for two, which is a shame, because just as we were leaving one of my cousins and her husband walked in to try the restaurant as well. We shared a starter of Smashed Guacamole with Lobster, which had a more layered and textured finish then the usual Guacamole dishes that we normally encounter. My Bride enjoyed a “Hot Smoked” Skuna Bay Salmon Salad with mixed greens, Granny Smith Apple, dried cherries and an Apple Cider Vinaigrette. While I enjoyed Maine Lobster Risotto with English Peas, Mascarpone, Grana Padano, Heirloom Tomatoes and Carnaroli Rice which was very rich and filling. We finished the meal by sharing a Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse pie with caramelized banana and Illy coffee.
The wine list was very enticing, but since we were not making the evening of it, we settled on a couple of glasses of wine. My first wine was an Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from Napa Valley, and it had quite a full taste to it for a young wine and I shall look for this wine again. My Bride had Tarmaresca Chardonnay 2011 from the Puglia district of Italy and this was a true European style Chardonnay with a more mineral and flint finish that was very nice on a sunny day. I indulged and tried a second wine with my entrée; a Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse 2011 which had a finish that did not fight with the lobster. This is a Chardonnay wine made from the Southern Part of Burgundy and just North of the Beaujolais district. It was a silkier finished wine then the Tarmaresca from Puglia, unfortunately between the days I took a picture of the wine label to the next day, I bought new phone and in the process of converting one phone to the other, this photograph was lost in the shuffle.
We drove nine miles due South of the restaurant to see a movie at a grand old theater, that through the work of volunteers has continued to keep this unique theater alive. It is one of the few single screen theaters in the area, and the décor of the theater makes one lament about the sterility of the modern cinema structure. The Redford Theater in Detroit is a classic example of the majesty that neighborhood movie houses once had. There is an organ that rises from the floor just in front of the stage to have the organized entertain you, until the film is shown. That evening we were also entertained by one of the local civic orchestras, and during another session of organ music, the heavy curtains parted revealing a large American flag while the audience listened to the Star Spangled Banner and the whole audience stood up and sang with the music, a very stirring moment and one not encountered that often any more. This particular weekend was a revival showing of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. The big draw besides the movie house and the film was that Shirley Jones was in attendance for each showing of the film for the weekend, and it was a sold old theater even up in the balcony, and not many theaters enjoy balcony seating anymore.
The theater also had a strolling barbershop quartet that sang in harmony at different locations. Some of the volunteers were dressed as characters from the film, and there was a cordoned off section for the viewers to get an autograph, picture or a book by the star Shirley Jones. I went four different times to try to get through the line, once during the intermission of the film, but the line extended each time all the way up the staircase to the balcony, so I snuck over and took my own picture, which was a no-no, but no one said a word.