Happy birthday Nancy

Saturday was another great day. We went to Cocoa to celebrate Nancy’s birthday. Joey and Mark had given us show tickets to a live performance of the Christmas Carol followed by dinner. I wasn’t all that thrilled about seeing a bunch of local Cocoa kids doing there rendition of a show I’d seem maybe 8 million times before. To be honest, I wouldn’t have been too thrilled to see the Christmas Carol by a full Broadway cast. But Nancy was hyped and of course it was her birthday present. I also wasn’t too excited about the choice for a restaurant. It was one of those dress-up kind of places where the waiters wear black and have white towels over their arms; speak with an accent (not southern); and have names like Andre’. I know they won’t have mac and cheese as a side for the meatloaf, blackened grouper, or buffalo shrimp sandwiches – instead there will be micro portions of who knows what covered with sauce.

I admit it, I was wrong all around. While we were waiting outside the theatre I was struck by the fact that the last time I had been in this theatre was very close to 50 years ago. Not sure if I was a junior or a senior in High School but most likely it was in 1956. Standing in line I wondered if we had seats in the balcony. We weren’t allowed in the balcony in 1956 – that was reserved for blacks – and all of us white teenagers wanted badly to sit in the balcony. The theatre was restored very nicely. I remember it being a bit seedy but now it was almost “elegant” and had that old classic theatre look. Certainly not as nice as the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake but for sure a nice facility. It turned out that the production was a musical and I prefer musicals in general so that was an uptick. It wasn’t Broadway but it was well above high school level and enjoyable. The sets and costumes were surprisingly good with people flying overhead in one scene. I was also surprised that it had a small, live orchestra. Most small time musicals use a recording setup for the music but this was the real thing. All in all, an enjoyable production.

We were about a half hour away from our dinner reservations so we squeezed in a wine tasting at Murdock’s new gourmet shop. Joey plans to use this shop to cater his new dinner cruises so we had to pass judgement on that and it was thoughtful of him to arrange a wine tasting. Nancy and I picked up a basket load of sauces, pastas, and condiments that sounded exotic. One I remember was a spicy, chipolte barbecue sauce. It was all on the pricey side but specialty stuff that you just wanted to try. Off to the restaurant.

The restaurant was as elegant as I expected. Most impressive was the 10 page wine list which Joey scrutinized with due diligence and the right murmers. When the wine waiter came by, they had a small discussion about which side of the vinyard in a particular field in a certain valley produced the perfect grape and the somnelier agreed with Joey’s selection as pure genius. Fred, move over. Oh, the wine guy’s name was Andre’ and he had the required south Bronx French accent. Another waitress brought the main menu and described the specials. Joey and I opted for the special which was a “melange” of fish – blackened grouper, Salmon, and Mahi mahi – each with a different sauce. Nancy went for the Long Island Duckling; Mark had filet tips over pasta. We started with a tomato bisque soup which turned out to be the best tomato bisque soup I’ve ever had. Even if it was the only tomato bisque I’ve ever had, it ranked high as one of the best soups I’ve ever had. It was brought to us, as was the salad, by another waiter. I think the entree was brought by yet another. I was wrong, wrong, wrong about the portions. It was a struggle to finish all the food, a very small dab of mashed potatos, and three really nice size pieces of fish. We managed to finish but honestly I couldn’t have handled one more bite and Nancy actually left some of the duck. They brought around great looking desserts but we couldn’t have even split one four ways.

We had a great day.

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