I read and hear about people complaining about Valentine’s Day being a woman’s holiday or a made up holiday, etc etc.  Being a bitter single dude in my lifetime, I can relate to the complaints.

But now that I’m living the life of an old man with wife, kids, car payments, mortgage, I really appreciate that this day exists.  Life gets so busy with things that you have to do that it’s so easy to lose touch with the woman that basically started it all.  Valentine’s day pretty much forced me to take a break from everything and just focus on me and Nadine, which was a very much welcomed break.

For dinner we went to the new Bouchon in Beverly Hills, where our old friend Jeff is the Executive Pastry Sous Chef.  The weather was perfect for dining outdoors, so we were seated on the balcony with a view of the beautiful Montage hotel across the way, and ADAM SANDLER at the table directly to my left!  (Quick interruption to comment on Adam Sandler – the guy is REAL… he is exactly like he is in the movies – friendly to everybody, calls people “buddy”, and he was wearing a raggedy t-shirt, sweatpants, and one of those old school vest jackets. )

On to the food!  (pics courtesy of the internet)

I started off with my favorite – salmon rillettes (Rillettes aux Deux Saumons).  Rillettes is like an old form of preserving meat by cooking it in its own fat, heavily salting it and cramming it in a sealed jar.  I think doing this with salmon is a break from the traditional rillettes, but it’s so good!  It’s a combination of fresh and smoked salmon and they serve it with some warm croutons made from baguettes from their bakery.

Next I had a frisee salad (Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché).  This is a salad made with frisee leaves, lardons, a bacon vinaigrette, a poached egg and toasted brioche.  BEST SALAD I’VE EVER HAD.  Lardons is my new love… it’s like bacon times 20.

For the main course I decided to try their leg of lamb (Gigot d’Agneau).  I am still a lamb rookie, as the only lamb I’ve had before this was rack of lamb and some Irish lamb stew.  The lamb here was by far the least gamy preparation I’ve ever tasted and it was cooked at a perfectly tender medium.  I was feeling adventurous when I ordered this… otherwise I would have gotten the braised short ribs.  I promised myself I’d try that next time.

For Nadine’s main course, she ordered the tried and true Steak Frites.  It’s a flat iron steak covered in carmlized shallots and an herb butter.  Oh yeah and it comes with fries.  This is also what Adam Sandler ordered.

We ended the night with an off the menu cheese plate and a special 4 course dessert made by our friend Jeff in the kitchen for us.  When I have time, I’ll dig up some of the pictures of the dessert… Jeff told us all he did all day at work was prepare our dessert courses.  What a swell guy!