One great thing about living in the SF Bay Area is the bi-annual "Dine About Town" promo where you can partake in a pre-fixe 3 course dinner at some fine establishments for less than $35. Hubby and I used to take advantage of this deal at least once each year during January. I didn't realize the promotion runs in June, as well, until my BFF, R, invited us to join her, her hubby, D, and her older bro, J.
We headed to B44, a Spanish restaurant near Union Square. Our reservation was scheduled for 7pm but after we hopped on I-80 at almost quarter past 6, we realized that all the commuters were heading towards the city on Sunday night. Whoops! R changed the reservation to 7:30pm and J advised us to take an alternate route onto 680, which we hadn't done before. Although longer, this was a wise move that shaved about 20 minutes off the original route, highlighted in red in the traffic alerts. (Gotta love the iPhone and all the awesome apps!)
We found rockstar parking right in front of the alley that leads to the restaurant. It was pretty busy, especially for a Sunday evening, and we relaxed at the bar to wait a few minutes for our reservation. This gave us time to start on some drinks.
My cocktail - Lorca: Pear vodka, pear puree, St. Germaine elder flower, lemon juice, and pomegranate seeds. Served straight up! I loved it but Hubby hated it. I'm all about pears!
Cheers! Me with BFF R
After less than 10 minutes at the bar, we were directed to our table for 5. We sat close to the kitchen where we could see a display of Jamon Serrano, a type of cured "raw" ham. One of the servers saw us eyeing the ham and offered us a few slices to sample. It was delicious!
But we were there for the "Dine About Town" promo and didn't want to veer from the special menu. There were about 3-4 selections each for the first two courses. Hubby let me order for both of us since he says I always order better food than he. J decided we should order a couple more "tapas" to enjoy which was a good call as we were all starving and ended up clearing the dishes. The shrimp was so yummy we kept shoo-ing any servers who tried to take the skillet away as we continued to dip our bread in the yummy sauce.
Hubby's First Course - Soup of the Day: Tomato & Basil Soup. Lycopene!
I must have eaten too much bread because by the time the main entree arrived, I was already feeling somewhat full. Of course, my eyes are way more eager than my stomach so I continued to indulge...
Hubby's Main Course - Pork tenderloin with sauteed apple slices and potatoes. This was delicious and ended up being better than my own dish.
As stuffed as we were, we still had our choice of two desserts. We ordered both! It seems like many of the surrounding tables had finished dinner at the same time so dessert service was a little slow. That was okay by us as this gave our tummies some time to digest and allow us to chat some more.
Cream puffs. The ice cream filling had this delicate lemony flavor and paired well with the chocolate sauce. The puff itself was on the dry side.
CREMA CATALANA *2005 Dulce Cristal-li Moscatell
Toasted cinnamon and lemon infused custard
with caramelized crust. This dessert was SUPERB!!! Only one of the three that arrived on our table was this beautiful caramel color as the other two seemed to not have been torched long and evenly enough.
It was a great dinner with great friends, whom I consider our family. BFF R and I don't always get a chance to hang out for some "adult time" as if we are together, our activities center around the kids. As much as we'd like to be able to "dine about town" more, we actually decided to hunker down and make plans to work out together again and eat more healthy while she stays in town for the summer with her family. We'll trade in those cream puffs for salads, I suppose...