New relationships are fun. They are filled with so many Firsts. Some firsts are fun, some are awkward, and some are scary. The month of September was a build up of both excitement and anxiety as I prepared to celebrate S’s first birthday with me. Birthdays are scary especially when they come early in the relationship, because you want to make your significant other feel special and you want to do everything right.
I went back and forth all month thinking about what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something special, but I didn’t want it to interfere with his plans. Since he was having a party the night before I wanted my celebration of his birthday to be an intimate affair. Of course every swanky place is a steakhouse serving impressive pieces of meat and seafood. Usually there aren’t many vegan options, if any.
I researched and called many places. I can’t believe how indecisive I was! Truth be told, I’m usually quite good at planning special occasions.
I wound up choosing Vibrato Grill Jazz. the menu looked tasty and there were a few salads that I could gnosh on. I liked the performance aspect. I know that S is a music aficionado and I figured some musicianship as opposed to my usual playlist of Book of Mormon, Usher, and *N Sync would be appreciated. Louie Cruz Beltran was playing that night-Latin Jazz.
The restaurant is located in a shopping center, which isn’t quite the location you think you’d find such an establishment; however it does mean that there is tons of free parking.
The stage us front and center and there are booths on 2 levels surrounding it in a semi-circle. There are tables situated on the top-level. There is a bar off to the side with TV Screens showing the live performance. It’s a very small venue, dimly lit, and very intimate.
When I made my reservation, I made 2 notes.
- We were celebrating S’s birthday;
- I am vegan and allergic to mushrooms.
To start our meal, we decided to share the Farmer’s Market Salad (organic mesclun, garden vegetables, shaved ricotta salata candied macadamia nuts, red onion, citrus-‐truffle vinaigrette) well, apparently our server (I’m so sorry I can’t remember your name but you were amazing !) had read my note. He brought the salad out and removed all non-vegan friendly parts on mine and used regular vinaigrette for mine, while S got the salad as described on the menu. It was nice to not feel like I had to restrict him in order to share.
S ordered the Roquefort Filet, which comes with whipped potatoes, asparagus spears, and a Cabernet reduction. He usually inhales his food, but I feel as if he took his time this time around.
I wanted to order the bow tie pesto without the cheese/pesto. Our server spoke with the chef and returned with two custom options for me. I was served spaghetti with asparagus, carrots, squash, basil and olive oil. It was cooked al dente (my fave) and there was just enough oil on it.
We both had some champagne (of course!)
For dessert they brought him a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream with what I think was an almond cookie with a candle.
When you walk in, there is this beautiful painting. The hostess was seating an older patron and when another employee noticed that she was taking a while, he quickly came over, acknowledged us and told us that the hostess would be right with us. (brownie points) Once the hostess returned we were seated immediately and she wished S a happy birthday (brownie points x 2). We didn’t feel rushed, everything on the menu was explained to us, our server gave us his honest opinion when we were decided between dishes.
The performance was so fun ! Mr. Beltran even came by the table to say hello.
On the way out we asked the hostess to take a picture of us and she happily did it. She even suggested we pose in front of the beautiful painting in the entrance.
I had such a wonderful experience. I definitely plan on coming back!