Wednesday was our 3-year anniversary. Go figure. :)
The actual day of our anniversary was low-key due to small paychecks from being on vacation. I sure miss the days when I actually had PAID vacation. It's been so long, it's hard to remember. Soon, though, I will have been at my job for a year and I'll finally have one week. Woohoo - a whole week. But, I digress. Anyway, I worked late on Wednesday (no shocker there) and then stopped and got Tim a little gift and headed home. He had made me some homemade devil's food cupcakes and got me a candy bar. I had bought him a candy bar and a Transformer. I always buy him action figures for special occasions - it's an inside joke. I got home and made dinner (not even a special dinner) and we had cupcakes. Pretty low-key, but it was the middle of the week and I've been working like a dog lately and we decided to wait until a later date to celebrate.
We always go out to eat on Friday nights so Tim asked where I wanted to go. Since I've been in Phoenix, I'd always heard that Durant's was not to be missed and it had been in Phoenix for more than 50 years. Durant's is essentially a steakhouse, though, and I wasn't sure if Tim would want to go. He's not a steak guy (crazy), although there's usually some chicken or seafood he would like on the menu. It's not cheap, but not expensive, either, so we thought it would be great to give it a try. We made reservations for 7:30 and set off for downtown.
When you arrive, you park in the back of the restaurant and you enter through the back door, which takes you through the kitchen. When you walk in the back door you are slammed with about a million wonderful smells. As you open the door to the kitchen, there is a dining room on your right and one on the left, as well as a bar. The wait staff is all dressed in tuxes with either red or black bow ties. We were seated at a table in the middle of the room. The walls are dark wood and crushed red velvet wallpaper and the booths are red and all the tables are dark wood. They said it's a true "mafia" experience. In fact, if you're on your cell phone in the dining room, they send six or seven of the wait staff over to "strong arm" you until you get off your phone. Tim ordered iced tea and I stuck with water. As we looked over the menus, our server brought over a small plate with some vegetables and some dip on it. There were carrots, celery, green onions and olives on the plate, along with some ice cubes to keep the veggies cold and crisp and they were definitely both. The dip was almost like a ranch, but it had a bit of a kick to it. It was very good, and I loved the ice on the plate - it was a small thing, but a very nice touch. When we finished, we were ready to order. All of the entrees come with a choice of soup or salad and a choice of starch. I had my heart set on the filet mignon and Tim wanted to try the Chicken Cordon Bleu. I got mine with a Caesar salad and sweet potato fries, which weren't on the menu. As a side note, I discovered sweet potato fries at Delux (a gourmet burger place here in Phoenix) a couple years ago and have been in love with them ever since. I had planned on getting a baked potato but when I heard sweet potato fries, I was all over it! Tim got his meal with a house salad with house dressing and a stuffed baked potato.
A few minutes after placing our order, the server came over with a small, round loaf of bread and our salads. The bread was dense and chewy and was warm. It was topped with olive oil, garlic, basil, artichokes, and onions. Wow. Simply amazing. We were both in heaven and took care of the bread almost immediately. Tim's salad was mixed greens, croutons and a french garlic dressing. The dressing had wonderful flavor with lots of garlic and it definitely had a kick. It was very pungent and wonderful. My Caesar was great, too. Tim didn't like it and said there was something that tasted funny but I thought it was wonderful. It came with three anchovies on the top and I even tried one of them, which I've never tried before. The flavor was wonderful, but that tiny little fish packs a punch! It's salty and tangy and wonderful, but it made my eyes water because it was so strong!
It was a very short wait when our entrees arrived. My filet was perfection. I had asked for medium, but it came out more like medium well, which was fine with me. It was like butter - I barely had to use my knife and it just melted in my mouth. I've never understood people who need ketchup or steak sauce for a steak - if you order the right cut of beef, it doesn't need a thing - just a little salt and pepper. The sweet potato fries were good, although not my favorites. That distinction still goes to Delux.
Tim's Chicken Cordon Bleu was not your standard cordon bleu preparation. Most of them are breaded chicken stuffed with ham and cheese. His was a chicken breast topped with bacon, bernaise sauce, herbs, and cheese. It was great. The bacon had a wonderful sweet, smoky flavor and added a lot to the flavor of the chicken. The cheese on top was like icing on the cake. :) His stuffed baked potato was the clear winner, though,. It was a twice-baked potato and stuffed with bacon, cream, butter, cheese, and chives. It was creamy and buttery and had a hint of smokiness from the bacon. He loved it and so did I.
After we finished, we were pretty full, but when offered dessert, we almost never turn it down. I tried the brownie sundae and Tim never passes up cheesecake. The brownie sundae came out in a big bowl and it was a layered chocolate delight. There was a pool of incredibly rich chocolate sauce on the bottom, a brownie, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with another brownie, topped with whipped cream, topped with more chocolate sauce and some caramel sauce. The whole thing was peppered with about a hundred dark chocolate and white chocolate shavings. Pure decadence. It was incredibly rich and amazing.
Tim's cheesecake was a large slice of plain cheesecake with some of the same chocolate sauce. The cheesecake was very good, but not as good as the brownie. :) Tim had some cheesecake about a million years ago and it has stuck in his head as being the ultimate cheesecake. Every now and then, we find something that comes close, but most cheesecakes don't live up to his memory. This one didn't. He enjoyed it, but it didn't quite live up to his expectations.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. The food was great and the service was right on the ball. They were attentive without intruding. My water was always full, the dirty plates were immediately removed from the table, and they even wiped the crumbs from the table before bring dessert. All in all, it was a great anniversary experience.