I spent almost all of August trying to come up with something, and let me tell you, it ain't easy in a foreign country. I knew of a very romantic restaurant that I had been to once before that was right on the river, not too far from where we live that had excellent duck. When I asked around about where it was however, no one seemed to know. Frustrating. So then I realized, I don't need to get fancy, just creative. Here's how it went;
First I told Vanessa that I would be taking her out on a date Thursday night and that I had arranged to have our friend drive us there. I had a lot of secret planning and cooking to do though so I also crafted up a cover story that our International school Kapa would be shooting a commercial that evening and that I had been asked to help. I was going to help them as much as I could and then come home around 7:30 to get ready for our date at 8.
I let some of my coworkers in on the plan about a week in advance so that I could enlist their help, so at 6:30 we met at the designated rendezvous and got to work. The menu for the evening was Filet Mignon with a home made mushroom, onion and redwine burgundy sauce. I whipped up some garlic mashed potatoes on the side and a stir fried Jambolaya/ dirty rice dish I winged a bit with coconut lime shrimp. I found an excellent wine from Montepulciano, not far from where we studied abroad in Italy and desert was "homemade heheh" brownies with strawberries and dark chocolate truffle shavings smothered in chocolate sauce. It took me about an hour and a half to get everything cooked up and ready and even then, if it wasn't for Sam Cooper and Kelly Middleton, I never would have finished in time! You guys were life savers!
So while I was cooking away, I had our friends Linda and the Irish Gals help arrange the setting. Our village has a beautiful mini outdoor theater that now has a giant chess board in the middle of it with a huge white tent covering it on the top of a hill that overlooks our village. Earlier in the day I had a few of the guys help me string up some Christmas lights and put a table and chairs in the middle of the giant chess pieces. Our buddy Mark had a brilliant idea and took the heater off his bathroom wall and stuck in under the table. Perfect touch! The girls then arranged about a hundred tea cup candles all over the tent and string up some lanterns. To put the finishing touches on, they even decorated the table with a beautiful centerpiece that rounded the whole thing off. Nice touch girls! Half the damn candles blew out but what can ya do and it was still incredibly beautiful.
So I rushed back to the apartment at 7:30ish and told Van that I had pushed the reservations back to 8:15 and that Jay, our chauffeur, would be picking us up at 8. I quickly shaved off my scruffy beard and threw on a nice shirt and pants and we loaded up into our "limo." Jay took us around the village and up the hill, to our "fancy restaurant that came highly recommended." The place looked fantastic! Van was very surprised indeed.
I had also arranged to have a few of the high school students from Kapa there to play some super cheesy romance music for us. They were perfect! Beauty and the Beast, Moon River and a beautiful guitar solo that I didn't recognize but was excellently done. Sam Cooper, I mean "Pierre" was our waiter for the evening and was hands down the best waiter we have ever had, except for that fact that he kept making passes at my wife. Sigh, the French. Anyways, the cheese and olive apertif plate was beautifully arranged in a flower shape and the wine was eloquently served. And if we needed anything we just needed to call. What more can you possibly ask for in a restaurant?
To top it all of, we had an excellently executed fireworks display that added just the right amount of over the topness to make the evening one for the record books. V says it was the most romantic thing I've ever done and all the guys in the Village now hate me for raising the bar so high. I hate to gloat but I'm quite proud of myself for pulling this one off, even if it was 5 years and 1 month over due!
A special thanks goes out to Linda, Lisa, Helena, D, Mark, Sean, Jovan and especially Kelly and Sam. You guys were awesome and I couldn't have pulled it off without yall!