Several weeks back, Michael and I were discussing my birthday and what I might want to do for my big forty. I'm not one for making a big deal out of my birthday no matter what the age. That day has some heavy heavy baggage and I figure if I lay low, the Gods won't notice me. So, better keep it simple is my thinking. Any way, week nights are not good going out nights for either of us. We couldn't do anything until Sunday because we had the Cabbage this weekend. So we were talking about what to do and where to go when I remembered that trying escargot was on my life list. I said "I want to try escargot!" and Michael looked at me with a squinty eye. "Well...OK." and he started looking up French restaurants. We have a number of reputable French restaurants and most of them all have escargot on the menu, but nothing else about their menus seemed all that appealing. I was unwilling to waste a whole birthday meal at one of these places. Then Michael saw that the Westport Cafe and Bar had escargot on their appetizer menu and a light bulb went off above my head.
The Westport Cafe is in the Westport area that includes a whole bunch of great places to eat, all within walking distance of each other. I suggested that we do a progressive dinner. We'd have appetizers at one place, soup and salad at another place, an entree at yet another place and then dessert at some place else. I remember doing progressive dinners with the youth group in church when I was a teen and I remembered that I thought they were great fun. I don't know why I haven't done one or two since then. Michael agreed that a progressive dinner sounded like great fun. My job was to make a list of places I wanted and he would make sure we'd get there. So, I made my list. We'd start out at the Westport Cafe for escargot. Next, we'd move on to the Beer Kitchen for soup and salad. Our entree would of course come from Char Bar who has the most delicious jackfruit sandwich. Then we'd finish off our evening at the new Doughnut Lounge. Michael's rule was that I had to have a cocktail at each place.
Of course the highlight of the evening was the escargot. It was a new experience for both of us and it was a little scary and a lot exciting. When our waitress brought them out, I was slightly disappointed that they were not in shells. I had all these previous visions of people digging snails out a shell with a dainty fork. We've all seen Pretty Woman, but our snails came out with out shells, individually resting in a well covered with herbed butter sauce. I quickly squelched my disappointment and scooped one up with my fork and popped it in my mouth. They were delicious! We loved them. The rest of the evening one of us would exclaim "We ate snails!" and the other would reply with "and we liked them!" This is not to say that we did not enjoy the rest of our progressive dinner. I had the Boulevard Tank 7 cheddar soup and Rocket Greens salad at the Beer Kitchen. The salad had beets and arugula and you can't go wrong with cheese soup and I was really full by the time we left Beer Kitchen.
We got to Char Bar and we were not hungry at all, but we were in this thing. So we each ordered a sandwich and cut them in half as soon as they brought them out and asked for to-go boxes. I love the Jackknife sandwich at Char Bar. It has smoked jackfruit and cheese on it, topped with fried jalapenos and avocado, but there was no way I was going to be able to eat all of that after everything else. I was grateful that the Doughnut Lounge was at the opposite end of the street from Char Bar so we'd have a longer walk for dessert. When we got to the Doughnut Lounge, we sat at the bar to order our drinks. Michael told the guys working that we were in celebrating my fortieth and a young man, who I assume was the manager, said "Lovely! Let me get you a doughnut on the house!" The drink I had there was called the Last Word, which we found appropriate for our last stop. It was made with gin and chartreuse and some other stuff and it smelled like I was sticking my face into an herb garden every time I lifted my glass to take a sip.
Everything was delicious and each restaurant was very gracious. They were all interested in where we were going next and where we had been before. We had never been to the Westport Cafe before and after seeing their menu we both agreed that we needed to go back and eat dinner there some time. Things I would do different next time would be to split more things. We ordered two appetizers at Westport Cafe in case the snails where not our thing. We totally didn't need that delicious cheese plate. But I'm glad we did it. I think we should have progressive dinners all the time.