Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary of wedded bliss. In a surprise move of overt romanticism, my husband made a reservation for dinner at Anthos to help recreate our Greek honeymoon. I promise that I am not being mean at all when I say a “surprise move of overt romanticism.” My husband is many things: brilliant, sweet, kind, loving, funny. He is NOT romantic. Just doesn’t get it. Our engagement was… well, it happened and I said yes, which basically sums up the story. The fact that he actually called and MADE a reservation ANYWHERE is extremely romantic for him, and then when he explained that he picked Anthos because of our honeymoon AND the fact that he remembered how much I love Michael Psilakis’s Kefi – I just about swooned.
I decided to wear “heels” yesterday – 1.5″ heels to be exact. Once upon a time, I used to wear dress pants, skirts, dresses, cashmere sweaters, etc. and at least a 3″ heel to go to work. Lately, skinny jeans and whatever top is clean makes the cut. Footwear consists of old kitchen clogs that I retired when I was forced to buy a cleaner, more supportive pair. So when I threw on a slightly dressy, drapey cowl neck top, skinny jeans (I debated a skirt, but just couldn’t do it) and nude kitten heels, it felt like “killing it” Rachel Zoe style. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I’ve worn feminine footwear. I’ve gone from a girl who 3 years ago changed out of her 4″ satin stilettos to throw on another pair of 4″ sparkly stilettos to dance at her wedding reception to a nightmare that fell no less than 6 times yesterday because of 1.5″ of extra height. In fact, I fell at least 3 times during wine class – basically every time I stood up during that class I fell… and LOUDLY. The other students in the class thought I was drunk from wine tasting… Nope, just a giant klutz. I also made a little bit of a extra commotion when I had to take a picture of lucky little “wine diamonds” – little tartaric acid crystals – in my glass of Gewürztraminer. Look! Diamonds on my anniversary! And they’re the only diamonds that I want – the kind that you find at the bottom of a glass of wine!
Oh, and apparently I didn’t pull myself together so well, either. A friend at work who basically wears a black cardigan over a black shirt, black ankle trousers, and black loafers every single day wished me a happy anniversary and then asked, “Are you going to change before dinner?” When I told her I wasn’t, she then said, “Oh… well maybe throw on a little makeup?” Nope, I don’t wear makeup if I can help it. “No? Not even some lipstick?” Nope. How about chapstick? “Oh, ok… maybe just do something with your hair?” Uh, maybe I’ll unclip it? “Sure… maybe some perfume, too?” What the hell, lady??? How bad do I look and smell??? I wish this were a joke, but I kid you not, I actually got this little talking to. Next time you see me, please tell me if I actually do look that bad?
Luckily, my husband may not be overtly romantic, but he thought I looked just fine over a candlelit dinner at Anthos. We did the mini-tasting for $65, which is a damn good deal for a tasting menu. There’s also a Chef’s Tasting for $95, but sadly my budget just doesn’t allow for those types of splurges. Who cares, I had wine dripping with diamonds! Not to mention that our mini-tasting was absolutely a dream. If you don’t get the tasting, you don’t get the Sheep’s Milk Dumplings… trust me, you WANT the Sheep’s Milk Dumplings. I’ve had the Kefi ones in a spicy tomato and lamb sausage sauce that’s incredible, but it doesn’t highlight the sheep’s milk ricotta just bound together into delicate, tender little puffs as well as Anthos’s simple, lightly-tossed-with-cream sauce dish does. Heaven. What absolutely knocked me over (and almost knocked my glass of wine over, too, when I grabbed for my boss’s camera that I’d borrowed) was the Roasted Lamb Loin. Holy Cheez Its. I feel like I didn’t know what medium-rare was until I saw this lamb. Did I understand how well simple salt and freshly ground black pepper complimented lamb before this? I don’t remember. There was a paper-thin crust of seasoned-deliciousness that cracked when eaten the way that bruléed sugar does on top of crème brulée. I felt like the Greek Amélie. Heck, I felt like Mindy! Desserts are great, but DAMN! Give me that lamb ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.
Cruel trick at dessert time, though – I asked what was on the Artisanal Cheese Plate and was told that there would be Constant Bliss!!! What luck!!! I should have known better. When the cheese plate came out, the one cheese that they’d run out of was of course, my Constant Bliss. Fine, fine, fine… No worries. No Constant Bliss, but no worries, either. Besides, I had ordered Mastic ice cream, too! If you’ve never tried Mastic or Mastiha before, you’re missing out! It’s a resin that’s used a lot in Greek and Turkish cooking, and I’d fallen in love with it while in Greece on our honeymoon. Yay! It actually tastes the way resin smells – very faintly piney with hints of cedar. Blended with cream (or Greek yogurt – hollaaaa!), those potentially overwhelming flavors are perfectly complimented and balanced. True to form though, after I took a picture of a spoonful that my husband very willingly held up for me and took another minute to put away the camera, I returned to an empty plate. Where was that perfect quenelle of mastic ice cream??? Gone. My husband thought I was done after I tasted the “model” spoon. He claimed it was melting… in an air conditioned room… in under a minute… I just stared at him. Then he said, “Happy Anniversary, my little sheep’s milk dumpling.” How can you be angry after that? Nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten. And I didn’t even have to put any lipstick on.