Saturday, December 14, 2013

Olive and June

Both my heart and my stomach were happy and full after a wonderful evening spent celebrating my favorite recently-turned 21-year-old. The night started out right on time, but we hit a little bump in the road that pushed our plans back a little bit. Everything worked out pretty perfectly, though, so there are certainly no complains on that front. So, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I made dinner reservations at an Italian restaurant that received rave reviews on the ever-trusty Yelp, called Olive and June. I didn't realize that I pass the restaurant pretty nearly every day whenever I drive toward Mopac, so it turned out to be a neighborhood hidden gem. I decided on Italian because we almost rarely go out for Italian food (thanks to my lactose intolerance, which I will touch on in a minute), so I was hoping that the Yelp reviews would hold true.

Our reservations were for 7:15pm, so I picked him up around 6:45pm, just to be on the safe side. We do live extremely close to the restaurant, but you always have to allow some extra time for parking (at least in Austin). We were walking up to the restaurant when Dylan got a call from his mom that made us choose to abandon our dinner plans - for now, anyway. She had fractured a joint in her wrist (and, I must add, handled it like a champ), so we waited to make sure that she was feeling okay before going back to see if we could get a table at Olive and June. It was about 8:45pm at this point, so we figured, despite the fact that Friday the 13th is usually considered to be an unlucky day, that luck would probably be on our side for this one. It was, and we got a table for two in the outdoor heated seating area, when our incredible waiter, Rafael, immediately brought us out both a dinner menu and a drink menu. 

I went for the Pear Milan, and Dylan went for a Peroni. 

My Pear Milan was excellent, though I made the mistake of drinking it before I had any food in my system. It had been a while since I had my snack of carrots, celery, and hummus, and I immediately felt the alcohol doing a number on me. Luckily, our started salad came out quickly after that, so I was good to go in no time. I also tried a sip of Dylan's Peroni, and though I had the preconceived notion that I don't like beer, this one actually tasted pretty good.

Now, onto the food. We originally decided to split the pork meatballs as an appetizer, but our incredibly helpful and courteous waiter came back to tell us that the meatballs had cheese cooked inside of them (I had already informed him of my lactose intolerance at this point), so we  opted to split the Giardinara Salad, which turned out to be a better decision, anyway. The salad was fabulous, and we finished it off in no time. The salad consisted of butter lettuce, baby romaine, grape tomatoes, cucumber, radish, and parsley, and we both agreed that it was a much better choice to start off with the salad.

For our main dish, I was originally going to go for the day's special - the pan seared scallops, but I was told that it was cooked in all sorts of butter, so I changed my order to the grilled pork chop, which I didn't regret for a minute. It was tender and juicy and cooked and seasoned to perfection. Our waiter brought Dylan out a knife so that he could share the pork chop with me, but as Dylan said, he would be surprised by how much I can eat, and aside from the one bite I let Dylan have, I ate every last bite.

Dylan, going off of Rafael's recommendation, decided on the Bucatini Amatriciana, which is a pasta dish consisting of tomato, calabrese chili, guanciale, and pecorino. I couldn't tell you what really any of those things are, but Dylan also cleaned his plate and really seemed to enjoy it, so I am going to assume that it was a good choice.

We also ordered a side of roasted brussel sprouts (sans cheese, of course), and they were excellent. I used to think I didn't like brussel sprouts, probably because of the way they smell, but I have learned that I do really like them, especially if they are cooked right, and all of the restaurants that I've been to where I tried them, they have been cooked to perfection, adding in the perfect touch of seasoning that makes them so unique to each restaurant. 

We also finished all of those off (are you seeing a pattern develop here?), and our waiter brought us out a dessert menu. Nothing was really standing out to us, and we were already pretty full at this point in the evening, so we decided to pass on dessert for this round. Or so we thought.

Our waiter, along with bringing out our check, brought out two spoons and told us that he wasn't crazy, but that we would be needing them. He asked us if we minded sticking around for a few minutes longer, and seeing as we had nothing too important to attend to, we figured we could spare the extra couple of minutes. Our waiter then surprised us and brought out a Brown Butter Carrot Torta for us to split, courtesy of the couple at the table next to us. I think we were both a little bit shocked, and very appreciative, and though I am not usually a fan of carrot cake, this dessert was excellent. 

Dylan let me have most of the cake pieces, while he went to town on the cream cheese gelato, and we once again cleaned our plate. What made it even sweeter was the gesture behind the dessert. When we went to thank the couple, they told us that we looked like we were having such a good time that they really wanted to do that for us. That brought an immediate smile to both of our faces, and I was so touched by both their words and their gesture. Overall, we had a really great experience at Olive and June, and I don't hesitate to say that we would both give the restaurant five stars - in terms of food and atmosphere. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

We left the restaurant around 10:45pm, and we headed back to my house so that I could give him his birthday present. He wouldn't let me bake him anything sweet, so instead of cookies or a cake, I gave him a bag of his favorite apples. I can't help but laugh at how similar we are in that aspect, because I would also prefer a bag of my favorite apples to a cake. For his actual present I gave him a framed picture of a Texas flag, that is cooler than it sounds. I had a picture on my phone that I deleted because I didn't want him to discover it prematurely, so you'll just have to use your imagination, and I'll show you a picture once he hangs it on his wall.

So, it was one incredible night celebrating one great guy, though in the index card book I made for Dylan that consisted of "21 Reasons Why I Think He Rocks," I should have included two more things - one, that he puts up with my lactose intolerance (as he is quite the dairy lover), and two, that he doesn't get (outwardly) embarrassed of the fact that I take pictures of my food on the reg. He has begun to accept (and hopefully embrace) it, and doesn't even blink an eye when I whip out my phone to take a picture. So, thanks for that, Dylan. You deserve five gold stars for those two things alone.

Though I didn't end up going to bed until close to 2:00am - I am normally such an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of girl, but once I get my second wind, I am good to go for a while - I popped on out of bed at 8:20 this morning. I ate a couple of cuties and then headed to the gym to get in a workout before I headed back home later today, because I knew if I didn't do it while I was still in Austin, it wouldn't be happening today. I covered about 5.4 miles on the treadmill before calling it a morning, and I went back home to make myself some breakfast. Breakfast was nothing out of the ordinary, as I was finishing off some of the last few items on my shelf of the refrigerator, so I sliced up some strawberries, and scrambled up some egg whites and spinach to eat as my last breakfast in Austin for a while.

It was excellent, as usual, and it fueled me to clean our bathroom, and pack up my belongings to load up my car and head home to Houston for the holidays. As soon as I push publish, I am going to finish loading up my car and get on the road, so that I will likely be eating Hungry's and watching the NCAA volleyball tournament on the couch with my mom. Not a bad welcome home. Have an excellent Saturday, and thanks for sticking with me on this novel of a post!

No comments:

Post a Comment