Birthday Dinner With The Ritzy

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I apologize that I’m running behind on my updates, but my mom is in town for the next few days and I am grabbing moments when I get them. We picked her up yesterday to begin the big birthday festivities for The Kid who turned 11. I got to use my toll tag for the very first time during the big airport arrival too. Of course, we immediately headed over to The Pearl Cup after we exited the airport. We were treated to mythical dragons in the foam this time. For those who were wondering, Mom agreed with my review of the latte and said it was the best she had ever had. We then drove over to Knox Henderson and were quite disappointed that most of the quaint boutiques that we liked were no longer there. We made up for it by lounging by the pool the rest of the afternoon before dinner.

Birthday dinners are a big thing in my family and it typically involves the birthday person choosing a restaurant for the event. The rule book states it must be a restaurant where we wouldn’t usually go. With The Kid turning 11, she had trouble coming up with a list that didn’t involve clowns or people dressed in Medieval costumes so we asked for suggestions from others. A dear friend of mine suggested Hotel Za Za so I quickly made reservations. Unfortunately at the last minute a friend of The Kid’s raved about the restaurant atop Reunion Tower in particular because of the view and the restaurant spinning around as you ate. This should have been my first clue to not go, but I was overruled and was able to get reservations for 560 at the Tower.

They say always go with your first answer and we definitely should have. The restaurant is named 560 because it is 560 feet in the air over the city of Dallas. The view was beautiful, and since the restaurant slowly rotated while we ate, we got to see 360 degrees around. I’d like to start of by announcing the fact that I am not ritzy. I don’t eat fancy food, drive fancy cars, or hob knob with the fancy. Fancy is fine and I don’t mind it for others, it just doesn’t fit on me. Combine this with the fact that I am cheap, and the evening gets interesting. When we got to the Tower, I was completely thrown off my routine because all they had was valet parking. No option to even park on my own if I wanted.

When I pulled up, the valet asked if we were staying at the hotel or just dining at the restaurant. After answering he gave several valet parking options, and I thankfully I made my choice without asking him which one was less expensive. The question was on the tip of my tongue however. We made our way through the hotel and checked in at the counter at the bottom of the Tower. We waited until our table was ready and were escorted to the glass elevators to take to the top. The Kid was delighted that she got wonderful on the way up and stood right by the glass. At the top, we got to check in again and were seated at our table.

For those of you who don’t know, The Kid has a severe dairy allergy. She cannot eat or touch anything with a dairy product in it like milk, cheese, butter, cream and so on. If she does, bad things happen pretty quickly. I informed the restaurant of this when I made the reservation. I reminded them of it when I confirmed the reservation. The waiter brought it up before I did when he came to the table. We were told they had several menu choices that would work for her, but they could also modify anything to not include those items if needed. We confirmed every menu item ordered again just to make sure and again when it arrived so there was no question involved. More on this topic in a moment.

We started off with some very good schezchuan green beans with candied walnuts and frou frou sparkling water. We also got two appetizers – lettuce wraps and spring rolls. Both were quite tasty and the presentation was beautiful. The spring rolls looked like little wrapped presents sitting on the plate. For dinner, Mom got the salmon, The Kid got halibut, and I got sea bass. The waiter brought out a little table and set it at the end of ours after a bit and I wondered what the purpose was. Hmmmmm. Well, fellow non-ritzy people, a bit of knowledge that I did not have earlier. When you order a whole sea bass, you get a whole sea bass. Head, tail, fins, and everything in between.

They first brought out Mom and The Kid’s delicate, petite fillets and then my big ass bass arrives and is dropped on the little table at the end. This thing was the length of my forearm and required a special waiter to slice, dice, and debone it before I got to eat it! The guy was very adept at it. He ripped out the bones and actually put it back together in fish form on the plate that he served me. So there I sat, with a monstrous, fully formed fish sitting on a plate in front of me. Ugh. It tasted fine, but the image of me having to eat like Henry the 8th is forever etched in my mind. I only ate a very tiny portion of the entire beast. Oh, and it’s quite strange. The upper class apparently doesn’t eat many vegetables. The small bit of green beans at the beginning was the only vegetable the entire meal!

Now for the disappointing part of the meal. When The Kid was served her dinner, the server artistically poured a sauce all around the plate in a design. The sauce was suspiciously off white colored which tends to mean butter and milk are involved. I asked The Kid to hold off on eating it until the other waiter came back. She quickly tore into her rice in the meantime. The waiter returned and I pointed to the sauce and asked if he was sure it was dairy free. He vehemently confirmed that the head chef had made special accommodations and it was safe. The Kid went ahead and started. Thankfully she only had a couple bites and was more excited about her rice. Yes, the apple pretty much falls at the base of the tree

The waiter came back after a couple minutes and gave us a speech about wanting to just make sure, so he asked the chef to remake the halibut and took the plate away. No mention of a miscommunication or anything. Sure enough, eye swelling quickly began and the tears followed. I immediately gave her benadryl which stops all but the most severe attacks. Poor Kid, she sobbed at the table and said all she wanted for her birthday was for her allergy to go away. I pepped talked her as best I could while trying not to cry myself. The new fish arrived sauce free, and she did eat a few bites of it. The waiter was slightly apologetic for the mix up but quickly moved on. I was just glad the benadryl worked as quickly as the waiter high tailed it off into the sunset.

We were presented with the dessert menu and Mom and The Kid ordered the strawberry sorbet. I opted for the cheesecake brulet. I don’t eat like this often, and I can get sorbet anywhere. I’m doing it right when faced with the option. The sorbet arrived and was a teeny tiny little scoop sitting in a fancy little bowl/plate thing. Picture one of those little dishes that you put your soy sauce in when eating sushi. That was what the bowl looked like. The scoop was smaller than a golf ball, but they both enjoyed it. I was relieved that mine was larger and the brulet was delicious. It was served with fresh cherries and cherry sauce. Mmmmmm.

We enjoyed the ride down again and by that time the tower ball was lit up like the one in Times Square, and I was relieved to get my car back safe and sound from the valet. Dinner was nice overall, but I much prefer my normal middle class restaurants.

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