We had two reasons for going to PA and MD this time:
- Meet our new nephew, Graham! This was supposed to be the first time we met the baby. That was before the funeral trip, which, obviously, was unplanned, but since everyone was there, we met him in October instead. Still, the tickets were booked and it cost more to move them to Christmas (or to just cancel and keep them as a credit) than it did to keep them and make the trip anyway. Plus, we had reason #2.
- Celebrate John’s parents’ 40th wedding anniversary! Their anniversary is the 20th, but we took the opportunity of coming into town to see the baby to get the whole family in one place and take John VII and Pat out to dinner.
We weren’t really sure just what we were going to do to celebrate at first – big family party? small family party? dinner out? – but then Emily had the brilliant (and very expensive) idea of taking them out to dinner at best restaurant in Frederick, MD: Volt. She and Sean had been once, and they’ve been raving about it ever since. She booked the nine of us (plus Graham) into a private room, and let me tell you – I have never felt so fancy. The restaurant is in an old mansion in downtown Frederick. The decor is pretty modern, but the room we were in was the conservatory, with a bay window at the end, and big windows along both sides looking into the garden. The room was just big enough for us and the full staff serving us. Seriously, every time they brought in a new course, five waitstaff came in at once and served us at the same time. It was like synchronized swimming. Synchronized service. Very cool, very fancy.
Special menus were printed with “Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad” and their wedding date on them. We had a four-course meal, with three choices per course. I couldn’t tell you everything that was on the menu, but I can tell you what I had.
- Garlic: tom cove clams, black garlic, onion blossoms. It was a soup, and it was SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.
- Goat cheese scarpinocc: chicken of the woods mushroom, spinach, honey vinegar. Little bitty filled pasta, and this was even better than the soup.
- Lamb loin: mushroom oatmeal, maitake caramel, wax beans. Also very very good, but the little bitty pasta was better.
- Mini apple tart: maple ice cream, confiture de lait, ginger, rosemary. By far the disappointment of the meal. I mean, it was fine, but it wasn’t up to the standards of the first three courses.
Tiny portions, but plenty of food. I would definitely eat there again, but I’ll have to save up for a while. Graham cooperated by sleeping through most of the meal and letting Sean feed him when he woke up. No crying, even though we were in a sound-proofed room, so if ever there was a time for a baby to cry in a restaurant, this was it.
We all look demonic in the one picture I have of the group of us at the restaurant, so you don’t get to see that unless you look for pictures I’m tagged in on Instagram. Or go to Facebook. Everyone in the family has probably posted a picture or two there. Pictures of the baby tomorrow!