Dinner à la Russe

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Too pretty to eat? Almost. Evan and I went out on a dinner date to celebrate my birthday this Saturday. I didn’t want anything for my birthday except for a leisurely dinner and maybe drinks. We went to a restaurant that is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) and Evan surprised me by bringing wines from our travels past. He brought a white from the Landmark Vineyards which we visited when we took a not-even-two-year-old Sophia to Napa and Sonoma. Evan also brought a wine we bought in Alentejo in 2003 when we drove all across Portugal and visited Evora. Spectacular as those wines were, my dinner companion, and reminiscing about our travels made this birthday celebration very special.

The girls, meanwhile, did not sulk at home—they had Grammie and Pop to entertain them. FullSizeRender (6) There is something unbelievably charming about grandfathers and granddaughters and especially this lovely pair right here. Beautiful as his artwork was, I found the fact that my father-in-law embraced face painting with Sophia so very endearing. I love seeing how much he loves and dotes on his granddaughters.

To round out the weekend, Evan, the girls, and I entertained at home for the first time in this house. These friends are very special for us and we were looking forward to showcasing some Azerbaijani and Russian dishes. Putting on a dinner party isn’t always easy, and even more difficult when you’ve got a clingy, hip-hugging, almost-two year old companion toddling around. We made stuffed cabbage, an Azerbaijani eggplant chicken stew, a fish baked in an agrodolce sauce, and chermoula eggplant with bulgur and yogurt. There were also homemade blintzes with a fresh fruit compote.

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The kids played so beautifully together, the adults were able to socialize, and enjoy wine (from proper wine glasses). I suppose committing to unpack a box or two a week really does have its benefits. It felt great to host, to entertain, and to share food with friends. Happy Monday!

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