Saturday, August 20, 2022

Happy Anniversary to Us!

M and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary (and our first anniversary as parents)! We went on the first real date we've taken in about six months, thanks to my wonderful friend N offering to watch baby S while we went out.

Originally, we were planning to go to a French restaurant in the Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul. But the day before our anniversary, the city had record rainfall and we saw tons of photos and videos of Gangnam absolutely flooded. Afraid of getting stranded on the other side of town, we changed our reservation to somewhere closer to us (and farther from the Han River) with parking so we could drive and get back home quickly if we needed to.

Thankfully, the rain was much lighter on our actual anniversary. I was still glad we adjusted our plans if for no other reason than the peace of mind it gave me. It's hard enough going out for the first time and leaving a baby behind; I did not need to add any stress on top of that. So we went to Boccalino, an Italian restaurant in Seoul's Four Seasons Hotel.

The service was outstanding. We started our meal off with an amuse bouche of watermelon, pistachio, and ricotta as well as a strawberry and pink peppercorn soda, anchovy bread, and various dips. For appetizers, we ordered a fennel, lobster, and orange salad (which was okay) and a burrata and tomato salad with balsamic pearls (which was fantastic).

Our main courses were pan-fried codfish for me and fusilli bolognese for M, both of which were delicious. When we go out to eat, M tends to play it safe and order things he knows he likes. For me, I like ordering things that are tasty but that I don't cook at home either because the cooking process is difficult or unfamiliar or because the ingredients are hard to find or because M doesn't eat it. Fish usually isn't M's favorite (with salmon being the exception), so I love getting it at restaurants.

We finished off the meal with two ordered desserts (chocolate ice cream and profiteroles for me and mango sorbet for M), but since we mentioned it was our anniversary they gave us an additional scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with a candle and happy anniversary sign board. It was so sweet in every sense of the word. (Longtime readers of the blog also know that ice cream is basically our favorite dessert.)

After dinner we were feeling adventurous and decided to scope out the hotel's speakeasy cocktail bar that our friends are always raving about: Charles H. It took us a while, but eventually we found the hidden door. It is difficult to describe in words how cool this place is. You go through the hidden door down a black staircase to a sleek front desk, and then a bouncer opens up another door into the bar itself. Entering Charles H, the atmosphere hits you from the moment you cross the threshold. The decor is classy, the lighting is just the right level of dim, and the swinging jazz music had me hooked from the get-go.

There's always a question of how accommodating a place designed for drinking alcohol will be for teetotalers like us, especially when we haven't come with a group of drinkers. In this case, there was a cover charge, but it was very manageable (less than $10 per person). A server seated us and brought over welcome drinks of champagne. He was confused when I refused the drinks, but eventually he understood my explanation that we don't drink alcohol. To my surprise and delight, he came back in a few minutes with freshly squeezed orange juice welcome drinks for us instead. (Very often in situations like that, non-drinkers just don't get a welcome drink. So I was already impressed with the service.)

As we nibbled the free chips and olives on our table, M and I ordered some non-alcoholic mocktails. His was a tropical one from Brazil that tasted strongly of creamy banana. Mine was a citrusy, sugary lemongrass drink with a unqiue lemongrass straw. It was nice to know they had some options that were okay even for my religious prohibition against drinking alcohol or coffee or tea.

After a fun night of chatting and reminiscing about our many years together, M and I headed home and found S happy and safe in N's care. Even though we had to change up our itinerary last minute, I think it's safe to say our anniversary date was a success. Going out with M is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm glad we got to have a date, just the two of us, one more time before we leave South Korea.

No comments:

Post a Comment