A Birthday at Café des Architectes

When Lizz and I were first living on our own, way back in 2003, we would treat ourselves every few paychecks to what we called "grown up dinner." The requirements were simple:

  1. The restaurant had to be a sit-down place, complete with servers.
  2. There had to be at least one "OH MY GOSH SO GOOD" dish on the menu.
  3. There had to be at least one AMAZING dessert.

We'd go to places like the Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, local Mexican places, and the occasional actually fancy place. With getting older and moving farther away from each other, grown-up dinners take more planning than before, but because of that, we end up at far more fantastic restaurants!Enter: Lizz's birthday at Café des Architectes. The winter menu and pastry chef (and of course, my sister) Leigh Omilinsky's fantastic dessert creations would be the perfect way to celebrate Lizz's latest trip around the sun. This time, we had a much smaller guest with us for dinner as well, someone who was extremely excited to get dressed up and eat fancy food!

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As always, the service was impeccable. With Skylar's celiac, she needs to eat completely gluten-free and both the servers and kitchen were extremely careful with her needs. Gluten-free bread, new plates, and specially-prepared dishes just for her made it super-easy to truly enjoy the meal without worry.

We were greeted warmly, and a surprise glass of delicious champagne arrived for us, along with a kiddie cocktail in a champagne glass for Skylar.

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We began the meal with the amuse bouche: a moscato-poached cherry tomato, watermelon radish, mascarpone and dill

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Next, our appetizers arrived: lamb bacon and brussels sprouts with spiced mascarpone, crispy cauliflower, and poached apple, complete with a table side presentation of a delicious sauce.

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Lizz chose a butternut squash velouté with spinach meringue, garlic crouton, and brown butter cream, also presented table side:

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Each bite was better than the next, and Skylar was adventurous with her tasting of new things. She decided that she liked brussels sprouts ok, purple cauliflower is better than white, and bacon is good, no matter what.

Our entrees arrived soon after the table was cleared of our appetizers.

As usual, each entree choice sounded better than the next, so deciding was difficult. I was beyond pleased with my choice, sorghum-braised short rib with parsnip puree and butternut squash and madeira jus:

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Skylar's special chicken was an Amish chicken ballantine, boursin polenta, black truffle jus and maitake mushrooms.

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She devoured the mushrooms like they were going out of style, scraped her plate of the polenta, and saved half the chicken for home.

Since it was her birthday celebration, Lizz ordered the butter-poached lobster with truffled sunchoke, shaved radish, and clementine.

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Then came the desserts. Leigh really outdid herself this time, and warned us to save room because there "may be six courses of desserts coming."

She started us with something that made me giggle: gourmet puppy chow topped with Froot Loop ice cream and blackberry. It was like a taste of childhood in one tiny little bowl.

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Next came the citrus version of the beautiful melon dessert from the summer. Lemon panna cotta, aloe sorbet, blood orange consommé, puffed tapioca, and angel food cake with citrus pearls:

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Next came the "main dish" desserts. Each of us got something different and shared bites. For Skylar, an orange semifreddo, caramelized white chocolate, huckleberry ice cream, and macaron:

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I got to try something brand new: Tahitian vanilla white chocolate sponge, cassis gel, guava sorbet, candied macadamia nuts, jasmine meringues and jasmine powder
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This was nothing short of phenomenal. It looked like cake, cut like cake, but the moment I took a bite, it dissolved into an ice cream-like texture. I don't know how, but it was remarkable. The flavor combination reminded me of vacation.

Lizz was given the Chocolate Noir dessert, with baked chocolate mousse, candied cocoa nibs, hazelnut mousse, and moscato ice cream.

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Just when we thought we were stuffed to the brim, we were brought a tower of beautiful miniature treats.
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From the top: pistachio macaron, pineapple bon bon, lime caramel, passionfruit marshmallow, Grand Marnier bon bon, and pecan praline macaron

After we finished every last bite, Leigh took Skylar on a kitchen tour, and we left the hotel just shy of 11 p.m. A sugar-buzzed Skylar and full to the brim Lizz and I got in the car happy.

The entire meal was nothing short of phenomenal, and Leigh completely outdid herself. That is, until the next time we dine there, when she's sure to outdo herself again.

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One Response to A Birthday at Café des Architectes

  1. LOVE your night out – the food looks fantastic Mara!

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