A Full Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012
Since both Mom and I were working yesterday, we chose to "celebrate" my birthday today, Friday. First up, lunch! Our original plans were to go to Boston Pizza but we decided to stop at Earls instead. Since it was only eleven-ish, there was almost no one else in the restaurant - I think one other table was occupied when we arrived.

I'm not sure why but with almost the entire restaurant empty, they sat us in the corner only two tables from the other diners.  Whatever, we had plenty of lovely natural light and could watch people walking by.
Lovely Mommikins
Notice the windows to the right of both these photos?  We actually switched seats JUST to take photos of each of us.  Behind my seat was just a plain brown wall which looked horrible when Mom tried to take a decent photo.  Good thing there we were practically alone!
More windows
Ice Cold Rhino?
Both of us really really REALLY wanted pasta for lunch - why would we choose Earls then? Go figure.  However, we managed to each find a different item on their menu that sounded like the perfect solution for our present pasta passion.  I love alliterations!  My tastebuds were looking for an alfredo sauce but the word was nowhere to be found on the menu.  However, I found the fettuccine alla pana which was fettuccine noodles with parmesan garlic cream sauce, 18 month aged prosciutto, peas, cracked black pepper, and Grana Padano parmesan.  It sounded delicious even with the prosciutto, something I'm nomally not a fan of at all. I also added chicken. 
Bland and boring
Sadly, this was an epic fail!  The best part of it were the peas and the toasted herb bread.  No flavour, very little sauce and I should have skipped the prosciutto which was extremely chewy. The caesar salad that we split had more flavour and pizzazz to it than this sad dish.  I've made better pasta dishes.

Mom's meal? Whole different story!  She went for the spicy seafood linguine.
Winner winner seafood dinner
The linguine included San Marzano tomato sauce, garlic, crushed chilies, scallops, prawns and seasonal white fish, and topped with herbed bread crumbs.  She cleaned her plate.  She loved it but would have preferred it without the whitefish which she found to be a bit distracting.  The seafood alone would have made it perfect.  I even tried a bite (without any fish/seafood) and the sauce was yummalicious.

Remember that salad I mentioned?  We asked for it to be a starter but had to remind our server about it after she dropped off our entrees so it ended up being eaten with our meals.  We weren't too pleased about that however it DID allow me to actually taste something during my meal.  While essentially just a generic caesar salad (but not a hint of bacon! Tsk tsk), the sauce was wicked garlicky.  Mmmmm.
We finished off our meal with dessert (it IS my birthday, after all).  While I tried to get her to say yes to the banana chocolate cake, we ended up ordering the cheesecake.  According to the menu, the topping was supposed to be blueberries but our waitress gave us a number of options.  We got creative and mixed their raspberry puree with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.  Sweet dessert perfection. The cheesecake itself was the perfect texture - not too heavy but not that light fluffy cheesecake that some places make.  The crumb crust could have had a tad bit more brown sugar but went well with the not too rich filling.  And the toppings we chose?  The sour/tart raspberry puree was offset lovingly with the sweet chocolate.  If I'd been at home, I'd have licked the last drops off the plate when we were done.

After we had finished feasting, we headed over to the Telus World of Science and had a wander around before visiting the Titantic Artifact exhibit.  When you enter the exhibit, a staff member hands you a boarding pass with the name and details about an actual passenger on it. The idea is to imagine yourself as this passenger while you explore the exhibit and then at the end you can find out whether or not you/they survived.  Neither of us were expecting it to be so emotional but we were each finding ourselves a bit overwhelmed by the connections to actual passengers the exhibit.  While there are a lot of artifacts such as random bottles, dishes, wall sconces, etc, there were also items from specific passengers and details about their lives and their fates posted nearby.  Most dramatic for me was learning that a number of passengers hadn't even booked passage aboard the Titanic but on other smaller ships making the crossing.  Due to a coal miner's strike though, the smaller ships were docked and the coal (and passengers) were transferred to the Titanic instead.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Who knows what would have happened to many of those who died if their original ships had transported them instead...? 

If you get the chance to view the exhibit (which was a bit smaller than I'd hoped but still fascinating), I highly recommend it.  You can also learn more by visiting the official website.

FYI:  My passenger was Lily May Futrelle (nee Peel), wife of Jacques Futrelle, both novelists, and Mom was Sylvia Mae Caldwell (nee Harbaugh).


Wandering Coyote said...

I'm sorry your Earl's meal wasn't better; usually they are a sure bet for a good meal. I haven't been there in ages, though.

Sounds like you had a great day!

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