Yesterday Jen’s mom called and offered to watch the kids so that Jen and I could go out by ourselves.  The idea of spending time alone was so appealing that it took us all of 3 seconds to accept.

As we made our plans for the evening we talked about where we wanted to have dinner.  Since the kids weren’t coming with, we were free to choose places that don’t offer chicken nuggets or i-spy fodder (see my post earlier in the week).  After cycling through a few of the usual suspects, I remembered that I had some gift cards.

I performed a wedding ceremony for a really sweet couple back in October.  To thank me, they gave us some gift cards that work at 5 different Raleigh restaurants.  We looked at each eatery’s website and decided on The Twisted Fork.

It was our first visit and the contemporary, open space was inviting- feeling both a touch upscale and casual at the same time.  As we sat down we discovered that we’d stumbled upon the “Wednesday Night Special for 2”- an appetizer or bottle of wine, soup or salad, two entress and a dessert- all for $40.  How fortuitous.  Especially since we had $50 in gift cards.  Even though we gave ourselves the option to get something else, we ended up settling on the special.  Our waiter revealed that it was about $80 worth of food and that was all I needed to hear.

Here’s a photo recap of our meal:

My beautiful dinner companion, candlelight and the house bread- which was fresh, warm and had a hint of rosemary baked in.

(That’s the bread, not Jen.)  A good beginning.

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The dip sampler. Crab dip, Brie/Apple/Bacon dip and Roasted pepper & bean dip.  All served hot with a light flatbread.   All the flavors were distinctive and a little went a long way.  Which was ok, because we still had plenty of food coming.

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We both went for the wedge salad with Ranch Dressing. The blue cheese and bacon canceled out the fresh veggies nicely.  Don’t want to be too healthy, right?

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Time for the main course. Jen had a blackened flat-iron steak with mashed potatoes and asparagus.  The steak was tender, flavorful, and cooked correctly.  The veggies were forgettable.

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I had the Shrimp Diablo. Fresh pasta with shrimp, a spicy marinara and pine nuts.  Nice dish.  The spice was warm, but didn’t continue to build as I kept eating.  Lots of shrimp in here.  I took 2/3 of it home.  Which almost never happens for me.

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We finished with a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream. Jen had been adventurous enough for the evening, so we kept this simple.  Good choice.  Satisfying, but not overly rich.

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Overall, I’d say that we had a positive experience.  The atmosphere, service and food quality were nice.  Not sure that we hit anything was so good that we’ll crave it and have to come back.  But I wouldn’t rule out another visit either. Especially on Wednesdays.

After dinner we bumped around what is possibly the lamest Ross I’ve ever been in.  It’s like they haven’t restocked since Christmas.  Half of the store was empty.  I was tempted to buy a pink hoodie, but mostly because Jen told me I’d never wear it.  As much as I like a good challenge, my cheapness…err…better judgment kicked in and I passed.

On the way home the reality of our parental obligations intruded and we headed to the grocery to buy some food so that we could pack Addy’s lunch in the morning.  Apparently one is deemed irresponsible if they don’t feed their children.  Go figure.

Earth shattering sutff?  Nah.

But how can you go wrong when you get to spend the evening with the person in the world you love the most?

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