Most of the time in the dating world you get one shot to make a good first impression. If a first date goes south the potential couple can usually kiss any possibility of a budding relationship goodbye (pun intended). Thank goodness for marriage because Allie and I got a chance to push reset on our disastrous date night from a few months ago (click here for the cringe-worthy details) and man did we live it up!
The theme of the night is wine tasting, in case you missed our Insta-Stories over the weekend. With Whole 30 ending last week and a promise to enjoy ourselves for a few days before diving back in on a more strict eating regimen, we decided to enjoy all the things we'd been avoiding for the last month. Specifically wine, chocolate, delicious sauces, bread, and dessert.
In our previous date, we'd only made it as far as the front tasting room at a local winery/restaurant so this time we planned ahead, made a dinner reservation at an appropriate time, then arrived about 45 minutes early for a tasting. Thanks to the generosity of one of our recent couples, we got to partake in a few delicacies that we typically would have skipped due to price. We cozied up to the wrap-around tasting bar and basked in the natural light with a view of the lake. The deluxe tasting featured several whites, several reds, a sparkling wine, and a dessert wine complemented by two heavenly handmade chocolates. We sipped as our bartender explained the various wines and unanimously voted the Meritage as our favorite of the night.
We strolled right up to the host desk, told them our names, and were immediately seated. Quite a change from the 3+ hour wait time of our last date night! We sat close to the double sided glass wine cellar at an intimate table for two. The easy part was deciding on 4 wines a piece for our flights. The hard part was choosing just 1-2 entrees from the amazing menu. Everything sounded so amazing after meat and veggies for so long! We finally decided on crispy Brussels sprouts with bacon and mint for an appetizer, Parmesan crusted filet and Mexican drunken shrimp for an entree, and S'mores Budino for dessert. Mouth watering, yet?!
We sipped our flights and laughed as we savored every bite. As the meal began to wind down, we checked the time and it was barely 8:30! Typically at this point in the night, Strouse House Baby is finally asleep, we would be finishing the dishes, and preparing to hit the couch to veg before heading to sleep. We swore we'd enjoy parental freedom tonight so we began to make plans. Allie's uncle caught wind that we were in their neighborhood so he invited us over for some post-4th celebrations.
After being enjoying some July 4th themed entertainment, some adult beverages and lounging on their back patio, we made one last stop at the K95 Country Fest afterparty to shake hands and pat backs. Allie has really been enjoying her weekend shifts (Saturday's 10-2 and Sundays 3-7) on Richmond's #1 country station and it was fun to see her co-workers celebrating a successful weekend after many months of hard work.
By the time we snagged a redbox and headed home, it was past midnight! We hadn't seen this time of night since the early baby zombie phase of multiple night feedings. This side of things was much more fun! Unfortunately, the night had to end and responsibility couldn't be shirked forever. The joy of 4+ years of friendship, 3+ years of dating, and almost 6 years of marriage is the promise of plenty more date nights together. Even though it was a bit murky wading back into the dating pool after infant madness, there is always opportunity to make the best of it at the time and then plan better for the future.
Cheers to married date nights!