Tuesday, August 17, 2010


We celebrated our wedding anniversary last night in style. We've been married 24 years, so Tim had the brilliant idea of eating dinner at WP24, Wolfgang Puck’s newest restaurant, located on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown L.A. There were no tables after 6PM, so he made reservations for 5:30PM, when the restaurant opens.

We were, of course, early, allowing us time to lounge around the bar and admire the view. At 5:30, a thin woman in a brown spandex dress led us into the dining room. We caught our breaths.

“This is the L.A. equivalent of the Rainbow Room!” I exclaimed, recalling the world-famous NYC restaurant where, almost 20 years ago, we had the most expensive dinner we’d ever eaten. The wait staff laughed.

“Well, yes, but there’s no dance floor,” Tim retorted. “And we can’t see the Empire State Building from here.”

Still, since we were the first ones seated, we slipped out the camera and took photos like a couple of dorky tourists.

Dinner at WP24 is prix fixe, depending on how many courses you order. We opted for three courses: starters, entree and dessert. There’s also a daily “tasting menu,” if you want to venture off the regular list, plus “side dishes for the table” that cost extra. The servers also periodically brought out appetizers the chef had cooked-up special for the evening. Ours were fish-related, which I don’t eat, so Tim got his fill of prawn biscuits and seafood turnovers.

For “starters” I had chili dan dan dumplings, while Tim noshed on lobster spring rolls. My main course was crispy skin Szechuan baby chicken with snow peas, leeks, mushrooms, and asparagus. Tim got steamed wild Alaskan king salmon with bok choy, ginger and spring onions—a dish he found a bit bland. But that was OK because he ended up eating some of my entree, which we both agreed was fabulous.

Between courses we had plenty of time to observe what everyone else was eating. A party of eight ordered a whole roasted Peking-style duckling, which the server paraded around the table before carving it nearby.

“I bet their bill is going to top $1000,” Tim whispered as we watched dish after dish being served.

We were enjoying our entrees when Tim again whispered, “There’s the vice president of AEG,” the corporation that owns L.A. Live, where Tim works and the Ritz-Carlton is located. The VP and two colleagues sat at the table next to ours. Not surprisingly, an unending assortment of appetizers appeared for them to sample.

Finally, our server produced the dessert menu, pointing out the most popular item, Marjolasian: layers of dark chocolate, white espresso mouse, cashew nougatine, and milk chocolate glace. Tim couldn’t resist. I, on the other hand, ordered the cornmeal brown butter cake with blueberries and pandan ice cream. Both desserts were out of this world.

The check arrived almost two hours after we were seated. With tip, we tied the Rainbow Room for most expensive dinner ever and there was still no dance floor or Empire State Building. But we didn’t care. It was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

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