Saturday, May 16, 2009

Susan's Birthday Dinner

Saturday, May 16, 2009
Last Friday, we took Cathryn's mom ("Susan") out to dinner for her birthday. (Her birthday was actually over a week ago, but she was on vacation at the time.) We decided to try a new place for the occasion, Vino's, an inexpensive Italian restaurant on Elmwood near Amherst.

Vino's is a smaller restaurant and a bit off the beaten track. I only knew of it because I had designed an invitation for a political fundraiser held there a few months prior and heard good things from those who attended. It was recommended that we get reservations, which was sound advice given that there are only approximately twelve tables at the restaurant.

A chalkboard with the menu written on it lines the back of the restaurant and is its most striking feature. A handsome bar lines the side wall of the restaurant with an extensive wine and liquor collection sitting behind. A collection of deserts sits on the side portion of the bar. There are tea-light candles and a single flower at each table. The restaurant manages to be both cozy and fancy at the same time.

Both the waitress and hostess were very good with Beatrix. They had a high-chair for her to sit on and placed some cloths over the vent so Beatrix did not get too cold. They even didn't say when Beatrix started repeatedly saying "nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnAH." (That is a long N sound followed by a thudding ah.) They wisely recommended that we rip off the paper from her portion of the table because she was playing with it, and gave us a napkin for her to play with instead.

We ordered Bruschetta as an appetizer. It was served a bit colder that we would have preferred, but was still very good. (Beatrix may not have been as big of a fan however; when we gave her a few small pieces to try, she gave us her stink-face.) All our meals came with a small salad, which they serve with their house-dressing. The salad was nothing to write home about and we were not fond of the lemony salad dressing. Susan ordered Ravioli, which she referred to as being "...the best ravioli she ever had." (Susan is from England, though, so it's not like she is the world's expert on ravioli or anything.) Cathryn ordered Pasta with Garlic and Oil in which she greatly enjoyed. I ordered (what else???) Spaghetti and Meatball. My meal was excellent, however I do believe both my sauce and meatballs are slightly better. For desert, Cathryn and Susan shared a piece of Triple-Chocolate cake, which they both greatly enjoyed. Both Susan and I had a cup of coffee after our meals, which we both found to be excellent. Overall, we found the food to be very, very good - though it still could be improved upon.

The best part of the meal was the price - $45.60 (or something like that). We ended up giving a $9.40 tip because the service was so excellent (especially with Beatrix) and were so impressed with our dining experience. We definitely plan to go back soon.

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