February 14, 2015
When we’re in St. Louis, brother-in-law, Bob, takes us to the St. Louis Club, which offers the finest of fine dining and ambiance.
In Winnipeg, the food and mood at Ichi Ban Japanese Steakhouse is over the top.
Then, there’s the Inn at Maple Crossing on Maple Lake near Mentor, Minn.; tastefully classy to the core.
Well, move over St. Louis Club, Ichi Ban and Maple Crossing Inn. If the group I’m about to speak of were in the food business, it could give any fancy restaurant a run for its money.
All the youth and their adult helpers: Michayla, Jessica, Madi, Macy, Reagan,
Kaylynn, JD, Jordee, Aiden, Alec, Emily, Michael, Laurie, Adam and Mikael
As it turns out, they’re just a bunch of teens assisted by a handful of parents (and one grandpa) whose sole purpose was to offer those seated at card tables, graced with red or white linen cloths, the joy of delectable food and lots of fun for only a few bucks.
Enjoying the dinner and ambiance
Last Saturday night, youth from our church, Immanuel Lutheran in Grand Forks, helped prepare and serve a Valentine’s dinner — to perfection with a capital P. Spearheaded by their director, Jessica, it was a fundraiser, and I’m told after expenses they made more than $600 they can use for various projects and activities.
Every couple had their photo taken and this is Jim’s and mine
The Fellowship Hall was beautifully dressed in strings of tiny Christmas lights as well as red, white and pink balloons. It was a dimly lit romantic atmosphere for the 18 couples who attended.
Teens in black slacks, white shirts and some with red ties, were as professional, friendly and accommodating as any maître d’ who’s ever served me.
Emily and Moriah — part of the decorating committee
Lyle and Jeanne were our table mates. First, we enjoyed punch and a hors d’oeuvre of veggies, dips, crackers and breads. Soon, Madi, one of our servers, stopped back at our table wondering if we’d like Ranch, French or Thousand Island dressing on our salads. When the salads arrived, they could not have been more fresh, crisp and colorful with cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices mixed in with the greens.
Shortly before the main course, our servers returned with another query: “Would you like your prime rib well done, medium well, medium or rare?” they asked, adding, “You will get au jus with that, would you also like horseradish?”
Yes, yes, I answered. I will have it all.
And then, our plates arrived with the biggest slice of prime rib I have ever seen, “real” garlic mashed potatoes (no flakes allowed) and glazed carrots. The carrots tasted like they had just been dug from the garden that day.
Never have I tasted such tender prime rib. Saying you could cut it with your fork (which is gospel) is cliché. Now, I’ve never compared prime rib to cotton candy, but for all the world cutting and savoring each bite of my huge slab of pinkish beef was like pulling a plug of spun sugar off its paper baton at the fair.
I kid you not!
Two dads, Adam and Mikael, deserve accolades for preparing the prime rib. It was a “team effort,” Mikael said. “I learned it’s all about cooking it slowly at the right temperature. We had a lot of fun in the kitchen. Laurie, Adam, Alec and I worked extremely well together. We were like a well-greased wheel. What was really interesting was listening to (Grandpa) Ralph talk about KP duty when he was in the military.”
A slice of Italian Cream Cake capped the meal and through it all, we enjoyed the piano and violin music of Emily and Michael.
I don’t know who was more excited about what came next, the young people or we who are still young at heart. More music began and soon most everyone was on the dance floor. Jim and I enjoyed a jitterbug, a cha-cha and a slow dance or two.
But I think the most fun of all was a floor full of the young and younger doing the “Cupid Shuffle,” a popular sort of line dance that’s like the Cha-Cha Slide. No sireee — you’ll never catch me sittin’ out something like that because along with cutting into an exquisitely prepared prime rib, there’s nothing I’d rather do than cut a rug.
All in all, it was a great Valentine dinner/dance/party that offered the finest of fine dining and ambiance. It was definitely over the top and tastefully classy to the core — thanks to a super bunch of kids we are happy to support. If they do it again next year, we’ll be there.