Bailey’s for New Year’s Eve

January2

I’ll admit it: I don’t particularly enjoy New Year’s Eve.  This is not because I don’t like the moments of hugging and kissing at the appointed hour, because if you know me, you understand that I love any and every excuse to embrace and smooch.  I am an optimist and I live my life looking forward, so it is not that either.  I suppose it has to do with the regret that we don’t live every night of our life with a “new year’s eve” attitude-of forgiveness and reconciliation and the determination to do better.  The evening seems kind of artificial and contrived to me.  Do any of my readers feel this way too?

We often attend the bash at the Winnipeg Convention Centre where the multi-course meal is divine but the jazz stylings of Ron Paley and his big band even better.  Last year and another before that, we were on Isla Mujeres where the entire island (or so it seems) crowds into the square at midnight to kick off the year with a tremendous show of fire works and then they dance all night long.  And I mean this literally, because the next morning when we tried to hunt up some breakfast, most places were shuttered up because they had just arrived home to get some sleep.

Well this year, we were invited by new friends to join them at Bailey’s Restaurant and Lounge.  The evening had a lovely pace and lots of opportunity to get to know them better.  When we left to go elsewhere for midnight, there were only family and staff members left who were assembling to celebrate midnight together.  We had the pleasure of meeting Leo the owner and other members of his family. Typically Leo is very hands on helping with table service and the like, but on this evening he was simply making the rounds to warmly embrace his many patrons.

The first course was a cold platter of appetizers for the table with a nibble each of spanakopeta, spring roll, beef satay skewer, smoked salmon and garlic shrimp.  This proved to be a lovely way to forecast the culinary treats ahead.

Our attentive waiter came over to sadly tell us that the red pepper soup had been substituted with an asparagus one.  No disappointment to us- it was pungent with asparagus and buttery at the same time.

A warm from the oven, crusty roll occupied us until the salad course of mandarins, strawberries and candied blueberries topping mixed greens and a sweet poppy seed dressing arrived.

The guys both chose a platter including a beef tenderloin medallion, a lamb chop, shrimp and scallops. 

My new friend loved the veal chop with a tarragon port wine reduction.

I was over the moon with my selection of scampi.  There were so many upon the plate, that my vegetables and roasted potatoes had to arrive on a second plate, alongside.  I wondered how I was going to eat them all and then proceeded to do so without any trouble.  Each Icelandic baby lobster was still completely encased in its shell which meant that I had to roll up my sleeves and crack my way through to the sweet meat.  I mopped each one of them around in Bailey’s own butter sauce (which I have to get the recipe of) and when they were gone and there were still dobs of sauce on my plate, I swirled slivers of the potato and then cauliflower to ensure that I soaked up every salty drop.

I could have easily bundled up for our walk to the Forks to see the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the fireworks by this time, but we were not quite done.  Everyone needed a chocolate fix which was satisfied by the Black Out Torte and I opted for fresh fruit swimming in cointreau.  Coffee and Biley’s (of course) came after that.

By this time, we got moving to mark the strike of twelve.  I loved the intimate evening with our new friends which seemed so perfect at a time which sings about auld acquaintances not being forgotten.

Bailey's Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote: “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”-Bill Vaughn

Love-that is all.


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