(A brief note: I started writing this post nearly two months ago, before the current Covid-19 crisis was even known to be in our state. So much has changed since then, and our blog going forward this year may be changed quite a bit as a result as well. Regardless, we wanted to bring you posts on the backlog of Achievements we participated in during the first two months of the year. So without further ado, here is the story of our Lunar New Year celebration on January 25th!)
Long-time readers of the blog know a number of truths about us: we are never afraid to make absolute idiots out of ourselves for the sake of blogging, we LOVE food, we will go way out of our way to be extra if the occasion calls for it, and we never, ever, ever pass up a chance to celebrate a holiday.
And one more thing: if something goes wrong — say, our New Year’s Eve dinner gets delayed and we end up getting our wine courses in rapid-fire style before the food arrives, leading to us being a little tipsier than expected, engaging in a lengthy debate of the merits of John Sousa vs those of Wang Chung (it made sense in the moment, I assure you), and subsequently having to call my dad to pick us up three hours before midnight — we go the extra mile to ensure there is Full Celebration Redemption.
Enter the Lunar New Year, 2020.
We always kick the New Year off downtown at First Night. (You can read about our past celebrations First Night 2019 and First Night 2017 and First Night 2016 and First Night 2014 and First Night 2013 and First Night 2012 and First Night 2010. And there would have been another ‘here’ except that the night fell apart ridiculously early due to a combination of Too Much Wine + Not Enough Food + A Lot Of Precipitation + The Damn Wind + Fox Being An Old Lady About The Snow. Around these parts we call that ‘the perfect storm of fuckedupedness’.
So we decided a re-do was necessary, and that day was the Lunar New Year: January 25th, 2020.
We kicked things off as we always do on New Year’s Eve: with a beverage at August Henry’s downtown.
Since checking out the downtown art galleries is always a part of First Night, we decided to start with a visit to the Wood Street Galleries, which had just opened a new exhibit by Miguel Chevalier, called Power Pixels 2020. It was SO COOL.
The first installation was called Complex Meshes 2020. It’s basically the equivalent of being transported into a motion-activated 1990s Windows screensaver. The graphics changed throughout, but they would move around the walls as people moved around under sensors. It was so cool. You could literally spend hours in here moving the graphics around.
The second installation was Oscillations 2020. It features a visual representation of the sound waves of music that plays overhead. Again, you could spend a long time in here just watching the sound waves move up and down across the walls.
You can check out video of these two installations here:
Next up, it was time for dinner! We decided to go back to the site of our New Year’s Eve dinner, Braddock’s Rebellion. While things were a little messy on New Year’s Eve (there was a wedding going on at the same time as our dinner, and everything was sharing the same bar, so the timing left a lot to be desired), we loved the food and wanted to give the restaurant a fair shot at a re-do.
And it was absolutely the right decision. Every single thing we ordered was excellent! We started with the bourbon house wedge salad, which had fresh and crispy lettuce, and a super creamy ranch dressing.
And lately, it seems I can never pass up a soft pretzel on a menu, so we ordered the house-baked Bavarian pretzels. Oh man were these good. Soft and warm, with a smoked gouda, pancetta, & wine fondue for dipping. Also on the board were fresh apple slices which – you guessed it – were also amazing in the fondue.
Finally, because this was a New Year’s celebration and we deserved the chance to go all out, we got one final appetizer, the sliced ahi tuna plate. Yet again, the flavor balance of the meat itself with the drizzle (in this case, a wasabi crème fraîche) was just perfection.
But wait. There’s more!
And then we decided to each get an entree (much of which came home with us for lunch the following day, I promise). Husband got the Dodge City cattle hanger steak with rosemary fingerling potatoes. Cooked to a perfect medium-rare, the steak was juicy and hearty.
And I got the special of the evening, the halibut. When we were told the specials, our server told us the halibut came with a creamy risotto. But when the dish arrived, we learned that they had swapped out the sides that evening, so I got the fingerling potatoes and broccolini as well.
But – because the staff there is so damn awesome, when I inquired about the risotto, the chef personally brought us out a complementary side dish of it! And I was *so* glad he did, because this was quite honestly The World’s Best Risotto. This is the risotto a cold winter night dreams of. Perfection!
Finally, to keep with the theme of Really Going Overboard, we got “The Fulton” Cookie Sundae for dessert. Seriously, even if you just stop in for risotto and this dessert, it would be well worth the trip to Braddock’s! We truly loved every single thing we ate that night.
After dinner ended, we found out some dear friends of ours were downtown for a show, and we decided to all meet for a nightcap at the Warren. It was nice to catch up with our friends and relax with a cocktail before finishing up our night downtown.
Our final stop of the evening was Prismatica, the interactive art exhibit being housed in the Cultural District for a few months. We’d seen it on New Year’s Eve, but it was snowing and sleeting pretty badly that evening, so I wanted to make sure we stopped back in better weather. While it was still drizzling a bit, I managed to get a few photos of the awesome installation anyway!
In the end, our makeshift New Year’s Eve re-do was a success all around. We saw some super cool art, had a great dinner, and got to explore downtown on a night with (slightly) better weather. Even though the Year of the Rat is proving to be a challenging one, we are certainly committed to making the best of what’s around, and promise to keep sharing our adventures with you all!