Thursday, April 21, 2011

the Bright Side - Olivia Restaurant

Last week was restaurant week. A friend from work invited me to join her and her friends at Olivia, a cute little restaurant on South Lamar. I was a little nervous about going to dinner with people I don't know, but I am new to the city so it's not like I really know lots of people. If I don't try to meet new people, I'll be sitting home alone forever, no? I was thrilled with the invitation so, of course, I said yes.

I realized, later that weekend, how excited I was to have a reason to wear something nice. Moving to a new place naturally reduces your social calendar, and although, I'm lucky enough to have had plenty to do, not very many events let me play dress up. I enlisted Jessie's help and raided my closet through ichat. We finally agreed on this little number from Forever 21.

Cute but still casual.

Playing dress up took a bit longer than expected, and I was running a little late. Parking at Olivia didn't help with my running late. I couldn't find parking in the tiny lot and ended up parking at the CVS down the street (Oltorf and Lamar - not my favorite intersection). The restaurant itself, though, greatly makes up for the parking and the sketchy intersection. It has a lovely outdoor seating area, and the interior feels airy and uncluttered even with all the tables and people.  Once I got inside the place, my friend told me that we were, in fact, an hour early - she had the time wrong. Good! I hate being late, but am perfect with being early enough for a pre-dinner drink!

I was thrilled when everyone else got to the restaurant. They were all so nice and funny! I relaxed immediately and focused on the difficult part - deciding what to eat. The restaurant week menu was a 3-course menu with 2 or 3 choices for each course plus the option of having a wine pairing with each course. Decisions, decision! After seriously considering the pros and cons of each dish, I decided on the following:

 - Pork belly with apple butter and cheese fondue (my favorite dish of the night!)
 - Mushroom risotto cakes with fresh veggies
 - Chocolate brownie
 - Wine pairing with all courses

My goal was to take pictures of each dish, but I only managed to take a picture of the pork belly before I became increasingly distracted by eating the amazing food and enjoying the company.

The meal was delicious! It was, in no way, economical, but the taste and the atmosphere made it absolutely worth it! I had a great time.

So, here's a tip for those moving to a new city - accept invitations to hang out. You might meet some pretty great people and discover a nice place to hang out. I know that I did!

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