Deluxe Date Night: Cafe Istanbul

When I asked what you like about this blog last week I was surprised to hear so many of you say that you like when I talk about the things I do with That Husband. Really? I think our lives are pretty boring and I was really just writing those posts because they are the kind of thing our families like to read most. It’s nice to know that all the effort I put into writing them isn’t just being spent on the 3 or 4 family members we have that read this blog.

I don’t write many posts about what we do together because we don’t do go out. The highlight of our time spent together is usually when we make a batch of homemade frozen yogurt and sit on the couch and watch a movie together Friday night. With the amount he is traveling lately we really don’t have time for much more than that.

The one constant in our dating life is a night I like to call Deluxe Date Night. Instead of eating out several times a week (or month), we only eat out once (that is once per month!), and when we do we go all out. Most couples we know like to eat out more than that simply bcause they like to get out of the house, but we don’t mind staying in most of the time, and it’s so nice to feel like we can really splurge every once in awhile, even with the somewhat limited budget we are on.

Each month before we go I spend a lot of time on, the best resource for arts, entertainment, sports, and food in Dallas that I’ve been able to find so far. I pour over the restaurant option, visit their websites, look over the menus and attempt to figure out what the meal would cost. In our relationship That Wife does the planning and That Husband foots the bill. It works really really well for us.

Deluxe Date Night in January started off with an endowment session in the Dallas temple.

cafe istanbul

For the month of January I chose a Turkish restaurant called Cafe Istanbul. I wasn’t sure how authentic TUrkish cusisine in Dallas, TX could be, but after tasting the food and readig through the terrible English on the menu I’m 99% sure this is the real deal.

cafe istanbul

We started with the Humus.

Creamy blend of mashed garbanzo beans, tahini, yogurt, olive oil and garlic.

cafe istanbul

Accompanied by this really delicious bread.

cafe istanbul

The place wasn’t tiny, but the warm colors made it felt warm and cozy.  There were all kinds of Turkish plates, photos, and other trinkets hanging on the walls.

cafe istanbul

That Husband had Iskender Kebap.

Alexander the Great’s favorite combination. Tender ground beef and lamb cooked slowly on vertical rotisserie, served over pita bread with warm tomato-butter sauce and yogurt on the side.

My photos of his dishes are always blurry because he only gives me .00002 seconds to take the picture before he dives in.

cafe istanbul

I  had Tavuk Sarma.

Marinated chicken breast, stuffed with pistachio, garnished with pilaf and served on a bed of sauteed spinach and tarragon sauce.

cafe istanbul

We always love to order desert on Deluxe Date Night.

He had Baklava.

Sultan’s homemade buttery dough, filled with walnuts and served with honey syrup.

cafe istanbul

I had one of the most divine deserts ever, Armut Tatalisi.

Pear filled with walnuts and served with Cafe Istanbul’s special wine sauce.

cafe istanbul

We are doing Deluxe Date Night next Saturday and I’m very excited to get dressed up and go out to eat again. Any Dallas readers have restaurant suggestions for us?

Company Christmas Party

Friday night was That Husband’s company Christmas party, a chance to wear the cocktail dress I bought 2 weeks ago. One of us (you can go ahead and guess which one) almost had an outfit related breakdown as we were getting ready to walk out the door, but through much trial and tribulation we were able to make it out of the door.

I insisted we take a picture outside of our front door to document our hotness. One with my coat on, and one with it off. Now I understand why it is hard for photographers to have pictures of themselves and their families (not that I consider myself a photographer) but when I am the subject I can’t really be playing with the settings to capture the perfect shot. Resulting in photos such as this one with no cute peep-toe heels in the frame.

The party was held at the Texas Stadium.

The first thing you see when upon entering is the bar. I’m sure the bartenders loved filling up our Ginger Ales all night. It’s always funny to get the double take at an open bar when I say “Ginger Ale please. No, nothing else, just Ginger Ale.”

I loved the salad bar. I went through and chose my ingredients, they were tossed together, it was topped off with croûtons and a bread stick and served in a martini glass.

My salad was amazing, and I’m sad I didn’t go back for another round. What is it about food served in a martini glass that makes it so fun?

The entire meal was built around stations with small plates. Look at that huge piece of meat! This was toward the end of the party when we were leaving. Having worked in catering before I know how much of that food will just be thrown in the garbage.

I made sure that we both filled up on as much of the food as possible. I wanted to milk that free meal for all it was worth.

Lately I’ve been hearing stories of company parties where spouses aren’t invited. I’m glad I made it on the guest list. Also, I have bad posture.

I take so many picture, That Husband isn’t even fazed when I whip out my camera to take random pictures.

The view from our table included this football game. Kind of a boring one with the final score being 7 to 43. Must have been some small schools, since Royal City usually has that many people at their football games, huge stadium or not!

Those who were boozing it up took advantage of the lounge seating spread throughout the room.

I was very excited to explore the cupcake bar when it was time for dessert. I didn’t like the black, white, or pink frosting that much, but the 4th option was made with Kalua and I was worried about leaving the party a little tipsy if I gave it a try.

I wound up creating this, which I couldn’t even finish. The cupcake was dry an the frosting was overly sweet, but it was very fun to make.

As you can see, I decided to go keep the cute little heels with the bow. I wasn’t on my feet very long, but they didn’t hurt at all. Thanks to That Husband for 2 great date nights this week!

ICE! at the Gaylord

As soon as I saw this post on Make Mine a Mojito, I knew That Husband and I had to make a date night out of visiting the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Texan.

It was my first time at the Gaylord, and the place is HUGE! I think my entire hometown could fit inside (not just the people, the buildings and everything). All of the decorations were Texas sized, which meant they were ridiculously grand.


After following the snowflakes and the signs help up by Miss Skanky Ice Princess we made it to the exhibit where we were handed some very attractive parkas. Wearing the parka with hood up is absolutely necessary because the exhibit is freezing inside (actually it’s below freezing).

We learned from the video that they flew in 40 artists from China to sculpt the exhibit.

I’m all about the intereactive stuff, so I was happy that they created a special place for people to touch the ice.

I saw this part of the exhibit and thought that this was a wonderful representation of That Husband and I….

but then I saw these two kid and realized that the one on his bum actually looks more like me. I’m not the best ice skater.

I was attempting to take a self-portrait of the two of us in front of the bunnies when this lady walked up and forcefully quickly grabbed my camera (the camera I consider to be my little baby) from my hands and insisted she would take the picture. I was really confused until she took the photo and laughed and said that the flash had helped illuminate our faces, showing her that we weren’t cousins like she had previously thought. I understood, since I thought I lost That Husband a few times while we were inside, everyone looks like Pillsbury Doughpeople when wearing those huge parkas.

I laughed at this not-so-subtle product endorsement.

This icy cupcake looked delicious.

I do not see how living in an igloo could ever be warm. This house was freezing inside. And also see-through. Are igloos see-through?

TH came up with this pose all by himself. I was so happy to be there all I could think to do was beam excitedly whenever the camera was pointed in my direction.

We asked Santat take us to Poland in his magical sleigh. I think the trip will be shorter that way.

The reindeer ice slide looked so fun with all of the kiddies and parents zooming down.

Unfortunately I sucked at the ice slide. Here I am laughing hysterically because I finally made it to the bottom 10 minutes later.

I can’t even imagine how long it took them to craft this forest of ice branches.

And what is the fire extinguisher for?

I was fascinated by the ice candles on either side of this angel.

I always picture Joseph to be someone fit and hard working. This Joseph was a little bit on the jolly portly side. Mary must be a really good cook!

I was so sad to get to the end, it felt like it went by so fast! If it wasn’t so cold I think I would have made TH loop through one more time.

After exploring ICE! we decided to wander around the hotel a little bit, in part because I wanted to find the giant gingerbread house. Along the way we came across this tree. TH was absolutely fascinated by it and made me take a picture. We definitely like to take pictures of different things.

We found the house, but apparently someone had been eating snacks off of it!

I’m a little nervous about baking little miniatured gingerbread men for Christmas (my baking endeavors have not been very successful so far). I can’t imagine baking a lifesize house version!

We saw this family attempting to take photos of their 5 children standing in front of the front door and the littlest one kept saying “I want to go inside the house!” Does anyone understand the strange theme they chose for the decor?

As we were walking out of the lobby I saw this awesome chair and had to take a picture for my Grandma A. You need one like this with your brand on it Grandma!

Wouldn’t you love to have such a fantastic coffee table in your house?

Thanks for such a great date night my love! We make a great team.

After a failed attempt to visit TCBY we decided to come home and test out the fun new toy I bought for 40% off at Linens n’ Things. What could it be?

An ice cream maker, with soft serve ice cream dispenser! In  the lovely shade of bubble gum pink.

It even has little containers to hold and self-dispense toppings.

We decided to make fat free raspberry frozen yogurt.

It was an absolutely delicious way to end a wonderful evening. I can’t wait to use my Italian cookbook recipes and make some gelato now!

Temple Date Night

The ICE! exhibit was our date this week, but last week we had an even better one… Temple and Whole Foods dinner finished off with Paciugos gelato date night!

I’ve been drooling over my wedding photos a lot lately and it makes me want to wear my wedding shoes. So I made sure to put together an outfit that would let me prance around in them.

After the temple we went to my favorite place to eat a casual meal, Whole Foods.

I chose to eat chicken noodle soup, crackers, croutons, and fruit. That Husband made the wise choice of eating a real meal.

We had not one, but two desserts that night. The first was a samples of creamy goodness from the Whole Foods dessert bar.

Paciugo’s is right around the corner from Whole Foods so we went there to get some gelato as well. We’re so naughty.

Happy 2 Month Anniversary to us!