Derby City Date Night: Mussel and Burger Bar

The Bread Man and I had an overdue date night a couple of weeks ago. We actually had to postpone it because my father-in-law had some scary health issues that landed him in the hospital for 24 hours, but once we knew he was fine and back home, and after another long week at work, I needed some quality time with my other half. 

I’m always trying to choose local places for our date nights, and I usually want to venture out to places we’ve never been before. We usually have a lot of ideas between my Pinterest searches and my husband’s customers through his food-industry job, but this time I was craving a familiar menu.

Mussel and Burger Bar in Jtown is one of the best local places I’ve been to in a while. I feel like at this point it’s a mainstream restaurant for Louisvillians, but it is so good. The restaurant atmosphere is going for a unique feel, with butcher paper tablecloths and mason jar beverage glasses. Their menu is pretty simple and filled with gourmet dishes, like a C.E.O. Burger with fois gras. (There are also good, old-fashioned burgers for the les adventurous.) 

The Bread Man got a grilled chicken sandwich with the house pomme frites and I went with the C.E.O. Burger sans fois gras, with cheese, confit tomatoes, and caramelized onions. My meal came with steak fries, which were gigantic. Each one had to have been 1/4 of a while potato. It was kind of ridiculous, and it was just too much potato flavor for me. I much prefer the seasoning and crunch of their house fries or sweet potato fries. 

The burger itself was delightful. The confit tomatoes tasted like a gourmet ketchup, which sounds kind of weird, but it was my favorite part.

Mussel and Burger Bar always has consistently good food with great service. It was so good, I forgot to take a picture until my food was gone! Oops.

  

After dinner, we headed to the mall for a quick trip to one of my favorite stores. I got a cute shirt, but I probably won’t be heading back to that mall any time soon. So many teenagers! We actually walked in on a brawl that had just been broken up by 5 or 6 police officers. No thanks.

To finish out a great date night, I fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy weight! It’s nice to know that I can still see progress on my fitness goals and not have to be perfect with my eating all of the time.

  

Hopefully, our next date night will be soon! 

Derby City Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day changes when you have kids.  Well, I guess the expectation of what Valentine’s Day will be changes when you have kids.

I’ll admit, I used to be one of those “What are you going to get me?!?” girls when it came to holidays and my birthday.  I like being made to feel special–who doesn’t?–and I looked forward to seeing what my husband would get me to commemorate whatever special occasion might arise.  But now that we have L, those things just don’t matter as much.  Often, holidays are a reminder that, crap, it’s been a while since we had a date night, hasn’t it?  I guess we better have dinner or something.

This year, I didn’t have any expectations other than to have dinner at a Louisville restaurant (read: not Olive Garden) and go look at the next size up in car seats.  Romance is in the air, people!

Blog menu pic.jpg

 

My husband surprised me with reservations at Martini Italian Bistro, located in The Paddocks (martinilouisville.com).  I LOVE this restaurant!  This is where we had our rehearsal dinner, and we had only been back one other time for an anniversary.  I was actually really surprised to learn that this was a locally-owned restaurant; it seems like a franchise, and it apparently started out as a corporate-owned business that ended up being purchased by the general manager, making it local.

We got to Martini around 4:40 (we’re old, okay?) and it was already pretty busy.  Our cozy 2-seater table was a little small for the food we ordered, but the ambiance was perfect.  They had a live pianist in the bar area, which was really nice.  Their in-house, freshly-made foccacia bread was delicious, our fried calamari appetizer was the perfect proportion of breading and meat, their dipping sauces were perfectly paired with the calamari, and our entrees were amazing.  R got the Chicken Milanese, which is a fancified chicken Parmesan dish, and my  Shrimp Garganelli with spinach and goat cheese was probably the best pasta dish I’ve ever eaten.

The two best parts of my dinner.

The two best parts of my dinner.

All of their pastas are handmade, and the quality of food and service was impeccable.  All of the servers were even bringing flowers to the ladies they were serving.  It was especially sweet to see how excited some of the older ladies were to get flowers from their servers.

After dinner, we ran some errands.  Blah.  L is outgrowing his current car seat, so we needed to get a bigger, convertible car seat that will last until well after he switches to front-facing in another year.  My sweet husband is so cost-conscious, sometimes to a fault.  After looking at all of our options in the store, he wanted to research online reviews before we made our final choice.

This is my "Are we seriously still looking at car seats?" face.

This is my “Are we seriously still looking at car seats?” face.

For the record, we ended up purchasing my first choice, the Graco My Size 65 in grey with some green detail.

My smallest Valentine had a great time with his Nana and Papa while we were having our date night.  I think he’s probably the cutest Valentine I’ve ever had!

We haven't quite mastered posing for a selfie.

We haven’t quite mastered posing for a selfie.

I definitely recommend Martini Italian Bistro to my Derby City peeps.  It makes for a great date night, no matter the occasion!