Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Which There is too much Fondue

Excuse the rhyme in the title, and all that.

Anyway.

Thanks to the big 80s bash that we threw on Steve's birthday, we didn't do the fancy birthday dinner with his parents until the day after his birthday. No big deal, though! He had been jonesing to try The Melting Pot, and I love that place anyway. Reservations were made (5 PM--I know how long a four-course Melting Pot dinner takes) and the four of us arrived hungry and ready to ingest copious amounts of fondue.

Now...having worked in the restaurant industry, I understand that they are methodical about seating people. But sometimes, there just has to be a better way. And this was one of those times. When we arrived there was maybe one other table that was occupied...yet the hostess walked us around a corner, up a step, around another corner, and down a step...and sat us in a booth in the far back corner of the restaurant. It was so dark back there that even my young, spry eyes (ha! yeah right) couldn't read the menu. And the booth? Holy crap. Just imagine four people, the shortest of whom is 5'8", squeezed in a space that from one booth back to the other is no more than four feet wide. With a giant block table and a hot fondue plate and pot in between.

No. Thank. You.

We requested to be moved, which normally I wouldn't do. Normally I would suck it up and not want to screw with their system. But this was bad. So bad that I'm not even sure why those tables existed in the first place.

But I digress. Because this isn't about the crappy back corner booth of The Melting Pot, and anyway, they moved us to the front room and a nice spacious table with far better lighting.

This blog is more so about the food, and about what we learned on this particular Melting Pot trip.

For those of you who have no idea what The Melting Pot is, exactly--it is a fondue restaurant. And I'm not going to go into what fondue is--if you want to know, look it up. But the most popular meal option at Melting Pot is "The Big Night Out". Cheese fondue for two, a salad for each person, a giant plate of meats and seafood for two, and dessert fondue for two. This usually runs $75-90 per couple. So, not cheap. You can do the meal a la carte, but that actually ends up being more expensive--at least if you're planning on still getting one of everything.

Which I kind of...thought you had to do. There you go, my blonde moment for the month of May, brought to you by The Melting Pot. I'll give Steve and his parents the benefit of the doubt--they were new to the Melting Pot phenomenon, and it wasn't until I overheard the couple behind us ordering that I realized...::gasp::...you can go to the Melting Pot and only get cheese fondue. Or only get a fondue entree. Or only get a combo of cheese and dessert fondue. You can do whatever you want--just like any other restaurant.

As Homer Simpson would say, "Doh!"

Of course, as our story goes, we had it all. First things first, drinks--and you have to order the Strawberry Basil Lemonade. Sounds weird, but it's delicious, trust me.

Then, cheese fondue. This being Steve's first time, we just chose the Traditional Swiss and had apples, veggies, and bread cubes for dipping. Anything with Gruyere makes me melt (pardon the pun) so I have nothing bad to say about this particular cheese mix.

Next, salad. I tried to convince everyone that Caesar was the way to go (Melting Pot has great Caesar dressing, and the parmesan-encrusted pine nuts are to die for), but only Chas, Steve's dad, listened. (Good man!) Whatever, I enjoyed my Caesar salad and pooh to those who didn't order it! (::ahem:: Steve and Julie)

Then the main course. Chas and Julie did their own separate entrees, but Steve and I chose the middle version of the Big Night Out. Don't ask me what it was, something Hawaiian themed for summer with bits of steak, pork, chicken, shrimp, lobster, and pot stickers for us to cook in our traditional oil fondue. The meats and seafood were all just too seasoned for our taste, and honestly, this being my third trip to Melting Pot...I doubt I'll ever order the big meal again. Just cheese fondue and dessert for me from now on, thanks...now that I know that's possible. (I am literally rolling my eyes at myself right now.)

Now, I will mention that Steve did enjoy our waitress's hint to stuff the mushroom caps included with the entree with something, and then dip them in some sauce, and then fry them in the oil. Numerous jokes about stuffing the finest dish with the second finest dish a la Moe from The Simpson's were made.

Fact: I have no idea when I became a Simpson's fan. Maybe it's just for this entry.

Finally, dessert. I really can't decide which I get more excited about, the cheese fondue or the dessert fondue. Regardless, we chose the S'Mores (milk chocolate with marshmallow cream swirl and a sprinkling of graham crackers) dip and it was heavenly. And then we practically had to roll ourselves out the door, and Steve had the revelation that when one has eaten too much...one can't drive fast. It sounds weird, but next time you're stuffed with too much holiday or restaurant food, pay attention to your speedometer on the drive home and think of us.

And we seriously didn't think about eating again until about two in the afternoon the next day...but that's another tale for another time ;)

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