BearitageThis past Saturday, May 17th, was my 9th wedding anniversary. As I sit here and type this entry, I find it incredulous that we’ve been married 9 years already. The time has just flown by and I have a hard time fathoming that we’ve been together that long. Well, to be honest, if you count when we started dating, we’ve been together 15 years. We dated for 6 years and were engaged for 2 of those years. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. 🙂

My Mom put me through “Being A Husband 101” after she divorced my father and some of the tips that she gave me have stuck. One of her tips was to “always make your Anniversary special” and Holly and I agreed from the start to take a little trip for each anniversary. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be only for a weekend to the next county as long as it’s just the two of us. Over the years we’ve been to quite a few places.

In order by Anniversary year, we’ve been to:

1st Year – Natchez, Mississippi
2nd Year – San Antonio, Texas
3rd Year – Little Rock, Arkansas
4th Year – San Francisco, California (Including Sonoma, and the Redwood Forest)
5th Year – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
6th Year – Pensacola, Florida
7th Year – The Cape of Massachusetts including Nantucket
8th Year – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine

As you can probably tell, these little trips have evolved into our vacation for the year – although we’re never gone for more than 4 or 5 days. This year, we pushed back our trip a little bit. Too much was going on and it was just too hectic to try and get away for the day of our Anniversary. As a result, this is the first time that we’ve been home to celebrate our anniversary.

To celebrate, we went to a local restaurant called mAmbu. I don’t even know how to define their cuisine, other than to say that it’s eclectic and unique. We had a fantastic meal. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the best meals I’ve had in Nashville – and I’ve had a lot of good meals. 😛 I started off with a “Perfect 10 Martini” while we were perusing the menu. We had been to this restaurant once before, but the menu looked completely new. Fun! We ended up getting “Spicy Shrimp” and “Scallop Ravioli” for appetizers. Before they were brought to our table, the waiter brought us a variety of breads with sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese in olive oil. In the immortal words of Janice “Oh… My… God.” It was sooooooo good. We ate through two baskets of bread before the meal was through. The appetizers were absolutely fantastic. The Spicy Shrimp had about 8 jumbo shrimp swimming in a lemongrass and cilantro broth with long slices of cucumbers and granny smith apples. The apples sucked in the flavor of the broth like potatoes in crab boil. The “Scallop Ravioli” consisted of 3 huge cheese ravioli with two scallops that had been rubbed with spices and lightly grilled. The entire dish was covered in a Chipolte cream sauce that I could have drank with a straw. Holly and I swapped plates back and forth so that we could each have half of each appetizer.

For our main entrees, Holly had the filet mignon and I had the “Seared Duck Breast.” Holly’s filet was topped with huge onion rings and was complimented with fresh asparagus and gorgonzola mashed potatoes. Although her dish was great, I wouldn’t have traded mine for the world. First off, I’m a sucker for wild game. Venison, quail, pheasant, you name it – if it’s wild game, I’ll eat it. So, when I saw that they had duck on the menu, my decision was made! It was also a pleasant surprise that when I ordered it, the waiter asked how I’d like it prepared. So often when you order wild game, you don’t have that choice. You do with steak and maybe lamb, but I’ve never been asked how I’d like my duck prepared. In the past few years, I’ve begun the habit of requesting rare, because so many restaurants over cook their meat. Given the fact that mAmbu seemed to be on its toes, I decided not to risk it. I chose medium rare. The duck was seared with the skin on, another unique treat, which gave it a bit of crunch to the tenderly prepared duck. The duck itself was sliced into 6 slices with a dollop of cranberry sauce in the center. It was matched with a wild rice and fresh spinach. The entire entree made me close my eyes and shake my fork like a man in ecstasy. It was just SO freaking good. It wasn’t a meal, it was an experience.

Throughout it all, Holly and I enjoyed a bottle of Gundlach Bundschu’s Bearitage It’s classified as a Claret and I have to say it’s one hell of a wine and a lot of fun to drink. It goes with so much and due to the fact that it’s a fairly young wine, it has a spirit all its own. It was a perfect compliment to the entire meal. All in all, the restaurant was a complete hit and now ranks at the top of my list of places to dine in Nashville. Our 9th anniversary felt like a real celebration. If you’d like to view a few photos that we took during our meal, you can do so by selecting this link (Edit: deleted).