We got directions from Aunt Viv on how to get to Bill Wong's and went with Uncle Roland following us, because Aunt Viv thought it was too hard for all of us to try and follow each other.
We got lost on the way, turned around once, and stopped in a McDonald's to get directions. Eventually we got there, and I swear the place looked closed.
Turned out it wasn't, though, and we had a great lunch. The place was empty when we first got there, but by the time we left there was a decent lunch crowd there.
At the end of the meal, several sauce containers slid off the tray of the person cleaning off the tables, and went flying across the rug, and Vivian's chair. Screams all around. Fortunately, it missed her clothes.
We had fun with the fortune cookies, adding "in bed" to all of them, which most of the folks at the table seem to have never heard of.
Uncle Dennis and Aunt Terri went shopping from there, and the rest of us went back to the hotel. Vivian and I dropped mom and dad off, told them all to go hang out at the pool, that we had to run an errand, and we'd be back in an hour or so.
Vivian and I followed the MapQuest directions to "Sprinkles," which seemed a little bit out of the way through a windy neighborhood as we approached the place. It was fine, though, and we got there without incident.
We got the cake, which we were very pleased with, and asked the lady there if there was a faster way back to I-4 than the way we had come. She was excited to give us directions, especially since she said she had just seen an accident, and she was going to help us avoid it.
We followed her directions, and about 7 minutes later ended up passing right back in front of the bakery. She had sent us in a nice square. We followed the MapQuest directions backward, and by that time it was 2:10. Emeril's closes for lunch at 2:30, and we were trying to be there by then.
We followed the 2nd set of MapQuest directions I had prepared, to Emeril's at 7575 Dr. Phillips Drive. We had seen that road yesterday going to Bill Wong's so we had an idea where it was.
Once there, it was about 2:25, and we didn't see Emeril's anywhere. We stopped in a strip mall shopping center, and asked a lady on her way into a store there, "Can you tell us where Emeril's is?"
She tilted her head and said, "Emeril's?" She didn't even seem to know what it was. "No," she said. "Okay, thanks."
We drove around the parking lot a little more, and stopped and asked another lady. "Emeril's?" she said? "Emeril's at DisneyWorld," she said with an Asian accent.
Gracious. Thank goodness we had taken this run this afternoon or we'd have an entire caravan following us around tonight on the way to dinner! We called Emeril's as we got back on I-4, and they told us to take the Universal Studios exit, and park in the Universal Studios Parking Deck.
We stopped at the Parking Deck gate, and asked, "Do we really have to pay the $8.00 parking just to run into Emeril's and drop off this cake?" "No," she said, and let us in.
Thank goodness, again, that we took this run because we saw what a long walk it was from that parking deck over to the City Walk, where Emeril's was. On the way we passed a valet parking area, and at once decided that's what we'd do for this evening.
We dropped the cake off, made sure everything was set for this evening, and headed back to the hotel. Almost 3 hours had gone by. The folks were getting a little worried about us, as none of them knew where we were going that evening should something have happened. The whole group really would have been quite in the lurch had something happened to us!
We hung out at the pool for a couple of hours, and headed up to our rooms at around 5:00. We were all supposed to meet in the lobby at 7:00.
Everyone was on time, even Uncle Dennis and Aunt Terri, who are notoriously late for everything. Me, mom, dad, and Aunt Laura rode in the front car. The Lachapelle's rode in the middle car, and Vivian, Uncle Nib, Aunt Viv, Uncle Dennis, and Aunt Terri rode in the back car. We figured we'd have "book ends" who knew where they were going in case we got separated.
I gave the Lachapelle's $21 to use for the valet parking -- it was $16 to park, and I gave them $5 for a tip. We parked without incident, and took the escalator upstairs to City Walk.
Neon lights were flashing everywhere, the music was playing somewhat loud, and it was quite festive. Everyone was craning their necks, looking forward, trying to figure out where we were going.
Uncle Rene started smiling, and I said, "Have you figured it out?" "No," he said, "but you've got something up your sleeve, I know that."
Eventually I could see the green neon writing of Emeril's. Aunt Rita was next to me, and she was walking over to the right, trying to read it. "Meril's? Shmeril's?" And then finally, "OH! EMERIL'S!
Vivian said that Uncle Dennis' reaction was priceless in the back when he finally heard it and saw the sign. Everyone was so excited about it! It was very cool.
We ended up being about 20 minutes early for our 8:00 reservation, so we had a drink at the bar. We took group pictures there, and everyone was a little giddy.
At about 10 'til 8, Tony came up to me, and said, "Mr. Martin, your table is ready." "You are a gorgeous man," I said to him. And he was. Oh my God. And then they introduced our head waiter to us, and he was absolutely gorgeous, too. Bonus.
We decided, as a table, to have the "degustation," which was "a six course tasting or sampling of the Chef's latest creations, based on the freshest and most exciting ingredients available today."
We ordered two $61 bottles of champagne, and Vivian made a toast for us.
The service was absolutely exquisite all night long. We got new plates and new silverware after each of the servings. When anyone got up, their napkin was folded and ready for them when they got back. One time Aunt Rita got up to go to the bathroom, and Vivian said, "I'm going to time them and see how long it takes someone to fold your napkin." 19 seconds later, it was done.
The chef worked with everyone who didn't like certain dishes. Uncle Nib had all of the seafood dishes substituted, and Uncle Roland had the salmon dish substituted.
The first course was salmon, the second course, seared scallops, the third course, a kind of fish, the fourth course was quail, and the fifth filet mignon. The sixth course was dessert, which was creme brulee.
They had 6 waitpeople serving our table. Whenever the next course was ready, they would stack all the plates, with those big steel warming covers over them, on serving trays beside the table. They would make sure everyone was seated; if anyone was missing, or up, they would wait.
Once everyone was there, they would each take two plates, remove the covers, and stand between two people with their hands crossed holding the plates. When everyone was in place, the head waiter would nod his head and they would all uncross their hands and put the plates down in front of us all at the exact same time.
After we completed our "oohing and ahing" as each course was laid out in front of us, the head waiter would describe the beautifully presented food to us. "For this course, the chef has created for you..."
Between courses, we took all kinds of pictures, and I made the rounds, stopping between each couple, and Aunt Laura, thanking them for making the trip.
They all had such nice things to say, including Uncle Roland who said, "I will take the memory of this night to my grave. Your parents must be very proud of you. I know I am." which really moved me.
Aunt Terri called her sister, and said, "You'll never guess where we are!" Aunt Viv checked in with Judy, too. It was fun watching how excited they all were at being at Emeril's, too. I thought that might be the case being that he is from Fall River, too, and they are all such fans, but I really didn't think it would be such a great evening for them. I felt really good about the whole thing.
We told the waiter to serve the "wedding cake" before the creme brulee, and though I could tell they didn't really want to, they, of course, did what the customer asked. I imagine they were thinking that we realy needed their creme brulee to "cleanse our pallets," but they were gracious.
They started to bring it out, and were sort of hiding it behind one of the waiters (it had the 50th Wedding Anniversary golden bell on the top of it), when all of a sudden dad got up to go to the bathroom. They made a beeline turn, and took it back to the kitchen, and waited until they saw him return to his seat.
They brought it out, oooh and ahhhs all around, pictures of us around it with mom and dad, them together, and cutting the first piece. Then the waitstaff sliced, and served, the rest of it for us.
Coffee, cappuccinos, and espressos were ordered, and then one or two folks actually had room to try the creme brulee. They actually brought mom and dad's two pieces out with a little candle on them.
By then, however, it was pretty late, and dad had gotten so cold, that he and Uncle Nib had gone outside to wait for us.
The bill came, and I added $150 to the already included $214 (20%) tip to close the bill out at $1503.00. Worth every penny for a very special evening for so many people, including me.