Sunday was a milestone day for Julie, as she turned 13! And it was a milestone day for me, too, because I realized that I'm now the mom of THREE teenagers!
Last year Julie had gone to a friend's birthday party at the Melting Pot, and that was her request for her family birthday meal this year. (Sorry, Minado!) The Melting Pot is an entirely fondue restaurant—really, there is nothing else! The waitress even told us that there's not a single oven in the kitchen—just prep tables and fridges. She said it's the only restaurant she's ever worked at where there's nothing to eat, so the waitstaff has to order in pizza if they need a meal during a long shift!
We decided to go for the full four-course experience, although thankfully the waitress recommended that we order for 4 people, as that was more than enough food for all 5 of us. The first course is cheese. We had two cooktops on our table, so we chose the cheddar fondue (which also contains Emmenthaler and beer) and the "Classic Alpine" (Gruyère, raclette, fontina, and white wine). Both came with chunks of several kinds of bread, plus green apple wedges and broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I could easily subsist on bread and cheese, so I had to force myself to stop eating long before I wanted to in order to leave room for what was to come.
Next was the salad course; we all opted for Caesar.
Then came the main course. We ended up with a huge assortment of plain and seasoned/marinated meats: sirloin steak, pork medallions, jumbo shrimp, chicken breast, duck breast, and chicken potstickers. Oh, also broccoli, mushrooms, and potatoes to be cooked. For our two cooktops, we chose the seasoned vegetable broth and the hot oil, which comes with two batters: tempura and sesame. Then there were a bunch of different dipping sauces—duck sauce, teriyaki sauce, Green Goddess, and more. The waitress told us how long to cook each type of protein (all around 2 minutes) and left us to feast. It was a lot of fun trying all the different combinations and cooking everything ourselves.
Finally, it was time for the inevitable dessert course. We chose classic dark chocolate and s'mores for our fondues; these came with cubes of pound cake, brownies, blondies, and Rice Krispie bars, plus strawberries and banana slices, and marshmallows coated in Oreos and graham crackers. Yowza.
It was a really fun group dinner, albeit a splurge. I could easily see doing just the cheese and chocolate courses if I went back!
Julie had already made her own birthday cake, which we had when we got back home (yes, we all have hollow legs). She made an Oreo cheesecake from scratch! And whipped the fresh cream herself, of course.
For her gift, she had asked for an ice cream maker, and that's what she got, along with an ice cream tub for the freezer and a fancy ice cream scoop. Yesterday we sampled her first creation, plain vanilla, and it was divine.