Date Night: Leatherby's Cafe Rouge & The Nutcracker

Although the new year isn't upon us just yet we are gearing up for it in a big way. One of the resolutions you will read about in a couple of weeks is both Jenn and my desire to get out more and go to the theater. Our first foray back into the theater happened for our anniversary at South Coast Rep to go see One Man, Two Guvnors. Easily one of the best plays we've ever seen. From that spurred on a renaissance in the Szerlip household to embrace the theater. Our latest adventure had us going to an incredible dinner followed by The Nutcracker. 

We went to dinner at Leatherby's Cafe Rogue a restaurant situated inside the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. We made it to our reservation a few minutes late but were sat an incredibly intimate table towards the back of the restaurant.

We started off with two glasses of Pinot Noir which were out of this world if not a little expensive. We polished them off far quicker then we probably should have. For an appetizer we started with a butternut squash ravioli which was incredibly rich for flavor. Jenn and I don't often do this but we were scraping the sides of the dishes to get as much of it off the plate as possible. For our main entree Jenn had a mushroom risotto and I had the duck. Both of which were exquisitely cooked. The mushroom rissoto was surprisingly light and yet bursting with flavor. The duck was perfectly prepared and had an incredible rich dark red sauce that I used as much of as I could. We finished off our dinner with a butterscotch bread pudding. Jenn has been obsessed with bread pudding for a couple months now and luckily this one did not disappoint. 

We left our incredible yet expensive dinner ten minutes before the curtains would raise across the courtyard at Segerstrom Hall to watch The Nutcracker. I've never seen The Nutcracker and its been over a decade since Jenn has if not longer. We walked to our seats at the first row of the balcony and witnessed what I considered to be one of the best ballets I've ever seen. The first half (before intermission) was a little slow. A lot of setup and not much music I knew of. The second half though the ballet picked up and the full orchestra was absolutely incredible. We loved every second of it. I loved the music so much I made Jenn listen to the soundtrack on the way home and the next morning. It is now a big part of our Christmas mix on Spotify. 

We got home a little before 11pm and went to sleep with a full meal in our bellies and the tunes of the Nutcracker fully embedded in our brains. It was an incredible way to get even more in the Christmas spirit.