When I first moved to Houston, my husband and I decided to go to a fancy restaurant for our wedding anniversary, which happens to be today. We chose Brennan's, a local institution. Because we were new to town and didn't have any babysitters on speed dial, we had to take our son with us to dinner.
What could have been a risky venture fraught with tantrums turned out to be a pleasant evening. Brennan's made my son a special off-the-menu dish (a kids' portion of fried shrimp) and we had a great time. So much fun in fact that a tradition was born. My son loved Brennan's and the idea that he was part of some secret grown-up world not usually shown to children.
Each year we went to Brennan's and had a wonderful time. In 2007, my son's tastes turned expensive. He ordered the day's special, which included a flaming dish being prepared tableside. It was highly amusing to see this child being fawned over, like he was a VIP. As always, we ended the evening with dessert. "Happy Anniversary" was written in chocolate on the plate. Brennan's is good about the little things.
In 2008, we made reservations at Brennan's again for our anniversary. Dinner would be about 6:30 on Sunday, September 14. That week, Hurricane Ike made a beeline for Houston. We kept our reservations and got on with preparations.
Late at night on September 13, Hurricane Ike made landfall. Our power went out, but we were able to "borrow" someone's Internet signal. Sitting in the dark about midnight is when we heard the news: Brennan's was destroyed by fire right in the middle of the storm. It was a sad story on so many levels, especially regarding those who were injured.
Our anniversary meal in 2008 was Top Ramen (cooked on the bbq grill because we had no power) and sliced apples.
Eventually, there was buzz that Brennan's would be rebuilt. And you know what? It was. They opened again for business a few months ago.
So this weekend when we return to Brennan's for the first time post-fire, we'll be celebrating wedding anniversaries from 2008, 2009 and 2010. That's a lot of food, fun and memories crammed into one evening. We have to make up for lost time.