Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Birthday Boy Gets His Castle

For lo these many moons, the K-Man has dreamt of castles.  He has admired them from afar for many a year and as true castles are bit out of our financial reach at the moment, I arranged a night at the next best local thing for his birthday this year....Renee Kelly's Harvest.

A brief little aside regarding Keith's birthday: the past few birthday celebrations have not been very...celebratory.  There was the year in the private room at the Melting Pot where the savory fondue seemed decidedly less appetizing in the presence of my wretched head cold.  Another year saw the perfect set-up of dinner at the Savoy and a room at the Intercontinental overlooking the Plaza Lights that kicked off with a flat tire in freezing rain and crawled downhill from there.  I would prefer not to even remember, let alone recount, that birthday eve of gingerly walking down an icy sidewalk toward the Sprint Center only to see Keith take a header on the sidewalk.  Brief unconsciousness resulted in an ambulance ride to the Truman Hospital emergency room where we would spend the night before he would be released so that I could drive us home in an ice storm.

So, to say the very least, I tend to approach K's birthday with a bit of trepidation.  And sure enough, when the day approached, the first snowstorm of the winter was bearing down on us.  He and I drove to work the morning of his birthday in the aftermath of the fresh and frozen new snowfall.  The near-blizzard conditions resulted in the roads being a sparkly sheet of ice and we essentially held our breath for most of the commute.  When we left work that evening to head to the restaurant, we had yet another 30 minute haul and the roads, while improved, were still dicey.  I left it up to Keith and as we were going to be joined by friends for dinner, we very nearly cancelled.  We, along with our friends, decided to press on and in the end, were so happy we did.

Renee Kelly's is located in stately Caenan Castle in Shawnee, KS.  Caenan Castle was built in 1907 and the interior where the restaurant is located is intricately gorgeous....all soft lighting and roaring fireplaces and dramatic tapestries with a towering staircase as the grand centerpiece.  We were seated in a cozy corner at a round trestle table in the turret-like corner where several of the local menu sources were listed above the mantle.  Cocktails like the Caramel Apple (amaretto, Stoli apple and Apple Pucker) were soon being sipped and starters like the pickle platter featuring some tangy pickled okra were sampled.  We savored our hearty farm-to-table entrees: Keith loved the Happy Chicken (roasted with balsamic reduction and served with wild rice and quinoa pilaf) and I savored every bite of the fabulous Mustard and Sage Pork Chop (lightly breaded, finished with a red wine and honey reduction, topped with beets and served with killer greens sauteed in molasses) that I paired with a Tallgrass Velvet Rooster; a seriously smooth Belgian-style Tripel with a Champagne-like effervescence.  The fantastic finishing touch was a wicked S'mores dessert of housemade toasted marshamallows served between warm chocolate-chunk cookies with chocolate ganache and toasted pecans.

Our group was treated to a walk about the castle to see the patio that must be a hotspot in the summer as well as the downright medieval wine cellar where one would truly feel like royalty to dine there.  Renee Kelly's has enjoyed a great reputation as a private even venue and has just recently taken on the restaurant adding Harvest to its name and aren't we all lucky they did - it'a a must-visit little wonder of a destination.  In the end, all were more than satisfied and we were all new fans of the excellent Renee Kelly's Harvest.  The K-Man got his castle and had a wonderful birthday tp boot. 

Whew.  Thank you, Renee Kelly's. 


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to my Boy Toy aka Keith LOL! I remember the head plant into the concrete on that icy street. I'm so thankful that this year, while the weather has been equally as heinous, you trudged on and had a delightful evening. Mustard and sage pork chops? Are you kidding me? Forget the s'mores. Give me another chop. (Greg, you KNOW I loves me some pork meat.) So happy that this year's event was fabulous! Long may Keith reign in his castle. (P.S. As I type I'm waiting for dinner to be delivered. A "gentleman caller" has decided to fix me homemade lasagna and shortbread cookies (with Paula Deen amounts of butter) for dinner. He wants my "opinion." LOL) Happy Birthday K-Man! Love to you both!


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