Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shrimp and Sherbert and A Birthday Celebration

I've been a little scarce with my blogging this week, but it's been a busy week. Tonight I celebrated my son's 25th birthday. Can you believe it? 25! Why I barely look a day over thirty, forty ok, so maybe a week, week and a half over 50...but who's counting?

We started the evening with a shopping spree...which my boy truly hates. But I wanted to buy him a few items of clothing instead of just giving him money. He chose a nice pair of Levi Jeans of course and I bought him several t-shirts and he picked out a Red Sox T-shirt, one of his favorite teams. Then he and I met up with his sister April at one of our favorite restaurants, Woolgrowers. And then we feasted!!!

Woolgrowers opened in 1954 and has been run by the same lady and her children since then.

This is an authentic Basque Food restaurant and it's family style. By family style I mean that they don't bring each person their own little portion on their own seperate plate. No get a great big basket full of fresh baked french bread, a big bowl of cabbage and other veggie soup, a big bowl of beans and a big bowl of their special salsa (my favorite thing). And that's all just to munch on while you peruse the menu and choose your entree.

And everyone has their own special way of eating this first course. I like to put beans in the bottom of my bowl, then pour some soup in, then a big spoonful of salsa. While they all meet and get to know each other I introduce a big ol pat of butter to a slice of french bread. They I alternate between eating a big spoonful of soup/beans/salsa and a bit of bread; and just dipping the soft, buttery bread into the soupy mix! Mmmmm, heaven in a bowl!

And because I'm the mom and I can...I ordered myself an Amaretto Sour drink to enjoy with my meal while the kiddies had soft drinks! (The kiddies are my daughter April who is 29 and my son...the birthday boy, James who turned 25 today!)

At Woolgrowers you can order one of two ways.
1. You can have the setup, which includes all of the yummy items listed above plus a whole lot more.
2. You can have the setup and order an entree. If you have a big appetite you can order a juicy New York Steak seasoned and cooked to perfection, or maybe a Filet Mignon? You can also have Fried Chicken, Fried Shrimp, Scampi or their specialty Lamb Chops! Click here to see their complete menu.

After you order your entree, and you've finished the beany, cabbage soup with salsa and bread mixture, they bring you a big plate of pickled tongue. (We quietly let our waitress know that none of us were tongue lovers so she didn't have to bother to bring that to us.) But she brought us a big plate of salad, which is special Woolgrowers salad, just lettuce and vinegar and oil dressing. A big plate of bite sized pieces of juicy tomato with thinly shaved green bell pepper and onion all tossed together in a vinegar and oil dressing.

I like to put the salad on my plate, then a side of the beans (cause they never take the old bowls of food they brought you first) then some of the tomato, bell pepper & onion dressing and just kinda mix it all together on my fork while I eat. My son James likes to put the salad on the plate and then pour a big ol spoonful of beans on top of the salad. To each his own...there is no wrong way to eat anything at Woolgrowers!

Then they bring you even more food! At this point they bring the entree to those who ordered one. April and I opted for just the set up tonight, James ordered the Fried Shrimp. He got six huge pieces of Fried Shrimp with Cocktail sauce. (He asked for Ranch Dressing, but they don't do the Ranch at Woolgrowers...he had to settle for Catsup). With the entree, they bring a huge platter of their super delicious specially made French Fries, a big platter of Spaghetti and a plate of peas and carrots.

Those French Fries are the best things I've ever tasted. They should be featured on Food Networks "Best Thing I Ever Ate" show. I love to dip the fries into the salsa. I could eat just that and be happy! James totally enjoyed his Shrimp, even dipped in Catsup. They were so huge that he only managed to eat four of the six, so I guess he has a snack for later.

Then we had to have dessert. If you are a special, loyal, regular customer, then you get a small plate of blue cheese to enjoy for dessert. Thank goodness, they didn't know us from Adam and we got Rainbow Sherbert instead. Sometimes it pays to be a nobody!

Also, April had purchased a boxful of special cookies from Smiths Bakeries of Bakersfield. Jim's favorite, little thumbprint cookies filled in with frosting and topped with Jimmies (sprinkles). We all got to share in those goodies as well!

All in all it was a delicious meal, made even better for me by the company of my children April and James. We don't often all go out together, but when we do we always wonder why we don't do it more often as we have such a good time! Happy Birthday James! Thanks for being born so we could pig out with you tonight!


  1. I like your sense of humour, Alicia. Humour goes well with everything: with food, birthdays, children - you name it.

    Happy Birthday to your son James!
    It seems you had a wonderful celebration at your favorite restaurant. Many happy returns of this kind of celebration!

  2. Sounds as if you had a fun time at a fun place. Glad you are "of age" and enjoyed your alcoholic beverage. LOL
    Never had basque food- what are their specialties?
    ~ Sue

  3. DUTA - Thank you so much for your birthday greetings. I like to try to see the humour in things, it makes life a lot easier!

  4. Sue - Yes...we did have a great time. I'll send you a link to Woolgrowers website so you can take a look at their menu.


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