Last evening we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary at The Plumed Horse, on Big Basin Way, nestled in the Santa Cruz foothills in Saratoga, CA that has been in existence since 1952. When Cecile and I were younger we used to take our son Jason and daughter Michelle to this well known dining establishment to celebrate special family events. Around 2007 a group of new owners injected ten million dollars worth of renovations. Since that time it has transformed itself into a Michelin star rated restaurant for its attentive staff, elegant contemporary decor, outsized three story wine cellar with glass floor, arched barrel ceiling with shimmering Venetian plaster, and impressive sumptuous California-inspired cuisine. They have an IPAD wine list, Chihuly-like fiberoptic chandeliers that change colors and the ambiance, and comfortable seating. Patrons get a glimpse of the white-coated cooks bustling about the modern kitchen framed in by doors inset with glass. There is even a chef’s table of eight where diners can view them in action as if you were on the TV set of Top Chef.
Joining us in the celebration were Jason, Michelle, her fiance’ Kyle, his mom Kim and stepdad AL who have become dear friends. When I retired many years ago we pretty much gave up on fancy restaurants except for very special occasions, mostly due to the strict dress code back in the day that including a jacket and tie. Those restrictions have since been lifted and smart casual is now in vogue.
As it turns out, the very capable and affable waiter assigned to our table was Joseph Karakas, the son of a former Matre Di of the Plumed Horse, Mark Karakas who used to serve us before he moved on to run the Mountain Winery and then partnering with a friend on other ventures.
All good things must come to an end, and after three hours of gastronomic bliss, decadent desserts including a banana and cream anniversary cake from the popular Icing on the Cake bakery, compliments of Kim and Al, we all hugged and said our goodbyes. As we were about to make our exit from this storybook setting, a couple at a nearby table got our attention and congratulated Cecile and I on reaching our 40th year milestone. They told us they were celebrating 7 years of marriage, and the couple next to them said they were celebrating 11 years. “Hmmm 7 and 11,” I thought. What are their odds? They looked happy, hopeful and after meeting us, perhaps inspired about the prospects of a long and happy marriage. We wished them well and left the Plumed Horse contented as we approach the final stretch.