The Third Degree at Beale St., then Karaoke at The Boulevard

One of Ali's friends was having a combination birthday and engagement celebration. We met them at The Beale Street Cafe (689 South Ave.) as Ali's friend's neighbor's uncle [or something] was in the band, Third DegreeMySpace link. We had a few drinks there and a good time. The band did a fine job with the classics and standards … sometimes encroaching on exceptional, in fact.

Afterward, we all went out to ruin music in our own way: karaoke. The first suggestion on the table was The Boulevard Restaurant (412 Empire Blvd.) I looked to see if the much-closer Elixir (938 South Clinton Ave.) still had karaoke on Saturday nights but to no avail in the local papers present at the bar. So it was off Empire. I managed to sing The Turtles' "Happy Together" without much trouble but I also gave Jimmy Buffet's "Come Monday" a go as well. Alas, despite having self-administered the right amount of public singing fluid, the song still didn't sound good to me. I decided that it was in fact a difficult song to sing. Others fared better, including Ali, and particularly this guy who was in our group who broke karaoke: halfway through his song, the computer conked-out and had to be rebooted.

We were very happy to have a generous fiancée who played a staunch designated driver role. He brought us back to the city and we had planned to go to Mark's Texas Hots (487 Monroe Ave.) but Ali observed he wasn't excited about it so made some excuse about the person lying in the sidewalk with the paramedics around them being a reason to not go. Ali and I, however, walked from her house there.

We got in around 3 and double-dated with a couple guys we met in line to share a table as there was — of course — a line, and it was — of course — cold. I corrected my prior attempt at the perfect plate and came pretty close: macaroni salad and fries topped with meat sauce and over-easy eggs — this time skipping the onions. Much better than my last attempts.

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Ali's Birthday Dinner at Scotch 'N Sirloin

For Ali's birthday dinner (albeit the day prior), we went to Scotch 'N Sirloin (3450 Winton Pl., #25 in Winton Plaza). Although I'd seen it many times [it's been around for 36 years, far longer than I've lived in Rochester], I never gave it a passing thought to, well, try it.

It turned out, it's really quite good — on par with other local stalwarts like Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar (1290 University Ave.) As evident by their name, steak is what it's about, and they do a heck of a job of it. My top sirloin was extremely satisfying — and thankfully modest-sized. Ali's filet mignon was also very good, and she added the crab legs which were already cut open (to her dismay).

Overall it's rather expensive and worth it.

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Ali's Birthday

As the wisest of you all know, today is a special holiday because it's my Ali's birthday. [And in case you're wondering, she turned (2006 age)+1.] So we started things off with blueberry pancakes in the morning. And then she got some cake at work. And then we went to Paola's Burrito Place (1921 South Ave., formerly Big Dog's Hots) for dinner at her preference. Then she opened her gifts but we didn't have any of the pumpkin pie I made because we were stuffed from dinner. Finishing things off we went out to Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) and had some wine, meeting up with a group of friends from all different places in her life. In all, she had a great day.

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