Ted’s Montana Grill: 6/1/12

Sometimes Date Night goes just as we planned it, other times we have to ad-lib, just like in the TV business. It’s CNN’s 32nd birthday and we are working without a script. Our rundown begins with a trip to Der Biergarten for pre-show beers and soft pretzels. When we arrive there at 3:45PM, we are greeted by a sign that says they don’t open until 5PM. No problem–we float in a visit to nearby Stats instead.

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We have been to Stats for some parties, but never on a date. It’s a hip sports bar in a cool old building. Compared to the Biergarten, the beer list is populated with ordinary offerings from mass-produced breweries. We settle for a Fat Tire and a Newcastle.

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It’s time for a snack, and we hit the hummus.

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This is a generous portion of hummus and pita, with some flat bread as well. The olive tapenade is a nice touch too. We watch our stock portfolio tank on the giant news ticker (it was a bad day in the market) and head over to Centennial Olympic Park.

We spend a few minutes searching in vain for our Olympic bricks in the park. We have not looked for them in a few years and we come up empty-handed. We head off to our dinner destination, Ted’s Montana Grill.

Yes, it’s true that Date Night avoids chains like Willie Nelson avoids the IRS, but we are at Ted’s for a reason. CNN old-timers gather here every year on June 1 and at 6PM, the time that CNN went on the air, we raise a glass to toast our network. It’s a small crowd this year, with only 4 of us in attendance. We are a little disappointed by the turnout, but at least someone showed this year.

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After our 6PM toast, our two other party animals head for the ‘burbs and we head for a booth in the back of Ted’s for some dinner. You are supposed to get a plate of these when you sit down.

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We don’t get any, and have to ask for them. Our waiter is way off his game tonight. He’s too busy trying to be hip when we would rather he be helpful. We order our dinner, and while we are waiting to be served, a few more CNN celebrants stop by our table. Our friend Emily pops by and she joins us with her friend Susan, who left CNN in 2001. Date Night is no longer alone, but our date crashers help make the evening much more festive.

Meanwhile, back at the dinner table, we have ordered a burger that looks like a burger and a burger that looks like a salad.

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This is our favorite item on the menu, but I don’t want to order the same thing, so I get the bison peppercorn burger, a new item on the menu.

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They roll the burger in pepper before they cook it and it is deliciously spicy. Ted’s makes a great burger and we always enjoy them. It’s too bad that our service is so spotty, but we are having such a good time with our date crashers that we hardly notice. It is ironic that this location is right next to where they train the servers for the Ted’s chain, yet somehow our guy slipped thru the cracks.

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It’s Eve’s birthday month as well, and Ted’s was nice enough to send her a coupon for a free dessert. She picks the brownie, which comes with ice cream and lots of caramel. It’s an ooey-gooey sweet end to a Date Night that does not go as planned, but still turns out to be a lot of fun.

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