Monday, January 4, 2010

Black Sheep Did Me In

Some dishes are just not worth cooking for one person, not because they're necessarily difficult to make, but because the leftovers don't keep well.

So it was that I took my craving for chicken and dumplings along with my book to the Black Sheep tonight for a big plate of creamy goodness.

I'd heard raves about this dish from people who can't resist ordering it every time they go in and I had yet to try it.

But before I even got to that, I was seduced by the Soup D.J.

When I asked my server (the lovely Melissa, always a great conversational partner) what tonight's was she said, "Jalapeno Corn Chowder...but it's got bacon in it."

Sold! I might not have been as tempted without the pig part, but I was a goner when I heard that.

Good call on my part because it was divine, thick and chunky with corn and bacon and a nice heat on the back end.

Later I heard a nearby diner ask her if the chowder was good.

That was my cue to jump right in and tell him how much I liked it and why, resulting in him ordering it.

He thanked me for the heads up afterwards.

Like most orders at the Black Sheep, the portion was huge with six dumplings and an overly generous amount of white and dark chicken swimming in a deep pool of gravy.

The only thing I would have changed about it was more and larger chunks of carrot, but perhaps not everyone likes carrots as much as I do.

After finishing all but two of my dumplings, I took a break to read my book, hoping to allow time enough to have room for one of my favorite Richmond restaurant desserts, the La Brea Tarpit (a chocolate creme brulee).

Alas, forty minutes later, I was still stuffed beyond belief and had to tell an incredulous Melissa that I wasn't going to be able to manage dessert.

Even she looked sad about it.

When she brought my check though, she also brought a small brown bag to me and said, "It's not a tarpit, it's one of those brownies my Mom makes. I know how you love your chocolate, so you can eat it later."

And, just to be clear, this is no ordinary brownie; this is what we used to call a meltaway.

It's a large cake brownie, topped with a mint butter cream frosting and holding that in place is a layer of hardened dark chocolate.

I wasn't the only one eating the chicken and dumplings tonight, but the star of the evening and the item the kitchen sold out of was the Pork and Beans.

Before you question that, let me explain that it's a grilled maple-brined pork chop with house-made baked beans and roasted apples with figs.

As sorely tempted as I am to go back for for p & b real soon, I already promised Melissa that on my next visit, I would not disappoint again.

I'll be there for red wine and chocolate only.

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