Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Corny Dinner at Bacchus

"YOU'RE not my wife!" said the handsome man in the bar stool next to me at Bacchus. No, actually his wife and her friend had vacated the bar some time before and moved to a booth. My friend and I had taken their place and he was just now pausing in his conversation with the other husband to notice her absence. "Thank you for noticing I'm not your wife," I told him, "but shouldn't you have noticed sooner?"He sheepishly admitted he should have and slunk off to the booth with his friend.

Bacchus was mobbed when we arrived around 8ish so when we asked to place our order, the bartender ominously told us we could, but that it was going to take a long time to get our food. I think he was hoping we'd give up and go, but I insisted we remain optimistic despite his doom and gloom prophesy and we were rewarded with a reasonable wait time for our meal.

I ordered the lamb sausage and white beans with a side of roasted sweet white corn. It's the dead of winter, so if you're putting corn on your menu, I'm curious how good it's going to be. My friend wanted the pork shank and sauteed spinach. Next to us was a vegetarian couple obviously on a date and when our meat dishes were mistakenly set down in front of them, they were not happy about it (I'm guessing it was mainly the huge pig shank that repulsed them so). They wouldn't actually touch our plates with meat on them, so the bartender came back and moved them in front of us.

My dish looked a bit like pale but upscale Beanie Weenies, with fat little slices of sausage dotting the white beans underneath. The flavors were wonderful and I was tucking in with gusto when I noticed the man to my friend's left ogling my plate. "Is that the lamb sausage?" he inquired, his tongue practically hanging out of his mouth. I confirmed that it was and asked if that's why he was staring longingly at my plate. Seems he'd been considering the dish and once he saw it, he was sold. He apologized for his rudeness, thanked me for helping him make his decision and promptly moved to a booth, presumably to enjoy his own plate without anyone salivating over it.

My side of roasted sweet white corn was a standout. Recently cut from the cob in large chunks of kernels, it was lightly buttered, incredibly sweet and tasted like summer. I didn't come close to finishing the generous-sized bowl of it and to make sure it wasn't just me, I offered a taste to my friend, who swooned over it. She ate more of her shank and spinach and then ordered herself a bowl of that corn; that's how good it was.

I was close to forgoing dessert, what with being so full after beans and sausage and corn, but my friend was counting on sharing something sweet with me. Early on in our friendship, she informed me that one of her favorite qualities about me is that I always order dessert, with no bogus talk of regrets or "being good." I let her choose and she wanted apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, which I did enjoy. Apple crisp is a childhood dessert for me, easy to make and one that uses ingredients we always had around, but that doesn't make it any less pleasurable on a cold night.

But nothing, least of all oblivious husbands, repulsed vegetarians and salivating diners, was going to top that corn tonight. Ah, the pleasures of an ear in February. You just can't beat it.

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