Not that I have any intention of going without, but the concept of one night devoted to eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of Lent holds a lot of appeal, even for a heathen like me. Call it Shrove Tuesday or call it an excuse to overeat, but count me in.
My evening of excess began at the Belvidere at Broad, where I met a friend for a drink. The latest addition to the wine list was the Osborne Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet, a worthy match for the grilled tenderloin and onion canapes we shared while sharing stories. Nothing starts an evening of eating off quite as well as red meat. I knew how good they were, having had them before, but their flavorful goodness was a surprise and delight to my friend. Then she was off like a shot to be with her boyfriend.
Afterwards, I was meeting another friend at Acacia for dinner. Although I'd received an e-mail from Acacia about their Fat Tuesday drink specials (Cocktail a la Louisiane, Sazerac, Brandy Crusta and Bramble), I was not prepared for the madness that greeted me at the restaurant. On arrival shortly before 8:00, there was not an available seat in the house. Or at the bar. In fact, there was a 20-30 minute wait for a table or to eat at the bar. Clearly the good times were already rolling.
While we would have preferred the bar, a table came open first and we took it. Fortunately, it was in the side room and I say that only because of the din in the main dining room. With its hard surfaces, it always tends to be a loud room, and with tonight's capacity crowd, even more so. Our cheerful if overwhelmed server wisely brought us our wine posthaste and even offered his approval of the choice of the Honig Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc, a steal at $21 since it was half-off wine night, too.
Looking to eke out as much fat from my dinner choices as possible, I began with the creamy lobster soup with bacon and winter veggies. Oh, it was creamy and oh, it was rich and we all know the bacon rule. I followed that with the sauteed grouper swimming in a pool of garlic herb butter sauce and with stone-ground cheddar cheese grits on the side. The last thing I managed to down was the root beer-spiced creme brulee. Although I'm not a soda drinker, root beer is hands-down my favorite kind, so I loved the novelty of combining its distinctive taste with my requisite dessert.
It felt like we had inhaled our rich dinner, but by the time we walked out of our cozy back alcove, the restaurant had cleared except for the bar patrons putting on their coats. Of course, it was almost 11:00, late by the dining standards of most Tuesday nights in rva, but then it wasn't just any Tuesday. It was a night to eat until we were ready to pop and call it Mardi Gras.