Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Have News for You

Valentines' Day eve is not your typical restaurant night.

A brief stop at Bistro 27 began with an empty bar and me, at least until a girl in pale green leather gloves took the corner stool.

I couldn't imagine getting such a thing in Richmond and she admitted she'd spied them in NYC and had to have them.

They were the color of an after dinner mint so I understood completely.

My stay progressed through  some superb Gabrielle Rausse Nebbiolo Reserve, beef tips over Gorgonzola polenta and ended with me coming out of the men's room to find another restaurant owner inquiring, "Are you cheating on me?"

I ceded the bathroom but not my restaurant virtue.

And as I left, people were still calling the restaurant hoping to get a 7:00 reservation for Valentine's Day.

Seriously, people?

Next stop was Acacia because they'd moved half-priced wine night to VD eve, probably figuring that Valentine's Day was already going to be a good Tuesday.

My partner in crime and I scored end stools with a view and a bottle of Casamatta Rosso Sagiovese, fragrant and soft and oh-so Italian.

You know the type.

The music was different tonight, less clubby and more mainstream; I wondered if it was intentional for the occasion.

The crowd was definitely of the night-before variety. One girl had on a red satin dress while her date sported a red shirt and black tie.

They were very festive.

We ate our way through fried oysters and Southern cole slaw and house-smoked salmon with herb creme fraiche and red onion caper oil.

If you're going to have Richmond's chef of the year cooking for you, you can't go wrong with fruits of the sea given his passion for them.

Not surprisingly, I ran into several people who'd been at the Elbys last night and the consensus was that next year's event will be too big for the Historical Society.

We finished with almond and caramel milk chocolate sponge cake with coffee ice cream, rum caramel, caramel milk chocolate ganache and coffee cream.

And that dessert, I would guess, is an example of why Josh Gaulin won last night for best pastry chef. And  how we justified eating it.

You see, we're just going behind the judges to fact-check. If there was also laughter to the point of soreness, it came after the research.

We certainly weren't out celebrating the night before Valentine's Day.

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