Thursday, April 5, 2012

Welcome, Spring

Sometimes the best plan is no plan at all.

It was the rare evening with no performance, no place to be at a certain time, no must-do. A luxury, time-wise.

With the temperature hovering at ninety degrees, I headed to Bistro 27 to see what trouble I could find.

First off, a glass of happy hour $4 wine, namely my favorite Gavi to whet my whistle on a day that felt more June-like than April fourth.

Sitting at the bar was a handsome man I'd met at a birthday party last year and I was flattered when he remembered my name.

We were soon joined by another of my random acquaintances, this one an art-lover with a talent for musical theater whom I'd met at 27 last Fall.

He had the new "Style Weekly," so we discussed my piece on the billboard art project, essentially saving him the trouble of reading it by hearing even more about it in person.

Sadly, it's true; I can go on and on.

But luckily, he's an art lover, too, so we moved on from billboard art to French photography and promised that we'd meet up at the museum soon.

Then it was on to meet a fellow Roosevelt lover and go to dinner once we covered the subject of rankling.

We were both in the mood for my favorite Church Hill establishment, but less sure about arriving close to 8:00 and finding bar stools.

It worked out fine because the apparent combination of a very warm day and later light has distracted people from early dining.

Gabriele Rausse Vin Gris made for the ideal start because nothing says easy drinking summer wine like white pinot noir.

An appetizer special of scallop carpaccio with an apple radish slaw and bacon-lemon vinaigrette knocked our socks off with its delicately nuanced flavors and the silky mouthfeel of the scallops.

It was accompanied by rollicking New Orleans-style dance music that had my fellow eater commenting, "It's a good thing you don't dance."

And of course I do, I have, but not at the Roosevelt.

I can now say that Spring has officially arrived because of what I had for dinner tonight.

It was another special, this time an entree of a soft shelled crab with sausage, butterbeans and rice.

Oh, yes, it's the fourth day of April and I was eating both softshells and butterbeans.

I can safely say that I have never had either this early in the season. And yet both tasted like they were at peak perfection.

The sausage added some spice to the meaty and fork-tender crab and the enormous butterbeans were positively swoon-worthy.

Okay, maybe not for everybody, but as someone who didn't get butterbeans growing up (my mother thought they tasted like paste and refused to serve them to us), I still savor them every time I can get them.

They're such a big deal to me that part of my annual trek to the beach includes stopping for them at a roadside stand on the way down so that I can eat them all week long while I'm there.

When it came time for dessert, we were made an offer we couldn't refuse - new desserts on trial.

So in the interest of helping the Roosevelt critique some new sweet offerings, we graciously assented to trying out two of the new three.

The Tyler pie was a custard pie, delicately flavored and, according to my companion, much like a traditional Italian Easter cake.

All I know is that it would appeal to even a non-dessert lover and paired beautifully with King Family's Loreley.

As luck would have it, we got the last glass of Loreley, which necessitated a switch to King Family's Seven to pair with the pecan pie.

Made in the traditional Porto style with 100% Merlot and fortified with brandy, it made for the best pecan pie of my life.

Don't get me wrong, pecan pie is all well and good, but the combination of its dark richness and the depth of the Seven made my vote for the pecan pie a shoe-in.

As long, I was adamant about making clear, as they didn't take the coconut cake off the menu.

It's not just my love of coconut cake, but at this point that cake is practically a heritage item on the menu and needs to remain for the ages.

I mean, if you're going to ask my opinion on desserts, I'm going to have lots to say.

As opposed to any other time. Especially on a night where I didn't have anywhere to go or anything in particular to do.

It might be my new favorite plan.

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