Excy and I made reservations for Valentine's at one of our favorite (and not just b/c some of his art hangs on the wall and I've taped two radio stories there) restaurant, The Starving Artist Cafe. Owners Paula and Jason Morell have made a delightful restaurant, with eclectic decor and all manner of local artwork hanging floor-to-ceiling on buff brick walls. The cafe tables are even painted by individual artists (also available for sale). Paula's an accomplished writer who teaches creative writing and is co-owner of a small publishing house (and mother of three kids under the age of six! Geez!). Jason's an award-winning chef who has cooked in cities all around the world before returning home. His menus are splendid mixes of the sublime -- melding taste, textures and color - true feasts for the eyes and stomach.
So we were really looking forward to our three-course dinner. I even carted myself off to a day spa earlier in the week for some 'detail work.' And I splurged on lingerie. (Excy's never said a word about the t-shirt I sleep in that says 'cat person,' or the flannels decorated with steaming cups of coffee -- but not having anything to say about my sleep-wear strikes me as maybe not such a good thing...spicing up the sleep gear seemed an appropriately adult thing to do)....But we were thwarted again. It rained and then snowed until late afternoon and then got icy. As we were debating our options we heard the fire engines screaming down the road---the twisty mountain roads always surprise drivers...so as much as we looked forward to our three-course dinner and cocktails, it was 60 minutes away, and then an hour home on icy streets. So we canceled.
We're not the only ones who were tripped up by the weather, of course, but we're the only ones I know who seem to lose out every time we plan on having some fun for a holiday, an occasion, even a f--ing meal. It's a good thing we're low-key, roll-with-the-punches types. Because I have learned the hard way too many times, I had back-up Plan B. I unthawed steaks and we had twice-baked potatoes and marinated mushrooms, and I made a chocolate chess pie. My mind is still lodged on the meal we missed, so I'm hoping we go out to make up for it soon. The cats, anyway, were glad we didn't go out and leave them without a lap.
Never-fail, Easy and Delicious Chocolate Chess Pie
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
2 T. flour
1 c. evaporated milk
5 1/3 t. butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 t. vanilla
1 9" pie shell, unbaked
1 c. pecan halves
Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Heat milk and butter until melted, and add eggs and vanilla to milk mixture. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into pie shell and sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until it's not 'jiggly.' Allow to cool before cutting.
It's lovely to make some whipped cream for the topping.....unfortunately I didn't have any heavy cream in the fridge...