Huh? Valentine's day on February 11th? Well, see, when you're married to a chef, you don't get to celebrate holidays like normal human beings. When you all are making plans to celebrate--New Year's, Mother's Day, Easter brunch--Miss Chef is working overtime, prepping for crazy 14-hour days. I, for my part, work on my nomination for sainthood by not expecting a thing out of her for the weeks preceding these events, as well as the entire months of November and December. It's been eight years, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.
This year, since Valentine's falls on a Saturday, it will be a shorter, but very intense restaurant holiday. As I posted about a couple of months ago, Miss Chef's schedule has changed so that she actually gets three whole weeknights off! So we were very happy to take advantage of this by doing an early Valentine's dinner Wednesday night. One benefit to celebrating off-kilter as we do: I called at 4 pm that day and got reservations for 7 that night. No problem, no wait, no rush.
We went to a small restaurant called Passion8 which we have been to only once before. They have exactly the same hours and days of service as Miss Chef's restaurant, so until her schedule changed, we knew we couldn't go back. It's only about two years old, and is run by a surprisingly young chef from Italy, and his wife, who is American. It's in a small house in an unusual location that's kind of hard to find. I am impressed they are still open, as I haven't heard much about them, and they're not in an area known for fine dining. It's a testament to the quality of the food, I guess!
So, what did we have? I ordered the chicken--of course. It was roasted, with an amaretto demi-glace (which was absolutely as good as it sounds!), and served with roasted baby brussels sprouts and a mini sweet-potato tart that tasted for all the world like pumpkin pie. I don't like sweet potatoes, and it was almost enough to turn me away from ordering the chicken, but I'm glad I decided to try it!
Miss Chef ordered the stuffed pasta special, which was large raviolis with goat cheese, caramelized onions and some kind of mushroom. It was served in a red sauce that she couldn't remember the details of, but I did see big chunks of cherry tomatoes in it.
I was pleasantly full enough, but the desserts sounded too good to pass up, so we each ordered one and didn't finish either one! I got a chai crème brûlée topped with whipped cream and a sliced strawberry--a fantastic flavor combination. The whipped cream added a necessary lightness to the rich spices of the chai flavoring. Miss Chef went for the 3-layer chocolate cake (keep in mind, this was only about 3" in diameter; not the ginormous AppleRubyFriday's wedge). The bottom layer was a flourless Bailey's chocolate cake, the middle was chocolate ganache, and it was topped with a strawberry chocolate mousse. Miss Chef had two bites and was done. I tried to help, but still had my own dessert in front of me. Oh, the sweet pain of leaving dessert behind.
Of course, we took the chocolate cake home with us. Which reminds me...I wonder if there's any left in the fridge?
As for the actual day, I have plans to sneak a card and a Reese's peanut-butter heart into Miss Chef's car before she leaves for work. She's already been sneaking little Valentines into my lunchbox this week. It's fun, but we've already agreed we don't need gifts or flowers. We both know that what really matters is making time for each other when we can. And that it doesn't have to be by Hallmark's schedule.
Update: Miss Chef came home from work last night and asked me if I'd be interested in being hostess Saturday night. I've bussed tables there before, but never hostessed, so I'm a little nervous about dealing with impatient guests whose tables aren't ready yet! But at least Miss Chef and I can be together on Valentine's day...even if we won't be able to see each other 'til service is over! Come back Sunday or Monday to see how it went...