Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Warm Night, Good Food, and Exceptional Company

Thursday night came, and it was a kinda/sorta Date Night per Tom's and my developing tradition.  But we invited his very dear friend and soon-to-be-retired co-worker Carol along, too, so that she could see the Docent Invitational Exhibit that Tom has 3 beautiful artworks in.

Of course, we had to start with dinner!  And since the Prickly Pear Cafe was hosting a benefit for Alpha House, which provides support and temporary shelter for the homeless -- 10% of the day's proceeds were being donated to this fabulous charity which I found out Carol's daughter works for, and which my employer supports through regular volunteering opportunities throughout the year (I help to coordinate those volunteers' shifts, too, since this is a cause that's near and dear to my bleeding heart) -- it was the logical choice.  Even if the food were cheap and sleazy, we'd have eaten there for the mitzvah -- "commandment," often interpreted as "good deed."  But it certainly helps that the food is fabulous!!!

Everyone knows by now (if you don't know this, you haven't been paying attention!) that my brain becomes paralyzed by menus ... too many choices, everything sounds good -- being an omnivore makes things difficult, rather than being a picky eater who will only settle grudgingly for one or two options.  So, do we want an appetizer?  How hungry is everyone?  Do Tom and I want to order a repeat performance of what we'd eaten last time, and what was that again???  What am I in the mood for -- salad on an 80° day, or something substantial, or something I love but wouldn't bother to make at home?  Decisions, decisions!!!  Thankfully, the still-warm chips with excellent salsa were there to assuage the hunger pangs as the perusal took place.

Carol highly recommended the San Antonio Pecan Chicken Salad, telling us that it was enormous and the three of us could easily split it.  "Organic greens, dried cherries, Anejo cheese, honey, pecans, char-grilled chicken breast" -- it sounded like an excellent choice.  The chicken had perfect grill marks, Jeremy's own personal standard of excellence, and was incredibly tender.  The pecans were candied rather than just tossed in plain and unadorned, and the greens were -- as you can see -- picture perfect.  The dressing was a bit sweet (frankly, syrupy sweet in places where there was too much of it), and Carol and Tom both thought that blue cheese dressing would be a lovely accompaniment.  Devotée that I am of Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton, and any other variety that you can name while I'm still caffeinating and my brain is not at optimum speed yet, I would wholeheartedly endorse that suggestion.

I had never tried the crabcakes before -- I've had the exceptional Butternut Squash Soup with Pinenut Butter, the Sweet Potato Enchiladas, and the Chipotle Flat Iron Steak Salad -- and Tom highly recommended that we split them; well, anyone who can help in my decision-making processes earns lots of brownie points and kisses from me!  And it was an exceptional choice -- rich, generous portions of crab meat with a lovely crisp cornmeal crust, topped with just the right amount of a slightly spicy cheese sauce and served with huge portions of rice and black beans as well.  This plate is a perfect amount for two people, with no salad beforehand ... and I'd had salad beforehand.  So, did I have leftovers???  HA!!!  About 1/4 cup of beans was left after I devoured everything in my path.  I'm a good eater ... and I will not hang my head in shame.

Fortunately, after dinner we had to walk several blocks to the car, walk past maybe 3 storefronts to get from our parking spot to the Gallery, and stood while studying the artworks before walking past those same 3 storefronts to get back to the car ... gotta burn off those calories somehow!  Some green tea once Tom and I got home, and it was a perfect evening with excellent food, intriguing artworks, and exceptionally warm and congenial company ... :)

Prickly Pear Cafe on Urbanspoon


Julie M. said...

Yummy! That looks delicious! We moved from Texas a couple years back and I really miss good mexican and tex mex. I found you through the Lady Bloggers Tea Party. Thanks for sharing!

Simply Life said...

oh that salad looks wonderful!

Jess S. said...


Thanks for visiting my blog. I love the name of yours and also, hate sushi.

michelle@TNS said...

i concur with simply life, that salad sounds killer. sounds like a great night out!

Abby said...

What an awesome meal; and I love that you guys shared it all! Those pecans look to-die-for.

Cinnamon-Girl said...

The salad and crab cakes both look really delicious! I don't blame you one bit for eating it all!

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