February 8th, 2011 07:50am
I don’t know about you, but I’m not above whetting my wife’s more carnal appetites with enough wine and chocolate to impair her better judgment. I’m sure that’s all very un-PC and certainly, as the father of young daughters, I live in mortal fear of the effects of alcohol on sensibility; but my wife’s a big girl, and above all, she knows how I think, so I’m pretty sure our pending Valentine’s Date – a savory symphony of handcrafted chocolate and wine at J Winery – will be consensual.
As a rule, I view Valentine’s Day rather dimly. It’s not that I’m a Grinch, it’s just that I tire of the obligatory expense, the Weimar Republican inflation of menu prices and long-stemmed roses, the topsy-turvy calculus of a holiday on which profligate spending is simply expected and only an absence of gifts attracts attention. But I’m trying to be less crusty and more romantic with the accelerating rush of time, and anyway, the grandparents volunteered to babysit our litter – if the first rule of child rearing is never to wake a sleeping baby, then the second is surely never to decline free babysitting. Or any babysitting.
So, instead of bitching about Hallmark Holidays, I’m leaving my kids with the ‘rents and taking my wife to “TCHO and Pinot”, what promises to be an extravagant mouth-party of artisanal TCHO chocolate and J Winery Pinot Noir, welded seamlessly together in Chef Mark Caldwell’s kitchen, and – you heard it here first – an official Best Bet To Make Her Smile and You Lucky.
Photo credits: J Winery, TCHO Chocolate
The meal itself promises wonderful things: Beef braised in cocoa nib tea; a cocoa-crusted loin of lamb with a cocoa-infused reduction of Pinot Noir; and root vegetables and whatever else Mark can get his hands on that is best, seasonal, and local at the moment. All in all, a compelling excuse to spend an afternoon with my wife, in a pretty little room with lots of light and views of our valley, and just enough room to play footsie. Although I’m still not buying that velveteen heart-shaped box or schmaltzy card.
About This Blog
The Proximal Kitchen is the bastard lovechild of Scott Kerson, a recovering hedge fund addict, husband, father, and dedicated home cook with a passion for food, wine, and the natural affluence of Sonoma County soils. Since trading in the avenues of Manhattan for the vine rows of the Russian River Valley, Scott has hit upon a simple philosophy: Purchase the best ingredients you can directly from the people who farm them, prepare them with care, and you will eat better and learn something about life in the process. Scott puts this idea into practice with seasonal shopping tips, foodie factoids, classic and original recipes, and observations on everything from getting your kids to eat real food to the importance of sharpening your knives.