A lot of ink has been spilled over the oppressiveness of this Hallmark holiday, especially for the unattached. But there’s good news: No need to buy flowers that are all of a sudden twice as expensive as usual, or a men’s cologne he’ll wear once and then forget. Treat yourself to whatever you want. Indulge. It’s me-time.
Today was one of those days that went traffic, work, meeting, work, traffic. There’s nothing funny about Houston rush hour. I need a soak. That’s a long, hot bath where cleaning is not the priority. Instead I’m going to sweat out the day while sipping on a nice big slug of whisky in my Norlan glass ($50; norlanglass.com). S’posed to be good for capturing the bouquet I guess, but I just like how solid it is and how it fits in my paw. And no, I am not thinking about her, thanks for asking.
I swear there’s nothing like kickboxing to clear the work cobwebs. I feel like I could beat up a couple of supervillains right now. Actually, that might be fun. I’m gonna grab a beer and drink it in the shower. No whisky-drinking guy around to make fun of my “proletarian” taste. Oh, but first I’ve got to blow the dust off my special-occasion Zanetto bucket ($565; artemest.com) and ice down a bottle of blanc de blancs.
Much better. Now food. Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland meant I ate a ton of crab. Somehow, I never tired of it. The best mail-order crab cakes I’ve found are from G & M ($30 for 8 oz.; gandmcrabcakes.com). Pop one of those in the oven while I open a split of Champagne. Funny, I bet I know someone else who’s gonna be having Champagne tonight, but not before she gulps down a Lone Star.
I forgot to turn the lights on in the kitchen and living room and you know what? It’s almost romantic. Houston is a lot prettier at night. Is it silly that I still want food from where I grew up when it’s a short drive away? Pfft, like I care. I want what I want. I like crab fine as long as it’s cut with something sweet like a mango salsa. So while I heat up some of John Folse’s crab and corn bisque ($15 for 28 oz.; cajungrocer.com), I’m gonna pop the Champagne.
Now I know there’s a lot of good steak from all over, but if you live in Texas, you don’t mail-order meat that has more miles on it than Uncle Jimmy’s El Camino. There are lots of good sources, but I like Perini: It’s an old ranch and a steak house, and they ship a peppery mesquite-smoked tenderloin that is no muss, no fuss and all flavor ($145 for 2 to 2.5 lbs.; periniranch.com). All you do is bring it to room temperature and slice it. Some people (ahem) prefer a filet mignon, but I say why limit yourself? Pour myself a glass of Cab, which is not my favorite but is good with steak, and I’m set.
The grill is set to “screaming hot,” and I have a skillet on. I got a filet from 44 Farms, which is something like 100 years old and doesn’t mess with cattle that aren’t Black Angus ($40 for 8 oz.; 44steaks.com). I rolled the filet in what a certain someone once called an “obscene” amount of black pepper and a few grinds of salt, and I have garlic, thyme and butter in place. I sear it, flip it, toss in the other stuff and start basting like crazy off heat. While it rests, I pour a glass of Cab. “I don’t like Cali Cab … except with steak,” said the aforementioned someone. Who says that? Plus, you have steak at least once a week and always have Cab with it, so guess what? You like Cab. Dumbass.
I’ve now had four or six just-one-more slices. Gonna save the rest for sandwiches. And snacks. After I have one more slice. Dessert is one of those things on this holiday. Chocolate lava cake on a plate painted with raspberry coulis hearts or some nonsense. Now I do like chocolate, just not as an obligation. Plus I’m in a happy, savory groove, so I’m just going to hunker down with a nice chunk of Bleu d’Auvergne ($11 for 7.5 oz.; igourmet.com). Yeah, I know it’s not from Texas, but it’s my favorite and today is my day. Ever do that thing where after you eat you pick up your phone, look at it, put it down, then pick it up again? I hate that.
Dinner out on V Day always ends with an obsequious waiter pushing chocolate-covered strawberries on “the lady.” Like we all want fruit and chocolate. “Something sweet for mademoiselle?” You know what, bub? I’ll just take a big ol’ piece of the Roquefort ($14 for 7.5 oz.; igourmet.com) and the check. Oh brother, who is texting me at this hour?
“Did u have crab, filet and blue cheese?”
“U don’t know me. And yes.”