Valentine’s Day

I wonder if I’m making a mistake by letting you all in on my Valentine’s Day plans. But this is too good not to share: El Rancho Grande is dressing up for a special 4-course chocolate dinner…

Providence has a few good Valentine’s options, but this is one of the more affordable at $65 per couple including a bottle of wine. I’ve heard rumors that Julian’s is great as well.   What are your plans and recommendations?

Here’s the full menu for the El Rancho Grande dinner:

Wine: Argentinean Malbec
Alamos Malbec presents a deep, opaque violet color with purple hues.
The nose is intense and complex, with ripe black fruits, sweet spice
and a touch of violets. The mouthfeel is sweet and supple, with black
cherry and cassis flavors mingled with spicy black pepper and a touch
of leather. The finish is long and persistent with soft, sweet
tannins.

Salad: Ensalada de Picante de Espinacas con Adereso de Chocolate (Spicy Spinach Salad with Chocolate Dressing)
Baby spinach, Serrano pepper, strawberries and sliced almonds lightly
covered in Maria’s secret chocolate dressing.

Appetizer: Chiles en Nogadas (Chilies in Walnut Sauce)
Originating in Maria’s hometown of Puebla, this is one of the region’s
most famous exotic dishes and was traditionally served to visiting
kings. Green poblano chili stuffed with a picadillo, covered in a rich
walnut crème sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. All
ingredients are grown in Puebla.

Entree: Mole Poblano con Pollo
Legend says that Mole was created by the 16th century nuns of a
Mexican convent for a visit by the Spanish Viceroy. Combining New
World ingredients such as peanuts and cocoa with European technique,
they created the rich and tasty Mole Poblano. Named for the city of
Puebla, from which it originated, Mole Poblano is made by chopping,
grinding and roasting, mixing different types of chiles together with
spices, day-old bread, nuts, a little chocolate and approximately 20
other ingredients.

Entree: Mole de Pistache con Lomo de Cerdo
Pork tenderloin slowly cooked in a complex green mole sauce made from
pistachios, avocado leaves, chilies and numerous other savory Mexican
spices.

Dessert: Pastel de Chocolate de Tres Leches
Legend has it that this cake was invented by a condensed milk company
to get people to use more canned milk. The cake is soaked in
evaporated milk, condensed milk , and either whole milk or cream.
Since butter is not used, tres leches is a very light cake. This
distinct texture is why, although it is soaked in a mixture of three
types of milk, it does not have a soggy consistency.

Dessert: Crepas de Chocolate
Crepes, frequently topped with the goat’s milk syrup called cajeta,
are a very popular dessert in fine restaurants throughout Mexico. This
recipe filled with chocolate and other Mexican spices is Maria’s very
own.

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