Celebrating the love & affection between intimate companions, the day of Saint Valentine takes its name from one or more Christian martyrs and was established in AD 496 by Pope Gelasius I (‘The Vicar of Christ’), the third and last pope born of African descent in the Roman Catholic Church. Not that we’re biased or anything, but it comes as no surprise that the global celebration of love (and stuff) was the invention of a black dude! Incidentally, as far back as he can remember, Love & Affection by Joan Armatrading has been and still is Anthony’s favourite song of all time.
Our pre-Valentine celebrations started last night in what was described as a ‘fine dining’ TexMex restaurant. Still beginners in the art of ordering food Texas-style, we gave the waitress our appetizer (starter) and entrée (main) choices and sat back sipping Margaritas waiting for the first course. It soon arrived, and ‘by golly’ it was big! We both gazed at the portion size of the Tumbleweed Onion Rings and panicked briefly, wondering “if the starters are this big, will they be wheeling our main courses in on the back of two Ford F-350s?” We weren’t disappointed. Kat’s chicken with tomato and blue cheese salad would have been enough for the both of us. And then there was Anthony’s chicken fried steak – yes, you heard right…chicken fried steak! Think of KFC but replace the chicken with beef…voila Chicken Fried Steak. It was tasty good but was the size of a Porterhouse and, of course, was covered in thick batter and deep-fried. To make things even more challenging we had foolishly ordered sides of Buttered Mushrooms and Confetti Corn… oh and we forgot to mention that (unbeknownst to us) the main courses came with mashed potatoes and greens. So, faced with enough food to feed team USA at the Vancouver Olympics, we did our very best to consume it all… and obviously failed.
Well-rested and looking forward to a busy day of doing nothing in Alpine, we awoke to an unusually ‘scorchio’ day. Dressed in shorts, flip-flops, vests and sunglasses we walked down the main street to a wonderful little café for brunch (well, we were hungry again by then), just 2 blocks from the Hotel. We sat outside soaking up the sun’s rays whilst tucking into bacon, sausage and egg croissants and fantastic cups of coffee. The rest of the day was just as relaxed and lovely.