Sunday, May 3, 2015

Strawberries Romanov

a.k.a. Dessert in a Pinch

Years ago, when I was in high school in Clinton, Illinois, we'd go to this phenomenal restaurant in St. Louis called Tony's. We used to take long car rides to go to great restaurants - a habit begun long before I was born I'm sure. 

Tony's was old-school Italian. Jacket and tie were required and the maitre d' would escort you up a gracefully curved staircase backwards, so as not to turn his back on you. Once at your table, the ratio of servers to diners was about 1:1. 

How does that relate to dessert in a pinch? Tony's was the first place I ever had Strawberries Romanov. We were seated at a table in the corner of the dining room with a superb view outward of everyone else and quiet behind us. My brother to my right, Dad to my left, and Mom across the table from me. We had a gorgeous dinner, the best part of which was dessert.

Strawberries Romanov is a relatively simple concoction. Sour cream, brown sugar, Brandy or vanilla, and sweetened whipped cream, folded gently together spooned over fresh strawberries. I probably ordered it for the name, which is grand and somewhat mysteriously exotic.

So, tonight, facing a fridge full of leftovers, including strawberries, a little bit of sour cream, and and some whipped cream, the dessert came back to me, floating into my head like a long lost friend. I remember sitting at that table, experiencing the sweet burst of strawberries on my tongue, tempered by the gloss and tang of the brandied cream. 

Dinner was clean-out-the-fridge leftovers: a hamburger and pasta with pesto and spinach. But dessert was sublime.

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