Saturday night we had drinks and dinner on the patio of Glass Hall Full, a Carrboro restaurant that’s become one of our favorite places in the immediate area. Yes, outside on Feb. 11. And no jacket was required.
Yes, North Carolina weather is historically quirky but over the past few years it’s hard to argue that the winters haven’t become more consistently mild. Sure we get some snow here and there and temps plunge below freezing more than a few days. But we have more days in the 50s, 60s and 70s than ever before. No complaints, just an observation.
It was a pleasant evening, just the two of us. The night air felt great. It was Valentine’s Day Weekend — it said so on the inserted specials menu — and we got a table very easily. That was one of our questions. Restaurants are generally packed on Valentine’s Day or the weekend before. Sometimes we choose to just spend the night at home rather than fight the crowd on Valentine’s Day anyway. A couple of years ago I went out and bought a bottle of Prosecco, personal pizzas to go and gelato — all Roselee’s favorites — and we dined before the fireplace in our living room. That might be the best Valentine’s Day ever.
But we decided Saturday to gamble on Glass Half Full, which is on Greensboro Street in an area that has become an excellent restaurant scene. It only takes reservations for parties of six more more but we decided to chance it. Glass Half Full is casual but elegant with a wide variety of small plates, entrees, wines and beers. There are several vegetarian options, a huge factor because Roselee is a vegetarian. The service is always top-notch.
Saturday — even though we were on the patio — was no exception.
It turned out the patio was an excellent choice on our part. Roselee enjoyed her pecante margarita — although it was a little less spicy than usual. I decided not to get a cocktail and instead selected a beer, the Pernicious IPA by Wicked Weed brewery in Asheville. It’s a favorite.
As I mentioned before, the restaurant had not only its regular menu available but some specials for the weekend. We ordered one of the appetizers, the N.C. shrimp bisque. It ranks as the best I’ve ever had. The shrimp flavor was wonderfully rich. So often the shrimp flavor is supplied by the shrimp itself. But in this case the entire bowl was enveloped in it. The Thai chile and coconut milk gave the dish an element of heat behind the shrimp taste. It was one of two highlights of the evening.
That’s not to understate how much we enjoyed the entrees. I ordered a regular menu item, seared scallops over a sweet potato puree with pecans, brown butter and a radicchio salad. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the pecans in butter complemented the puree. I wolfed it down far too quickly. Roselee ordered a small plate — crab macaroni and cheese — and she loved it. It came with impossibly thin fried bits of fingerling potatoes.
For dessert there were several appealing options but on a Valentine’s Day weekend we had to go with something chocolate. We chose the Mexican chocolate Bodino. Bodino is an Italian word and it refers to a type of pudding. It’s very thick and often comes with nuts. This one arrived with almonds and was served in a plate of almonds and cream. It was the second highlight of a great night out.
So what are we doing for Valentine’s Day when it arrives on Tuesday? We’re not sure yet. The only thing we know is it will be at home. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be special.