After the recent winter storm, we’re happy to say that the only reference this weekend to ice and salt had to do with margaritas. We arrived at Loyd Park on Friday afternoon, with Cliff setting up while Jon took a lengthy work-related call from a colleague in Boston. By sundown, the temperature had dropped into the low 40s — producing enough of a chill for Chef Cliff to forgo the grill. Instead, we stayed inside, deploying the electric skillet for our Date Night dinner of tenderloin steak, asparagus, peppers, and Lyonnaise potatoes, all accompanied by a Ravenswood Lodi — a California old vine zinfandel that has quickly become a favorite.
Saturday morning was a workday for Jon, as he caught up on unfinished projects from a week that saw him onboarding a new employee. Still, there was time for our ordinary weekend pursuits. After brunching, napping, and cocktailing, we decided to head into town for dinner. Grand Prairie isn’t renowned for its fine dining options. In fact, most of its restaurants are either franchises of national chains or fast food joints. We decided on Chili’s Grill and Bar, a casual dining restaurant that started in Dallas almost 50 years ago. Today it’s owned and operated by Brinker International, headquartered in Coppell, about 30 miles from Loyd Park. The abiding characteristic of chain restaurants is consistency. You’ll get the same brisket hamburger or Santa Fe Crispers salad in Grand Prairie that you would in China or Egypt or Venezuela. And so we entered the Chili’s world hoping for the best while expecting the worst. In a word, our dinner was “meh.” Edible, but uninspiring. We returned to Cloud 9 about $58 lighter in the wallet but at least we didn’t have to clean the kitchen.
Sunday’s spring-like temperatures beckoned us to the picnic pavilion for an al fresco brunch. At this time of year, with near daily ups and downs in the weather, we take every opportunity to dine outdoors. While the rest of the known universe prepared to watch the Super Bowl, we napped, dreaming of our return on President’s Day weekend.