The boy’s place has spoiled me. It’s sky-high, with huge windows that show downtown in the distance, and we can watch the sunset right off his balcony…it’s just beautiful. While I do enjoy taking in these sights of the city when I’m over there, I also tend to focus on, well, a different sort of beauty: the P.F. Chang’s across the street. It’s just sitting there, looking at me, whispering, “What happened to us? Remember in college when you, me, and your friends would hang out and eat lettuce wraps? How can we ever get back to that place?”
It’s not that the boy and I never go out to eat, it’s just that P.F. Changs and I have grown apart. When we dine out, I gravitate towards local eateries, or new restaurants, or diamond-in-the-suburb spots. So, somehow, I ventured away from P.F. Chang’s, and you know what? When I look out that window and across the street to the welcoming, horse-guarded doors, it makes me sad.
We will inevitably venture across the street in the near future, but this week I decided to take dinner into my own hands, literally. I knew I couldn’t emulate the P.F. Chang’s lettuce wrap experience perfectly, because honestly I don’t even know what they put in there (I suspect crack), so I decided to do my own spin. Maybe it wouldn’t fix my P.F. Chang’s relationship, but I’d settle for rekindling my lettuce wrap flame.
Anyone who’s talked to me about desserts, so pretty much anyone who’s ever met me, knows one thing for certain: this girl loves dirt cake. And yes, I’m talking about the dirt cake you remember from your childhood: thick, smooth chocolate pudding laced with chunks and crumbs of Oreos, often served up in a bucket with a shovel. Of course, a dessert this refined should be saved for special occasions only, so my brother, sister and I look forward to our birthday buckets all year. It’s a family thing, this dirt cake fascination. It’s in my blood, like freckles and sarcasm. I just can’t help it.
Naturally, with my sister’s birthday happening this weekend, I anticipated my dirt cake experience all last week. In all my dirt cake daydreaming, I got to thinking…what would happen if I stuffed dirt cake in a cupcake, and then topped it with some absurdly delicious Nutella buttercream frosting? Inspiration had hit, and there was no going back.
Stop looking at me like that. I know it’s over the top, but you’ll love it. Trust me.
When all my siblings were still living at home, Chinese takeout night happened every now and then…and by that I mean like once a week. We’d devour our absurdly huge mounds of food, possibly watch a movie or play a game, and then wrap up the evening with a little brother-sister-sister argument over who would get the final wonton after the other eleven were gone (yes, we bought two orders of six…every time). Now that I’m a refined adult (yeah, that) wontons have sadly gone all-but missing from my life. Until recently, that is, when the boy and I found ourselves at a restaurant that served jalapeno cream cheese wontons. In all my childhood wonton-consuming years, I had never thought about mixing anything with that smooth dollop of cheese. I mean, that’s just crazy. Crazy brilliant, of course.
My memory of these jalapeno wontons lovingly remains in the back of my mind always, but this week it catapulted to the front when the boy asked if we could make them for dinner. At those words, I magically appeared in a grocery store with cream cheese, wonton wrappers, and jalapenos in my cart, and ambition in my soul.