but "pork rinds" and "holy crap!" do. We recently hit Limón for happy (in the haze of a drunken) hour. But heaven knows we were miserable afterward, a) because we ate too much of this
and b) because there's no such thing as too much of this (as this close-up reveals
—or not; odd how closely chicharrones resemble cucarachas fritas, at least as seen in this photo I stole from here),
so by the time we polished off the last piece we were practically in tears. Well, make that when I polished off the last piece I practically started crying, & The Director, not getting the last piece, died a little inside & may have wished me a little dead too. I could see it in his black haunted eyes.
Really, they're damned good—crackly & chewy yet plenty moist, & paired, alongside flawless, lightly herb-sprinkled fries, with the most unusual salsa I may ever have tasted. Actually salsa's their word, not mine—I'd call it a veritable grain salad, composed as it is of hominy with pieces of mango and aji amarillo chile, as well as cilantro and what I'm pretty sure was mint (perhaps huacataya, the Peruvian black mint that used to crop up from time to time in the dishes of one of my dearest old Boston haunts, an Italian-Peruvian charmer called Taranta, if you're ever in Boston go there & say hi to José for me, & be sure to order the yuca gnocchi with green lamb ragú?).
Only now, as I count down the hours to dinner at Deluxe, is the pain of my chicharroneless loneliness subsiding.
*Not that I personally wouldn't hit these.
but "pork rinds" and "holy crap!" do. We recently hit Limón for happy (in the haze of a drunken) hour. But heaven knows we were miserable afterward, a) because we ate too much of this
That might as well be its name, the way we always just sort of end up there through no real will of our own. We hit it like it was a pit stop on our long way to somewhere else—plopping down wearily and, with nary a thought, like our chins were propped on our open palms, elbows on the table, eyes half-closed, ordering up the Med-Asian equivalent of the Lumberjack Slam. But instead of a stack of buttermilk pancakes there was, recently, needlefish,
whose sea-clean taste & surprising firmness reminded me of abalone. Instead of bacon—a warning phrase if ever there were one—there was gorgonzola-&-balsamic-sprinkled carpaccio,
whose flavor was not only not like bacon but not like anything, inhibited by the fact that it was served, appallingly & inexplicably, ice-cold. Someone sit that poor beef down by the hearth & pour it a brandy, it’ll come round.
Instead of sliced honey ham there was grilled tenderloin in puff pastry with shiitake, enoki & eringi mushrooms in a tarragon-ginger sauce, scattered with chive flowers and saffron threads.
A terrific little dish, this twist on beef Wellington, beautifully balancing its earthy & bright contrasts.
Instead of sausage there were short ribs—which apparently just got even shorter, since they used to reach our expectations but this time couldn’t quite.
Formerly they dripped & smacked of Korean barbecue; now, they’re like your baby as opposed to my baby in that old song by G. Love & Special Sauce. At least the warm, creamy, quasi-Germanic potato salad offsets their new austerity.
Instead of eggs there was saffron-roasted halibut with grilled white asparagus, seaweed & yellow tomato–butter sauce.
“It’s almost all about texture,” said our friend who henceforth shall be known as the Whistler because “it’s my superhero name, though it makes more sense as a serial-killer name,” & I had to agree—about the dish, I mean; while it tasted as vibrantly multifaceted as it looks, it certainly wasn’t about the halibut, which could’ve been replaced by any white fish without anyone’s knowing or caring. For all we knew we were eating tilapia & the halibut’s photo was on the back of a milk carton.
Instead of hash browns or grits there were roast duck-&-forest mushroom ravioli.
While the pasta itself was lovely—no surprise there; after all, ravioli are basically just Italian-style shumai, which as I’ve said the Den does a bang-up job of making—its pointless submersion in an unmemorable broth did come as a surprise to the Whistler’s ladyfriend (ha, as opposed to his mother), whom we’ll be calling the Mad Russian. As she pointed out, the menu listed red-pepper coulis, of which there were driblets, but made no mention of downright soup. Or cheese, for that matter, likewise superfluous.
& instead of choice of bread there was glossy, super-honeyed sesame chicken with a salad of palm heart, bok choy, Fuji apple & almonds atop a wash of prickly pear beurre blanc, prettily peridot-toned but otherwise totally lost amid all that tangy sweetness.
Oh, wait. Did I say sesame chicken? I meant alien fetus.
It’s kinda the new foie gras.
Nope, not a lot of cooking going on at this little wine bar on South Pearl. This pretty much covers it:
Your bartender is also your “chef” and his “kitchen” consists of a toaster oven behind the bar. Which is fine by us; we don’t come for these
so much as the wine-country-cottagesque aura created by this
plus above all this,
our favorite of a recent evening being the 2004 Glen Carlou, a South African blend of Cab, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot & Cab Franc. The Director called it “dusty,” & I pictured him picturing the zebra-streaked veldt at dusk.
We expressed our pleasure to the bartender, who responded by topping off our glasses with the bottle’s remainder—a gesture that more than compensated for the perennial annoyance that is getting an uneven number of edibles, in this case 5 pesto-&-parmesan stuffed mushrooms, for an even number of eaters, in this case 2. Dividing a mushroom cap in half is a silly, silly thing for fully grown & half-pickled adults to have to do.
Wow, Leaf certainly is leafy green & squeaky clean & wall to wall with lean mean meat-fighting machines. I don’t know what you’d have to do to leave here saying “oof,” but the chance that it involves eating anything off the menu is way fatter than the one that it entails getting knocked out on your duff for talking shit about soy products.
They called this white bean & spinach soup—what a crock. It was spinach & white bean soup.
Still, though more leaf than bean, it was plenty chunky as well as quite cheeky, unexpectedly peppery. Ditto this artichoke “guacamole,” not as creamy as the avoriginal yet with a good strong tang, atop a meaty white bean cake; too bad the red curry–coconut cream was so thin, just making the patty’s bottom soggy as though it were part of an Irish nursery rhyme, rather than adding punch 2 to the punch 1 the rest of the ethnoclectic recipe it was in fact part of delivered.
Speaking of thin, that & pale is what I turned by having this Asian seaweed salad.
Honeymooning with my mother, my father lost his brand-new wedding ring at White Sands. We had picture placemats from there, like this;
to settle me down at mealtimes, he’d tell me to find his ring in the photo. It’ll be no less a challenge for you to locate the jicama, wakame, bok choy, bamboo shoots, palm hearts & water chestnuts supposedly mixed up in the above mound of mizuna sprinkled with carrots’ toenail clippings. The French toast stix–looking things on top are marinated grilled tofu triangles, which actually might as well have been French toast stix for all I could judge by the taste—good in an indefinite, unmemorable way.
Come to think of it, though, I did leave saying “oof”—namely after getting an eyeful of the menu at conjoined-twin Aji, where the same talent that, though obvious, just languishes over post-nouvelle portions of pavement-crack growth at Leaf must put all its energy toward funky, hunky-sounding ends like lobster arepas, rib & cabbage tortas & stuffed poblanos with walnut sauce.
I’m all for vegetarian dishes—provided there’s actual food on them. Until Leaf beefs it up a little, I’ll be next door.
If there’s one thing I believe in, it’s crappy endings. Tragedy. Chaos. Anticlimax. In one or more of these do life’s episodes most convincingly conclude. As Amos Tutuola’s title character puts it in the Palm Wine Drinkard, “And so all our trials, difficulties and many years’ travel brought only an egg or resulted in an egg.” Though I don’t exactly recall what that means anymore, the redundant little flourish says it all, still makes me laugh with a sad face. Show me a good happy ending & I’ll show you a movie with Dudley Moore & Liza Minnelli in it, & that’s about it.
So I wasn’t inclined to trust a place called Fruition. & a perusal of the menu didn’t change my angle, as I indicated when my dinner mechanic, MC Slim JB, handed me the keys & bid me take it for a test drive against Opus. Fruition, it even sounds like a Ford model, doesn’t it? The 2008 Fruition—now it comes to you.
Well, I went to it, looking more forward to the company of a cool lady I know who grew up seeing the same bands I did (Defenestration! Chainsaw Kittens! Flaming Lips!) than to the “sophisticated comfort food” whereof the website boasts. The phrase gives me the willies—& I don’t really know what those are, which makes them even worse—for its oxymoronic presumption. Sure, I suppose anything could be comfort food to someone. I suppose if your parents were filthy-rich globe-traipsing gourmands, gold-dipped lobes of foie gras might be comfort food. If you grew up naked in the bush, live grubs might be comfort food, the wrigglier & squishier the better. But for most of us stateside in the 21st century, comfort food doesn’t have anything in it you don’t have to check the date on or smell before using. It doesn’t have any French in it, that’s for sure. Slim’s label, “slightly modernized Continental fare,” strikes me as far more accurate, but I guess that doesn’t quite a slogan make. You can’t put an exclamation point on the end of “slightly modernized Continental fare.”
You can, however, put an exclamation point on the end of this:
Wow, quelle soupe a l’oignon! The flavor had such depth you’d have thought, & certainly hoped, the bowl was bottomless. Sweet as well-browned onion made it, so the broth base made it intensely savory—was it veal? I think it was veal. I think it came from a calf made of velvet brocade & lavender jade. That’s how beautifully intense it was. And that spiral of gruyère—I’d swear it was mixed with mayo, for it too was tinged with sweetness & had a lovely dollopy quality. I was so into swirling & spooning up that stuff I forgot all about the braised short rib holding up the crouton until suddenly it was all that was left. & not only could I eat it with the spoon, I could practically have eaten it with a knife, just spread it on top of the crouton. It was that willing.
And then, from the looks of this photo, I could have turned the knife on the psycho who tried to serve me some evil Satan-worshipping monkfish bathed in blood blood bloooooood.
Good thing the creepshow was only playing in my weird camera’s head. The pan-roasted monkfish with herb-flecked spaetzle, caramelized brussels sprouts, fennel confit & Meyer lemon beurre fondue was totally innocent. Well, except of one transgression: the filet was surprisingly overcooked, a tad rubbery. But the rest was dandy: the spaetzle al dente, the veggies thankfully not—sprouts’ quasi-grassiness overlapping with fennel’s anise veneer—& the sauce as sprightly as it was silken.
The cool lady (who posts on Chowhound.com’s Southwest board as rlm), meanwhile, praised her adorable! pasta carbonara complete with “angelic egg sitting on top”
for the “perfectly crisped” house-cured pork belly beneath it. My praise goes to (besides her manicurist) the stellar butter in that dish rlm’s holding in the corner, which I think was sprinkled with at least two different sea salts. The bread comes courtesy of a guy in a tie with a wicker basket on his arm, who asks you whether you want French white or whole wheat. Since my answer is Yes, I’ll allude once more to the great American bread-basket post, full of intrigue & heartbreak, I will one day compose & note that Fruition’s won’t crack the top 5 for 2 reasons: 1) the rockingest bread baskets contain at least 1 surprise treat, mini-muffins or baby biscuits or slices involving olives &/or nuts &/or cheese &/or dried fruit &/or herbs & 2) the rockingest bread baskets aren’t in the crook of someone else’s elbow, they’re on my table, so I can stuff my face & complain afterward about how it snapped up all my stomach’s most valuable real estate only to turn it right back over to me for an obscene asking price.
And while, as rlm said sweetly & with a winning smile within earshot of our waiter when I noted she hadn’t finished her entree—roast duck breast over risotto with smoked-duck prosciutto, arugula & red-onion marmalade—
“if I’d had more duck to go with it, I’d have eaten more risotto,” heh, the only major disappointment for me was the very dessert I’d drooled over in the aforelinked post. Though the cream-cheese ice cream was great—as tangy as all get out, as though it got low low low low low low low low in baggy sweatpants—the blond carrot cake was rather dry. My camera couldn’t even be bothered to focus on it.
So the meal, mighty fine overall, didn’t end with a bang so much as a pfft, didn’t quite come to fruition. Maybe they should rename the place Only An Egg.
All due thanks once again to MC Slim JB for his input & insight! Any of you fellow Denveaters planning trips to Boston will want to check here &/or here for more words of dining wisdom.
I’ve been having insomnia like I was Ed Norton in Fight Club—or for that matter Gatti in the fight club that was his ever-lovin’ trilogy with Ward:
So perhaps the moules frites I thought we had at Black Pearl were all in my zonked head. These can’t be real, right?
Aside from defying gravity as only a dream dish can, it seems to me that, from the splayed things on bottom to the peekaboo on top, it’s all a little too ripe for Freudian interpretation. Black Pearl should have a couch for me to lie down & eat it on.
Or perhaps Richard Seaman, which unless I’m mid-delusion as we speak I swear I’m not making that up, can explain it all, since he’s got an eye for edibles (or so they say) like this:
There are bricks. There are woodplanks. There are blackboards. There’s a communal table. There are two-tops and four-tops, not too many, spaced just so. Voices rise & fall; things clink & other things rustle. The familiar charms of Table 6 are so simple they’re almost caricature. There’s an open kitchen; when I glanced in, I saw the perfect chef, a bit plump, a bit scruffy, grinning, a salmon-colored ascot set jauntily about his neck. No, wait. It was a handtowel draped over his shoulder. Damn. Still, it was pink; it might as well have been a cravat. He might as well have been drawn that way.
He certainly cooks that way, the way you’d expect a cartoon chef to cook—with warmth & humor on the one hand, seasoned judgment & precision on the other. He cooks like he’s cranky & jolly by turns, like
only more French. His cooking shows he knows where humble meets haute. While, given bad directions, so many of his peers speed right through the intersection, he hangs out on its corners. That’s his turf, more than that of any chef I’ve encountered of late.
A case in point: the signature tater tots.
Where everybody else just keeps on adding truffle ad nauseum, he—Scott Parker, according to the website—studs his little cutie-patooties (yeah, I said it—see, I’m a softie when you get to know me & don’t serve me crap) with Marcona almonds, giving them at once extra crunch & suaver savor. Though I thought them slightly undersalted, they were otherwise perfect, right down to that smoky, slightly tart tomato jam—a jam to give that other jam I mentioned recently no mere black eye but a total Klitschkovian ocular meltdown:
Considering them along with the other cases in point, I’d go so far as to say Parker’s a master of texture. Everything balances the crispy with the creamy, the succulent with the firm until you’re just about to kiss your fingers and go, “mmmwwahhh!”, except then you’d have to admit this place was turning you from a secret softie into an open, running sap.
That goes, speaking of schmaltz, for the pot pie—sure enough “blitzed,” per the menu, with chicken fat & topped, per the Director, with a nugget of dark meat, “very juicy, very well-fried…a very nice touch” (hey, who’s writing this?)—
as well as my grilled striped bass atop a pool of malt-vinegar-infused mayo below a cylinder of celery-root kugel below a how-the-hell-do-you-like-that surprise piece of frisée tempura:
Between the two was enough technique to play a piano & paint a picture simultaneously from another room without eyes or hands. The pastry crust was rose-petal tender; the deep-fry batter was delicate enough to dip a feather in; the sauce had body & tang; the silky browned skin on the fish made me want to take it off & wear it, like the Ed Gein of piscivores.
Not having room for white-chocolate crumpets with blackcurrant jam (well, & not having trouble comparing myself to a screaming psychokiller), I went home a broken woman.
But I may be made whole again; salvation’s nigh. On March 16, Table 6 starts serving brunch. The biscuits come with lamb gravy. Pray they serve mine in a baptismal font.
***UPDATE: Swimclub 32 is now CLOSED.***
Choosing Swimclub 32 over Thëorie in episode 1 of Pimp My Meal!, Slim explained that the menu seemed to have “more dishes beyond the range of my kitchen skills” than did the latter. As dining criteria go, that one’s about as solid as they come; I don’t care to frequent any eatery whose kitchen would have me as a chef either—unless it’d let me make my famous grapefruit, pistachio, water chestnut & canned salmon salad, otherwise known as broke-ass delight. Sometimes I add gherkins. Actually, the Director has an old joke book in which the author advocates saving all the pistachios that won’t open until you have a serving bowl’s worth, then sitting back to watch hilarity ensue as your guests sweat to budge the shells. I always thought Hilarity Ensues would be a great porn name. Until the Oscars the other night, I’d never heard the thing Jon Stewart said about how you’re supposed to add your first pet’s name to the first street you lived on to get your porn name. Thing is, the first street I lived on was named for a locally beloved football coach, making my porn name Starshine “Bud” Wilkinson. Which would go over just fine, I guess, in the right clubs.
hot hot hot!!!
Speaking of being hot in the right club, if you are or just want to feel like you are or just want the people you’ll be spending the evening looking at to be, & you or they intend on staying that way or at least feeling like you’re or they’re staying that way by drinking lots & eating little, Swimclub’s your place. The huge mirror hanging over the bar is itself gorgeous, providing a literal framework for its beautiful subjects.
But if, as for Slim (& myself in this post, for that matter), you describe “your place” as one that offers dishes you don’t have the talent or inclination to make yourself, you’d best beware the implied corollary to your definition: that the offerers themselves do have the ability & motivation to follow through.
Let’s just say one or the other trait didn’t characterize Swimclub’s kitchen the night we were there.
If that’s putting it more delicately than I usually have the talent or inclination to put anything, it’s out of deference to the bar staff, whose ability & motivation very nearly compensated. Though the wine list is small, its heart is in the right place, devoted to smaller producers & more obscure blends & listing plenty of bottles in the $30 range; our Verget du Sud was absolutely lovely, light & bright. & though it wasn’t on the cocktail list, our bartender/waitress—so bubbly I wish her name were Pippi, though the Director said it was Angelica when I asked later if we remembered to ask, but I think he was making that up because then he added, “Huston,” whom I’m almost positive she wasn’t—wasn’t only obliging but downright eager to make me an espresso martini, which she did with a full shot of coffee to counterbalance sundry liqueurs (IIRC, Kahlua, Irish cream & Frangelico). It was fine & dandy.
Not so this scene-of-an-accident-looking scallop ceviche.
I’m not sure it contained anything besides scallop & bell pepper. I’m not sure the scallop & bell pepper it contained contained scallop & bell pepper—those little bits just seemed like placeholders for where their flavors were supposed to go. If chiles & lime juice were supposed to be there too, they must have gotten stuck in the tomato jam, arriving only after all the other ingredients gave up on them & left.
Yes indeed, just like post-accident traffic, the cloying mess of that jam brought everything else to a standstill. The Director said it reminded him of something you’d put on a playschool afternoon snack, like maybe saltines & peanut butter—which, come to think of it, all mashed up together, would have made for a much more successful kind of ceviche.
Likewise, if it looks like a duck quesadilla & acts like a duck quesadilla, it may well be a duck quesadilla—but that still doesn’t mean it tastes like one (so maybe the below photo belongs here).
As the Director notes, duck has a fairly low “gaminess threshold,” one it was bound to pass as soon as it came into contact with those spiced mashed black beans (themselves admittedly delicious, moist yet sturdy & punchy), never mind 3 different dressings (mole, herb cream & annatto oil). Really, I’m all for paying triple for once-humble ethnic snacks tarted up beyond recognition, but in this particular case, workhorses like pork & chicken might simply have been better equipped to pull their own weight than was that languishing anatine diva.
Next up: the signature beef,
served raw for searing not on these rocks, which formed the base of the bar,
nor this one, which held the check,
but this one, heated to 650 degrees—
which begins to beg the question, why not call it Rockclub? The music’s loud & pounding enough.
Anyway, what can I say about this dish the photo itself isn’t tearfully confessing? Or, okay, maybe it’s me who’s cryingly ashamed of having paid over $20 for some dip, plus maybe 3 bites of beef—& not from the kind of cow that gets daily massages & sees a Jungian therapist in its field of 4-leaf clover, either, just your average New York strip—as well as less than 1 layer of red onion & less than 1/2 of a new potato, all of which I had to cook myself. On a rock. With sticks. To see me, you’d think I also wore dirt & spoke in a series of grunts. (Oh, wait.)
As for these mussels,
they were, sitting fat in their bath of coconut milk & Pernod, quite good. You know, just like everybody else’s mussels.
Slim, I fear this particular ride is beyond pimping. It’s no bombed-out jalopy, mind you—more like the kind of flashy European sports car whose erratic performance is irrelevant to those who can afford it; they just like to see themselves, & have others see them, sitting in it, whether or not it’s going anywhere.
***SAD TO SAY: THE DISH CLOSES AS OF 5/4/08. Read & weep.***
An old boyfriend of mine used to say that at all the worst moments. I just Googled it to see if he’d been quoting someone, & found myself watching the entire length of Mary Kate & Ashley’s “I Am the Cute One” on YouTube (I’ll spare you a link). Then I Googled something else he used to say, “Do you love Stevie Wonder? Yes I do, yes I do,” a move that likewise (despite “not matching any documents”—can anyone name that hiphop tune? Be much obliged) led in more unexpected directions than a Choose Your Own Adventure paperback (including toward countless fansites & forums for & parodies of CYOA itself, my favorite perhaps being this one, a link I’d be compromising my core values to spare you).
So, yeah, things are going smoothly here in the den of unemployment.
Anyway, if The Dish Bistro could talk it would say the same, with a similarly sassy little side-to-side tilt of the head. Of course, the people inside can talk, & what they have to say confirms as much. First the reservationist called me “sweetie.” Then, far from giving us the attitude The Director & I arguably deserved when we walked in the first night of Restaurant Week only to express our consternation that it was Restaurant Week—I’d forgotten all about it, RW being IMO a whole rigmarole of dumbed-down repertoires & harried service that defeats its own promotional purpose—the hostess cheerfully went to great lengths to make sure we were quickly seated at the bar where the regular menu was available. Then there was our bartender/waitress; an inordinate amount of time having passed between our appetizers & our entrees, she thanked us for our patience before uttering 1 of the 2 most stirringly mellifluous phrases in the English language, “This round’s on me”—the other being her opening line: “For tonight’s wine special, the Malbec is half off.” Which pretty much guaranteed that in no time we were half off too—our stools! Ba-dum-bum.
The menu likewise has charm written all over it, literally: each bears the signatures of owner Leigh Jones & chef Carl Klein beneath an inked inscription, “Enjoy!” It also credits by name, in not-so-small print, “The Crew Who Makes It Happen”—a gracious gesture if ever there was one, the sort that underscores for me just why, all else being equal, I’ll take the Dishes & Deluxes & Kitchens & Black Pearls over the Kevin Taylors & Spagos of the world any day. People work here, not just names & toques & suits.
Ironically enough, the only thing that didn’t strike me as totally adorable was the dishware, which kept reminding me I need to get my teeth cleaned.
As for the food on the dishware—I could pretty much write “appealingly simple” or “refreshingly straightforward,” followed by “enough said,” & be done with it; it’s that kind of good solid everyday stuff. But seeing as how happy hour’s a ways off—clock, you’re killing me here—I guess I’ve got some time to elaborate.
These here are the fries with truffled aioli & pecorino. While I usually like my fries like I like my male strippers, flashing a bit more crispy golden skin, surprising subtlety was what this dish had to show, no one earthy element overpowering another.
They may look a little disheveled (heh! no pun intended, but what the hell), but these roasted mushrooms, with their cipolline and more pecorino and fried shreds of polenta and schmear of, presumably, red wine–mushroom glaze, really came together, dark & meaty-sweet.
Mom, close your eyes: this here’s my lusty ham-&-cheese sandwich (she’s a JewBu so totally rolling over in the grave she doesn’t even have yet & may never, depending on which way she decides to, you know, go).
The imported ham was rosemary-cured, the Swiss aged, the mayo housemade. Only the bread lacked something…oh, flavor, that’s it. If it was indeed sourdough as indicated on the menu, it was self-hating sourdough determined to pass as white. A little rye or pumpernickel flava’d have gone a long way in my utopian vision of a diverse sliced-bread society. But at least it had a nice crumb.
The Director’s lamb pretty much speaks for itself. No, not Baa, I was cute—cute cute cute cute cute. More like I’m tender, warm & serene. Isn’t that a Stevie Wonder lyric? Guess I’ll go Google it for the next few hours.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, Two Mikes Don’t Make a Wright (although they do make for one fantastic fluke of a film, especially Mike Leigh’s diabolical segment), & mixed feelings about two venues in the WTF-were-they-thinkingly-named Big Red F Restaurant Group—Jax & Centro (as expressed here)—don’t make for high expectations for a third.
But it turns out that at Lola, which Slim picked for me to try in Part 2 of Pimp My Meal!, the pickings are anything but slim. They’re as gordo as they are guapo; though kudos are therefore undoubtedly due primarily to chef-partner Jamey Fader, as near as I could tell from our prime seats near the open kitchen—whence everything that emerged looked so vibrant, so multihued & multifaceted, as to nearly make the famished Director & me crema our ropa interior—it was sous chef Austin Hall who was running the show yesterday at brunch.
So my sincerest gracias go to him, first for this:
While I prefer thicker, slightly oilier, salt-dustier chips like the ones I used to get at La Verdad back in Boston,
(image swiped from the hopefully laid-back author of Minty Choco Chip)
& while the house salsa was routine, the salsa verde, made with tomatillo & what I suspected & confirmed was of all things green apple, was a sweet-&-sour startler; the one made with charred Fresno chiles & what I suspected but did not confirm were smoked tomatoes was so suave you almost forgot it was spicy, like Javier Bardem playing Dracula.
Thanks are due second for this:
Just for kicks, I happen to have read & re-read this well into my retarded 20s:
But now, in my insatiable 30s, I’m planning on eating & re-eating Lola’s inspiration therefrom. The open-face omelet that formed the basis for my Green Ham & Eggs had a moist, dense quality that was vaguely reminiscent of a Taiwanese oyster pancake, but instead of shellfish, it was loaded with chunks of chorizo verde—not as spicy as I’d have expected from the noun, but as herb-touched as I expected from the adjective—& topped with a silken layer of queso añejo (aged, queso fresco tastes less like feta & more like, I’d swear, gruyère). Swayed by a slightly puzzling but no less tempting array of all-aquatic add-ons—blue crab, fried oysters, grilled shrimp, lobster, smoked salmon—I asked for the latter & got not sliced lox but shreds of a lightly smoked (presumably in-house?) filet. Though I’d rather have had the crab hollandaise that was supposed to come with the dish but didn’t, perhaps due to an incorrect assumption that I couldn’t be so flummoxed by my own taste for the excessive that I’d want to mix sausage & cheese & crab & salmon all together, it (the salmon) was lovely, mellow as opposed to briny.
Best of all, though, was that hash—the onions caramelized to a crisp; the tangy spangling that was, I believe, browned & crumbled cotija; the whole thing nicely spiced; the cubes of potato themselves fried to melt-in-your-mouth (an adjective I swear to use only when it truly, totally applies, & who’d have thought it might ever apply to the funky spud? but there you have it) perfection.
Thanks third for the Director’s Lola Huevos, an awfully humble name for a dish of lobster enchiladas smothered in some sort of chipotle cream, along with refried beans & the scrambled eggs that get all the credit.
As huevos go, these are the equivalent of that tattoo of the big-breasted chick whose owner endowed it with actual implants—above & beyond sexed-up.*
*I realize it’s entirely possible that this metaphor is above & beyond sexed-up, especially considering I just heard the guy’s body rejected them. Perhaps this post will do likewise. Still, good stuff. Good coffee too, robust & thick. Oh, & tiny boxes of Chiclets come with the check—a cute-as-hell gesture, the equivalent of a guy making his tattoo of a chick wiggle her hips. I’ll stop now.