I know it has been a very long time since I wrote anything, so that means that there will be a bunch of new posts in the next few days! I can feel your excitement from here!
Let's look back... look waaaaaaaaay back. (Get it? The Friendly Giant?)
One October evening we found ourselves bored of the neighbourhood pub and needed to have a real proper date night. As we know, I love the Urbanspoon app, and use it all the time to find new places to go. Tonight was no exception.
I had heard of Palomino Smokehouse many times before, but could only remember that it was on 7th ave near the hotel. Descriptive, I know. But we find it easily, so I get out to find a table and M parks the car. 4 blocks away. Stupid downtown parking. The first thing that I notice is the bouncer at the door. Strange, I think to myself, its only 7pm, and hand over my ID. Speaking to big burly man dude I learn that there is a live band (shit) and he's there all night. This makes me upset for two reasons. One I hate live music and two, I had called earlier about reservations/live music and was told by the employee that there is only live music on the downstairs level. So as I'm waiting for M to get here I look around for a table in this seat yourself joint. When I walk by the stage and see its a dude with a guitar, I relax. Guitar dude I can handle. Metal/Punk rockers I cannot.
It took me a full 10 minutes to decide where to sit, and we end up at the bar where it seemed less noisy. Then little guitar man went on a break. Yahoo! They have Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap! Double Yahoo!! The first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell. It is delicious. Garlic and BBQ permeates the air, which really just makes you more hungry. It worked, because as soon as we got our beers we put in an order of the Garlic Fries. Menu description:
In sales? Maybe you should pass on this one
They also should mention that if you plan on kissing anyone that night they must also eat the fries. These are not light on the garlic. Quite the opposite actually, drenched in garlic juice and smashed garlic, it's more like "would you like potatoes with your garlic". Why yes, I do!
The service was a bit slow that night but for the most part it didn't bother us. We weren't in a hurry, but having an empty beer mug gets old after a few minutes. Bartender seemed quiet busy (most of the chairs were occupied) but he often wasn't even in the bar. I might blame that on shift change, so they get a free pass on that one. One thing that gives this place it's vibe is that the kitchen is totally open, so you can see, hear and smell the yummy food being made. Sitting at the bar you're right there and you're tempted by every dish you see leaving the window.
I talked M into having the Catfish Po' Boy Sandwich with Corn Bread and Jack Daniel's Apples. I was hoping for some down south home-cookin type dinner and it didn't disappoint. The sandwich was a bit plain M says, and I feel bad for choosing that one, but the side dishes made up for that! Corn Bread was amazing...maybe even better than Holy Smokes' corn bread (oh, that felt traitorous). I recall M saying he would come back here and just eat the corn bread. As an entree. It was that good. The apples though, were a bit of a surprise. Sweet and saucy, just a hint of booze so it wasn't overwhelming. Great meal all around for M, and there is just so much more to try next time!
My dinner, was a little bit different. Of course :/ I had the Half Rack of Kansas City Pork Ribs and my sides were Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob and Smoked Cheddar Grits. Yeah, you read that right I said grits. When dinner is served I'm pretty stoked. Big plate of ribs, and sure enough a cob of corn wrapped in bacon. They do a great job of producing what the menu describes. Too bad the menu doesn't describe the taste of grits. It really should come with a warning.
The thing is, it looks like mashed potatoes. Same colour, same consistency, but when you take a bite your brain starts firing on all cylinders. "What the heck?" "Why is it crunchy?" 'Why is it mushy". So many thoughts, so many questions. I'm not even sure if I like it or not, I'm that confused. I move on to the ribs just to get my mind off the bizzaro world that just happened with the grits. For a half rack, this portion is huge! They are flavourful, and not spicy (a lot of "house made" sauces are to me). Wee bit tough, not as fall-off-the-bone as I'd like, but still good enough for me to love them! In between bites of rib I chow down on the bacon wrapped corn. It is everything you can image. The bacon is great, because bacon always is. But I found the corn a little lacking actually. Overcooked a bit, so it's sort of mushy, and it didn't have a lot of flavour. Probably because I'm expecting Taber quality corn at the end of October. Now, when you eat the whole deal in one bite it's pretty much bacon/corn heaven. So if you go, and order the corn, do not peel off the bacon then eat the corn. Learn from my mistakes people.
I tried a few more bites of the grits but just can't wrap my head around it. Good thing too, because M loved them! He was eyeballing my plate and asking me if I was going to finish them. Nope, not a chance, they're all yours. But hey, I tried something new. And although the texture was strange, the taste was good. I'll try them again for sure, but maybe I'll reserve that for a trip to New Orleans.
I think at this point we were both in a bit of a food coma but the night is still young! We hiked back to the car and decided that we should go play BINGO. Too bad neither one of us knows how to play and by 11pm we were falling asleep. Let's call it a night dear, I need to go have sweet dreams about bacon wrapped corn.