Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quickies, Part 1

While Kellie & Leroy were in town, we enjoyed more than a few good meals and culinary adventures after the outing at eastland cafe. Here's a recap of Sunday and Monday.


Lunch on Sunday was a sojourn to Tavern, an interesting midtown spot. It's a hyper-masculine space -- enormous chains hanging ceiling-to-floor, dark woods, concrete, many many TVs showing various sports channels. Because the decor is minimalist and modern, and the food is creative and goes beyond bar food and beer, however, thankfully it escapes the "sports bar" vibe. On the weekends they only serve their brunch menu until 3pm, so while I was able to get a burger, Kellie & Leroy opted for egg dishes and hash, which they enjoyed. The service at Tavern has never been very speedy, and that was compounded on this visit by the fact that they held some tables open while making us wait. This made our wait inordinately long; we stood there fanning ourselves, staring at empty tables, and parties who walked in after us get seated. On the one hand I can understand wanting to maximize seating capacity during a busy time, but on the other hand, holding up a party of 3 while numerous parties of 4 are seated makes said party of 3 a bit cranky.


Sunday evening we gathered at the home of Mark & Barbara for a holiday weekend cookout. I brought some pre-dinner nibbles with a decidedly Spanish theme -- manchego and murcia al vino (drunken goat) cheeses, water crackers, and olive oil & salt almonds, plus those bread-and-butter pickles. Our hosts provided delicious bratwursts & cheese-stuffed burgers with all the trimmings, a nice green salad, and a decadent, cheesy hash brown casserole. Leroy and Kellie brought fixings for margaritas, and Leroy the former pastry chef also made a Gran Marnier sorbet to go with the cake he brought -- four thin chocolate layers with a hazelnut buttercream, finished with crushed almond brittle. It was quite the meal!


Monday, Kellie's actual birthday, was pretty low-key. Emergencies at work meant that Leroy had to work remotely from their hotel room, so we had lunch, then Kellie & I relaxed at my house for the afternoon. Lunch was at Chuy's Midtown, where I always sample waaay too much of the by-request-only creamy jalapeno dip with chips. I enjoyed the special enchiladas of the day:  Fresh pulled chicken inside, and an avocado-green-chile sauce that packed a punch. K & L enjoyed flautas and a sampler platter, respectively. For a chain restaurant, Chuy's does a pretty good job, and offers much more variety and innovation than your typical American-Mex joint. The food is fresh, the tortillas made in-house, the chips are perfectly thin and warm, and that Creamy Jalapeno Crack will always call me back.


For dinner, I decided to show them my most recent discovery, Edley's. In addition to BBQ being American-holiday-appropriate, I knew that K & L would enjoy the high-quality sides as well as the quality of the main attraction. The joint was hoppin'; we were lucky to get a table. When we were in line to order, I heard one of the staff say they'd just pulled some chicken off the smoker, so that decided me: I had the chicken sandwich, which is garnished with both the red BBQ sauce and an Alabama-style white sauce. I opted for the potato salad again, and went for the carb trifecta with the macaroni and cheese. The chicken sandwich, again on that stellar bun, was terrific; the chicken was very moist. The mac and cheese was excellent as well. Kellie had the pork sandwich, and Leroy went for the enormous basket of fried pickles (a personal favorite of his), plus the pork dinner, with spicy cornbread, cole slaw, and Brunswick stew. Everyone declared their meals awesome.

P.S. Not long after we left, Edley's tweeted a photo of a sign they had just posted on their door. It had been so busy that day that they had run out of all their smoked meats, and had only wings, shrimp, and catfish left!

Next time: A day trip, plus tapas, and a mid-week brunch