Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 26

Plan B (or C) A-Okay

Some friends and I hit downtown Saturday night to catch Mama Mia and grab a bite. We parked near the Pikes Peak Center and foolishly thought we would just dash over to Mackenzie’s Chophouse and enjoy a nice steak. Wrong. An hour and a half wait, pronounced the hostess, and no room to even sit in the bar. Well, we only had an hour and a half both to eat and get to the show, so that wasn’t going to work. Plan B time. Hey, The Famous is nearby, we remembered. So, to avoid the Tundra-like conditions outside we called over only to hear the same bad news. Another hour wait. With our time dwindling away and the weather conditions anything but inviting we decided to just head north on Tejon St. and simply dine at the first place that would allow us in.

After stepping in an icy puddle and completely submerging my feet and snazzy shoes, getting into a warm restaurant quickly became even more desirable. However, the hostess at our next stop, the Sonterra Grill, had no better news for us than the steakhouses. Another hour and a half wait.

Now truly uncomfortable and cold I gave a look to my husband that he interpreted rightly. He gallantly left us in warmth and dashed across the street into the Jack Quinn Irish Ale House and Pub. We watched hopefully from the window and in a moment he appeared again at the pub door and waved us over.

We ran across the street and gratefully entered the warm, inviting building. The atmosphere and dark wood furnishings were exactly like many pubs we’d frequented in the UK, and we were immediately taken upstairs to a table. Unfortunately the ambiance upstairs wasn’t quite as nice as down, but who were we to complain? At least we were warm and still had time to eat. After a quick run to the bathroom with my napkin to blot my freezing feet I was perfectly disposed to be pleased with everything.

With the pub fare running from $7.50 to $10.95 we realized that we were also going to get off relatively cheap. The boys were pleased with the beer and first rate single malts, and us gals ordered a Cabernet Sauvignon that wasn’t half-bad.

The menu boasted all the typical sandwiches and pub foods one would expect, and other more American entrees as well. The service was quick and friendly and we received our salads and bread in a flash. Everyone was pleased that there was fresh spinach in the side salads instead of the bland iceberg you receive in many pubs. The homemade Irish soda bread was tasty and the slightly sweet whipped butter complimented it nicely.

My husband appreciated that the authentic pub condiments, Coleman’s mustard and HP Sauce, were on the table, while our friends raved that they were able to view the Red Wings-Aves game from every angle. I was glad there were plenty of choices on the menu and happy my feet were warming up.

Our entrées arrived and we set to with gusto. My friend was pleasantly surprised with her top sirloin; she said she had been afraid to expect much. I thought my husband’s shepherds pie could have used a bit more seasoning but he ate it with satisfaction. My paddy melt was dry, and although I was partially to blame for asking for a well-done burger, it definitely needed a sauce of some kind or at least a bit more butter. My friend’s husband pronounced his stuffed chicken OK, and after another round of drinks we were all in perfect harmony.

Pleased that we had been able to get in and pleased with the cozy pub atmosphere and quick service, we reflected on how much money we had saved with satisfaction.

The deserts sounded quite inviting but unfortunately we didn’t have time to sample them. Promising each other to stop in the next time we were downtown, we headed off in good time to enjoy all things seventies at Mama Mia.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first four paragraphs detailing how you finally arrived at the restaurant you actually ate at were very enlightening. They will come in very handy next time I have to decide on a restaurant to dine at.

This is sarcasm.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

completely and totally agree with the previous comment. if you want to be an author, please pursue that avenue elsewhere. this would make a great short story.

9:28 AM  

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