I had time to kill before Etta’s, so I went to my favorite and most dangerous store, World Spice Merchants. I ended up meeting Yoni there, who walked from the house to join me. Yoni picked up a few curries (read: the guys need to do a Ting Momo review next) and togarashi, then we walked back to Etta’s.
We ordered the grilled cheese sandwich, crab and grapefruit salad, brussels sprouts with fregola ragu, and some bread for the table. (Yoni ordered his sandwich half without caramelized onions.) The sandwich, while lacking their standard potato bread, was a thing of beauty, crispy and gooey in the way that good grilled cheese sandwiches aspire to be. I need to return here to salve my hope in grilled cheese sandwiches.
The crab salad didn’t convert me to crab delights, but Chelsea was awesome enough to point out what was the ‘good’ crab so I could compare bites. The delicate butter/lemon sauce lightness of the grapefruit worked great as a balance against the rich meat.
The brussels sprouts had a really nice hit of vinegar and lemon with spices that was a great play on texture with the fregola, but Yoni found it overpowering in larger portions. (I only had a few mouthfuls.)
Chelsea, our server, was really sweet, though she was totally having fun ribbing Yoni over not liking caramelized onions.
4:30-5 pm: Lola
Lola was sort of a calm in the storm. We ordered got lamb skewers, smashed potatoes, and more brussels sprouts. The lamb was lovely, meaty and crispy and succulent. Chris had joined in by this point, so we were comparing the caramelized ouzo onions to the lamb for some time. The brussels sprouts were not my favorite, the ras al hanout being savory in a way that didn’t work for me. The smashed potatoes were fluffy and crispy, but I was kind of on a carb overload.
Yoni had to leave, so Chris and I were off to Brave Horse Tavern.
6-6:30 pm: Brave Horse Tavern
Brave Horse is not a place I’d normally go to for dinner (I have since returned for a late lunch and enjoyed it). It’s loud, and my idea of going out for drinks usually involves a reservation for Needle & Thread and threatening to wear monocles. They have shuffleboard, a lot of beer, and more beer. Alcohol aside, I was super excited to try out their pretzels.
Kayle met us at the door, and not only identified me, but knew of Chris as “the Amazon boyfriend.” (TDR team, I am crazy curious about what was happening in this email chain.) She told us about her previous work in the TDR restaurants, mainly Palace Kitchen, and how thrilled she was to be working with all their amazing beers. It saddened me to tell her how I was voluntarily abstinent from alcohol, because she’s too awesome.
So, we ordered pretzels with the beer and cheese fondue, because I do like beer in my fondue.
Kayle came out a few minutes later with our food, two pretzels – and all the sauces. “I know you’re eating more at Cuoco, but I wanted you to try them.” I’m really glad she did – the sour cream and crispy onion was freaking awesome, a creamy/bacony/oniony blend of happiness.
Chris got a root beer, which I decided was a sweeter/milder root beer than I usually go for. I wished I could have traded Matt root beers. (I had the root beer again yesterday, and it had a far stronger kick. Still not as strong as the one from Serious Pie, but far closer to what I go for in a root beer. Maybe it was the end of the keg?)
And, of course, “It’s on Tommy D tonight.”