I’m not a food reviewer but I know when something tastes good. Especially mussels because I am from the coast of Maine.
So — I’ve been to three new restaurants lately: here’s my take on the grub.
Happy hour at the new Abbey at Kolb and Sunrise in the old Gavi location, owned by the folks who started Jax Kitchen two years ago. Definitely laudatory that they wanted to open a place named after their little girl since Jax was named after their son. I get it.
But they served the tiniest mussels I’ve ever seen! About as big as my pinky fingernails. They reminded me of the miniature Betty Crocker cakes that came in those toy box sets when I was a kid. Tiny.
It was also too crowded, close and noisy. I’ll give them another try.
Tonight we went to the elle wine bistro’s “soft” opening. All the food was comped and customers paid for the booze. Nice deal. Thanks Lori!
We had mussels — curried at that — for an app. Normal size for the most part and tasty. Then we went for meat. Dan had peach-glazed pork chops (not medallions as stated on the menu). I had two small but not miniature lamb chops, which were juicy and spiced just right but a bit on the raw side.
Made me recall the lollipop lamb chops topped with dark chocolate at the Red Sky in Southwest Harbor. Perfect. I was sorry they weren’t on the menu this summer.
Lori said she invited around 50 people for the opener tonight. Big Ethan the bartender waited on us, and mentioned something about problems with the computer. We were satisfied.
Luckily, there was no creme brulee for dessert. I’m usually happy to just hear about the dessert choices; I don’t have to order any. Tonight I was ready to indulge but alas, none was served. I can’t complain.
Last night I went to happy hour at Janos’ new Downtown Cocktails and Kitchen. Their nightly drink special is a bargain: only $4 for a vodka or gin mojito-type concoction with fresh grapefruit juice and a sprig of Tucson-prolific Rosemary instead of mint. Yummy.
I was with three pals, two of whom are traveling to India soon. Reason enough to celebrate how big our lives are. We ordered a bunch of half-price apps. Janos had told me when I interviewed him for my AJP “Downtown Tucson Hopping and Bopping…” story that he would have reasonable snacks.
He’s really liking peanuts these days. That’s okay; we had a tasty bowl of peanuts with lime juice for $3. Penny and Julie shared a lamb tongue taco. Not for me. Lots of ginger in Ahi ceviche, tender calmari with mango-ginger-pineapple garnish, and an extraordinary crusty bread with fresh, rich mushrooms, smothered with cheese and tomatoes. We couldn’t complain.
I felt like we were in Soho.
Across the street construction workers were clamoring around the skeleton of the new Tucson Electric Power building. Amy said that recently when she visited Austin there were chairs set up in the street for an audience to enjoy a dance performance at a construction site.
Tucson isn’t cool enough for that. But who knows what’ll happen next?