Hip brasserie vs. pollo feliz (happy chicken)?

Wednesdays are half-price days at Pollo Feliz, the home of Mexican grilled chicken here in Tucson. A big white truck with a  trailer full of prickly pear pods, rakes strewn everywhere, pulled in front of me while I waited to turn left on Broadway Blvd. But that was it. No long lines waiting to approach the take-out window for the bargain of the century.

I had picked up a new Tucson Weekly to read just in case. I took it from the passenger seat, discovering that “A Dangerous Method” will be at the cheap movies starting tomorrow.

That’s all I had time for waiting for dinner, which would be accompanied by a big salad, serving five back at home. Our friend Karen brought a yummy bottle of red wine that tasted like flowers and cost more than the entire already cooked dinner.

Yes, I’m a proud commercial for Pollo Feliz. 

My culinary tastes extend to newly opened Tucson restaurants (I like to be in the know). Tuesday night was young women’s happy hour — the youngest among us just turned 32 and is pregnant with her first baby. Guess who’s the oldest? 

The just opened Augustin Brasserie advertised P.E.I. mussels. I figure they would have those slightly crispy Parisian pommes frites, like I had with my kids at a Belgian mussel restaurant in NYC. Alas, the Tucson attempt at a brasserie was off the mark. The place was all woody and airy and smart looking, but the menu was sparse.

Mussels tasted fresh. Our server said they’re flown in almost daily from one of Canada’s two island provinces (quick, who can name the other? You win the fur-lined earmuffs, as my father always said). 

The broth was pretty amateurish, not enough butter, missing garlic and fresh herbs. The fries were tasty but the portion was small, and as Erica pointed out they’re not as good as at Bob Dobbs, our neighborhood bar/burger joint. 

I wish the brasserie well. Let them get their act together. The young women’s happy hour celebrants will return when they have an actual happy hour. Oh, did I tell you that the cheapest glass of red wine was $9?

Epiphany: It’s worth buying a flowery bottle of wine for twice the cost of one glass, and showering your friends with goodies from Pollo Feliz.


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