March 8th, 2010
The Week That Was 3.7.10
Happy Monday to all. Hopefully the weekend treated you well, whether you went out to the Mutt Strut, First Saturday Arts Market or even the opening of The Orange Show. We’ll have a full scoop on the last one of those for you later this week. For now, let’s break down some of the notables of last week. A new bar graces our list this week and we revisit some old friends as well. You gotta remember your roots, right?
Dude, Where’s My Car (Paul)
Oh, Anvil. What would I do without you? On my weekly voyage, I was on a mission to taste and photograph the Negroni for Mindy’s “Titillating Tipples.” In the end, I donned my cape and saved the day. Venturing outside for a breath of fresh air and nicotine’s sweet release, I came across an odd site. A man, obviously under the influence of something, was wandering the small, pot-holed parking lot across Windsor street. He opened one car door, then another, and then another. Something was amiss at Anvil. Before going back inside to notify Justin of the events, the offender took things one step further by taking the opportunity to relieve himself on the tire of a Land Rover parked innocently enough. What did that vulcanized rubber ever do to him? The man was booked and thrown into the back of a cop car within 10 minutes and I got a gold star next to my name on my chart for the day. The Loop Scoop, defender of cocktail drinkers!
Empirical Evidence (Paul)
With friends of mine two weeks away from saying their “I Do’s” they scheduled a “stock the bar” party. I made my way down to the small Spec’s near my apartment to pick out a bottle of Scotch – The Glenrothes Single Speyside Malt – eventually detouring down to Empire Cafe for some pre-party food. As always the cakes in their glass case greet you before anything else, and, as always, I wonder why there is no Boston Cream Cake. Surely, I wasn’t the only person that ordered the delicious dessert. The Milano, stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, is my choice for the evening. Unfortunately, it left me uninspired. The ravioli were cooked much too long to the point of being listless globules of stuffed pasta drowning in sweet tomato sauce on my plate. I would hate to think of Empire as being hit or miss, but this weeknight trip was completely errant of the target. The coffee will always be a redemptive brew for the cafe, but it couldn’t make me forget what could have been.
Steak Break 2010 (Paul)
A few months back I received an email from a friend with an idea. He proposed doing a “Steak Night Week.” Being a red-blooded, football-loving, beef-eating male, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a week. We will still put on our week long tribute to steak, but getting to that point means doing a bit of field research. Thursday nights are those chosen by the Scottish Pub, Red Lion, to honor the cow. To do that they serve a $18 Fillet Mignon and two sides. Deals don’t get much better than that. I ordered mine medium rare with “bacon mash” and asparagus covered in their mushroom sauce. It had been a long time since I’d rewarded myself with a fillet, so the cut had disappeared in a matter of minutes. Steak night doesn’t mean slacking off in the kitchen of Red Lion. My order was cooked precisely and the sides were a perfect accompaniment to the dish. As always, the price was the best part. Being able to escape with a stomach full of top grade Fillet Mignon for less that $20 is always a perfect decision for a Thursday night.
A Dive Bar, By Any Other Name, Is Still a Dive Bar (Paul)
A while back we had mentioned the opening of Diesel Dive Bar in one of our “Your Regular Scoops.” It was just a press release; nothing else. At first I made fun of the name of the bar. Honestly, if you have to put the words “dive bar” in your name, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Roll’n never had to qualify itself as such. Dive bars are understood. They are not contrived through marketing. In fact, marketing at all is pretty much off limits for any bar that wants to remain off the beaten path. With an adventurous spirit on Friday night I convinced a buddy of mine to accompany me to the bar lacking irony. What we saw wasn’t disappointing by any means. Barring the fact that we were two of possibly eight at the bar (granted we were there from 9:30 until 11:00) the layout was accessible and inviting. Red is the theme. Lights, walls, benches, and stairs are all painted, upholstered, and finished in the primary color. If Red Room went emo/goth they would have a similar clientele. The playlist was eclectic, the beers are all served in cans, and the bar itself deserves one more trip back just to see what kind of personality it takes on when there are some people in the joint.
Bright Lights, Big City (Paul)
It’s always a good feeling to know that you’re of influence. Usually, it’s not quite so obvious as it was on Friday night. I’m not saying that The Loop Scoop was single-handedly accountable for the crowd that was at Nouveau Antique Art Bar, but we were at least seven persons accountable. A friend and I made our way over to the bar on Main Street for a late drink on Friday only to run into friends who had decided to go based on a quick blurb on this fair site. Nights like that make it all worth it, to be honest. Sure, I write with a lot of ego and gusto, but I never really know that it makes a difference until moments like that. The reproduction Tiffany’s lamps are surely worth taking the time to see and if you’re an aspiring photographer the lighting is downright amazing, but the music was a little loud for my tastes. I might have to stick with the weeknight escapades with a lower volume of people and music.
Greens and Groundz (Richard)
Saturday came about as one of the most beautiful days we’ve had yet this year. So in response to the weather, patio accommodations were sought out for the afternoon. I met my parents on the front patio at Field of Greens for a hardy lunch and some catching up. I had heard that the Grilled Eggplant Sandwich was the notable favorite of many health conscious Loopsters. Based on that, I ordered it, ate it and enjoyed it. However the Tabouli Avocado Sandwich was easily superior. Tabouli on a sandwich, my hats off! Lunch ended but the conversation begged for continuation. Coffee Groundz seemed like the logical choice. A Green Tea, an Americano , and one Caramel Latte later we had settled into the incredibly comfortable furniture on the back porch, admiring the Houston skyline as the rich discussion moved onward. Four hours crept by as we consumed two more Green Teas, three more Americanos, a water and some tasty Nutella Gelatto. After the jitters had successfully manifested themselves in every physical action, we decided it was time to carry off.
Anvil: Coffee Porter Tasting (Stephan)
It was mind-numbingly delicious. Seriously, my contribution could end right there and everyone would understand what I meant, but I guess I’ll dive in and give you the full account. My wife and I met up with Paul at Anvil on Saturday to sample the last keg of Real Ale Aged Coffee Porter, being tapped at 5pm. Now, both my wife and I had had the bottled Coffee Porter that Real Ale sells now, and really enjoyed it. The flavor is extremely smooth, with none of that lingering aftertaste or heavy feel on the tongue that a lot of porters have. The aged coffee porter that Anvil had made available, blew the bottled stuff out of the water. The great Katz Coffee flavor was still there, but it was complemented by a porter that, by being aged had taken on a new smoothness. Already, I can’t wait until next winter, not just for the relief from the heat, but the fact that Real Ale might make the coffee porter a yearly seasonal.