Friday, March 22, 2013

CALM DOWN

Ssshhh...don't tell my mum, but last night we took advantage of our temporarily childless state and went out for dinner.  My mum is totally the kind of mum who gets mad at stuff like that.  In our defence, knowing what we now know about the lockdown that inevitably occurs when you have one bambino, let alone the twofer we're getting, we wanted to enjoy life a bit before the option of eating out is but a distant memory.  

We met up with our friend the Discerning Coyote and were going to go to Grand Electric for tacos, but when we walked by Electric Mud, the new bbq outpost from the same peeps (ex-Black Hoofers) and saw there were tables available, we called the audible and went in.  This is after I had read the slavering review posted by the notorious (to me) n00b restaurant reviewer in NOW magazine, Toronto's alternative, leftist, weekly rag.  The review was laughable, and it's also like, dudes, CALM DOWN.  The reviewer makes this big stink about how Electric Mud serves texas toast with their barbecue and marvels at the novelty.  Ummm...that's like, standard in the barbecue belt.  I didn't get it.  The reviewer gave this resto their highest rating possible and I was just like, RELAX!  

Anyway, we checked it out and the three of us ordered the following:

From the shareable sides ($3.50 each) we got the "crack rolls," which are a standout.  Soft, buttery, sesame-flecked rolls are served with a side of whipped, sweetened rendered smoker fat mixed with butter.  The spread is topped with sea salt and has that killer combination of sweet, salty, fatty deliciousness going for it.  The rolls are warm and are the perfect empty-calorie consistency.  This dish was great.  We also got their pickles, which were ho-hum at best.  

In the background you can see the "root beer" I ordered (I'm a root beer connoisseur) which I took one sip of and then realized it's an IPA mixed with some root beer syrup.  I guess props to them for being willing to serve an obviously pregnant woman alcohol?  The Dotytron drank it instead. 

Also from their sides, we got their smoked nuts, which turned out to be peanuts given the baked beans treatment, which wasn't what any of us were expecting.  I think we all thought they would be seasoned, dry smoked nuts.  We also got the duck ham, which is duck that is cured and smoked like a ham.  Nice texture. This was the Dotytron and Discerning Coyote's favorite, but not mine.  I got tired of the ham taste and you really lost the duck.  I liked the lightly pickled cucumber it was served with.  The main dishes were in the $13 range, overall.

The ribs were tasty.  They were smoked but not overly so - I didn't get an overwhelming smoky flavour from them.  They were cooked to the point where they still had a decent bit of chew and served with a kind of Asian/hoisin kind of a glaze and topped with crushed peanuts.  This was probably my favorite dish.

We also got the fried chicken, which was 2 weirdly shaped thighs (so weird that even though I'm a thigh woman, I thought they might be white meat and passed them up in favour of a drum), and 2 drumsticks served with honey and special reserve Tabasco.  This was also good but not transcendent.  The crust on the chicken was thin and slid right off the chicken skin, which was still flabby underneath.  The meat had been brined, but possibly almost too much so?  I think there's a difference between a juicy fried chicken and a fried chicken where you have crust and then it tastes like the meat is poached underneath.  This was good, but nowhere near come fi testing other better fried chicken I've had (I am a fried chicken connoisseur).  

Dessert was an aggravatingly overpriced ($5!) "banana cream pie" which was such a throwaway.  Basically graham crumbs, a dollop of banana pudding and whipped cream.  Whither my 'Nilla wafers (the way they do it in the South).  It was amateurish at best.  I came home and yammed about 10 Oreos with a cold glass of 2% and that was much more satisfying, to give you some indication.

The interior is all plywood and Schlitz posters from the 80s.  There are a million staffers for a place that seats like, 30 people.  3 Servers and about 4 people working the kitchen/bar - all of them standing around with toques.  To me, this is the kind of place where the cooks could easily staff the front of the house.  They're blasting blues and hip hop and the environment left me feeling blah.  It just felt really smug and contrived to me.  I get it.  You're wearing toques!  I get it, it's so funny to pretend to be a rough-and-tumble dive!  I just want a bit more authenticity (which I know is loaded).  I guess what I'm looking for is something that isn't so engineered and textbook.  

Overall, the food was good, but not great.  Definitely not deserving of the hype.  Not worth lining up for either.  The price is good...I think we spent about $60 on food for the three of us but the Dotytron and the Discerning Coyote's beers added to the bill considerably (beers are about $8 each).  

We got home and did some late night Face Timing with the Big Yam and my sis.  The little Boobla started off staring at the screen at us for about 30 seconds and then he started to get a little pouty.  I think actually seeing us made him start miss us.  It was heartbreaking hearing his little sad noises.  The Dotytron and I both started tearing up...poor little Boobla.  He's going to have a great time today because all his cousins are there but we started missing him.  To be honest, probably the Dotytron more than me.  I'm not like one of those parents who feels like there's a piece of me missing when my kid isn't around (I've learned).  I was more sad that he started to get sad and maybe was confused as to why he hadn't seen us in a while, and I did miss him, but I wasn't all like, "Let's drive up there right now" the way the Dotytron was.  

We're going to be reunited tonight at Congee Queen.  Yay!

Today is a day off.  I've got my first OB appointment and then a visit for massage therapy.  I got the report back from my chiropractor and it's like basically a giant X through my whole body.

Fin.

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