When I lived in NYC, during the hell season (aka winter, aka NO SUN FOR SIX MONTHS) I would try all kinds of "tricks" to get myself through the dark, cold pit of darkness. These tricks included, but were not limited to:
- Burning citrus smelling candles
- Using citrus smelling soaps
- Plastering pictures of palm trees up by my desk
- Eating 4-5 bowls of fettuccine alfredo for breakfast I mean dinner
- Applying sunscreen under my nose so I could smell the beach
But sweet baby space city, the sun decided to reappear! All hope was not lost! Seriously, on Monday I was walking around the office all day with a stupid grin plastered on my face because even though I was inside, SUNSHINE.
And you know what sunshine means? I can now partake in one of my favorite activities - eating outside!
Jon and I recently met up with our friends Dillon and Melinda for drinks/dinner/Astros-watching (um, #AstrosWorldSeries2015, ammiright?) at The Gorgeous Gael in Rice Village. And that beautiful, blazing, orange thing in the sky was out, so we were able to sit on the large, airy patio and smile ourselves stupid.
To start we ordered the meat and cheese plate, which came with assorted meats, goat cheese, brie, blue cheese, grapes, marmalade, and fresh bread. We all know by now that I never met a cheese I didn't like, so I obviously loved this. The sweet marmalade paired nicely with the light brie. And although brie is generally my favorite, I think the strong, spreadable blue was the standout that evening. Placed atop the firm, thinly sliced bread, it rocked my face off.
Lately it has come to my realization that if fried pickles are on a menu, they don't stand a chance of not being ordered by me.
Okay, I have a serious question for you all: When it comes to fried pickles do you prefer spears or round slices? As a general rule I like them both. But as another general rule I prefer the slices. Maybe because you can just pop one in quickly and not sit and feel guilty about your fried pickle life choices? And then pop 20 more in and still not give them a second thought? Because then it's healthy?
Anyway, these fried pickles come in sliced form (yes!), and they were top notch. On a scale of 1 to Canyon Creek's frickles, these definitely ranked high. The breading had a nice herbed seasoning, and while they were not very crunchy (which I typically prefer), they were by no means soggy. And it was essential to dip them in the side of jalapeno ranch for the full awesome effect. Also notable, the batter on the fried pickles was flavorful and surprisingly light.
For my entree I ordered the black bean burger. On a scale of 1 to Lowbrow's chicken fried black bean burger (seriously, what is it with that Creek Group?!), this one fell somewhere in the middle. I am certainly a lover of bread, don't get me wrong. But the large bun - while fluffy, and fresh - was too much for the patty, ratio-wise. When I bit into it I mostly could just taste bread, so going bunless was preferable in this instance. Dillon and Melinda ordered actual burgers, and they agreed on this point. After removing the bun I was able to enjoy the black bean burger more. The patty itself wasn't overly exceptional in taste, but I did enjoy the texture. The inclusion of corn in the patty gave it an almost nutty feel. A light smattering of barbecue sauce on top was also a welcome flavor addition. I concluded that I'd order it again if I was there and needed a burger fix, but I would not specifically go to The Gorgeous Gael for the purpose of getting this veggie burger.
The fries are a different story.
Their no-ketchup-needed fries are subtly tossed in herbs and are quite delightful. While the fries are thicker and fuller, they are not overly potato-y and are lightly crispy. I definitely dug the fries.
I told Jon he needs to start a sister blog to Adventures in a New(ish) City called "Burgers and Mac in a New(ish) City" because in almost a year of dating, I'm fully convinced that those are the only two things he eats. Ever. Often he'll even order both in one sitting because Jon's a take life by the horns kind of guy with the metabolism of a unicorn (Life, you're just so FAIR** sometimes). On this particular occasion though, I guess he was feeling a little reserved because he just went with the deluxe macaroni and cheese, sans burger (though really - how reserved can it be if "deluxe" is in the name?). I didn't try it because there was crumbled pepper bacon mixed in, but the white cheddar mac certainly looked pretty. And Jonny boy gave it two thumbs up.
If you're looking for a laid back spot in Rice Village, The Gorgeous Gael is a new(ish) addition to the neighborhood that fits the bill. The open, airy bar/restaurant is a great place to have a beer, catch a game, listen to live music, enjoy some yummy food, and hang out with friends on their nice patio!
BECAUSE WE HAVE THE SUN.