Food. Very little in life (besides music) piques my interest quite as much as food. Good food is like good art; you can sit there, appreciate it, stare at it, and enjoy it for a good long while. Have you ever been truly captivated by a painting at a gallery? You twist, you turn, you sit, you stand, you try to get every angle on it, letting your sight try to take it every bit of it. Good food is like that, except that instead of just sight (and touch, that one time I got thrown out of a museum), it takes all of the senses. Bold colors, deep aromas, exciting tastes, sizzling sounds, and crispy textures. It’s all there.
Last night, a group of us decided to hit up a place that we’d long heard about in north Texas, but never gone to: Tolberts. It’s primarily a chili place, but being nestled in the quaint downtown of Grapevine, you go there for the vibe as well.
Stepping in off of the street, one could immediately see that the waitstaff and front of house folks were completely frazzled. I don’t know if they were short handed or what, but good God, I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite as disorganized front of house as what they showed. The hostess seemed to be pulling double duty setting up tables, leaving the front unguarded for 5-10 minute spans. Our group saw many people wander in, then wander right back out because no one was there to even take their name. Our wait was 25 minutes, even though there were a bunch of tables open (which led me to believe they were short staffed). Our waiter also seemed to have some issues, because he almost got away from the table with taking only 3/4 of our orders. Live music was part of the evening, provided by Dazey Chain, who I probably would have liked more if the place hadn’t been small and their volume levels hadn’t been so high. They were at 11.
I don’t mind a little volume, but not with dinner conversation. I wasn’t expecting discreet whispers, but I’d like to have a conversation with 3 other people without having to leave over my food every time I want to make a remark.
The food, however, was delicious. We all had chili in some form or fashion, and it was probably some of the best Texas (no beans, motherfucker) chili I’ve ever had. Worth the wait, worth the noise. I’d do it again, but maybe without the live music.
Afterwards, I wanted a drink, and not just any drink. I think, living in the DFW area, we get used to the idea of driving a distance just to get something unique. I lived near Washington, DC a while back, out in the suburbs of Virginia. We lived about 10 miles, maybe less from the city proper. That seemed like a vast distance, something that was only traversed in a vehicle when absolutely necessary. Now, I live 30 minutes from downtown D and 30 minutes from Denton, and both seem like logical spots to head towards.
That being said, we made the drive down to the Bishop Arts District and hit up one of my favorite places to eat, Bolsa. If you’re around, go. If you’re not, come and go. Their menu is mostly locally sourced (except for the odd appearance of Prince Edward Island mussels [delicious as they are]), and they have some of the best cocktails in town. Bolsa, and their cross town rivals, Neighborhood Services, apparently engaged in a war of bartenders, but that seems to have come to an end now.
Bolsa’s Wednesday night cocktails are interesting, in that they change every Wednesday. They pick a booze (last night, it was Hendrick’s Gin), and their fans suggestion ingredients. Anything edible counts. They pick five at random, and their mixologists come up with a set of five drinks for five dollars.
Above is what the offerings were last night. Delicious, if not a little girly. The awesome waiter (who definitely was a mensch, seeing as we were four people taking up table space for drinks and dessert [the restaurant tables were almost empty, and we tipped well – don’t judge me]) gave me some well-deserved shit for enjoying my Garden Gimlet.
All in all, a good evening, especially considering how far my head was up my ass for yesterday morning and afternoon. I guess all it takes is a little booze and food to make me feel better.
Probably why I’m a bit of a fat drunk, though.