honkytonkfoodie

Liberty Bar/ Sam’s II

In Honky Tonk/ Food on 11/23/2009 at 4:44 pm

First stop was Liberty Bar, one of my favorite restaurants.  The food is consistently good and the atmosphere has funk without being trendy.  A friend of mine and I once ate dinner two tables away from Tommy Lee Jones.  Exciting, although I’ve heard he is not too friendly about gawkers and apparently so had the rest of the bar because everyone totally ignored him until he left, then an immediately audible buzz crowded the room.

After putting our name on the list, we cruised over to the bar side and perched right next Mr. James McMurtry himself.  According to the bartender, he is a former employee; when he plays in the area, he always goes there to eat.  We were soon seated but I basked beside his long hair and ubiquitous hat for a solid twenty minutes.

The pot roast and chocolate cake are delicious staples on the menu but I ventured into frog leg realm because 1.) They are rarely a menu item, 2.) I have never had a bad frog leg and 3.) There was mention of mole sauce which I found odd and intriguing.  The frogs were delicious: light, with a small initial butter taste.  Consistently, this meat is clean tasting with a slight open-water aftertaste.  As for the mole, I am glad I dipped my pinkie in it before dunking.  For those unfamiliar, mole can be the assigned name for a variety of sauces.  My personal mole is popular in Tex-Mex cuisine, prepared with dried chili peppers, ground nuts and/or seeds, spices, Mexican chocolate, salt, and a variety of other ingredients including bread crumbs or crackers for thickness. (thanks Wikipedia)  Mole is never consistent venue to venue but to me a good mole is not grainy.  Great mole should reach my palate as smoky and sweet, leaving with a hint of chili.  The plated mole, thankfully on the side, qualified as good mole but not great mole.  Predominately chili, I didn’t taste any chocolate sweetness and only a minuscule aftertaste of smoke.  Though slightly disappointing, this is the ultimate beauty of pairing unfamiliar comestibles together; since I did not expect the mole to be the defining element of my meal, I was therefore not upset by its accompanying absence.

After dinner, we headed over to Sam’s Burger Joint.  One building is for food; another sits next door about 20 feet and is dedicated to music.  Smoking is no longer allowed inside.  There is a bar on the far wall.  A reserved table proved to be an excellent idea as seating is quite peculiar.

  1. Shape – this building fits on the lot and is therefore, not square, rectangular or any other shape you learned in kindergarten.  The shape is something straight out of advanced geometry, or that’s the way it seems in the dark.  Something like this: Sam’s Setup
  1. Seating – due to the random shape of the structure, seating is equally as haphazard.  Our table was the second booth from the stage along the wall by the door.  Many thanks to the person who picked our booth.  Great view of the stage.  People were standing in front of the stage, mostly filling the dance floor.  This blocks the view of seats along the dance floor and back wall.  If you go to a show at Sam’s and they have tables for sale, I highly recommend you purchase one.  Get your friends to pitch in.
  2. Drinks – having previously utilized the bar in the music building, I was glad to be seated by the front door so we could access the restaurant bar outside.  This bar was significantly less crowded and didn’t have loungers.  No Purple Haze but Lone Star Light tall boys were readily available as was a pleasant bartender.  A small point of contingency was wait service inside.  I only saw one waitress that evening so I understand she was busy.  My annoyance lies in the fact that she served the booth in front of us all night but never once asked the three of us if we wanted anything.  As the evening wore on, it was obvious we had no trouble tending ourselves but it would have been nice to be asked.
  3. Bathrooms – I don’t know Sam’s gender but if Sam is female, she pees at home.  The women’s bathroom in the music building is another lesson in advanced geometry; when swinging doors are added to the mixture the whole equation is a mess.  Avoid it at all costs.  The restaurant bathroom was open for use, although waiting for it meant listening to a woman give her daughter’s phone number to two tipsy frat boys.  I had to hear this go down because the bathroom occupant was writing a novel.  It must be a really great novel because I ended up using the Men’s.  None too bad guys, keep it up!

James McMurtry played a great show.  My only complaint is that he didn’t play all night long.  Songwriting is right on; his music is uncluttered and excellently executed.  I appreciate his lack of chatting as well, mainly due to the fact that monologues are usually difficult to hear over talking people and through a microphone setup for music.

Trivia which is both interesting and useless: When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour.

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