Friday, February 4, 2011

What Do...

these two quotes have in common?

Quote Number One is from the Mozie’s (a restaurant in Gruene, TX) website: “In a setting of casual rustic elegance where the all-sports TV’s & air conditioning are always on, Mozie’s features a full bar with premium well liquors, select wines & specialty beers and an all day menu of favorite American classics.”

Quote Number Two is from the official Historic Gruene brochure: “Mozie’s – Original food. Cool bar…Sports TV’s & air conditioning!”

Well, yes, one is the reference to the sports TV’s. I am referring to the air condi-tioning. Give me a break! The temperature in this part of Texas hasn’t been above freezing for the past thirty-six hours. My toes are so cold I can’t feel them. And this urbane and distin-guished gentleman sitting at a table near us didn’t remove his hat and scarf for the duration of his meal. Who cares about air conditioning!

But enough of my whining.

Mozie’s sits in a restored historic building on the corner of Hunter Road and Gruene Road in a space that is long and narrow with a bar running about three-quarters of the length of the room. The wall that abuts an antique store is brick. The opposing wall is lined for its entire length with tall windows. All the better to transfer the cold from outside inside.

And I wasn’t going to whine any more.

The menu is “Contemporary Bar Food.” There is a three-slider plate and the menu says “If they’re not greasy enough, send ‘em back.” There is a two-slider version with chips or fries, and this may have been the choice of half of our fellow lunch diners. Another diner ordered the smoked turkey sandwich on sourdough with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. He must have eaten at Mozie’s before, because with his sandwich came a “to go” box into which he promptly placed half of the sandwich. This monster must have been three inches tall.

There is a chicken Caesar salad, a Cobb salad (he woman behind me was eating this and it was also huge), and a chicken salad plate. There are nachos and chips and salsa. And Mozie’s version of the grilled cheese sandwich includes Gouda cheese and sautéed spinach and is grilled on focacccia bread.

Chuck’s choice was the Char-King Burger, described on the menu as: “This flame kissed charbroiled cheese burger that ruled the 50s is making a comeback... give it a try....” While the menu didn’t say how large it was, we guess that this was a half pound burger and was cooked medium rare as Chuck requested. While no match for Hodad’s (near San Diego) and Sparky’s (Hatch, NM), this still was a juicy and tender hamburger with great grilled flavor.

I was ready to order the fish tacos, when I saw a plate headed to another table. These were the Anticuchos. Never heard of them? Neither had I. According to Wikipedia, Anticuchos are “popular and inexpensive dishes that originated in Peru…consisting of small pieces of grilled skewered meat. Anticuchos can be readily found on street-carts and street food stalls (anticucheras). The meat may be marinated in vinegar and spices (such as cumin, aji pepper and garlic), and while anticuchos can be made of any type of meat, the most popular are made of beef heart.”

The menu states that Mozie’s version are “influenced by an old-time Fiesta Week recipe (San Antonio).” The two skewers were served on a colorful bed of house tortilla chips that came with a dish of avocado ranch dip.

Fortunately, the meat was beef tenderloin and not beef heart.

Unfortunately, three of the pieces were very tough and chewy and one piece was so tough as to be inedible.

To our meal, we added a small order of “Skinny Fries.” These ultra thin lightly coated fries were perfect--especially when dipped in my avocado ranch dip.

And we added a small order of onion rings. These were the best onion rings we have eaten since leaving Louisiana in November of 2008. They were thin. They were simply coated with flour. They were fried to a crackling crispness. We fought over the final last rings.

Before leaving home, I did a quick scan of the on-line reviews for Mozie’s. One in particular by Mike S., on, stood out: "The whole menu is outstanding, although be prepared to ask specifically for a straw if you're into the whole fear of bacteria craze. Oddly enough, the management has some dislike of straws, and (they) are only distributed when specifically asked for."‎ Now I understand why our server asked if we wanted straws with our ice water. (Yes. Ice water. Even when it’s below freezing.)

The fries and onion rings rate a solid 5.0 Addies; Chuck’s Char-King merits 4.0 Addies; the tough meat on my anticuchos, alas, only rates 3.0 Addies.

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