Friday, April 4, 2014

The Trouble with Tuesday…

is that there is no reason for it to exist. Hang in here with me folks.

Let’s take a look at the week. For most of us, Monday signifies a beginning and we approach the week with renewed vigor. Wednesday, of course, is hump day. Thursday is the day before Friday and the end of the week is within sight. Friday means the weekend is at hand. And then we have Saturday and Sunday which for many means a period of rest and rejuvenation. But there is no reason for Tuesday. Which is why, when I was working, I refused to cook on Tuesday night.

So we would head off to one of our favorite local spots—the Wookie Hole Pub—for a brew or two and a casual dinner. The Wookie Hole was modeled after a British pub. There was the requisite dart board, and frequently we would see a gentleman with a decided English accent engaging in a game. (We often speculated that they hired him for color.) The room was dark and low ceilinged and regular patrons had their beer steins hanging behind the bar. And the menu was a combination of American bar food and pub favorites like meatloaf and mashed, bangers and mashed, fish and chips, and Scotch eggs.

So what does a faux-British pub have to do with our visit to Galveston? As we sat and looked around Medicinal Purposes (MP)—our lunch destination for the day—I picked up the same vibe.
Instead of darts, MP offers a pool table.
Instead of British atmosphere, MP combines homage to the bar’s location near the University of Texas Medical Branch with an antique wheelchair hanging from the ceiling
and to Mardi Gras with art and other items.

And then there are a few items that combine both worlds.

Plus artifacts relating to the city’s seafaring history.

And while the bar was rather empty when we visited for a late lunch, I am sure that when evening comes there will be no lack of colorful characters.

“Although the Galveston building that houses Medicinal Purposes has been home to many bars throughout the years, the 1953 structure most recently held an orthopedics and prosthetics store. That was until Hurricane Ike gutted it in 2008, leaving the building—just down the street from the University of Texas Medical Branch campus on the east side of the island—empty for years.
“It's fitting, then, that when Medicinal Purposes moved in, the new bar paid tribute to both its most recent tenant, the nearby medical campus, and—of course—the fact that the best way to get around Prohibition's ban on alcohol in the 1920s was getting a doctor's prescription for distilled spirits or high-proof bitters...for ‘medicinal purposes’" (Katharine Shilcutt at

“…In the 1920s, alcohol was still readily available in ‘speakeasies’ and through bootleggers. Whiskey could be obtained by prescription from medical doctors. The labels clearly warned that it was strictly for medicinal purposes and any other uses were illegal, but even so doctors freely wrote prescriptions and drug-stores filled them without question, so the number of ‘patients’ increased dramatically. No attempt was made to stop this practice, so many people got their booze; thus, the commonly uttered the timeless phrase that ‘I only consume for medicinal purposes.’ Relevant to Galveston and surrounding areas in the Gulf of Mexico was the contentious loophole allowing ships moored or operating over 3 miles from shore to possess, and its crew and passengers to consume, alcohol. This allowed the Port of Galveston to become a veritable freeway for the trafficking of illicit liquor and spirits…” (

So we are sitting and taking in the atmosphere, Chuck looks at one of the two sequined costumes that we took for Mardi Gras attire and remarked “These could be Mummers.”
What do you know? When talking with our server, we told her that we were from the Philadelphia area. “These are Mummers’ costumes.” she told us. What are Mummers’ costumes doing in Galveston, TX?

It seems that Mardi Gras is a big deal in Galveston. While there is some difference of opinion about its relative rank for Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans, Galveston ranks somewhere between third and seventh. And a highlight of Galveston’s celebration is the appearance of a Mummers band from Philadelphia.
“For the 29th year in a row, the Quaker City String Band will again march with their colorful feathered and sequined costumes in the Momus Grand Parade and perform at other events during the second weekend of Mardi Gras. They have been part of Galveston’s Mardi Gras since 1986—just a year after the late George Mitchell started the current celebration in 1985.

“’Quaker City has the mellowest sound of all as far as I’m concerned—they’re fantastic,’ exclaims Cathy Conlon-Townsend, Galveston’s representative for the Quaker City String Band. ‘They’re entertainers and performers and just wonderful and ordinary guys that make really great music’” (Richard Varr at
And we’re not just talking any Philadelphia string band here. “Quaker City has placed in first or second place in the (Philadelphia) Mummers Day parade (on New Year’s Day) since 1999, except for one year placing third” (Richard Varr at The costumes shown here were worn by Bob Shannon, the captain of the Quaker City String Band for 38 years and who is now Captain Emeritus.

But a good bar and grill has to have more than atmospherics. MP was named by as the Best Bar and Grill of Restaurant Week 2013 and “treats people to a good time, great food and awesome drink specials! There were other great bar and grills about the Island, but this one was impressive on all aspects.
"(I)t is…a great place just to go and have a good meal. Their…bratwurst is quickly gaining notoriety, with a large piece of grilled bratwurst on a homemade French baguette, slathered with house-made spicy mustard and topped with a special pepper mix, made from red bell peppers and yellow onions reduced in Paulaner Hefe-Weizen and then sautéed with Polish sauerkraut.

“The Ruben is Claude’s mother’s recipe. Served atop fresh baked marble rye, it is loaded with thick cut, grilled corned beef brisket, Polish sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, and is accompanied by a chunky, house-made, thousand island-style dipping sauce.

“For a taste of the tropics, try the Islander, a half-pound burger marinated in sesame teriyaki sauce, served on an egg twist bun with red bell peppers and grilled pineapple” (Kimber Fountain at
Just as the Wookey Hole offered some classic British pub foods, MP honors Louisiana and thus Mardi Gras by offering such classics as jambalaya, boudin balls, shrimp poor boys, Cajun potato wedges, fried okra, and Southern green beans.

I was going to order my Wookey Hole go-to of wings with a side salad, but then noticed that the soups included a zesty bacon cheeseburger soup. So I modified my choices to wings and a cup of the soup. It was a good thing that I asked our server to bring two spoons anticipating that Chuck would like a taste.
The serving size proved to be much larger than your typical cup and was thick and hardy, filled with ground beef, potatoes, bacon, and jalapeno peppers for the “zest.” We learned during a later conversation with the owner Claude that he found the recipe for this in one of his mother’s thirty-year-old cookbooks. Claude started by offering it as a special, but it proved to be so popular that it became a regular part of the menu.

MP’s wings are listed as Cluckers & Celery and come in your choice of BBQ, Buffalo, Spicy Garlic, Lemon Pepper Parmesan, or Tropical Thai Sauces and come with both homemade Ranch and Bleu Cheese dressings. I selected the spicy garlic sauce which was a medium-hot sauce with a light tang of vinegar and lots of small garlic bits.
The large and meaty wings had been fried “naked” or unbreaded (There is a debate in the world of wings about breading or not breading but I won’t get into that now. This blog will be long enough.) And I really appreciated Claude’s not over saucing them. I hate having a deep pool of sauce in the bottom of the dish. I was in wing nirvana with sauce all over my face and hands.

Chuck ordered the Olde-World Brat mentioned above.
This was a mildly seasoned and juicy sausage encased in a beautiful crusty and toasted roll blanketed with kraut and onions and peppers. The kraut had been grilled and, while it retained some underlying sharpness, did not have that mouth-puckering quality of really sour sauerkraut.
And his Cajun wedges were really good—crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I couldn’t help but snatch a wedge or two until Chuck reminded me that I don’t like steak fries. But these weren’t steak “fries”—they were “wedges” and that is all the rationale I need.

For an article in, MP’s owner Claude explained the bar and grill’s success: “’We are consistent. We are one of the cleanest restaurants in town, our food is high quality and it comes out on time and hot,
and we have an expansive selection of craft beer and liquor,’ he says. But as no work of art is ever really finished, he continues to bring new ideas and innovations to the fold and has successfully extended the restaurant’s reputation from that of a lunchtime destination to an ‘any-and-every time’ destination.”

Medicinal Purposes is one of those casual and inviting 5.0 Addie places we love to find and, if I lived in Galveston, I’d find a new excuse not to cook on Tuesdays.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

1 comment:

DennyG said...

I had lunch here yesterday and loved it. Thanks for the tip.