I hope everyone is having a wonderful December full of holidays or at least friends and family. The New Year is fast approaching, so make sure to live up the last days of 2013 to their utmost enjoyment factor. For me that has meant staying at home in my pjs for days on end with the occasional social outing. Which also, in turn, means that I don’t really have any more holiday-themed posts. So it’s the normal restaurant and recipe reviews!
Noble Hops is usually one of my favorite hangouts on the Northwest side of town. It is a fancy trendy gastropub that is all to rare in this ritzy and retiree-inhabited desert city of mine. I could have sworn I already did a post on it, but having checked my archives I must admit it never happened. Here’s to fixing that problem before the end of the year!
They have delicious beers and pretty darn good appetizers (their entree fare is just a little too pricey for me to have tried without a special occasion.) I have a new and delightful beer everytime I go in and I usually order the Cavatappi Pasta (basically a super decadent and fancy mac and cheese served in a little skillet) and the Pretzel Bread served with a tangy beer sauce. The Greek Fries are delicious too, covered in feta and garlic.
As far as the trendy I was talking about, it has a very minimalistic decoration on the inside, one of the alcoves is lined with shelves of bottles – one row red, another green, another blue, and another yellow. At night there are a bunch of lights strung up around the patio area and a GORGEOUS fire pit in the middle in front of the bar. It is also open up quite late which is another unusual find on this side of town.
This visit, however, I have to say I was less than impressed with what I ordered. It was the Grilled Artichokes “small plate.” I love artichoke hearts and have always been curious to try artichoke leaves. What better place than to try it here at my favorite gastropub? I knew it was fate when I saw the table next to us had ordered the same thing. It looked amazing!
I was so excited (and starving to boot) when it came out. But after the joy of having my plate served I was immediately overwhelmed by confusion. How did I even go about eating this thing? I started picking at it and stabbing it with my fork and knife. I managed to get some leaves of and eagerly lifted them to my mouth only to encounter a tough and chewy husk. Where was the delicious and tender artichoke meat?
I was in the middle of expressing my confusion and frustration only to realize my friend who had ordered the same was already half way through her artichoke half, having no problems.
Unacceptable. I attempted to eat this thin any way I could, but it was unsatisfying and a huge tease. Even the little bit of heart at the bottom wasn’t enough to quell my hunger or anger.
Eventually I gave up. I’m not proud of it, but I couldn’t figure the damn artichoke out and the little bit of sustenance I was scraping (literally, with my teeth) off the leaves was not at all what I hoped. In a fit of despair I kindly told the waitress my problems and she amicably took it off my check and offered to get me something else. I was too frustrated and just wanted to focus on the plate of fries we were sharing and my beer (which kind I can’t remember. Our waitress was awesome and brought me three samples to choose from. All I know is that it was a red ale.)
The evening was still enjoyable. My friends and I laughed and chatted and drank. And I stuffed my face as soon as I got back home. This bad experience will by no means keep me from trying the other delicious sounding options on their menu (I WILL be back) but it will temper my adventures in ordering anything other than artichoke hearts in the future.