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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Suddenly Last Summer at Jimmy Poblano's Southwest Cantina

Oh, how summer is racing by. Racing like the scads of white cloud that hurry across the sky as if chased by some invisible force. Racing away like the fleeting days of summer that, perhaps a month from now, will have given way to frost-tinged nights and orange leaves.

But for now, the night is soft and sultry, touched only by heat and haze, and characterized by delirious, delicious darkness that deigns to allow the existence of anthropogenic light.


These are the nights to walk the city streets, just to see what happens. On one such night, I discovered Jimmy Poblano's Southwest Cantina, right next to the Le Marchand Mansion (which is wrapped in the throes of cosmetic surgery). Here, passers-by trickle in and out, and a garland of chili-shaped lights adds a cheeky touch of whimsy.


Prickly Pear Lemonade eases through the evening's heat with a zesty chill and perky hint of subtle rose-hued fruits. Indeed, this quenching bevvy may well set the bar for pink lemonade and its various permutations.


A taco trio features one each of (right to left) Chicken Adovado, Chile Verde Pork, and Machaca Beef. Chicken seduces with tender meat and lascivious undertones of red chilies and citrus. Chile Verde Pork showcases its eponymous spice with aplomb; hints of beer and a touch of sweetness seal the deal. Finally, Machaca beef sings and sighs with a mole-reminiscent bouquet of coffee and caramelized spices. A nifty tomato salsa and a mealy glob of refried beans complete this picture.


The poignant impermanence of summer nights all but sharpens one's appreciation of late-hours street food. It behooves one to enjoy it now before suddenly, last summer.

Jimmy Poblano's Southwest Cantina on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 August 2014

Fly Me to Halo Bar & Bistro

Airports are an endless source of entertainment. Indeed, the passing parade of harried humanity proffers many small truths about how one's fundamental human nature bubbles to the surface when pressed through a strainer of arrivals and departures. Good food, however, is generally absent, as airports constitute a "captive audience" scenario wherein patrons are obliged to eat what is in front of them, quality notwithstanding.



Halo Bar & Bistro happens to be a restaurant within an airport. It would be easier to lump this eatery into the catch-all category of "captive audience feedbags. Easier - but not at all accurate. No; Halo would be right at home downtown, or on some other smart street within reach of the mobile and the hungry. Though an immediate, all-encompassing descriptor for the menu does not readily spring to mind, think of thinks like soft tacos, but with rainbow trout. A donair, but with bison meat. A green salad (pictured above) is just singing with candied pecans, little snowy bits of goat cheese, and dried cranberries. Assorted greens with lavender honey dressing is a treat all by itself.


A Wild Mushroom Panino is more mushroom than bread. Just look - this is an irrefutably good ratio of mushroom to bread. A light dab of mayo and a melty stratum of Fontina allow their fungiform counterpoints to shine. Toasty slices of bread with proper ridges and valleys are an enviable vector.


Across the table, the House-Smoked Salmon Salad with Sorrel looked absolutely fabulous. Alas, by the time I worked up the gumption to ask for a nibble, it was gone. All the more reason to pop in next time. For if mushroom panini are a litmus test for the rest of the menu, then I would dare say that Halo deserves a drive out, even if one does not have a flight to catch.


Halo Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

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