Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
The Eatery in the Architects' Office
Here's how I discovered this hip place in the Barrio:
I was standing at the corner. Looking across kitty-corner from the New Mexico Cafe. (Had been eating at its new addition, Viva Birria! What a great birreria.)
So, kinda rubbing the belly there on the curb, slowly realizing, hey, that's an eating joint on the other corner, where the Guild had been.
It's a Green and gray cinderblock building now
It reads Blueprint Cafe on the blue awning
Oh, I remember now. Blueprint Cafe (1805 Newton, at Beardsley, 619-233-7010). Brandon had blogged about it a month or two ago. And, yes, Brandon, they do have a little patio (but maybe over-protected by a six-board fence).
So, I'm about to go huh and walk on down to the trolley, when I see those two little words. Maybe the two most powerful words in the universe: "Happy hour."
That's what Napoleon got distracted by at Waterloo, right? And look at Adam. Couldn't resist Eve's "Really Happy Hour" sign next to her apple cart.
It's just past three...fresh in the HH zone. A minute later I'm sitting up to the counter inside this little place with the bright blue inside wall and the cheery faces of Letitia Rogers and Gale Covner and Christie who does the breakfasts. Gale's the chef-owner.
Gale Covner prepares ahi appetizers
Gale says she's mainly a catering operation. "Look," she says, "my kitchen's down there." And she shows me through a door to...a big architects' office. "At the other end. They don't mind us walking through."
Wow. These must be a bunch of hungry architects. And that's why the "Blueprint" name.
I get a $3 Deschutes IPA and a $6 plate of saucissons en croûte with pencil fries: scrumbo smoked kielbasa sausage wrapped in feathery pastry. Seven of them.
People start drifting in. Guess the happy-hour word has spread. Two things get me: how hard these ladies are trying (because this ain't Fifth Avenue with passing hordes) and they haven't gone all exclusive. People like me can afford the prices. Two customers, Jamie and Laura, share a plate of happy-hour Korean ribs ($8). Look fabbo, thin-cut across the ribs.
Happy-hour Korean rib plate ($8)
Gale with regular customers Jamie and Laura. For Jamie, jury's still out on the ribs?
Jury out no more
And, in a selfless moment, I decide to get Carla a burger, the #1, with avo, bacon, and chipotle sauce. Oh. Hold the avo. Allergy thing. Makes Carla's mouth itch.
Not happy-hour cheap: it's $9.80. But, that's the sort of guy I am. Besides, I know she'll give me a chunk.
Ten bucks' worth of burger, but what a burger
And back at the ranch, it's a hit. Marriage is saved. It's huge.
The half-pound patty
But I can't help wondering: Is this anglo eatery a new jewel in the barrio crown or a pebble in its shoe?
It's not that these are not beautiful people. But I guess you can understand the nervousness of barrio elders: seeing money and business and artists' lofts and anglo-style cafés coming in.
Not just because it's watering down the culture, but because they know that right behind all these guys come higher rentals and house prices. Just like what happened in East Village. Then the Loganites will be the ones forced to move out of their own neighborhood.
But Letitia says they really want to be part of this neighborhood. With this kind of happy hour, I reckon they're making a mighty good start.
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