Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
North Park: The pub that makes its own mustard
The Ritual looks Goth from the outside but is all green inside
Can French fries be a delicious meal on their own?
When they come with habanero hot sauce made from, uh, carrots, and home-made mustard, yes.
I’m sitting up to the counter here at Ritual Tavern with the sun streaming in across 30th Street with this nice pint of Lightning Amber Ale from Poway ($4 during happy hour), and a cup of parmesan garlic fries.
Yes, they are pretty scrumptious. But they definitely get interesting with the three bottles of sauce that they say Mike the owner has made from scratch. A ketchup that they make from their own tomatoes – and they have them growing right out back in the beer garden behind – a Cajun vinegar hot sauce, and this habanero-carrot hot sauce.
Also a home-made mustard where you squish those little marinated seeds in your mouth to flood the rest of the brown sugar-laced secret sauce…totally delicious.
Turns out Mike, the owner, is a Linkery alum. So this locovore thing going on should come as no surprise.
Tell the truth, the food selection isn’t the greatest for happy hour. It’s these fries ($4) or a “chef’s special hummus” ($5). That’s it. On the main menu, lots of delicious-looking pub food, if you’re ready to shell out, like their “signature” shepherd’s pie (with chunks of lamb and beef) for $15. Or mussels (also $15).
But what I like here is not just the intimate little bar, but the bits of patio set up all over the place. The biggest surprise is the little beer garden out back.
They have heirloom tomatoes on the vine, grapes, passion fruit, herbs.
And the good thing to know is they're not just for your eyes.
Must come back with a little more lettuce in the pocket.
Meantime this cup of fries with the garlic tang is gonna have to do.
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