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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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They have heirloom tomatoes on the vine, grapes, passion fruit, herbs.

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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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