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It’s not the cheapest joint downtown, but it has two things in its favor:

One, it’s nearest the bus stop at 4th and Broadway, so you’re a 60-second sprint from your stretch limo.

Two, as I discover tonight, for $9 it has the best chicken pâté you ever did sink your fangs into.

Yes, I’d been hoping for a happy hour deal when I came in to Dobson’s (956 Broadway Crescent, downtown, 619-231-6771). But when I’d kinda sat up to the bar, I realized I was way too late for that. And besides, here was Alex, who is a big guy, waiting to see what I wanted.

So basically I looked at the prices and blurted out the cheapest thing I could see: "Chicken liver mousse, clarified herb butter and spices." And — in for a penny, in for a pound, as the Brits say — a glass of house red, a cabernet from somewhere up Central Coast way ($7).

Alex lays out a black linen napkin and heavy cutlery on the bar (and this nice ol' mahogany bar has been here since 1913, he says), brings the wine, and a plate of what turns out to be a totally dee-lish crispy bread chunk. Plus the cab is like red velvet and turns out to be their own brand: Dobson's. Drinking stuff like this makes me more and more interested in wine. Costs about the same as a brewski, and lasts about as long.

So already you’re feeling good, looking out for City pols who they say make this bar their watering hole.

And a few minutes later, Aroceli, in the black uniform they have here...


...comes out with this long plate with capers, little gherkins and a ceramic pot of the chicken liver. She picks up the pot and with a knife, levers what turns out to be a waxy cap off the pâté. It’s been preserved underneath.


Okay, I'd eaten most of it by the time I got around to taking this

So it’s sixteen bucks, but the pâté and wine combo? OMG. Worth every red cent. Also: Worth missing one bus, just to savor your way through this little pot - surprisingly filling - and bread and beautiful wine.

Of course the main menu is up there, price-wise, but nobody complained that I was a one-item wonder.

Next spare Jackson, I'll definitely be back.

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