Saturday, March 20, 2010

Irish Times

So I think I felt at home in Dallas for the first time tonight.  Sadly, that’s probably due at least 80-85% to the early December-in-Chicago-esque snowstorm I drove home through.  Wind, blowing snow, 33 degree weather, and concrete just too warm for it to stick.  Yeah, that’s December in Chicago in a nutshell.

But there was slightly more than that.  See, Big A and I ended up deciding to go visit the Allen branch of Trinity Hall.  And I must say, if that’s the recently-opened-in-a-now-defunct-Bennigan’s branch of Trinity Hall, I’m far more prepped for next week’s time at the Dallas branch than I was before.  For one thing, I’m definitely planning on showing up somewhere around 6:30 or 7 to grab some food.  So, y’know, take that in to account.

It’s interesting, too.  I was talking to someone or other earlier this week about Irish pubs and the conversation went to the idea that Irish pubs in America are pretty much the same as Irish pubs in Ireland, just with different accents.  I pointed out that your average Irish pub in America is probably owned by an Irish ex-pat, so it’s not entirely surprising.

Of course, the best thing about the Irish pub is the legendary Irish hospitality.  Our waiter, Scott, completely lived up to that expectation.  Also, when I asked for a Balvenie 15 Yr the very first words out of his mouth were, “You want that neat, right?”  Moreover, when I asked for a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA he asked if I’d ever had the Burton Baton, then explained why I’d be interested in it.  Now, I’m sure this is a sticky issue, where it’s entirely possible that someone who asks for Beer X wants Beer X and wants you to shut up about Beer Y, even if it’s different and interesting and worthwhile.  But, then again, I suppose that the sort of person who is asking for Dogfish Head (especially since we’d already been back and forth.  I’d asked for Moose Drool.  It wasn’t in yet.  So I’d tried for Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown.  It wasn’t around, either.  So I’d switched to Belhaven St. Andrews.  I’d assume that indicates that I have at least some concept of beer and that means that I’m open to suggestions of beers I might not have sampled yet) isn’t the sort of person who just wants Beer X.  Or, at the very least, by the time you’re drinking Dogfish Head you’re probably more than willing to at least listen to advice on other beer options with good humor and appreciation.  And Scott had already built up plenty of goodwill, anyway.

But, either way, the point is that the Allen incarnation of Trinity Hall was pretty sweet.  It’s not really Brixie’s South by any stretch of the imagination.  I’d say it’s more like Irish Times South.  Which is still pretty damn cool.  See, Irish Times is this Irish pub in downtown Brookfield.  And the last time Seneca was on this side of the pond I met them at Brixie’s the first time, then I saw them the next night at Irish Times, where I sat and had a fine meal with them before their show.  I saw them again at Irish Times a couple months later.

Then, the night before they flew back to Ireland, I had a couple more beers with them at Irish Times.  Which was fantastic, even though it was a Monday night, I’d just seen Pearl Jam at the United Center, and I have this bad habit of working on Tuesday.

Either way, I have high hopes for the original Trinity Hall.  Hopefully it’s even more Irish Times-esque.

With a more adventurous menu and some storytelling I might even go so far as to say it’s Celtic Knot-esque.  And there's really no better Irish pub in the world than the Celtic Knot.  Sadly, I can’t really help with the menu, but I could offer a few suggestions for the storytelling part…

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