Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Golden West Café

On Danielle's excellent advice (read her comments to the linked post), I made a beeline for the Golden West Café the other day. I had Rachael Ray's recommended green chile sauce on my mind, but I wasn't sure exactly what I'd be finding. Again, as luck would have it, I found a parking spot just in front - a good omen.

The place was pretty busy. I was told that there was a 25-minute wait for a table, or I could saddle up to the bar (not their exact words). So I went to the bar. The tables back there were also full, but there were seats at the bar. And my God, the decor was so cool, kitschy, kind of like a Hampden a la New Mexico. Even the seating was cool. There were couches and a coffee table towards the back where a party of five, including a small toddler, chose to sit. I almost sat there. Maybe I will next time.

The guy at the bar took a while to get to me. I started to get irritated when I remembered two things: 1) they're busy, so just chill, and 2) it's a slow food establishment. I'm not sure what that does to the service, so I just hunkered down and tried to rein in my impatient stomach. I'm not a patient man.

Well, the barkeep did get to me with an album cover featuring a 70's era woman in an odd calico pattern dress hanging out by a tree under the words "I've Got to Talk to Someone, God." Oh my, they keep their menus in album covers. That's kind of fun, actually. I then and there vowed to find this odd album - apparently by one Marjorie Holmes Mighell, perhaps the same woman on the cover - on the internet. So far I have had absolutely no success.

Again on Danielle's recommendation, I went with sweet potato fries on my mind (yes, as well as green chile sauce). Little problem there: they are a separate item only and they do no substitutions. I didn't read the first page of the menu (who does, really?), but it says right there, somewhere near the thing about not using cell phones. I also find it irritating, but some guy used his anyway.

I still wanted the fries, so I ordered a separate order - it just meant no cake for dessert. With the fries I ordered the apple brie burger (decadent, no?) with garlic fries. So lots and lots of fries were to come my way! Those and a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

After about twenty minutes (maybe longer, I lost track), my food came out. And I was impressed with the food. The burger, though a little sloppy (only in that some brie and apple kept falling out), was tasty. And the fries, oh wow! The garlic fries had real garlic! I bit into half of a clove. And whoever decided to French-fry sweet potatoes had a good idea. Covering these fries was rosemary salt. It added somethin' good.

The grand total was about $20, so left a $3 tip. A fun place to eat, but definitely not a fast one. Maybe it's due to the packed-ness of the place, or the whole "slow food" thing. But it's very well worth it!

UPDATE: I have looked on some rare LP sites, and found the Holmes LP. But I'm not sure I feel like bothering! Even with track names like "I Was So Cross to the Children." Is this a book-on-vinyl? Or the musical version of the book? Either way, it must be, um, a fascinating LP.

UPDATE 2: Perhaps I was a little too easy on GWC. After reading others' comments, it really does seem kind of unreasonable to sit and wait as long as I did. Oh well, the food was still good and the decor was still fun.


Fairfax said...

i think that there's a difference between slow food and slow service! i am not wild about the service at golden west and not at all wild about their bloody list of rules. i love frito pie, but don't like green chile, and they wouldn't change it.

did you see the bowling benches? they came from 2nd chance when i was there!

Baltmore Snacker said...

I see your point. It is silly that they won't do substitutions, almost as if it's "beneath" them.

danielle said...

Weird - I ordered the same burger when I was there last week. I'm glad you liked the place despite its quirks - is it that hard to sub sweet potato fries for garlic fries? I've never been when it's really crowded, but I should have warned you that service can be lackadaisical even if you are your server's only table. Oh well...even if the food was blah, I would probably still go just for the fun decor and the convenience.

Baltmore Snacker said...

I'll second that.

Anonymous said...

You won't believe me, but they've actually become more lax with their rules!

The green chile sauce used to be made with chicken stock and they positively refused to omit the sauce on items advertised with – I'm not talking substitute, but omit! Used to make me insane.

However, in the past year, they vegetarian-ized the green chile and added a red chile sauce.

The only bad meal I've ever had there, ironically, was the Frito Pie with red chile sauce. There was a really strange taste to the sauce – my husband said it tasted like they accidentally dumped a bottle of dishwashing liquid in it!

The service has always, always, always been slow but we go there expecting it and it never really bothers me.

Baltmore Snacker said...

The red frito pie sounded absolutely nasty when read the description. But even I will put up with lackadaisical service for the benefit of good food.

Julie said...

Their food is great, although their service is slow, slow, SLOW! But as the poster above says, we expect it and it doesn't bother us.

I've never tried any of their fries (it's mostly a breakfast spot for us) but after reading this I have to check them out.

Baltmore Snacker said...

Julie, do try those fries, both the rosemary salted sweet potato ones and the garlic fries. I thought it was worth ordering both. And those CAKES! They sure looked good, but two types of fries pretty much meant no cake for me.