Bar-B-Quing With My Honey
1880-A Airport Blvd.
A couple of weeks into this and we are adjusting to the new “normal,” a now less-shocking set of scenarios where you can rub elbows with everyone in the aisles of the grocery store but must stand six feet apart at the checkout. It’s a time of outlawed haircuts, massages and mani-pedis. We’ve shut down the non-essentials, whatever that means. Essential is a matter of opinion and perspective.
Scary times, indeed, but chin up, little fella. We still have restaurants, and I’m still reviewing them.
The process is certainly challenging, but as the saying goes, “We are all in this together.” While many of my favorites have temporarily given up the ghost, there are plenty out there grinding away with curbside and window service. That’s the new normal of which I spoke. Restaurants are as welcoming as they can be until you reach the front window or sidewalk.
The powers that be have graciously bent some rules here and there, e.g. selling alcohol to go, while imposing new ones such as no dining on premises. I’m cool with all of it. It should work in this order: what keeps customers and employees safe, what gets people fed and what keeps the cash flowing. In doing my part, I flew solo to pick up a larger meal for my small circle from the still-new Bar-B-Quing With My Honey.
These guys came from the Mount Vernon area to the Loop just behind Krystal, filling the void left by Bay Gourmet’s move to Crown Hall. Of course, you expect barbecue, but this menu, teetering on the side of large, boasts fried seafood, seven flavors of wings, whole pies and burgers. I wanted to sample a good bit since I had some close family riding bikes in for lunch.
My big boys weren’t home, but Katie and Henry were patiently waiting for lunch with Snake and the Sheriff, all hungry. The first thing we dove into was a rib dinner ($14.99). The ribs were sturdy, but still melted in your mouth just as tender as needed to be. The sauce was, as you’d expect with their name, on the sweeter side. We had enough ribs so that everyone had at least one. The coleslaw was good, a bit heavy on the mayonnaise (fine by me), and the baked beans just right.
I was craving a burger and fries that day. Good thing they do that well. Something called a Duci burger ($7.99) needed to be shared. I couldn’t hoard it for myself. That would be worse than irresponsibly filling my garage with toilet paper. I quartered the burger so everyone could sample the medium-well patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato and secret sauce. I would be satisfied with this and a side of their crinkle-cut fries, cooked crispy and slightly dark, the way they should be. This certainly scratched my itch, but there was more scratching to do.
The shrimp dinner ($14.99) needed to be tested. We also got this with fries, and although I enjoyed the shrimp with a touch of tartar, I’ll say they were a bit overcooked, a mistake common to restaurants not specializing in seafood, but not offensively so. I still tore them up. Mac and cheese was the second side, but I could barely get a bite before the Sheriff took over.
This is the preferred dish of our law-enforcing family member. A true connoisseur of mac and cheese, he enjoys anything from Kraft Easy Mac to the lobster mac from Ruth’s Chris. This one falls in between, but on the higher end of the scale, according to the straight shooter with the badge.
Finishing it off, we had the half chicken dinner ($13.99). With this type of sauce, I think the chicken holds it the best. The smoky meat was always better if you were lucky enough to get a bit of skin in each bite, the sweetness of the sauce adding a zip to the white meat. The dark meat, of course, can always stand on its own. My favorite parts are the rib meat and the thigh, with the wing flapper a formidable contender.
This is where baby Henry hit his stride, chicken fan that he is, with chunks of breast meat, a touch of macaroni and some of the accompanying turnip greens. If these were canned, they didn’t taste it. I’ll compliment the seasoning for sure.
Barbecue deserves plain white bread, and each plate was served with such. In these days of food hoarding, I’ve been pressed to find plain white bread on the shelves, and my home barbecue isn’t the same with fancy whole grain breads.
Speaking of fancy, Snake and I popped open a bottle of decent rosé, since we had the day off. A glass each was all it took to lighten the mood and help us adjust to the new normal. It isn’t what I would pair with this barbecue, but hey, the new normal isn’t always what I’d choose, either. I, like you, am ready for the old. But there we sat, licking our chops, repeatedly washing our hands of dripping barbecue sauce, oblivious to the outside world. It was our way of making the most of a scary situation.
Our restaurants, servers, bartenders and owners are there for us now. Support them when you can so they will be there for us later. I know it’s tough. Without these dining rooms and bars, full-time musicians have no where to play. Support them on the internet.
Thank you for working through this. Thank you to the rest of the Lagniappe staff for working through this. We will keep up with changes in real time digitally. If you’ve yet to subscribe, now would be the time. Wash your hands and don’t kiss anyone who isn’t worth it.
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