It is heady stuff to hang out with one of the founders of Armadillo World Headquarters (some visual images might help) and talk about France, copyright law, musicians' rights, more France, international TV and film festivals in Cannes, art law, the last live Beatles concert (he was there), the start of Texas music and its future. It is all the more great to have this conversation out in the backyard of Joe's Place, the backyard of which apparently is the Connie's Beer Garden part of this quirky East M.L.K. spot.
As much as I love Sophie's foie gras over in Angers, France...standing up in crowded wine bars in Paris meeting Fashion Week journalists...and a perfectly crafted round of goat cheese with a delicate drizzle of fresh olive oil in Peter Mayle's fabled south-of-France place of Ménerbes, France...I really love a good meatloaf.
Taking Mike's lead, I did without the mashed potatoes as a side (low carb you know) and got a little salad instead to accompany the green beans and the meatloaf.
When the menu said "green beans" came with the meatloaf, I had low expectations. I was more excited about the "Hibiscus Tea Punch" I had ordered. (It's hibiscus tea with ginger ale. And it was suggested that this was not be a bad mixture into which a shot of tequila could be poured...some other day, but great idea Connie!)
Connie brings out a bamboo tray to deliver the tea punch. Another bamboo tray would deliver the meatloaf lunch. As soon as I saw those green beans, I knew they were going to be good.
(True, I did not ask to forego that bread substance; good thing: I needed it to wipe the plate clean. It was a small, dainty piece of deliciousness -- like those Sister Schubert's rolls.)
First, they were not just "green beans." They were haricots verts. Those slim and trim elegant French green beans.
Second, they had those nicely browned, practically caramelized slivers of red onions.
Third, there was enough freshly ground black pepper on those green beans to be very visible to the eye.
All of these attributes combined into what I would regret was a too small of a serving for these haricots verts (that portion control problem of mine). Yes, those onions did have a sweet, buttery garlicy taste and texture. The beans were perfect: as Connie said (when I quizzed her on the making of the beans), they are parboiled and then cooked with butter and olive oil and garlic--"the works." But those caramelized red onions make the dish: they are just right to the point of sticky caramelization without interfering with the just-right crispness of the green beans.
They are not open much or for long. As of my checking the site, just now, the hours are: For Joe's Place, Tuesday-Friday 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. For Connie's Beer Garden, Friday and Saturdays 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Next time, when there is not a deadline pending in litigation land, I will kick back in the garden with some pinot grigio. And a side order of haricots verts.
(The art wall of concrete block on the back of the building.)