Midtown Happy Hour: Mamacita Judges Bar 9′s Salsa Competition
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.
In honor of the alignment of the nines on 9/09/09, Bar 9 along with Magic Hat brewery threw a party this past Wednesday to celebrate the rare and momentous occasion. I was on hand as judge for their annual salsa competition and representatives from Magic Hat promoted their #9 beer with free swag and a raffle. Turns out B9 also hosts a free cheese tasting on all Wednesdays sponsored by Kashkaval, but by 6:30pm, when I arrived, it was gone, baby, gone (damn!).
From my review of B9 you might remember that we tried the burger and tots. We ordered the big basket of tots again (it’s absolutely perfect and crispy) and we tried the chicken strips, guacamole and cheese sticks. Both were good and hot off the fryer but I kind of wished they had more salt or seasoning.
Sadly, a few salsa entries ended up dropping out. However, the three amigos that rose to the challenge were: Katie Rayle with a classic pico de gallo called Simple is Good, Elizabeth Joad with a peach based salsa called Pucker Up Peach and Mike Allman with a green salsa called Grapes of Wrath.
The last two entries were both a sweet meets tart style, and as someone who makes salsa every week based on my family’s Mexican style recipes, this was a new twist for me so I must applaud their ingenuity. Personally I like a salsa with a good spicy bite that these lacked, but given they were aimed to be consumed by a broad audience I can see why they were modest in bringing the zing.
Dave Hill was the master of ceremonies and lent his comedic stylings to the festivities. He introduced me and gave lots of props to ML. In the end I christened Elizabeth Joad as salsa queen of the bunch. Her salsa was not everyone’s style but it really showed some creativity and innovation in blending roasted peach and tomatoes into a unique salsa. She won a pair of tickets to Rodrigo y Gabriella at Terminal 5.
It was lively event and all the friendly bartenders were on hand. Drink specials ran all night and margaritas complimented the free salsa tasting. #9 beer prepped everyone for Wao Los Arrrghs a band from Valencia, Spain that closed out the night. All in all I could get used to this judging gig (hint hint… Vendy folks).