The Champagne of Breweries
To a professional drinker like Last Call, certain occasions call for certain libations. Smoking cigars while togging JC Penney’s latest line of formal business attire? Gotta have cognac. Sitting down to a fancy dinner date at your favorite Olive Garden? Vino. Out on the lake on a hot summer’s day? Cold beer – and lots of it.
For as long as I’ve been drinking (read: since the Reagan Administration), I’ve never associated fancy food with brew. Well … there was this one place up north I visited about five years ago, a converted Catholic church building that brewed its own really nasty-tasting crap, charged you something like 7 bucks for the pleasure, and served non-fancy but nevertheless expensive Teutonic cuisine. Still, the idea of incorporating a peasant drink like beer into the fine dining experience hasn’t crossed my mind in a while.
Then last week I saw that on Hulen Avenue in the Trinity Commons Shopping Center, about a mile from TCU, a restaurant and brewery called The Covey is preparing to open. By the looks of things, the place intends to pull off what Church Brew Works couldn’t back in the day – serve upscale food and offer what could be called “upscale beer” or beer brewed on-site and not in some dismal factory in Siberia.
Though a lifelong curmudgeon and skeptic, I have to admit that reading The Covey’s menu made me salivate like a fat kid for cake. Some flavors of beer include: Pale Ale (“medium-bodied … with a definite hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma, [and] with a straightforward malt background”), White Beer (“brewed according to Belgian tradition using a special yeast, malted and un-malted wheat, and barley malt, spiced with orange peel and coriander seed”), and Stout (“coffee, chocolate, subtle caramel, and grainy flavors abound”). As for the food, looking good are: the Palermo pizza (“sweet Italian sausage, pepperoni, Portobello mushrooms, The Covey’s red sauce, and mozzarella”), the wood oven-planked salmon (marinated and roasted on a cedar plank), and the low-country quail (“pan-seared, boneless breasts, drizzled with a red-wine mushroom sauce and served atop wild rice and mushroom pilaf”). I like this last item best, though I’m not sure how well the wine sauce is gonna go with my Pale Ale. (FYI: The Covey also offers vino and other drinks, but why visit if you’re not gonna sample the fresh beer?)
The owners, Sean Bautista and Jamie Fulton, are old friends from their days as students at Le Cordon Bleu Academy in Austin: Bautista is the executive chef, and Fulton the brewmaster. Not to sound too corny, but you remember a couple of weeks ago when you and your best pal were sitting at y’all’s preferred bar, blathering on about how you guys were gonna open a “little people” strip club, and as soon as you both stumbled out and into your respective vehicles, the idea had already dissipated into the manure-scented oblivion, never to be mentioned or thought of again? Well, Bautista and Fulton probably had a similar conversation. Thing is: Unlike you and your buddy, they weren’t bullshitting each other.
Come to think of it: I recall that the notion of opening an upscale beer and food joint had actually found its way into one of my bar convos not too long ago. For whatever reason, I thought the “little people” topless bar had a better chance of happening. My buddy and I already had the killer name picked out: Shorties.
Shows you how much we know. Check www.thecovey.com for details.
Square on Squares
Don’t know if any of y’all ever get the chance to visit Lewisville, but I do pretty often, and all I have to say about the rash of essentially self-imposed no-smoking policies at a couple of bar/restaurants is a warm, heartfelt, “I wasn’t planning on hanging out with you nerds at your lousy dives anyway!”
I’m no habitual smoker, but when I go out for a few cocktails, I like to choke on t’ree or four squares just ’cause it’s my inalienable friggin right to pursue happiness (as long as I’m not bombing elementary schools or having sex with farm animals). I can hear you non-smokers whining now: “Ewww, but Mr. Last Call, the smoke makes my clothes stink!” “Ewww, Last Call, it makes me gag!” “Ewww, I’m gonna get cancer!!!”
Not my problem. If you don’t wanna share in my aromatic and inalienable exhalations, then go sit someplace else.
Similar to most cities outside of Tobaccoland (a.k.a. North Carolina), the City of Lewisville has long had an ordinance in place that requires bar/restaurants that seat 50 customers or more to be completely non-smoking. The two joints that recently banned puffing indoors didn’t have to make the change but did voluntarily. The owners’ explanations had something to do with promoting healthy living or some other kinda nonsense.
To the two bar/restaurants that switched over on their own volition, I say: Don’t cry for me, Argentina. Y’all aren’t doing me any favors by telling me I can’t enjoy a relaxing smoke at your bar/restaurants. I’d feel much better about patronizing your businesses and not smoking if you simply said: “Look, folks. We bartenders, waiters, and servers have to breathe your second-hand smoke all damn day long. We’d appreciate it if you didn’t light up while eating and drinking with us – for our sake.”
No problem, Joe. I can respect your inalienable right to live healthily since you clearly respect my inalienable right to kill myself slowly.
Contact Last Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.