For years I’ve attended the Coconino County’s 4th of July horse racing event but for the last few years since Yavapai Downs shut down, the racing has been cancelled. Anyway, I still like going up north for the weekend to get out of the scorching desert.
Many times friends have told me to go the 1899 for dinner and it would be great. I guess cold pork belly is supposed to be great for some. Really?
Well here I was, sitting down for dinner with a friend to try it finally. I scanned the menu as the waiter, who was an economics major at NAU, and who should have known better when I asked, “What’s the item on the menu you are most proud of?” He didn’t even flinch, “All mixed up, it the best to me.”
“I’ll have it then,” I answered within a breath.
Mistake. Just like the decision was to not have horse racing on this weekend.
The menu says the pork belly is covered in ‘house-made’ kimchi with a focaccia crumble with chili oil and a lime. I’m sure that most of the time this dish fits the bill but on this occasion it gave me a feeling that can only be explained by its name of the dish. My first bite was that of the pork belly was all mixed up with an ice-cold side and a warm side. No where was there the hot side. The fatty part slid off of the meat like it had been soaked in warm water for a couple of days. I stopped eating it after the second sample. When I told the very nice waiter about it after the meal, he looked at me and said, “We soak it in root beer.” I just nodded the acceptance of root beer and moaned in a positive way.
I moved cautiously to the pork ribs smothered with the secret ‘house’ barbecue sauce as depicted on the menu. There were three ribs so I decided to cut the ribs into singles. When the knife met the meat, the meat must have gotten scared because all the meat broke from the gate and ran away from the bone instantly. I like ribs as ribs should be. I should be able to take a bite out of the meat and use the bones as handles. Not this time. This time it reminded me a stew meat after sitting in a crock pot for a couple of days of stewing. Two bites, done.
Now on the menu it stated certified Angus beef steak. Someone’s pants are on fire. The steak was far from that or they picked the bottom of the barrel in the Angus beef steak barrel. I was definitely choice flank steak and was as tough as the rubber shoes on a mounted police horse’s hoof. The ‘house’ steak sauce must have been repossessed.
Now I think I may have a clue as to where the ponies that use to run here went.
The garlic cheddar mashers was simply okay. Nothing special at all. Got to give credit where credit is due. The iced tea was full of ice.
Sorry to say to my friends but this well-deserved two pony show is a no-show to me.
When The WiseGuy loaded the ponies in the starting gate, the post positions came out like this in the program of eats. Here’s how they line up in the gate, with number one on the rail being the favorite.
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“Life begins at the top of the stretch.”