Sagatiba Sweet-Hot and what happens when I don’t bring my camera with me everywhere.
On my actual birthday night on Sunday, my bf and I were about to grab dinner at Simmzy’s in Manhattan Beach but were met by a packed restaurant of bullish post-holiday beer drinkers and a waiting list that wasn’t getting crossed off fast enough if at all. I was starving but not enough to settle for the Kettle or Hennessey’s. But fortunately, I remembered that fellow blogger Food GPS had listed Hudson House in Redondo Beach as one of the stops of his food/beer marathon. I had only dropped by for the first stop — Simmzy’s — and didn’t continue on with the group to Hudson House. I’ve regretted it ever since.
This four-month-old gastropub (formerly Grog and before that, tiki bar Point Break) is only about 3 miles further south of Simmzy’s but on this Sunday night the place was dead. Sooo dead that I had to ask the woman behind the counter if they were still open as a group of people walked out the door. “Yes,” she said. “But are you still serving dinner?” I asked, watching the guy in the kitchen put some condiments away. Fortunately they were still serving dinner. Huzzah!
I had scanned the
Yelp reviews on this place and people couldn’t stop raving about the food. They praised the pretzel burger, the burrata cheese dish, and the sweet potato fries just for starters. I was sold. Bf ordered the pretzel burger ($10) while I went for the ground lamb with paneer cheese on sugarcane skewers and served with honey yogurt harisa sauce and marinated olives ($10). These were freakin’ awesome.
Bf couldn’t stop going on and on about the burger and I never see him get that excited about food, even really good food that makes me cry. My lamb skewers were soo spicy, tender and deelish and went so well with the Alleycat Amber ale I had ordered.
But turns out I was craving a bit more spice so I ordered the Sagatiba Sweet-Hot ($8) on the rocks (normally served as a chill shot) and paired with a strawberry cut and half and dipped in chili sugar. Aye chi mama! The trick here is to take a bite of the savory sweet strawberry and then sip the drink which is made of cachaca that was aged in whiskey barrels. It was delightful. So sweet you wanted to take a bigger bite than the spiciness would allow.
I asked the woman behind the bar about who created the cocktail list which offered a summer-y selection of spicy watermelon margarita, blueberry lemonade, sweet tea julep and more. “I did,” she said, almost shyly. “Really? Good job!” I said. It wasn’t until much later, now to be exact after I Googled her name “Brooke” with regards to HH that I realized she’s actually co-owner and co-chef, Brooke Williamson. (She was just bartending tonight because her bartender had called in sick or something.) Now it all makes sense.
When I had suggested that she add beer floats to her dessert menu, she said, “That’s a good idea!” “I recommend that Fuller’s London Porter for the float,” I added and then I could see a sparkle in her eyes as she considered it. Yay!
And, yes, beer floats would make an awesome addition to the dessert roster here. Right now they have homemade ice cream sandwiches — chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookie and beer ice cream or pretzel cookie with beer ice cream ($4 each or all three for $10). And there’s even a beer-fried Twinkie for the fearless!
Initially I was going to order the off-the-menu brownie cookie with vanilla ice cream that Brooke had mentioned but wasn’t quick enough as a group of five burly men had come in, and they all ordered 15 ice cream sandwiches. Brooke let me know that she had sold them the last brownie one and I looked back at them all cozy in a corner of the bar and cried, “But they’re all men! And they’re not even drinking?” Brooke nodded as she fixed up a tray of glasses with water for them.
Blah! I just settled on the chocolate chip cookie with beer ice cream. But it wasn’t too bad after all. The cookie had big chocolate chunks with a sprinkling of sea salt on it and it was sturdy enough to stay intact despite the ice cream, which ended up not really tasting like beer. But it was still yummy. Next time, I’m not splitting it.
So the great thing about Hudson House is that — even though it’s brought to you by the same people behind Beechwood and is a gastropub — everything is so affordable, under-$10-kind-of-affordable from dinner (only the skirt steak is $13) to cocktails and so unbelievably delicious. The not-so-great thing is that there are only four beers on tap. However, there is an extensive selection of bottled beer from Czechvar to Delirium Tremens to Hitachino Nest. And did I already mention the cocktails? I have to try that spicy watermelon margarita next.
BTW, there is a happy hour from 5:30 to 7pm Tuesday through Friday when you can get $4 cava cocktails or house margaritas, $3 cauliflower fritters as well as a pail of fries, bacon and chive biscuits or Hudson Ale for $2.