Ribs with a tamarind sauce at La Gloria.
Tax-free weekend and the start of Culinaria's Restaurant Week ended up overlapping this year, which left me thinking that I could save some money, increase my sartorial splendor (ha!) and have a great meal all in one trip.
La Gloria Ice House
So, after visiting a few clothing stores, I ended up at La Gloria Ice House in the Pearl Brewery Complex, along with the overflowing throngs that crowded Johnny Hernandez's restaurant Saturday evening.
I stumbled in by myself, armed with the latest book I'm reading for one of my classes, a cheery volume of social science called "Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats." I was ready to party.
Thankfully, so were the staff at La Gloria. My waitress soon presented me with a sweet-tart margarita on the house, the kind of mental lubrication that made all seem right with the world.
Tuna ceviche at La Gloria.
Soon, I was presented with the first course of La Gloria's dinner special for Restaurant Week, a scallop shell topped with an artfully arranged fan of tuna marinated in lime. The four slender strips of seafood appeared to be delicate, but their flavor was bold, as were the complementary items on the shell, from the habanero sauce to the single leaf of fresh cilantro on top.
I let out a big laugh when I saw the main course headed my way. After the dainty appetizer appeared a plate piled massively high with four beef ribs slathered in a tamarind sauce. Messy, yes, but I couldn't stop myself from just tearing into the top rib, even as the sauce painted my face while my teeth tore into the meat, all dense and juicy and satisfying. Thankfully, there were plenty of napkins on the table.
Corn cake with pineapple.
I could only finish two of the ribs, but I managed to polish off the two quesadillas with fresh corn kernels buried in the melted cheese and the grilled onion that arrived perched atop the mountain of meat.
Dessert was a slice of custardy corn cake with fresh pineapple, not too sweet and light enough after the meat to finish off the evening on a pleasant note.
So, where are you headed during Restaurant Week? Lunch menus are $15, while dinner specials are $35 for multi-course meals. For a list of participants, click on the Culinaria ad at the top of the page.
La Gloria Ice House
100 E. Grayson St.