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Monday, October 27, 2008
Review by Jerry L. Nelson
Dorothy Parker is reputed to have once said to one of her friends at the Algonquin Round Table, and I may be paraphrasing here, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, come sit over here by me,” but you get my drift, I hope. It’s amazing how the brain connects things. As I wrote that line about Ms. Parker, I flashed on the time when my wife, sister-in-law and niece, in an effort to save some money on decorating our wine cellar, stenciled the floor to look like a hand crafted tile floor imported from Italy and laid by an artesian. As they stood there rather frazzled looking after a day of backbreaking effort, waiting on edge for my compliments, the best I could come up with was “Well, it doesn’t suck.” I’ve always been a quick thinker when pressed into a corner. As time has passed since that creative phraseology crossed over my lips, I now rather enjoy walking into the cellar and glancing down at the floor knowing there’s not another one like it. But I digress.
Our most recent culinary excursion, “our” being friend and me, again sans spouses, was to Palmer’s Restaurant, Bar, and Courtyard in San Marcos, located on the corner of Ranch Road 12, also known as Moore Street, and Hutchinson, just a few blocks around the corner from the Court House Square. The first thing you’ll notice about Palmer’s is that you won’t notice it. For more than thirty years it has occupied this greenery covered corner lot and I must admit I have passed by for years and never really saw it.
Not being deterred by its lack of identity, Friend and I ventured in one recent fall evening and were given our requested seats in the courtyard, as the weather was seemingly perfect for us. Little did we know, there were creatures lurking in the bushes for which it was also perfect, as we became the main course for hundreds of non-discerning mosquitoes. Fighting them off long enough to enjoy a very nice Grilled Tuna appetizer ($8.00) we retreated into the dining area of the bar and were seated at a small table near a very large circular fireplace, fortunately not in operation at the time, but sure to take the chill out of a cold, winter evening.
Once our waiter found us, the evening continued with dinner. Friend requested the Grilled Chicken with mixed veggies and a rice pilaf ($16.95). It really looked good, right down to the grill marks on the chicken breast. Friend was not disappointed. The flavor and texture were quality as well.
I opted for the Bone in Pork Chop. It came with your standard garlic mashies and surprisingly good corn niblits, not cut from the cob, and most likely previously frozen, but none the less, quite good and reasonably priced at $18.95. Since Friend had chicken and I had pork, we compromised on a soft White Horse Pinot Noir with which to swill it all down. A good choice it turned out for both of us.
Wanting to try as much as we could, we requested dessert menus. It’s beginning to seem as if more and more restaurants are getting their dessert ideas from the same shows on the food channel. Nearly every place you go these days offers what’s becoming standard choices of Carrot Cake or Key Lime Pie and some form of chocolate decadence. I guess the two of us are falling into a rut as we ordered the Key Lime and the Carrot Cake ($6.00 each). Nothing outstanding here but not disappointing at the same time -- adequate for lack of a better description.
Overall, a pleasant foray, not into the bowels of culinary hell but a bit short of heaven at the same time. Most of our experience was enjoyable and the prices were reasonable. Service was smooth and polite.
I guess I can only equate our experience with my pseudo tile floor. The more I think about it, the more pleasant it becomes; some place I’ll enjoy returning to because it didn’t suck.