There are times when I see hunger coming my way fast but I don’t know exactly what to do about it.
If I’m en route, I steer the mobile unit toward one of the more abundant Cheap Eats arterials, such as Lyell Avenue, Ridge Road East and South Clinton Avenue, and peruse the menus and scene in the same spirit as channel surfing, hoping I will come upon the place that is worth my time and attention.
That is how I found myself last week, cruising up and down Henrietta’s Jefferson Road.
The line at Mighty Taco was mighty long. The menu at Takumi Japanese Steak House and Sushi had too many double digits (it wasn’t Wednesday, when Takumi offers half-price sushi) and the tables had too many empty seats. My options were thinning out quickly as my tummy growl edged to a roar.
But Sticky Lips BBQ Juke Joint, Howie Nielsen’s 11,000-square-foot sibling to his original Sticky Lips restaurant on Culver Road, had a steady ebb and flow of people trotting in with a relaxed vibe, waddling out with white Styrofoam boxes. It had neon. It had a dance floor and stage (appropriately dubbed the Sticky Stomp Stage). It had a lot of local beers, and even a decent smattering of regional wines.
There was life on this strange new planet, and I was going to live it up, at least for an hour or two, with my first allowance raise in nearly 10 years. The bean counters at Cheap Eats Central have formally raised my before-tax/tip allowance to $15!
While ribs, brisket and pulled pork are hallmarks of this or any barbecue joint worth its sauce, what usually piques my interest are the fringe dishes, such as pig wings, where fried pork ribs go Buffalo, or smoked beef short ribs (Wednesday through Saturday only); or deep-fried pickles with ranch dressing; or dare I say it, a vegetarian etouffee with deep-fried tofu. (Sticky Lips is the best barbecue place for people who don’t eat meat.)
This week, it was a BLT with cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes ($6.95) that screamed, “Eat me!” And I officially celebrated my allowance raise with four local brews samples from Custom BrewCrafters, Roc Brewing Co., 3 Heads Brewery, and Naked Dove Brewing Co.