Weekly Kitchen happening a reason to put off cooking on Tuesdays
Q: What do timely political protests, the United Nations, 1980s food favorites, the Muppets and heart-smart grub have in common?
A: They've all been themes for the Taco Tuesday fiesta that's been regularly held at The Kitchen since the event space/eatery opened about four years ago.
“The answer is always tacos,” it sagely says on a photo I saw while scrolling through The Kitchen's Facebook page. Although The Kitchen — a roomy and handsome, multi-purpose, brick-walled facility in German Village — often conducts patron-participatory dinner parties that require reservations, when Tuesdays roll around, the place lets its hair down with an anyone-can-stop-in shindig.
When I popped in for Taco Tuesday a couple of weeks ago, The Kitchen was rocking and rolling with a near-packed house of revelers who all seemed to be eating, drinking and laughing at the same time.
Here's the drill: 1) Get in line to order food and beverages, scanning the nearby chalkboard revealing the menu du jour. 2) After ordering and paying, drop your ticket off at the big, open kitchen. 3) Position the order number you'll receive on one of the accommodating tables (many are communal-style) accessorized with fresh flowers and tea candles. 4) Have fun.
Because the night I visited was just after the vernal equinox occurred, “spring” was that evening's theme. My first taste of the celebrated season came in a refreshing sip of a special cocktail — two or three are usually offered — made with Watershed gin, Lillet, Cointreau, lemon and a drop of absinthe. Named, with good reason, “Pep in Your Step” ($9), the delicious drink tasted like crisp, boozy lemonade with a faint black licorice finish.
The menu changes weekly, but expect it to range from meat-loving to veggie-centric and to offer sides, a snack, soup, salad, desserts, plus about five kinds of tricked-out tacos ($3 each) and two quesadillas ($7 each).
The “Garden Prep” tomato-based vegetable soup I tried ($3) was a winner and a bargain. Although its ingredients — beans, herbs, celery, carrots and barley — whispered “minestrone,” its flavor and texture declared “gumbo.”
Every taco I sampled that night — even the few that arrived somewhat cool — provided a multi-faceted flavor burst, but my favorite was the spicy ground lamb, pea and yogurt combo that tasted like the Indian curry called keema matar. I was also fond of the Japanese-influenced seared tuna steak and the beet-bean-habanero tacos.
Protip: Quesadillas such as the delightfully crispy, cheesy and slightly sweet chorizo one I sampled are considerably larger and heartier.