Thursday, January 31, 2008
claremont after hours
Last night we were hunting for supper after 9pm, which is well past the roll-up-the-sidewalks hour in our frontier of the West Inland Empire. We'd eaten at Viva Madrid the night before (I had already disposed of all perishables from the fridge), and we weren't in the mood for the Press or KBBQ, so we ended up down at the Village Expansion.
We have been to Hip Kitty three times, one of which we actually got served, and I'm on record as thinking that place can't possibly make it. But it was open late, and cheese fondue sounded good, so we gave it a shot.
The first plate of words I have to eat is the business prospects of the place: As the song goes, that joint was jumpin'. And it was jumpin' with clientele that one doesn't usually see in Claremont -- longhairs, hipsters, Fred Sanford clones, all sorts of folks. It was a pretty good vibe overall. It was an open jam night (maybe they all are, I dunno), and even for non-jazz fans like us, it was entertaining watching the anthropology of each song and set. And the music seemed pretty good too.
Hip Kitty still doesn't seem like a bar run by experienced professionals, but our fondue was mighty tasty. They have four different choices of cheese fondue (as well as other fondues -- meat, chocolate, etc.), but we went with the classic -- gruyère, garlic, and brandy. (Yes, I know, it should be kirschwasser, but the brandy was just fine.) It was served with teacups full of breadcubes; apples & grapes; and broccoli florets & carrot fingers. The bread was the tastiest; I ended up just nibbling on the other things sans cheese.
K. had a Pomona Queen (three cheers for the Dale Brothers!), and I had a glass of Fat Cat pinot noir (eh, it was okay -- but it was several bucks less than the more enticing options). All told we spent about $35 before tip. They didn't charge us the "$10 per person entertainment fee" threatened by a sign, plus we got to snuggle up in a big round booth, like 1950s cool cats.
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Speaking of the New Mall, over at Claremont Insider, we learn that the Maui Wowie franchise is already for sale, for a mere $240k for everything. There goes the dead pool I was going to organize. I would have lost, anyway; my money was on Edible Arrangements, which, according to pal who lives in the nabe, is hanging in there just fine (to my complete mystification).