A bit of excitement (congratulations, James, Caroline, & little Randy Jesus!) took me to San Carlos during the lunch hour on Wednesday. I seized the opportunity to have an impromptu date with my lovely wife at one of our favorites, The Refuge. We slid into one of the booths and began to peruse the menu, which constantly changes. Molly found and pointed out something called “Goofy Fries”. I immediately thought: Wow! Is a West Coast establishment finally offering disco fries? No, but my disappointment was quickly overtaken by the potential awesomeness of garlic fries topped with cheddar sauce and pastrami. Not just any pastrami, mind you; The Refuge offers the best pastrami I’ve ever eaten. Robustly marinated and seasoned, spectacularly moist, wonderfully tender, and thickly sliced. I’m convinced no better pastrami exists.
When the Goofy Fries arrived in a generous bowl, I started with a cheesy fry sans pastrami. I’ve had their garlic fries plenty of times, so no surprise at the sharp garlic punch. The cheddar sauce was darker (tasting, not looking) than I expected, made with one of their many Belgian beers, I suspect. Very fondue-like. Tasty, but only subtly cheesy; definitely not your typical Velveeta-slathered bowling alley fries. Then I tried a cheesy fry with the pastrami. Good, but the pastrami flavor overpowered the mild cheddar flavor. As Molly put it, they might as well have left out the cheddar sauce — just wasted calories considering it didn’t add much. Aside from the gooey texture, she’s pretty much right.
Bottom line, I give it an A for inventiveness/ambition, B for execution. Maybe try extra sharp cheddar?
Still waiting for disco fries to hit California…