Today was a fine spring like day and after doing a little work on the plant bed this morning I decided to investigate a downtown Seneca area, Ram Cat Alley. It’s a couple of blocks long leading to Main Street and an old train depot. I knew there were a couple of restaurants in the area and I figured I’d make a decision once I got down there and see what struck me. What struck me was Hogs and Hops with it’s outdoor seating on such a wonderful day.
The non-BBQ special of the day was chili and cornbread which I almost bit on but figured here was a chance to add just one extra joint to my BBQ database. The other customers and the owners knew one another and didn’t mind chatting while the work got done. To me that was a good sign if people are coming often enough to get to know one another.
BBQ sandwich plate it was for me. For sides I went with the mac and cheese and Brunswick stew. My sauce selection was unorthodox for a southern BBQ sandwich, peach habanero sauce. Hogs and Hops has, hands down, the most interesting selection of sauces of all the spots locally. They also had a pineapple habanero that I almost went with but the pull of the peach was stronger. Speaking of pineapples there was also pineapple upside-down cake. Oh and a diet coke to wash it down cause I’m watching my figure. I was happy to come off the 11 bucks and change for this meal.
The BBQ was smoky and moist and the sauce added a really nice sweet kick of heat. The Brunswick stew also was a fine tasting example of its genre of stew. It had more vegetables than Cole’s that I raved about in a previous blog but I was just fine with that. The mac and cheese was the best of any I’ve had in the area and better than most I’ve had anywhere. The consistency was good and the cheese was just stringy enough to know you had real cheese in this mixture. Really nice. The cake was a little dry except where the pineapple had added some moisture. That didn’t keep me from knocking it out though. I was very happy with my decision to spend the afternoon dining al fresco.
You may have noticed nowhere did I mention hops other than the name. Well apparently they have some deal with Brews on the Alley, a coffee and craft beer bar and if you want to dine indoors you can just cross the street and dine in there and get your beer on. That explains the hops but what about the Healthy Olive I know you’re wondering. Let me tell you.
It’s a little boutique store with way too many cool olive oils and vinegars plus other gourmet type stuff I didn’t know I needed until I went in. I don’t know how many different varieties she has of each but if you can’t find something that intrigues you, you are dead inside. There are little tasting cups so you check them out before committing to a significant purchase. I tasted 2 and bought 2. A blood orange infused olive oil and an aged cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar. Both amazing. Plus a little applewood smoked sea salt and a fancy Italian dinner, just add boiling water.
I will definitely be visiting again. If I bring the bottles back she knocks $1 off the price and there’s a punch card program too.
It’s been a great day already but on the way home I noticed there were two baby goats in the pasture next door. They were just gamboling all over the place. That just leveled up the day.