June 20, 2006

A perfect... three - C. B. Hannigans (Los Gatos)

You know it's going to be an interesting evening when the most photograph-worthy item on the table is the cocktail napkin...

CB Hannigans is one of those neighborhood haunts that seeks to be all things to all people. Family fare after the soccer game. Bar food and beer during whatever playoff game is droning on the big screens (in our case, Miami trouncing Dallas). A venue for signing multi-million dollar startup ventures during the dot.com boom. And if the napkin's any indication, an opportunity to connect with Mr. or Ms. 'Right Now.'

We were there seeking a snack after bocce (since the food at Campo is overpriced and inconsistent).

To be completely fair, Hannigans is a fairly regular 'after-bocce' venue (our other venue - a gelateria - just doesn't say "dinner") and the food's generally good enough (or at least consistent enough) that we go back. But if tonight had been my initial experience, I'm not sure I'd have given it a second chance.

I know the bar food is passable -- it's not the best calamari / nachos / quesadilla / hot wings I've ever had, but it's consistently well above average. But I'm trying to be better about eating junk -- especially late night junk. So I chose the Chinese Chicken Salad. I chose poorly.

The salad failed on practically every count. The only thing it had going for it was that the lettuce was VERY fresh. But it was iceberg. Which I consider a receptacle for more interesting salad ingredients and salad dressing. And this went downhill fast from fresh.

I'm not sure how a single chicken breast fillet can be both dry and rubbery. But somehow this succeeded. The rice noodles were clearly mass-produced and past their prime -- they were similar to the tasteless plastic noodles that topped prepackaged Chung King Chinese Food that brings back unpleasant memories from my earliest employment as a babysitter. And the salad dressing... the salad dressing tasted like a 50-50 mixture of rice wine vinegar and dishwater.

I really hate it when it feels like I'm punished for trying to behave. Next time (despite this failure, I know there'll be a nex time) I'll try a sandwich or a mini veggie pizza... or throw caution to the wind and head down the street for a double-chocolate gelato.