June 01, 2014

Fluid Bar and Grill, Courtenay


Driving South again from a trip to the North End of the Island, food was needed by occupants of my car. Not least the driver who was starting to see hot-dogs and not trees at the side of the road.  And there's a lot of trees up that end of the island.  So that's many hot-dogs, and that's just a bit weird.  So, my passengers looked up places to eat in Courtenay and we pulled off the highway into Fluid, just outside the centre of town, hoping for easy, fast diner-style food.

You've been inside Fluid, probably.  Not this one, but in a bar and grill just like it.  Maybe it was Earl's in down-town Victoria, or the Rugby Club in Vancouver, or a Cactus Club somewhere else.  The decor is brown stained wood, glass and stone work walls.  There's high definition flat screen TVs showing the sport channels.  The bar area is wide and open and full of backlit liquor bottles.  The servers are young, pretty and wearing black dresses that they might wear out on a girls night out.  It's that sort of place.

It sells Caesars as a special.  This one came with a half a pepperoni stick, an olive, a pepper, a Kinder egg, a small bracelet, a hammock and a life time subscription to the Reader's Digest. Among other things.  It was a big glass of spicy tomato-based booze.  And went down well with the drinker, which was not me. I was driving and stuck to diet coke to keep focused and water to keep hydrated.

Food choices were many, but simple variations on a theme : salad, sandwiches and pizza.  The baked Mac and Cheese with bacon also falls into the theme of comfort food, I guess.  And was cheesey, bacony and hot.  It would have been much improved with a little bit of spicy sausage to pep it up, but it worked.

On the burger/sandwich list there was a Quinoa burger (aka the Birkenstock burger) with added black beans and cumin.  I love a veggie burger that isn't made from fake meat.  I also love one with added bacon.  So I ordered it. And though my friends laugh at this choice often, this waitress understood me.  I liked our waitress, she seemed a little more competent at food service than most servers at these sorts of places.  Or may I just liked she understood that sometimes you want the flavour and goodness of vegetables with the added power of bacon grease.

The burger was served in a Pretzel bun with a good pile of salad and chipotle mayo.  And no skimping on the bacon.  A decent, wholesome veggie burger, with a rough cut, earthy taste and the soft, slightly mushy texture of cooked black beans.  The mouth feel of beans is something I like about pulses.  The slight grain in the flesh of the bean, wrapped with the light resistance of the bean skin.  It just feels right.  And if it feels right, it might just be good for you.

The fries on the side were just so-so.  I wouldn't write much more about them.  I also forget what the owner of the Caesar had to eat.  I think he was too busy reading the newspaper that came with the cocktail and playing with the small kitten they lend you when you order it.  He'd have kept it, but I have a strict no pets policy in my car, so it was regretfully returned to the smiling server.

We headed back south, with food in our bellies, and the stop had served it's purpose.  The roadside scenery looked much more like the Pacific North-west again.


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