Bitches Food Club no. 28 {happy hour turned dinner at Ocotillo}

Octotillo

Originally, we had planned to have happy hour at Crudo, but turns out they’re closed on Monday. So, a few of us bitches met up at Ocotillo, located on the southeast corner of Third Street and Flower, to try out a few of their drinks and grab a quick dinner there instead. (Also, we had some gossip to dispose of – you know the drill.)

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Ocotillo has a modest but creative and sophisticated drink menu. There are only nine drinks listed but each one has a different alcohol and a few of them even have egg white, which is my new favorite party trick.

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When the #6 drink came to the table (that’s the name, not the number of drinks I had) I was delighted by the grapefruit cocktail as grapefruit is my mixer of choice and it was topped with cinnamon egg white.  Yes, this is exactly what I wanted.KD9A8184

Unfortunately, the ‘SHEEP’S MILK RICOTTA, LOCAL HONEY, SUN DRIED STRAWBERRIES IN BALSALMICO, GRILLED BREAD’ small plate was unavailable. Serious bummer. But, we decided to give the ‘MESQUITE GRILLED BROCCOLI, ROMESCO SAUCE, SHAVED PARMESAN, OLIVE OIL, SEA SALT’ small plate a try.  And, to be fair, I’m glad we did because the red tomato and red pepper sauce with a garnish of nuts was pretty spectacular. You can bet I will be doing my best to recreate it at home.  I also have to say, while the presentation of the large broccoli ‘trees’ are cool, I’d rather have more top to enjoy.  Just something to keep in mind.KD9A8189

On to the pasta dishes.  Emily ordered the ‘HOUSE BUCATINI, TOMATO, CHILI FLAKE, TOASTED GARLIC, BASIL, SHAVED PARMESAN, OLIVE OIL’ entree, which had a nice spicy bite, but not too overwhelming for the basic bitch. She also mentioned the pasta was hard to eat because it was a little too long, but once she cut it up {I know, sac.relig. for an Italain} it was more practical. They were just so thick and al dente that they didn’t twirl the proper way. The pasta did, however, taste amazing and came with grilled bread for sopping up the sauce after all the pasta is gone. yes, please.KD9A8187

Stephanie and I shared ‘BAKED LUMACHE PASTA, WITH ROASTED BUTTERKIN SQUASH, GOAT CHEESE, WINTER GREENS, SAGE, AND PARMESAN.’ While it wasn’t quite filling enough to share {at least for me}, it was delicious. Very flavorful and robust. The goat cheese adds a nice tang and complexity to the creamy sauce. I also love that this dish isn’t just pasta and sauce: The sauteed greens, sage, and squash help to create a more balanced and nutrient dense meal.

The Full Review {their menu here}:

Favorite Appetizer: The roasted cauliflower is a favorite, although not pictured above- I forced myself to try something new. It’s hard to disappoint with cauliflower and the peanuts and pesto sauce were a pleasantly surprising new take on my favorite vegetable. In the future, I’d still like to try the ricotta and dried strawberry dish.

Favorite Entree: I love the falaful burger (also not pictured) and the aforementioned baked lumache:  Both are perfect for me, as a default vegetarian.  

Least Favorite Entree: Last time, I got the Asian chicken dumplings and was not impressed. They tasted fine, but it was a small portion and not what I expected from the name as they were actually more like chicken meatballs with Asian sauce and garnish. I wouldn’t feel right without warning you, as my husband almost ordered it, too, and I had to say ‘no, it’s not at all what you’re thinking’. He opted for the ‘Ocotillo Chicken’ instead, which he claims was “alright”.

Favorite Drink: LOVED my number 6; can’t get enough grapefruit drinks with strong alcohol content.  Emily got the number 7 and it was also very crisp and refreshing – a sparkling, lemon, honey kind of deal.

1-10 Service {0 worst, 10 best}: 7. I’ve had better service there, but I showed up a bit late and, originally ,we were waiting for another person to show up. BUT, when I sat down, the server saw me and took another 5-10 minutes to even fill up my water {and the glasses were already on the table} and I get that when people say they want to wait you should let them wait, but, also, we found out the other person wasn’t coming and we were ready to order, which still took about 20 minutes before we placed our order, so checking-in with tables is highly suggested.  And on that same note, my water was never refilled – even though I had a cocktail, I like to stay hydrated. I sort of felt like our table was an afterthought. The food came out quickly and was delicious, so that helped. When I did the math for the check, the server was quick with payment and we appreciated that. Overall, it was fine, but nothing I’d rave about.

Cost {$  $$  $$$  $$$$!}: $$-$$$ While there are plenty of items on the menu for $9, the portions are small and almost all entrees are $15+. Once you add a drink in there, you’re at $25 before tax and tip…  For one person.  Kind of high for the portions, but I like to support new places, and the whole building and courtyard are brand-new and I don’t mind paying for a bit of ambiance.

Mistakes {corrections?}: No mistakes!

Reservations? If you want a table inside I would highly suggest reservations.  They have plenty of outdoor seating and it’s a large space, but I feel like the good tables {booths} are limited.  

Would we eat there again? Probably. I’ve been there before and I wouldn’t mind going again. Hopefully, next time they’ll have ricotta for the ‘Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Plate’.

Have you been to Octotillo before? Did you like it; why or why not? Any menu suggestions? I’d love to hear more about your experience and, while you’re at it, leave us a comment for where we should try next!

Until next time,

the bitches.

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