My new blog friend RubyVita told me I needed to go check out the Front in Northeast, and based on her description and the menu online, I thought it sounded like a winner. I had other friends going to the Bulldog for dinner (which is basically next door), but I’m rude enough to have dinner by myself and snub them, since it was someplace I hadn’t been before.
I met Smallz, HotGirlsBrother, ArkBoy, and some other folks at Mac’s Industrial Sportsbar earlier in the evening for some drinks. We talked about movies and how I hate the taste of beer and 30 Rock and other completely non-related topics. HotGirlsBrother tried to get me to go see Blue Ox play at the Triple Rock, but I had already planned to go to the Front to have dinner and then hang with some friends.
I knew it was a latin café of some sort, but I really had no idea what to expect. While walking to the place, I saw a leather daddy pulling a leather harness-clad tranny on a leash down the sidewalk. Apparently, there’s a bondage club next door called Ground Zero. I’ll be headed there eventually - don’t worry. The Front wasn’t that crowded, and I found a small table facing a group of 12 ladies on a girls night out. Creepy? Yes. The waitress came over and asked what I needed. I simply told her a Jack and Coke and a menu. Then I double checked to see how late they served food – 10:30. So I figured I’d better order everything all at once.
There were lots of things on the menu that I wanted to try. RubyVita wrote about this chicken sandwich she got that was good, but I wasn’t in the mood for something sandwich-y. I decided on the Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken). But I knew that wouldn’t be enough, so I got an appetizer that looked good. The plantain stuffed with feta and other stuff. I hung out and watched some of these girl dancing to the DJ spinning the tunes. And some of these girls were straight killin’ in on the dancefloor. Seriously, like it was for a competition or something. Hilarious.
My appetizer came out and looked pretty good, but I’ll be honest, apparently, I always forget there’s a difference between polenta and plantains. I always think I’m getting fried corn meal and I end up with a banana (that sounded dirty).
But it was a really good dish. The feta was a little “off” though. Normally I like feta, but this one was a bit tangier than usual. Almost to the point of bile. I know it sounds gross, and it was borderline, but it still ended up being really good with the shredded cabbage slaw on top. I certainly didn’t leave any on my plate or anything though. Decent, but more weird than good.
The Arroz con Pollo was another story though.
This was top notch. It was served with an awesome black bean and corn salsa and some chips as well as a bowl of pureed black beans. The rice was basically steeped in chicken stock, so it was very moist and flavorful, and the chicken sauce that was all over the top was really tasty. I couldn’t tell if the lima beans were in the sauce or the rice, but either way, it was amazing (I’m a lima bean fan, so if you’re not, then you might not like this dish). Some celery, red pepper, onion and other veggie bits made this one of the better rice dishes I’ve had.
I sat and watched the people running in the torrential downpour outside. I saw more and more d-bags in vests and sweater vests and fedoras and popped collars coming in, so I started to get a little worried, being that I was wearing a black t-shirt and clown-plaid shorts. I don't blend in well on the best of days, so I just watched the parade of not-the-same-as-me people stroll in (that's as tactful I as I can be, sorry). I ended up watching more of Dodgeball on the tv screens than I care to admit.
Afterwards, some of my friends showed up for a “Pants Off Dance Off” gathering. This isn’t as risqué as it sounds, since no one’s pants actually came off (I was hoping). But once I mentioned the earlier-in-the-night tranny to EJens, he hopped in his car and drove from St. Paul to come check it out. We hung out and had a handful of drinks and watched even more people dancing super hard like it was a competition. LOTS of arm-waving and squating down. Then every once in a while, they DJ would throw in some Cuban music and the non-painfully-white people would salsa dance – pretty amazing actually. There were a couple of bondage people the infiltrated the Latin club, so we saw some people dressed in a LOT of leather and eyeliner and mohawks. I was hoping beyond hope that the bondage couple would come downstairs and break it down salsa-style, but it didn’t happen. Again, I’m going to hang out at the bondage club at least once this year, just to check it out. It’s not my thing, but I do love a good show.
All in all, A great night at the Front. I will be back to eat again and who knows, maybe even to hang at the dance club, even though I’m not a dancer. Of the dance clubs I’ve ever been to, this was the least obnoxious and was also the most fun straight club I’ve probably been to (yes, I actually wrote that).
Top 5 things about The Front
1. Arroz con Pollo
2. Pretty cool dance club, even for a non dancer
3. Next door to a bondage club so there’s some awesome cross-over
4. All of ImposterJess’ friends were fun to hang out with
5. I’ve never been a fan of sailor suits until I saw the bartender here
Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd loved to try different foods from around the world. This would have been up her alley, especially since she liked to dance. Bummer she missed it
2. Feta in the plantain was a tad tangy
3. Plantains are not related to polenta – Totally my fault on that one
4. The waitress told me she had started my tab under “The Lone Ranger” because I was flying solo. Hilarious slap in the face. Good thing I don’t offend easily
5. There were a handful of whore-y girls dressed in those stupid sack dresses that make them look pregnant and slouchy. I’m not even the fashion police and I can tell you that was a bad choice