Letting our cares float away with dinner and a show at House of Blues Restaurant & Bar.

Vegetables in our pasta, a small percentage of alcohol in our root beer, chicken wings with class and refinement… these are just a handful of the surprises at a recent meal at House of Blues that made my date and I feel grown up.

We needed a night out like this. Past “date night” meals included the sad but familiar fixtures of home-microwaved mac and cheese balls and food truck fish tacos. I’m ashamed (but not afraid) to admit that one of us – let’s not name names, but it was me- may have even had three powdered donuts and spoonful of peanut butter as dinner the other night. These have their place in private and effortless dining, but our beautifully thought out and brilliantly themed meal at House of Blues San Diego gave us visions of purchasing comfy dog beds, moving into the HOB kitchen and sleeping at the feet of Chef Jeremy all the while hoping he intermittently drops chicken wing and pasta scraps on the floor. A girl can dream.

We were greeted by the warm and genial hostess, who promptly got us situated on the patio and hydrated us with a delicious Pineapple Chile Margarita. This cocktail was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet; the 1800 reposado tequila provided a classic and familiar flavor while the Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur and pineapple twist added a tropical flair. The lingering fresh lime was the perfect primer for our first plate, the Jamaican style chicken wings. These beauties granted my wing wishes – crispy and crunchy, juicy and flavorful, with a kick of spice from the jerk sauce. The tostones were mighty mighty (had to) and helped to absorb the delicious juice.  The wings were generously seasoned and we both experienced a first—not needing to use our dipping sauce! Usually I need to pour bleu cheese or ranch on the wings, on the plate, in my purse, and on my dog just to balance the flavors. These wings needed no extra help.

Pineapple Chile Margarita

Pineapple Chile Margarita

Next, we had the Cajun Chicken Pasta which we both attempted to save for leftovers but ate completely anyway. The spicy Cajun cream gave it that HOB comfort food feel that is so well known and appreciated, and the toasted corn and roasted tomatoes gave it a fresh and light experience. As with the wings, we needed no other sauce. The penne pasta was perfectly cooked and a great plate to share on a date. The only thing I would do differently next time is to make an honest effort to save some, because this would be an amazing cold savory breakfast the next morning.

Our dessert was an “Adult Root Beer,” and proved to be a perfect ending to cool and mellow the Cajun food party we had just consumed. The Coney Island Hard Root Beer was smooth with hints of vanilla and birch flavors and it danced and swirled in our sweet and full flavored vanilla ice cream.

After our meal we lingered in the venue, checked out the great HOB band lineup, and were even offered a pair of tickets to an upcoming show by our waitress! Next HOB show on ListenSD’s radar is hands down rapper P-Lo of Bay Area hip hop collective The Heartbreak Gang. Check out his song featuring E-40 below. If you like, definitely catch him after filling up on HOB chicken wings on Monday, June 19th!

Food Review by: Meryl Klemow