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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Save a buck, happy hour at the Cup”

    These samosas are available for only $5 during happy hour. Although Hotel Congress the Cup Caf
    These samosas are available for only $5 during happy hour. Although Hotel Congress’ the Cup Caf

    If the Old Pueblo had an equivalent to the English high tea, it would be happy hour at the Cup CafǸ.

    Western landscapes adorn biscuit-colored walls, and brass-studded seating treads the penny-laced floors. A green hue cast by hanging factory lamps agrees with the eerie mood of dusk, pierced by an unavoidable view of Tucson signatures like the train and the Catalina Mountains.

    During happy hour, all appetizers are $5. For this price you and a couple friends can sample each other’s chosen creations and leave without feeling like you left all your money with the pennies on the floor.

    The Two Thompson Automatics, Heartbreaker and Chicken Satay were not only cheap, but they didn’t ruin my tender mood in between a full day of classes and a couple more meetings.

    Though my waitress couldn’t tell me where the name Two Thompson Automatic came from, it didn’t matter because the taste itself is so explosive at first that you’re bound to believe any cooked-up story of its origins. A sweet, crispy egg roll blankets sharp buffalo-spiced shredded chicken. To tame the fire, dip it in the blue cheese dressing.

    “”Though my waitress couldn’t tell me where the name Two Thompson Automatic came from, it didn’t matter because the taste itself is so explosive at first that you’re bound to believe any cooked-up story of its origin.””

    Wine drinkers recommend sipping in order of strength, and that’s exactly what I did with these appetizers. I chose the Chicken Satay for its mild manner: “”four skewers of grilled chicken marinated in coconut banana curry, served with hot and spicy peanut sauce and Asian slaw.”” If I hadn’t been in such a mild-mannered mood myself, I would have wished this dish had more banana and curry flavors, with less peanut sauce. And someday I’ll appreciate the role of slaw alongside so many dishes, but right now I’d say the slaw is at best an afterthought.

    If the egg roll and buffalo chicken didn’t give away the chef’s preference for pairing unlikely lovers, then the Heartbreaker does with herb baguettes, warm brie, green apples and artichoke hearts. I thought this dish would punch with this crowd of odd players, but it was nothing more than my own apprehension.

    The key to this initially daunting appetizer is to use the apples. The other four flavors are birthed by the tang of the green apple. Make as many combinations as possible with the baguettes, brie, artichokes and garlic, and you’ll grin from the warmth and richness. If you want a full-body tingle that’ll arouse the late afternoon drowsiness, you have to use the green apples.

    I hate to stray from the theme of the moody afternoon, but if you’re so elated by the appetizers that you lose track of time and need a late-night indulgence, a kahlua chocolate mousse promises sweet dreams. Often the failure of a well-intentioned dessert is too many flavors or flavors with too much strength. A mousse should neither be too sweet nor too heavy. This dessert is awesome in its modesty.

    Located on the first floor of the historic Hotel Congress, the Cup CafǸ is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

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