In honor of St. Patty’s Day, we are going Irish on this one y’all! (Please just ignore the fact that we are a few weeks late. We can’t all be perfect.) On actual St. Patty’s Day we stayed in and had the Bassett Bro.’s famous corned beef tacos topped with cabbage slaw and cilantro jalapeño crema. They were stellar as always! We realized that our cravings were not quite satisfied by the next weekend though (even after leftovers for days). What were we to do? Being the problem solver he is, Ian decided to finally take me to Hooley’s Public House in Grossmont!
Hooley’s is located in Grossmont Center in La Mesa. It is an authentic Irish Pub complete with traditional cuisine and drinks. We came hungry and left happy! We were starving, so we decided to start with an appetizer. There is one appetizer that we always have to get when we see it on the menu. And that would be fried cheese curds. We are always on the hunt for the best curds. We previously had a favorite spot, and it closed! (R.I.P. South Park Abbey!) The cheese curds at Hooley’s are up there with some of our favorites. They are lightly breaded, I suspect beer battered, and perfectly airy. As everyone knows, the best cheese curds squeak when you bite into them. These meet that criteria! And they made a pretty good pull! They are served with a side of buffalo ranch, which really rounds out the dish. The spiciness offsets the heavy cheesiness and somehow makes it less dense and overwhelming.
While the appetizers set the bar high, the main dishes were really the stars of the show. Ian got the Hooley’s half and half burger. What do you think of when you hear half and half burgers? Half bacon and half ground beef, right? Well this is an Irish take on that. It is half ground beef and half corned beef. Right up Guy Fieri’s alley! This burger is a rush for your taste buds. You taste the ground beef and then the salty brine of the corned beef. It’s a mix you wouldn’t think works, but it does. It is then topped with bacon brined cabbage, cheese, and Guinness mustard. Every ingredient compliments the next and just works. He also got a side of Guiness onion soup and it was phenomenal. Not going to lie, it blew previous ones we have tried out of the water (including the one at Born and Raised). Sticking on the ground beef train, I had the Shepherd’s Pie. I’ll be honest, my last experience with Shepherd’s Pie wasn’t great. However, I just really wanted something warm, comforting, and classic. And I just really wanted mashed potatoes. Always. This Shepherd’s Pie was exactly what I wanted. The mashed potatoes were smooth, creamy, and toasty on the top. The filling was warm, meaty, and just no-frills comfort. I envisioned myself sitting in front of a fireplace with a warm cuppa. There were also veggies on the side, but I was pretty focused on the pie.
Wait, there’s more! So apparently if you check in on Yelp you get a free bread pudding. Even though we were stuffed to the gills, we don’t say no to free! The bread pudding of the day was butterscotch. It is every grandparents’ dream! Just kidding, young people like butterscotch too (thanks to Harry Potter and butterbeer)! We were both impressed by the size of the piece they give you! It was HUGE! A mountain of hot, carby goodness. The butterscotch is sticky and rich. The whipped cream was soft and velvety. Want to hear the most amazing part? We didn’t even finish it! We had to give up with two bites left! I think that has happened to us maybe two times before! After we finished, we went home and got in our pajamas and got in bed. So what if it was only 9 pm on a Saturday, we were content and cozy! That’s what dating is all about, right?
P.S. To bring this full circle, as I read this blog to Ian, he now revealed to me why the beginning of this story made so much more sense than I originally thought. It was Ian and Sean trying Hooley’s corned beef tacos that made them want to try to make their own! MIND BLOWN!