Friday night we joined Steve & Tammy Kirks and Greg Holman for a happy hour at Hickok’s. During the course of the time there we goaded Chris into creating a drink for the table with suggestions of 417 bartender of the year. He came up with what is now being called "The Steve" which was quite good – a modified Rum Runner with whiskey. The base rules were 4 ingredients, no vodka, and whiskey. Chris did add a fifth ingredient – grenadine – for a splash of color. The drink was quite good. I’ll be doing some experiements soon to get exact proportions for a recipe. The goal is for The Steve to be the popular new drink.
Leaving Hickok’s we went to Fire & Ice which is located in the Oasis hotel at the north side of town. A lot of money has gone into restoring what was once a run-down facility and the decor is great. The bar at Fire & Ice also includes the only ice bar in the city – a strip of super chilled metal that will keep your drink cold. The food is exceptional with good prices something we noticed when Sarah and I went there during restaurant week. With a second visit Fire & Ice didn’t disappoint. We intoduced The Steve to the bartender there and everybody ordered different food and then we sampled around the table.
Tammy had the cashew chicken skewers. I’m not a fan of cashew chicken and these were great. The chef at Fire and Ice is related to the man who invented cashew chicken and it’s not shocking that this is better than anyplace else in town – I’m going to have go back when I can get a full order, not just the skewers (on Wednesdays I think).
Steve ordered meatloaf which was made with pork, beef, and chorizo. It’s served with a side of mashed potatoes and a vegetable. The chorizo adds a great spicy flavor. I’m going to have to try adding it to my smoked meatloaf recipe.
Sarah ordered crab cakes – her standard appetizer. We’ve had crabcakes just about everywhere and these were good but nothing to write home about. The sauces with the crab cakes were more unique than the cakes themselves.
I had the empandas – spicy beef baked into a pocket pie with a spicy dough. I was originally concerned about them being beef, but ordered them anyway. I wasn’t expecting them to be spicy which was a great surprise. I also had a side of their great garlic mashed potatoes.
Greg ordered a duck napoleon and the crab and corn bisque. The presentation of the napoleon was great – duck meat, a salsa, and quacamole all layered between crispy pastry (possibly fried tortilla?). The duck was colder than I would have liked – room temperature would have been better than chilled. The crab and corn bisque was outstanding. It was rich and creamy with significant flavor from both the crab and the corn. Often places will go heavy on one which overshadows the other – not the case.
Overall it was a great evening with friends. Fire and Ice will get more visits in the future despite it’s location in north Springfield.