As I stroll through the doors into HopCat on a rather dreary night, Prince's "Kiss" is playing on the outdoor speakers. Needless to say, the entrance with my dinner date couldn't have been smoother due to such an introduction.
For a Thursday night at 6 PM, the atmosphere is just what I expected. Somewhat busy, yet not too overbearing. Once could still of course be productive and write an article with-in said atmosphere.
For starters, my date and I both order a Euphoria. It's a milkshake IPA with coconut, vanilla, and pineapple taste notes. Coming straight from Traverse City, this bad boy boasts an ABV of 6.6 %. For five dollars, you get a hefty 13 ounce snifter. The pineapple comes on strong, but in a good way and complements the smooth, somewhat creamy beverage.
Now we move onto a food starter, the Pretzel Nuggz. For only eight dollars they come flash fried and salted with a warm cheese sauce as well as a spicy horsey-mustard sauce for dipping. An extra $1.50 will make it loaded with hickory-smoked bacon, red onions and pickled jalapenos. In the interest of not ruining my appetite, we elected to not add bacon. The nuggz and dipping sauces were perfectly warm upon arrival. While the cheese sauce was good and thick, the horsey sauce had a very strong and aromatic presence.
We both get through our "Euphoria" and decide to each grab a second drink. We ask our server for a recommendation and learn about a little something called Mr. Blue Sky. Produced by Griffin Claw brewing company, this American wheat has an ABV of 4.5% and only costs four dollars for a pint. I really enjoyed the flavor of this brew as it had the slightest hint of chocolate milk... according to my taste buds.
Looking around the place, makes for a visually appealing aesthetic experience. The floors are checker patterned and the walls are covered in one of a kind murals. Every table is smothered with covers of vintage Rolling Stone magazine covers. Our booth is quite comfortable; an exclusive date night round leather lounge if you will.
For dinner I order "Better Living Through Tacos". I decided on the chipotle-lime beer chicken option which comes with shredded pepper jack cheese, fresh pico de gallo and avocado ranch dressing. I order three of them.
I learn later, I could've just ordered two. In fact, they're so filling that I took one home for breakfast. I could really taste the spice in the tacos and afterwards, was very glad I picked them.
My date ordered the Buddha Bowl- consisting of exotic grains, quinoa, roasted cauliflower, corn & bean relish, spicy roasted chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion, cilantro, queso fresco, avocado and a cilantro-tahini dressing. Needless to say, a bit fancier than my tacos. But no matter the level of sophistication, Hopcat seems to always get it right. She was very happy with her dinner decision.
Everything from the good music to the askew tile in the bathroom makes this place worth going to. As some would say, the vibes are immaculate. My leftover taco was even still good in the morning when I ate it for breakfast.
I highly recommend heading over, whether it be for lunch, dinner or brunch. The staff are great, the place is cool, and the food is definitely where it's at.
Bounce on over to HopCat at 311 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor!