I nibbled away at the jalapeno popper with as much dignity as I could manage. After the first few bites, the pepper's heat had gone from tingly to exhilarating to whoops-maybe-I-chose-poorly.
I looked over at David, happily munching away on his popper and made a face at him. "What?" he asked incredulously when he saw my reluctance to take another bite of an otherwise delicious bacon wrapped, fried, cheese and chorizo stuffed pepper. "They’re not that spicy!"
I handed my popper over to David as proof. Still doubting, he took a large bite. I sat back, and waited.
"Oooohhhhh no. Ow. Ow. Ow. You got a hot one!"
Vindicated, I leaned forward to take a big drink of my swamp juice cocktail. "Told you so."
As anyone who's eaten their share of jalapenos knows, spicy levels can vary from pepper to pepper. A bunch of peppers may look the same, but one of them is sitting there, just waiting to go all Leeroy Jenkins on your taste buds.
Alright, time's up, let's do this
So we were off to a spicy start for our meal at Swampwater grill. No one seems to know where this place is right off the bat, but when we describe the location ("know where the school is on stilts past the Precinct? Turn left.") people seem to figure it out.
The inside of the restaurant is pretty spacious, though a little dark. The draft list is on the small side, but sports some solid brews, which are served in mason jars.
I opted for a cocktail called “Swamp Juice.” When I ordered it, our server looked at me and asked me one question. "Do you like rum?" To my answer in the affirmative, she replied, "good, because it's mostly rum."
Mostly Rum: Truth
Swamp juice is neon green and you get to keep the cup, both of which are the kind of kitschy things that I love. It indeed had a lot of rum. If you go to Swampwater, get the swamp juice and be prepared for a nap when you get home.
We ordered a variety of other things. Ribs and pulled pork (this was the child's size pulled pork sandwich), etouffee, red beans and rice, a fried oyster po boy, the poppers mentioned earlier, and grits. We also tried a small side of jambalaya.
We enjoyed pretty much everything, but we had our preferences. We liked the red beans and rice over the etouffee. The oyster po boy was excellent.
The ribs and pulled pork were alright, but it's tough when you're competing with Eli's BBQ just down the road. It's a high standard to beat. Swampwater’s grits, however, were some of the best we'd had. The jambalaya was my favorite of all of the sides.
There are weekly specials at Swampwater, from crawfish pies (which they were sadly out of) to smoked prime rib, that we’ll be back to try soon. I’ll just make sure to exercise caution with those poppers then next time we’re in.