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$13 at Bar-B-Que Blues

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Where: Bar-B-Que Blues, 5404 Almeda, 713-533-1230

What $13 gets you: No beef but a lot of meat and a pink lemonade.

On this beautiful day, before the big snow storm arrives, we thought we'd travel to the Third Ward for some lunch at Bar-B-Que Blues. We'd been to the restaurant a couple times before it changed owners and names in August, and we could have sworn it was a Harlon's, but apparently we were wrong.

Either way, we remembered the old place had great food and was cheap, so we were excited to see what we could load up on for $13.

The walls in Bar-B-Que Blues are painted with pictures of musicians, with the one by the women's restroom dedicated to Pimp C, and an older gentleman sat alone in the corner of the restaurant, drinking a liter of Pepsi and drawing on a sketch pad. Something about that combination gave us high hopes as we walked to the counter to order.

We were immediately disappointed.

"I don't have any beef," we were told before we even ordered. "I ran out of beef for the day. Just have chicken and links."

We had already sampled the ribs once before and were excited to try something new, but because of the lack of beef, we had to settle on a two-meat plate ($8.39) of links and ribs, topped off with sides of potato salad and cole slaw. After ordering a pink lemonade ($1.50), our total came to $12.75. Too hungry to crunch the numbers, we just asked for a receipt and took the food.

Our lunch companion, who had been set on a sliced beef sandwich, settled for a chicken sandwich ($5). The guy preparing the food pulled out a plate, put a whole chicken on it and started pouring sauce on top.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I ordered the sandwich," our companion said.

"That's right. Sorry about that. A guy came in this morning and ordered five whole chickens from me," he said. "My head's in the wrong place and I'm still trying to catch up."

With that, the man cut up the chicken a bit, placed the whole thing -- wings and all -- on a slice of white bread, added some onions and pickles and poured on a little more sauce.

We didn't get beef, and the chicken sandwich was a bit different, but the meat was excellent.  The ribs were better than we remembered, perhaps because we prefer ours drenched in Blues's tasty sauce. The mustard potato salad was too tart for our taste, but we wouldn't have eaten much anyway, considering the piles of meat on our plate.

Our companion almost finished the entire "sandwich," but decided not to tackle the wings.

Recommended: Yes. Maybe not our favorite place in town, although if we had some beef, the meal would have been perfect. But we're still not sure how it cost $12.75.

Bonus: The Black Heritage Gallery is right next door.


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