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The Saddle Dog at Blanco's

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When we were at Blanco's Bar & Grill last weekend, listening to some honky-tonk and watching friends get glared off the dance floor by superior two-steppers in Stetsons, we noticed a peculiar item on the menu.

The Saddle Dog is a hot dog wrapped in cheese and a flour tortilla, then deep-fried. It seemed too good to pass up, so we came back sober and ordered it for lunch this week, along with a bratwurst plate, one of the daily specials.

The kitchen combined the orders and made the Saddle Dog using our two brats rather than hot dogs. We're glad they did. They were delicious, with or without the accompanying honey mustard sauce.

The sides -- potatoes and pickled red cabbage -- were just plain awful, particularly the potatoes, which were so tough the fork wouldn't stab through them.

But that's not what we were there for.

The Saddle Dog was the real deal, folks, if you're into that sort of thing. Granted, it would have been better with some good cheese rather than what were surely Kraft singles, but that didn't take away from the surprisingly juicy brats. The tortilla fried up nicely, soft and buttery but with a tinge of crispness.

It seems to us there's a balance between deep-frying something too short and having it come out doughy, and frying it too long and having it taste like carnival food. This struck the balance. We'd order it again, with or without a bucket of Lone Stars.

Blanco's is at 3406 West Alabama just west of Buffalo Speedway in the shadow of several apartment towers that make it seem even more of an anomaly. If you go, say hi to Lisa for us. We forgot our wallet so she covered the lunch and let us pay her back.

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