The day started out perfect with great seats, an electrifying atmosphere for the 1:30 tip-off and a nice early lead before the game fell apart in a mess of epically one-sided officiating.
By the time the game ended we'd had several beers apiece and ended up at the Flying Saucer for additional drinks while planning our next move. We found out our mutual friend Jamie, one of the owners over at the Blind Bear on Main Street, had put together a pub crawl down Main for that evening. We knew we needed food if we were going to make it to the end of the night so we headed to the Kooky Canuck, which is right down the block from the Saucer on Second Street.
The unfortunately-named Kooky Canuck used to be called the Big Foot Lodge before a lawsuit from another Bigfoot Lodge on the West Coast forced a name change. Despite the awkward name on the outside of the building the restaurant and bar is still as devoted to big drinks and big portions of food as it was when it had the Big Foot moniker. It is most well-known as the home of the Kookamonga burger, containing four pounds of beef, which has been featured on Man Vs. Food on the Travel Channel.
The 34-ounce draft beers at the Kooky Canuck are also appropriately large. They seemed like a perfectly reasonable beverage choice for a group of people transitioning from a basketball game to a pub crawl.
While looking over the menu I noticed barbecue nachos. I'm normally pretty dismissive of barbecue nachos. In fact, if you lead off a discussion of a barbecue restaurant by praising the barbecue nachos I'll take that as a sign that I shouldn't take your barbecue opinions too seriously. It's not that barbecue nachos aren't good. It's that they are so easy to make well that they can be used to hide sub-par barbecue. Good nachos generally aren't something to brag about. Instead, if you actually manage to screw up barbecue nachos you shouldn't even be in the restaurant business.
That wasn't a problem at the Kooky Canuck. The nachos were incredibly good. They had plenty of real shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and onions, jalapenos and baked beans included with the pulled pork, sauce and chips. Those things are all expected to be considered "good" barbecue nachos. But what really elevated them to the next level was the cilantro sour cream they were topped with. And, as one would expect from the Kooky Canuck, it was a generous portion that kept hunger from being an issue on the pub crawl and later return to the Blind Bear that followed.
Beale Street is mainly for tourists, but I have a lot more fun visiting the restaurants and bars on Main Street. On a related note, in a recent post on Downtown resident Paul Ryburn's blog he mentioned the free Taxi Magic app for smart phones. It's a handy app that is simple to use and highly recommended for anyone planning foolishness like a 1:30 p.m. basketball game followed by bar hopping and an eventual pub crawl.