Sunday, January 15, 2012

Barnaby's Cafe


OK OK its official I’ve found the cutest place in Houston. I’m sure most of you guys have heard of Barnaby’s, the story of Barnaby’s, the gay couple who opened a restaurant and named it after this dog who died when one of them was 12. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the story, I first heard about Barnaby’s when I walked past the original one at 604 Fairview on my way to  South Beach one cold night my freshman year; there are so many things to remember from that night that a dog and a gay couple really don’t factor at the top. At least not as far as the two of those relate to Barnaby’s, that is. At any rate earlier this week I ate at the Barnaby’s at 414 West Gray, and boy am I smitten.
So when I was younger I’d sometimes watch A Pup Named Scooby Do when regular Scooby Do wasn’t on, and this one episode really sticks out in my mind. It’s the only episode of A Pup Named Scooby Do I actually remember, I mean I’ve watched a lot of crime drama since then and they all start to run together, you know? Anyway so Scooby Do has this dog house, right? And he and little boy Shaggy go wandering into it one day and it’s so small on the outside but once they get inside, it’s a huge mansion! I only bring this up because that’s sort of like what Barnaby’s is like. I mean the outside is regular sized, you walk through a normal door not a doggy door, but once inside it’s just like you’re inside Barnaby’s dog house. And not in a smelly, moldy way either – in a cute, kitschy, all the waiters are homosexual men kind of way. The ceiling is painted this pretty blue color and on it are painted things dogs like: fire hydrants, socks, dolls, women’s shoes... when I first looked at the ceiling I’d planned on making a comical list here on my blog with things like T-bone steaks, Milkbones, tinier dogs, but the longer I stared the more I realized that everything I was going to joke about was actually up there. -19

The ceiling isn’t the best part of the Barnaby’s decor, however. Around the restaurant they have paintings of Barnaby in different locals. There’s  Barnaby in Venice, Barnaby in Mexico, Barnaby on the beach... I mean for a dog that’s been dead for so long he really gets around. I’m talking some exotic locales he definitely has a lot of Delta frequent flier miles... ladies. +21 I mean seriously, as a tribute to this guy’s childhood pet it’s disgustingly sweet. To paint the picture for everyone who’s too lazy to go to http://barnabyscafe.com/ and look it up themselves, Barnaby’s a cute, fluffy sheep dog and when he gets dressed up in mariachi costumes etc, it’s even cuter. I’m a pretty big fan of putting clothes on animals, as long as the animal is my dog Chester and the clothing in question is his super dog cape, and if God forbid something ever does happen to him, I’m having him stuffed and building an entire theme amusement park around him.

But I think we’re getting caught up here in the boring obvious things that make Barnaby’s great. You guys want some real arbitrary criticism and I’m about to serve you up a big stinking spoonful. So the waiter comes and he brings me my water and I stick my straw in it, and the day before I’d been to Torchy’s Tacos (don’t worry, review coming soon) so I almost yawned and said to myself, oh, a bendy straw, nothing exciting here. But I want you guys to understand: bendy straws are ALWAYS a big deal. I may have been a bit jaded at the time, having had two bendy straws in two days, but bendy straws are God’s answer to people like me – people who are too lazy to lift their beverage up to drink from it, and too lazy to tilt their heads in any uncomfortable angle. Bendy straws are the ultimate college student’s tool! It’s like not having class on Friday or buying your papers from some nerd off the internet! So +67 for using the minimal amount of effort to imbibe my H20. I’m sorry, bendy straws, that I didn’t give you the respect you deserve. I’m sorry, bendy straws, that I took you for granted.

Here’s what really chapped my hide about Barnaby’s. I’ve been trying to read more of the free magazines around Houston – FPH, Houston Press, these are the only two I know off the top of my head; anything but 002 Magazine really. Outside Barnaby’s there was a glossy magazine labeled Houston: Best of the City 2012. Being secretly a magpie I’ll take anything that’s shiny enough, and I hurriedly squirreled it away in my purse for further reading. Can you compare yourself to a squirrel and a magpie in the same sentence? Not important. Anyway, so I flip to the section advertised on the cover, the 101 Coolest People, Places, and Things in H-Town right now. Let me just first say that I hate when people say H-Town. It’s only OK if you’re a rapper or want to be a rapper. It’s only one character longer to say Houston rather than H-Town! They weren’t saving any space on the cover, they were just being ridiculous. -18 The worst part is the article in question! Of all the 101 things that are awesome as insert expletive here in Houston, I’d heard of maybe six. And out of those, most of them were beer related, or James Franco, or Case Keenum. So if you aren’t a grain alcohol or go to UH, then I’ve never experienced you around Houston, APPARENTLY. That doesn’t even seem fair! Maybe I’m not fancy enough to be a member of the Houston Motor Club - or even know that Houston had a Motor Club – but I still deserve more than just a stereotype of young adulthood. Even if I do prefer bendy straws! -23

Anyways. You’re welcome for this excessively relevant review on Barnaby’s. The interior of this place is seriously the cutest in the universe, and honestly the food ain’t bad either! Give it a try and send me your feedback at arbitrarycriticism@live.com!

Barnaby's Cafe (Montrose) on Urbanspoon

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