Friday, 22 March 2013

Lincoln Dine-A-Round: #2 - If it’s Tuesday, it must be Tacos

Taco Tuesday. You don’t have to say where you’re going. If you’re in the Lincoln area of New Hampshire (that includes neighbouring North Woodstock) and you say you’re going to Taco Tuesday, then everyone knows where you’re going. It is now a well established local institution, part of modern-day après-ski folklore.
CJ's Penalty Box Sports Bar
Downstairs at the Kancamagus Lodge at the east end of Lincoln’s Main Street, CJ’s Penalty Box is a lively sports bar renowned as much for its friendly atmosphere as its après-ski specials. On Sundays it’s meatloaf, Mac n’ Cheese on Mondays.
And on Tuesdays, the special is Tacos. And not only are the Tacos special, so is the price – they’re just $1 each.
The taco bar is regularly topped up between 4.00pm and 7.00pm, and you simply help yourself to however many taco shells you want, add the chilli-con-carne from the hot dish, maybe a handful of nachos and cheese, some guacamole and salad. Don’t go too mad on your first visit to the taco bar, because you can go back as many times as you like.
I’d been promising Julie and Megan I was going to take them to Taco Tuesday since we booked the trip. Gosh, you know how to treat your family, I hear you cry, but of all the restaurants we visited and excellent meals we had during the week, this was probably our favourite evening. This was mostly because it was just a fun, family night out. Megan loved the novelty of going up to the taco bar to get her food, and we all enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. The fact that we managed to grab the last small available table is a sign of how popular the bar is (especially on Tuesdays...) and I spotted a couple of guys I recognised from Loon Mountain enjoying a beer and taco themselves after their day’s work on the hill, which is surely good testimony.
Great value daily apres-ski specials at CJs
After her first plateful of hearty Mexican fare, Megan took a little wander around to study all the sports items on display, from local ice hockey trophies to professional baseball memorabilia (mostly Boston Red Sox, naturally). She was then ready to head back for more chilli, and not wanting her to feel conspicuous by being the only one eating, I obligingly accompanied her (any excuse...), this time choosing one of the tortilla wraps which happened to be on offer that evening, also only $1. Julie declared herself suitably sated after her one taco and salad and so did not make the trip for another round, although I think she did help Megan out a little bit as the second helping would otherwise have beaten her.
Megan had had one eye on the two dartboards ever since we’d arrived, so once we’d all decided we’d eaten enough, the three of us spent a happy half-an-hour taking it in turns to step up to the oche. I think more darts ended up outside the ring than inside, but it was good, clean family fun. 

Preparing to leave, Julie wondered how we go about paying for our food as nobody had actually taken an order from us and we had simply helped ourselves. In a reflection of  local life (people don’t think twice about leaving car keys in their unlocked cars when they park in town), it’s all done on an honesty system, I explained – when paying for your drinks, you just tell the bartender how many tacos you’ve had and she adds them to your bill. So, three of us had dined out on a fun feast of tacos, tortillas, nachos, dips and salad all for just 5 bucks. Obviously drinks were extra, but the whole evening cost less than $30 and was very enjoyable indeed. 

So next time you’re in the area, make sure you keep Tuesday evening free. For Tacos.

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