Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
6 Cannery Village Center, Milton, Del., dogfish.com
Disclosure: No homies died for the pouring out of this Tweason'ale ($10.19/four-pack) — we just couldn't finish it. Which made me sad, as I've enjoyed every other Dogfish beer I've tried, including the fantastic fall Punkin Ale. But apparently the "off-centered," highly lauded brewery can do wrong, and this 6-percent-ABV, quarterly release is the evidence.
It has all the best intent, with sustainably grown, hand-pressed strawberries at its heart, buckwheat honey, and sorghum standing in for barley — gluten-free by customer demand. But like every other GF brew I've tried, it can't match the real thing. And the flavor is off-putting. Starting light and crisp, almost effervescent, it quickly deteriorates into something medicine-like (likely culprit: the sorghum's molasses-like tartness), and ending strawberry notes can't balance it. If you aren't celiac, reach for Abita Brewing Co.'s delicious Strawberry Harvest Lager instead. — Matthew Schniper
La Casa Fiesta
230 Front St., Monument, 481-1234, lacasafiesta.net
There's a 35-minute wait for LCF's outstanding patio seating on a Friday night, but we sit inside within 10 minutes. The staff is fast and cheery, there's a full gluten-free menu, and a black velvet painting of a donkey near my table makes me inexplicably happy.
I've never been able to tell much difference between New Mexican-style Mexican (served here) vs. Tex-Mex (virtually everywhere), and LCF doesn't help crack the code. Our large guacamole dip ($6.35) is under-seasoned, though the free hot salsa is great. The New Mexico cheese and onion enchilada ($8.85) with blue corn (65 cents) punches a ticket to Mushtown, texture-wise, and isn't too snappy, flavor-wise. A pound of mesquite-smoked chipotle honey lime ribs ($13.65) proves less tantalizing than it sounds: Though perfectly fine, with good char and smoke, there's no discernible citrus or honey flavor. One thing that does excel: the side calabacitas (OK, a true New Mexican dish). — Matthew Schniper
Flatiron's American Bar & Grill
2540 Tenderfoot Hill St., 576-2540, flatirons.biz
I like the menu diversity at Flatiron's (a member of the Concept Restaurants family, which includes the Ritz Grill and José Muldoon's). I like the semi-covered patio, the leafy trees lining it, and the fire pit. I like the thick potato chips drizzled with an ivory onion-dip-thing that arrive on a small plate, gratis, with your drink order. I really like our server, who, despite our seeming inability to nail down an order, never throws her book at us during the multiple times she comes back to check.
The problem I have with our meal, the new barbecue chicken pizza ($8), is the same problem that I've had in the past: It's decent, but nothing special. It sports nice, flour-y flat bread, and moist shredded chicken, but the "spicy" sauce might as well be KRAFT Original; the pickles and red onions come in a barely tasteable mince; and good luck distinguishing the Gouda. — Bryce Crawford