Gather around kiddies, time to share some wise words with you.
Did you know that hess opens before midnight? Yes, in fact there are people inside those buildings that do more than just pour tequila shots and pull you off the bathroom floor. Mind boggling right?! I didn't believe it myself so Kristin Archer from I Heart Hamilton and myself headed out there last month to check out the new menu at Che.
Yes, you read correctly "last month" - soOo I'm a little late, back off!
To be honest, I haven't been back to Hess since my McMaster days. I was completely suprised to see we have a Smoke's Poutinerie in Hamilton, and my beloved Funky Monkey was nowhere to be seen. It also looks like the management at Che's has changed hands a few times throughout the years and so has the menu. There might have been a rocky period in between but now that a full menu has been launched - that problem should clear up quickly.
It's always a pleasure when Kristen- whose cute as a button (seriously, this girls is adorable!), can get together to explore something new. Make sure to check out Kristen's blog on Che too!
Kristen ordered the Mac & Mex - tomato sauce, mixed beans, red & green peppers, green onions & al dente macaroni pan fried in garlic cilantro oil topped with cheese ($9.50). The flavours were a little on the mild side and the mac a little overdone - but there was something very comforting and nostalgic about this dish. It was definitely something you had as a school lunch growing up. I wish the tomato sauce packed more of a punch but I'm lovin' the idea of the dish. I'd probably order it again just for the nostalgic purposes.
A few months back, Nathan from Uncle Nathan's hot sauce took over the kitchen at Che - hence the new menu launch - so you'll see his house made hot sauces on the tables. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to head out to Che's - Uncle Nathan's has always been on my hit list. Sad to say, his brick & mortar shop is closed but you can still get his sauces at Che's or on his website.
I ordered two tacos: Fish Taco - Haddock, pan seared in garlic cilantro lime oil with jalapeno coleslaw, lettuce, mixed cheese & guacamole ($4.50) + Pulled Pork Taco - Uncle Nathan's signature pulled pork, lettuce, pineapple, roasted red pepper, jalapeno coleslaw, mixed cheese drizzled with burrito sauce ($4.50).
The pulled pork was good and the fish was cooked well but there were just too many toppings and although the flavours some what played well together they didn't quite make my mouth sing. But for $4.50 each - they would make a killer lunch. Each taco was massive - like huge, they could definitely crush any food truck taco out there, and they don't get stingy with the toppings. An excellent bang for your buck.
Lastly, we ordered the Fries Supreme - crispy fries loaded with mixed cheese, black beans, tomato, peppers, green onions, black olives, sour cream & salsa ($9.00). This was a massive portion and with the two of us going at it - we couldn't even make a dent! The fries were nice and crispy and there were enough toppings on each and every fry. Again, not stingy with the toppings.
Nathan came out himself at the end of the meal to say hello - super nice & friendly guy! We got to talking and next thing you know - I had all of Uncle Nathan's hot sauces in front of me. Here we have (from hottest to mild) Uncle Nathan's Trippin' Balls - which combines Scorpion Trinidad & Moruga Peppers (they beat the ghost pepper by almost double in heat), Uncle Nathan's FU & Uncle Nathan's Original. The Original you can find on the tables at Che but the others are an additional cost.
I can proudly say I survived "Trippin' Balls" but this one is strictly for the extreme chili lovers. I'll stick to my original Uncle Nathan's - which was a combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy - not to reference another famous hot sauce but - I had that s#%^ on everything. Nathans hot sauces are also all gluten free and made locally.
Che still offers there famous burritos and a pretty extensive menu of salads and soups to boot. The place doesn't offer much for ambiance but I loved the exposed brick walls and the service was friendly and casual. It was a beautiful day that day but Hess street was practically empty. It was a shame to see all the patios go to waste. Throughout the years I think Hess has gotten a bad rep for late night fights and shenanigans, people tend to forget there are a handful of eateries that offer more than just jagger bombs and trance beats. So check them out some time - during daylight hours!
38 Hess Street South
* apologies for the picture quality