Being originally from the south, there are a few things that are nearly impossible to replicate. Most importantly: food and not the blistering heat and humidity. Whether it’s the barbecue, the fried chicken, or just “soul food” in general, there is just something in the water (or fryer) down there that you can’t get anywhere else.
That’s why when I first heard of “Tom’s Home Cookin’” in the historic neighborhood of 5 points, I was skeptical to say the least. Restaurants claiming “southern food” have let me down far too many times, but I must admit, Tom’s has got ‘home cookin’ down to a science. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Before I can tell you about all the amazing food that the good people at Tom’s are whipping up every Monday through Friday, I have to tell you about what brought me to this magical land of Jalapeno Cornbread and barbecued pork in the first place. I, of course, am referring to the cannabis that I ingested before heading over to 5 points for lunch. If you’re a regular reader of this column, I’m sure that comes to no surprise to you, but this time it was a different beast all together…
I had heard about the “vape pen” from a friend of mine at a Phish show a few months back and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. The concept of the vape pen is exactly as it sounds - it is a vaporizer that more or less looks just like a ballpoint pen. From what I understand, you can buy these pens anywhere and use a number of different holistic herb cartridges to provide you with everything from energy, to a sooth cartridge composed of Valerian and California poppy. I, obviously, was much more interested in the cartridges composed of Hash Oil that are being sold in dispensaries across Colorado and California.
You may be thinking to yourself ‘this sounds just like an upscale Electronic Cigarette that you see the old guy tugging on at the bar while he waits for his Beam and Coke,’ and you would be right. The only HUGE difference is that this pen contains (drum roll please…) cannabis!
There are both Indica and Sativa cartridges that attach to the tip of your vape pen and on average contain up to 200 hits. It also charges via a USB cord and will last upwards of 2 days on one charge! But, yet again, I am getting ahead of myself. I figure the best way to see if this holy grail of hash pipes is really as amazing as it sounds (because it sounds like it’s about the coolest thing to happen since they started showing unedited reruns of “Girls Gone Wild” on HDNET every night) is to pick one up for myself and test it out.
So upon introduction with the vape pen my original question was - how does it work? There’s no switch or anything to turn it on, the vaporizer is activated simply by pulling on one end of the pen, which in turns causes a light to come on so you know it’s working. After about a 4 or 5 second pull I could tell that I was getting a solid hit. It’s not the same kind of hit you expect from hitting a Volcano or something like that, it’s much milder and there is virtually no odor or “smoke” on the exhale, but I instantly felt the effects. Another massive turn-on of this device is that you can hit it in virtually any situation and no one would have any idea that you were even medicating! It’s like the Criss Angel (only way less terrible, fake, and annoying) of vaporizers! It’s not the “medicated” feeling you get from taking a massive bong rip, but it was quite effective, leaving me feeling extremely relaxed and just as hungry.
Lucky for me I had already called Tom’s Home Cookin’ to check out the specials of the day. That’s right, every single morning, Tom’s updates their menu via phone to let the regulars know exactly what is going to be on the menu that day. It also lets the “fried chicken Heads” know that if you’re planning on getting one of the legendary pieces of Chicken Fried Steak or Fried Catfish you better get there early, because much like the last piece of your favorite herb that your friend lost the genetics to (won’t mention any names), once it’s gone, it’s gone. Having lost out on the last order of chicken and dumplings to the kind elderly gentlemen in front of me last time, (he’s lucky he had a cane or I would have fought him for those dumplings no doubt) I knew I had to get there early.
So after “hash-tily” making my way to 5 points, I could smell Tom’s from a block away. Once inside Tom’s, the layout is kind of a buffet style. You pick your entrée and then get two different sides as well as a piece of cornbread and drink (they have amazing sweet tea) all for around 10 bucks. Everything sounded amazing, but I decided to go with the fried catfish accompanied by yams and green beans, while my friend went with the fried chicken with macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and gravy.
The fried catfish was as good as it always is. Cornmeal battered crust; nice and crispy on the outside while still maintaining a perfectly flaky and moist center (pour some of their house made hot sauce on top and it’s over). The green beans sat atop what seemed like a stick of liquid butter. This probably is not the healthiest way to prepare a vegetable, but more than definitely the tastiest. The candied Yams could have easily doubled as dessert. They tasted more like pie filling than a member of the potato family. I could tell that my friend thought just as highly of her meal by the sheer lack of conversation that was occurring. That was until I had the genius idea to break out the vape pen right then and there as a sort of mid meal palette cleanser (right). After a few minutes of deliberation I decided that this was the best idea I’ve had in a while, but my friend talked a little bit of sense into me and I decide not to hit it (at least not while she was looking…ssshhh).
We both ate until the thought of taking another bite was physically impossible and took home our leftovers in the signature Styrofoam box (that they serve all of their costumers in, not just the ones to go) and headed out into a new world. A world where I could vaporize hash virtually anywhere, and a world where the candied yams are even better when reheated!
Tom’s Home Cookin’ | 800 E 26th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205, 303.388.8035