Firecrackers aren't made of of cardboard and black powder at Patrick's Steaks & Spirits; they're made of sweet corn, sweet cheese and jalapenos.
The Firecracker Corn Dip, which sells for $7.50 and comes with corn chips, is something you probably are supposed to share, but I ate all of it.
Jon Parks, who calls Patrick's his "second home," said he orders the Firecracker about once a month. "I like the heat," said Parks, who was in the bar area of the restaurant. The dip seems to go well with his Absolute vodka and cranberry, he added.
Josephine Chetter, who most bar habitues know as "Jo Delahunty," is a server at Patrick's. She also worked at Kudzu's, Dan McGuinness and Celtic Crossing. In her Irish brogue, Chetter told me she likes the "rich, creamy, hot taste" of the Firecracker.
It's "got a kick," added server Rod Thompson.
They introduced the dip at Patrick's six years ago, said owner Mike Miller. "It's a signature item for us," he said.
He got the recipe from his buddy, Justin McAlpin. Miller used to eat the dip at McAlpin's house. "It becomes addictive," said Miller. He used to tell McAlpin: "Hey, you might want to make a double batch tonight."
"I like hot things," Miller said. "Anything that has jalapenos. It's the blend of sweet corn, the richness of the cream cheese and the heat of the jalapenos."
McAlpin said the original recipe came from Robin Donovan, sister of his wife, Jennifer, but his wife "kind of refined it," he said.
"Her sister brought that dip to our wedding reception and gave her the recipe," McAlpin said. "We served it at every gathering at our home for years."
Asked why he liked it so much, McAlpin said, "It was creamy and it had a little heat from the jalapeno and the corn just gave it a crunch.
"It's a very unusual dish. All the aspects of it complement each other well."
Donovan, who lives in Milton, Ga., near Atlanta, said she and her husband, Dan, "kind of made it up" 10 years ago. "We had the cream cheese and corn and added jalapano and butter," she said. "Usually, anywhere we go we take it. And anywhere we go we have to give them the recipe."
Miller came up with the name "Firecracker" for the dip. "It's just got that pop," he said.
Patrick's Steaks & Spirits is at 4972 Park; (901)-682-2853.
Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; firstname.lastname@example.org