Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Grand Army

A new place opened up not too far from me on State Street and Hicks. I have been there twice and it is quite nice.


Beers are a bit on the pricey side and you don't get a pint like in most places. But they have a decent beer selection. Next time I will post it but didn't get a clear picture. But, as you can see, I enjoyed my beer.


They have $1 oysters during happy hour, something of a trend around the neighborhood and one that I am happy to see. And they serve them with an interesting selection of sauces. I could use a bit of just plan horseradish, though. But these were quite good. I liked the chipotle the best.


I slurcked them right down. Not sure what kind they were. Bit of an unusual shape, elongated. But they were very good and decent sized. No complaints from me.


For dinner I had the smoked octopus and it was excellent. I would return just for that, but next time I am going for the steak tartar. If they prepare that as well as the octopus it will be dynamite.





I can't remember for sure what the Mysterious Chinese Woman had but I am guessing it was the striped bass. They don't have a real extensive menu, but what they have, at least what I had, was really good. And she really liked whatever it was she had.


 I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I forgot my camera and so the pictures were taken with a new iPhone and I don't think I had the settings correct. But you can see more by clicking the link.

Grand Army

Stay tuned, I plan on posting more frequently, but certainly not as frequently as I once did.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Birthday Party For Arden

Went to a fun birthday party for my friend Arden. He is one of the many regulars from Pete's Waterfront Ale House who are kind of like an eleventh lost tribe. We tend to congregate wherever a former Pete's bartender is working or for special occasions. This was both and we congregated at the Hop Shop on Columbia Street in Brooklyn.


The Hop Shop is kind of waterfront if you consider the water to be the East River and the front to be across the street from a container terminal.


But hey, who goes to a bar for the view in Brooklyn? Well, maybe if you go to Ruby's in Coney Island. This is the view I was most interested in.


I started out with a Fire Island Sea Salt Ale. Not too strong (5.2% ABV) and a fairly hoppy IPA. Dry and crisp but I didn't notice any salt. And I sometimes put salt in my beer, especially 3.2 beer. Not bad. That was followed by a Sly Fox Saison that had more of a kick (6.9% ABV). A very good hot-weather beer. But enough about the beer, this was about Arden, the birthday boy.


Quite a crowd turned out because Arden is a crowd favorite. And quite an accomplished photographer. I have been going to Pete's Waterfront Ale House since it was across the street from where it was before it closed. Arden has been going there when it was down the block, just Pete's, and was an ice-cream place.


And no birthday party is complete with out cake or, in this case, cakes.


So for Arden this was great, two of his favorite things, cakes and taking pictures of cakes. Just doesn't get any better.


And food. The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I were heading out to dinner so I limited myself to a small Sloppy Joe and an excellent deviled egg brought by a former Pete's Waterfront Ale House cook. Just the deviled eggs. Not sure who brought the Sloppy Joes.


The Mysterious Chinese Woman had two pieces of cake. You can't stop her, you can only hope to contain her. She wouldn't let me take a picture of her eating it, but this is her with our friend Susan.


And here is Arden with more of his admirers.


The Hop Shop doesn't have a kitchen, yet. They are in the process of putting one in. It does have a nice little outdoor area, though. I will probably re-visit when they start having food.


After the party was over The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I headed to a very nice restaurant that could easily become one of my favorites.


La Cigogne is an Alsatian restaurant and Alsace is known for their storks as well as for their food and wine. La Cigogne means stork in French but, disappointingly, there was no stork on the menu. I had a delicious beef stew over spaetzle but ended up taking most of it home. A couple of beers, the Sloppy Joe, as small as it was, and deviled egg kind of filled me up. The Mysterious Chinese Woman had no problem polishing off her pistachio coated salmon though. I don't know how she manages to do it. She only had one beer, but I don't really know what she ate at the birthday party other than the cake.

We had a nice time at the party, the meal at La Cigogne was very good, and even the Knicks game I recorded was okay. Only second-tier and newer players played, but Porzingus looked pretty good, twelve points, three rebounds and two blocks in eighteen minutes. Good free-throw shooter as well, which is somewhat unusual for a big man, for some reason. The game was worth watching just to see Clyde in a polo-shirt instead of one of his more flamboyant outfits. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Beers at Dive Bar

Dive Bar is affiliated with Tanner Smith's and has been around a lot longer. Twenty-seven years longer. Great place and one I had never been to before. New York City is like a lot of different villages and this is one I don't get to very often. Upper West Side about a block from Central Park.


This place, like Tanner Smith's, was packed. Pretty much a sports bar with a lot of televisions and a bunch of softball teams drinking pitchers of beer.


 A representative from from Central Waters Brewery was there showcasing some of their offerings. I only had one of their beers though because, well, the one I had, Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout, was 10% ABV and they went up from there.


This was quite the beer, and you will probably never have a chance to drink one unless you hurry. Only four kegs were shipped to New York, and only two to New York City. Dive Bar got one. I think they do sell it in bottles, though.

This beer had more flavor than just about any beer I have ever had. Lots of toffee and coffee with just a hint of cherry. And the flavor just stayed in your mouth for a long, long time. It would be a great winter beer, but I can't see drinking more than one at a sitting. Well, I can, but I would probably regret it. Aw, hell, Who am I kidding? I wouldn't regret it at all. It is aged in used bourbon barrels and at the end aged for another week or two with cherries.

I had an Elysian Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout (5.6% ABV) afterwards and under normal circumstances I would have thought that was a flavorful brew. After the Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout, though, it tasted thin. The (Mysterious Chinese Woman) said it looked like a Guinness, and she was spot on. Like Guinness it is kept under nitrogen. This is brewed with Stumptown coffee and the flavor really comes through.

Started out the evening with a Bell's Amber Ale (5.8% ABV) and that was also quite good. Like Tanner Smith's they have a really nice beer menu here. I was going to just have a half-pint but it was happy hour and the waitress said I had to have a pint for the same price. Who am I to argue?

Food here was really good as well. We started with the bourbon chicken wings, spicy and tasty. Then we had a catfish taco that was also very good. I will be back even, though it is a bit of a subway ride.

Now this wasn't your traditional dive bar, but there was a dive theme to it.



Not sure how the moose fit into the theme, though. Maybe one of the owners shot it, or had it for a pet, or something.



I hope they aren't heavily into recycling here. And I hope that just drains and doesn't go into one of their beer lines.


Had a great time and now I will have to try the third bar these guys own, Three Monkeys.

Dive Bar

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Great Beer Tasting At Tanner Smith's

I was invited to a beer tasting last night at a fairly new bar and restaurant, Tanner Smith's. I was quite impressed. The place was packed when I got there, but not with people for the beer tasting. There were only about eighteen of us at that. It was for people who blogged or wrote about beer. I guess I got grandfathered in, somehow.

It was a nice tasting, eight different beers and each paired with a small dish. First, let me say the small dishes were excellent. They make everything (well, not the beer) on the premises and I will definitely make a return visit. An owner of the place introduced himself and the person conducting the tasting was a nephew of the owner. Very friendly people.

But on to the beers, in the approximate order that I remember drinking them.

First was Tricycle Grapefruit Radler from 49th Parallel Brewing. This was a low alcohol (3.5% ABV) that tasted pretty much like grapefruit juice. I could not really discern any alcohol at all. It is refreshing, but I would just as soon have a Greyhound with a bit of a kick to it. At Tanner Smith's they use it as an ingredient in some of their cocktails, but I think plain grapefruit juice would work just as well. Not exactly my cup of tea.

American Honey Blonde from Yonkers Brewing. A bit stronger (4.5% ABV) and made with Hudson Valley honey. It isn't sweet and I didn't discern any notable honey flavor. It is a bit tart with nice maltiness and a bit of hops back-end. A nice drinkable beer.

Downright Pilsner from Port City Brewing. Moving up a bit in alcohol (4.8% ABV). I found it to be quite dry. Has a bit of a murky color and didn't really appeal to me.

Labrador Lager from Thirsty Dog Brewery. Now this one I really liked. This was a beer with some meat to it (6% ABV). It was very smooth with what I thought was a dry, faint citrus, after taste. It is a Dortmunder style lager which is similar to a pilsner but the water they use is a bit sulferic (not that you would notice) and that is supposed to bring out the hops. It is also a bit more carbonated than the average beer.

Citradog IPA from Thirsty Dog Brewery. This beer has a lot of citrus notes to it, all from the Citra hops that are described as a high acid alpha hop (not sure what alpha hop means) with a strong, yet smooth, floral and citrus flavor and aroma. It was both citruy and hoppy and had a bite to it at 6.5% ABV. Very drinkable but citrusy beers are really not my thing.

Simtra Triple IPA from Knee Deep Brewery. Well, this could get you knee-deep in trouble if you drank much of it. Quite strong (11.25% ABV) and very bitter, as you would expect a triple IPA to be. It uses the Citra hops along with Simcoe hops, and hops you will taste. It is a real stomach warmer and I quite liked it. Probably would never have more than one, though. A pint would do a job on you, especially if you drank it like a beer instead of sipping it like a wine.

Mudpuppy Porter from Central Waters Brewery. This was a nice, mild (5.5% ABV) that went down smoothly. One of those porters that you could drink on a hot day. Your basic porter taste, somewhat coffee and chocolate, but nothing over-powering. Very drinkable.

Siberian Night Imperial Stout from Thirsty Dog Brewery. Now this was kind of like a good balance between the Sinatra Tripple IPA and the Mudpuppy Porter (9.7% ABV). You get plenty of flavor, chocolate, coffee, and toffee with the bitterness of an IPA. I liked the bitterness because often Imperial Stouts can be a bit too sweet and cloying for my taste. This was most excellent and would be a nice after-dinner drink. It would pair well with a chocolate dessert. Or you could just guzzle a couple of pints like I would probably do.

My hats of to Tanner Smith's for throwing a most excellent beer tasting. I had never even heard of, let alone tried, any of the beers before. The hosts were very friendly and knowledgeable and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The owners have another bar, Dive Bar, on the upper west-side of Manhattan and I plan on visiting them tomorrow night. I will try to take some pictures this time. My camera battery went dead and I didn't have my cellphone with me. My bad. They also own Three Monkeys Bar on 54th so that is also on my list for a future visit.

By the way Thomas "Tanner" Smith was somewhat of a rogue, the founder and leader of an Irish gang called the Marginals who met an untimely demise, shot in the back while playing poker.

Tanner Smith's
high alpha acid hop with a strong, yet smooth floral and citrus aroma and flavor. - See more at: http://craftbeeracademy.com/hop-of-the-week-citra/#sthash.XcjhFMOt.dpuf
high alpha acid hop with a strong, yet smooth floral and citrus aroma and flavor - See more at: http://craftbeeracademy.com/hop-of-the-week-citra/#sthash.XcjhFMOt.dpuf
high alpha acid hop with a strong, yet smooth floral and citrus aroma and flavor - See more at: http://craftbeeracademy.com/hop-of-the-week-citra/#sthash.XcjhFMOt.dpuf
high alpha acid hop with a strong, yet smooth floral and citrus aroma and flavor - See more at: http://craftbeeracademy.com/hop-of-the-week-citra/#sthash.XcjhFMOt.dpuf

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Drink Like A Thirsty Swagman



Not everyone can drink in one-thousand bars in a single year, and lord knows I will never be able to do it again. But that doesn't mean you can't do some legendary drinking. A fellow I ran across via Facebook runs some tours that involve some pretty legendary drinking in some legendary places. The fellow's name is Kenneth Hart and his Tour/Drinking company is Thirsty Swagman. As you may guess from the name, it is based in Australia. Drinking beer with Australians is always a risky business. Kind of like drinking Vodka with Russians.

Anyway, he has an upcoming tour in August, the Ale Of Man tour, that looks like fun. Ireland, Scotland, the U.K. A few others scheduled for next year as well in Asia and Spain. You might want to check them out.

You can find all the information you need the Thirsty Swagman website which you can access by clicking on Swagman Pubcrawls under My Favorite Links to the right, just under the picture of the Mysterious Chinese Woman.




Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leftover Pasta Pizza

Well, not really pizza. But it is an easy to prepare breakfast or lunch that get's rid of your leftover pasta from the night before. This works well with almost any pasta dish but homemade pasta puttanesca is my favorite. I have also made it with leftover linguini in a white clam sauce though.

First step, and not necessary, you caramelize some onions. This is the most time consuming part because it takes a good hour over low heat to really get nice caramelized onions.

Quite Delicious When Finally Done

Then you grate up a bunch of Parmesan cheese. I find a small food processor works well for this, unless you really want to give yourself a workout. And don't be stingy with the cheese.

Dan's Time Saving Tip

Now for the fun part, mix the leftover pasta (homemade pasta puttanesca in this case) with a couple of eggs and about a cup of the grated cheese in a bowl and then plop it into a frying pan (I prefer cast iron) with about a tablespoon of olive oil to coat the bottom.

Plopped Pasta

Now you just turn on the heat to a low medium and then leave it until bubbles start to form on top and most of the cheese is melted. Then you top it with about another quarter of a cup of grated Parmesan cheese and put it under the broiler for about ten minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

Should Look Like This When Done

Next you top it with the caramelized onions.

Ready To Eat

Well, not quite. I cover the pan with foil and let it rest for a good ten minutes. Otherwise you end up with a mouthful of hot melted cheese. Then I like to slice it like a pizza and have it with a nice glass of Chianti.

A Great Little Brunch

This is good hot or even cold if you have leftovers of the leftovers. The Mysterious Chinese Woman always makes extra pasta just so she can have this the next day. Try it, you will like it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lost In Brooklyn

Wow, I actually got somewhat lost today, and in my neighborhood. I hope this isn't the early onset of Alzheimer's. I was coming back from my eye doctor in Manhattan and decided to take the N train back to Brooklyn instead of the usual local 6 to the Brooklyn Bridge and then transferring to either the 4 or 5 to Brooklyn. Anyway, the N skipped the stop where I usually get off (don't ask, it is the New York subway system). I got off at Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center, another stop I am familiar with. But I exited somewhere, well, different. They have redone the station so there are new exits. With all of the new buildings and the mirrored front of the Barclays Center I got confused and started to walk the wrong way for a couple of blocks. Then, when I recovered my bearings, to my horror I discovered that Hank's Saloon now opens at 11:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM so I couldn't stop in for an Old Crow and water to steady my nerves that were unsteadied after that horrific disorientating experience. Luckily I could get a beer in a paper bag (hah, they ruled against stop and search, although I don't really fit the profile anyway) at a deli just down the block. I am better now.

For those of you not familiar with New York laws, you can't buy beer in a liquor store. Or anything other than liquor and wine. for that matter. No mix, no olives, no nothing. All beer is sold either in delis or bodegas (small convenience stores), grocery stores, supermarkets, beer distributors and, interestingly, drugstores. But even my local drugstore has a good selection of beers.