Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Capucine's, An Old Favorite

Surely anyone who has followed my blogs for any length of time realizes that Capucine's in Manhattan, near to where I once lived, is one of my favorite restaurants in all of New York City.  As much, if not more, for the friendly staff as for the good Italian family-cooking style food..  I don't get there as often as I used to, back when I went at least once a week and often times more than that.  And even less now that two friends of mine who made up a regular group that ate their a couple of times a year have passed away.  Times do have a way of changing.

But, sometimes when I head to Manhattan on other business I do like to visit again.  And I had to head into Manhattan last Saturday to pick up a gift for my niece Susie who is turning 10 on Sunday.  She likes fishing so I decided to buy her a starter-kit rod and reel as a gift.  And Capitol Fishing Tackle Co. in Manhattan is a good place to shop.

Ugly Is Like Ugly Does

I kind of told the clerk what I was looking for and he pointed me to kind of a nifty package with a Shakespeare Ugly Stick and an enclosed reel that should be hard to tangle up.  Plus an assortment of largely useless but brightly colored jigs and stuff.  She did end up liking it, and we even went to a river where she spent about an hour futilely casting.

We (the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I, not me and my niece) decided to walk to Capucine's, but about the time I got to the Empire State Building, which houses a Heartland Brewery on the first floor, I had somehow worked up a thirst.  So I decided to stop in for a brew.

Hard To Just Pass On By

I may have been the first customer to ever have had a beer in a Heartland Brewery.  When they opened their first location in Union Square I was waiting outside early (I worked right across the park from where the were) and the manager saw me and let me in before they actually opened and let me buy a beer.  Or maybe he bought me one, I really don't remember.  That was back when they made their beer on the premises, making it a real brewpub.  They haven't done that for a long time, ever since they opened up their third location.  Now they have seven locations.  The beer is still quite good though, at least for the most part.

I started out with an Indiana Pale Ale which was a lot hoppier than I remember it.  I suspect they have gone with the trend of most makers of IPAs or IPA style beers and jacked up the hops.  A bit too bitter, in my opinion.

A Decent, But Bitter Indiana Pale Ale

I ordered the Cornhusker Lager for the Mysterious Chinese Woman and it was every bit as good as I remembered it.  Maybe even better.  Or maybe just in contrast to the Indiana Pale Ale.  It tasted really smooth and a pleasant hint of malt.  Really a good beer.

The Winner With Her Cornhusker Lager

They had a seasonal that sounded interesting, Orange Thyme Ale.  The tasting notes said:

Made with fresh thyme and a unique, "orangey" hop, this ale has a soft malt and citrus background, with a big floral, spicy nose and mellow finish.

Sadly, it didn't really live up to my expectations.  In fact I found it to be quite flavorless.  Certainly not any hint, either taste or smell, of thyme and nothing at all crisp and "orangey."  But, again, maybe the Indiana Pale Ale fried my palate.

After downing a couple of beers we decided to just cab it to Capucine's where we could settle in for a nice cocktail and an early dinner.  I was going to have just white wine but as soon as I stepped into the place they wanted to know if it was Martini time.  And Bar Man is weak so of course I said "Of course!"

Me And My Martini

I did order a bottle of wine as well, and the Mysterious Chinese Woman set to work on that.

Well, Someone Has To Drink It

To be fair, I drank my share of it as well.  But I did only have one Martini (Sapphire, up, with a lemon twist).  Probably more damage was done after dinner.  We both ordered fish in a lemon/butter sauce.  The snapper for the Mysterious Chinese Woman and sole for me.  Both excellent.

I decided to have a double espresso with Strega for my "desert."  The Mysterious Chinese Woman got talked into having a tiramisu, and it was served to her in style.

Personalized Service, With A Smile

And the Mysterious Chinese Woman did love her desert.

You Could Feed A Small Family

Of course while she was enjoying her desert I had a second double espresso and another Strega.  And, for some reason, I thought adding Sambuca to my espressos would be a good idea.  At any rate, we ended up cabbing home from Capucine's, for obvious reasons.

All in all, that was one expensive birthday present I ended up buying.

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