Friday, April 09, 2010


I decided to go back to La Mancha for another taste of Spain, but wanted to stop into Pete's Waterfront Ale House to say hello to the world's friendliest bartender, Gaid, and to have a pre-dinner beer.  And I got a wonderful surprise, Mr. Popcorn is out of rehab and seems to be showing no ill affects.

Welcome Back

For this we are all grateful.

I had a draft IPA and the Mysterious Chinese Woman had a nice spicy Weiss beer, but I will be darned if I can remember what kind they were.  I should have taken notes.  Perhaps because we were just on the way to somewhere else I wasn't really all that focused.  Plus Mr. Popcorn distracted me.

We swung by La Mancha, but it wasn't open yet.  I thought it was supposed to be open at 2:00 P.M., but somebody inside said come back in half-an-hour.  What was Bar Man to do with time to kill?  Well, he could always go next door and have a beer.

The Atlantic Chip Shop

They have a nice selection of beers in here, but not exclusively British beers. In fact, very few of their draft beers were British. The bartender, Diana, said the selection of beers varied depending upon the time of year.

Diana, Kind Of Hiding

I had a Belhaven Scottish Ale which was about the most British thing they had, unless you wanted a bottle. I will probably try to stop in here next Thursday for the Scmaltz Brewing Company promotion. They are based in San Francisco and are most known for He'Brew, The Chosen Beer. However, they also brew in New York and have a line of Coney Island craft beers that include Coney Island Lager; Albino Python, a white lager brewed with spices; Sword Swallower, a steel hop lager - well, you get the point.

Should Be Fun

I am hoping they will pass out some swag. One of their Tee Shirts would be nice.

After finishing up my beer I went back to La Mancha that still wasn't "really" open. We were told it was because they had a big party the night before and the place was kind of a mess. Must have been a good party.

La Mancha

They still had the grilled sardines, kind of a stand-by, and then a couple of specials that sounded good, grilled octopus and also escargot that was somehow mixed with chorizo and cheese. Sounded weird, but hey, you know I had to try it.

All Kinds Of Good Stuff

My Little Plate

The Corizo And Cheese Stuffed Escargot

And, of course, the delicious Sangria that they make on the spot when you order it.

Best Sangria In Town

It was a bit on the cool side yesterday, but nice and sunny. It is fun to just sit at the bar here and gaze out at the street and watch the world pass by.

A Street View

Oh yeah, I told you about the Jamon Serrano Ham. Never heard of it before, well let me enlighten you:

"There is nothing more Spanish than jamón serrano. This country ham is a national treasure shared in Spain by all walks of life. Cured for at least a year, it has a much deeper flavor and firmer texture than its closest relative, Italian prosciutto. Serve as a 'Tapa' with cheese and olives."

"Jamon serrano country ham is a source of great pride among Spaniards. From time immemorial in the mountains of Spain, they have rolled fresh hams in sea salt and hung them from their rafters to cure. A year to eighteen months later the jamones are ready to mount on special stands that are designed so that anyone can stop by, carve a few paper-thin slices, and enjoy an impromptu snack – perhaps with some manchego cheese."

Jamone Serrano Ham On Its Special Stand

After our lovely meal and lingering over our sangria I decided to head back to Pete's Waterfront Ale House. I passed Gaid, the world's friendliest bartender, who sadly pointed out the demise of Mezcal's.

Mezcal's, It Has Ceased To Be

Proof Positive

This is what happens when you get greedy landlords. You triple the monthly rent of a place that has been a neighborhood institution as long as I can remember and put them out of business. Now I am betting this place will just stay empty for months and then who knows what will appear. Probably an upscale apparel shop or something. We shall have to just wait and see.

Anyway, I was going to have that Weiss beer that the Mysterious Chinese Woman had earlier but then at the last minute decided I wanted a bottle of a smoked beer. Luckily they had just gotten one in.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock

Aecht Schlenkeria Rauchier Urbock is unpasteurized and is a ruby brown with just a thin head. Not really very carbonated but very malty. It has a distinctly smokey nose that smells kind of like a smoked ham. Quite pleasant if that is what you are looking for. It is a relatively reasonable 6.6% ABV and I hope they still have it the next time I stop in here for ribs. I would pair really well with them.

No Complaints Here

It was a might fine day and tomorrow, Saturday, should be another one. The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I are heading to The Gate in the early afternoon for their Cask Ale Fest and then drifting down to Brazen Head later for their Clam and Oyster Shuck. Maybe I will see you along the way.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Like Father Like Son

Is it just me, or does it seem a bit bizarre that in Nike's new commercial featuring Tiger Woods there is a voice-over of his father, who routinely cheated on Tiger's mother?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Me And Frank

People often remark on how much I remind them of Frank Sinatra.  I think I can see why, although I had much better, or at least bigger, hair.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Only In New York

The police had a crackdown on bicycle riders the other day, ticketing them if they rode their bikes outside of the designated bicycle lane.  This despite the fact that the bicyclists were doing so to avoid cars that were illegally parked in the bicycle lane.  It seems that the police ignored the cars but positioned themselves to ticket the bicylists who avoided them.

The irony: There is no law in New York that requires bicyclists to ride in bicycle lanes.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Stimulating The Economy

I popped into the Beer Party™ Headquarters last Friday to work on an economic stimulus plan.

Beer PartyHeadquarters

I was sad to see that in my prolonged absence while I was in Mexico an old friend went missing.

Oh No, Mr. Popcorn Is Gone

I can only hope that it is nothing serious and that his recovery will be complete.

Get Well Soon

Ah, but on to my economic recovery program. How about ordering a $29 bottle of beer? The locally brewed Black Ops.

You Didn't Hear It From Me

The blurb on the back of the bottle plays it close to the vest:

Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly "Black Ops" was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they are talking about.

Mine, All Mine

Of course first you have to open it.

So Far, So Good

Hmm, Just A Twist Of The Wrist

Nothing To It

Almost There

Ah, Down The Hatch

Okay, so what's the verdict. Well, it has a bucketful of flavor, that's for sure. Rich and heavy with definite chocolate, caramel and coffee hints. I thought of this as like buying a bottle of wine with dinner, thereby somewhat justifying the cost. It would be better to compare it to a bottle of port that you might have after dinner with your coffee. Or maybe with a cheese plate. Or even a chocolate dessert of some kind.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I did order dinner, a catfish salad for her and a rack of ribs for me.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman Surveys The Scene

Bar Man Chows Down On The Ribs

It was a bit of a day of excess. But part of it was intentional. Half an order of ribs is plenty for two, but I always order the whole rack so I can take some home for leftovers. I also ended up taking half of the Black Ops home as well. It was just too much to drink at a single setting. I probably shouldn't have had a Duvel Green to start out with.

The Duvel Green, which is served on tap, was really good. It is a bit lighter and less foamy than regular Duvel but most flavorful in almost the opposite direction of the Black Ops. It is 6.8% ABV and has a nice crisp citrus taste. Goes down way too easy for such a potent brew. The Black Ops is a hefty 10.7% ABV, but you won't be slurking this down like you might the Duvel Green.

When we finished up at Pete's Waterfront Ale House the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I headed back to my place to watch The Shop Around the Corner staring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. It is a 1940's romantic comedy that was remade as You've Got Mail. I managed to finish off the Black Ops while watching it, grateful for the high alcohol content. Then I also managed to finish off a bottle of Three Philosophers that my brother-in-law Jim thoughtfully left in the refrigerator for me.

That Which Does Not Kill Me...

That was from Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, a German philosopher. See, Three Philosophers, a quote by a philosopher, even if was one who went insane and committed suicide. And they make you read this stuff when you are in college, go figure. Anyway, the beer did not kill me. It was quite good and was almost necessary after the heaviness of the Black Ops.

Okay, the burning question, Was the Black Ops worth the price. Hmm, not quite sure how to answer that. I am glad I had it, just so I can say that I know what it is like. If I were to go out with a few buddies I might consider buying a bottle to share, particularly with a nice cheese plate. Would I buy a bottle just to drink by myself? No. But that is largely due to the size, it is 1 pint 9.4 ounces. You really do need to share this with a few friends.  Actually, five friends and five ounces each would be just about perfect.

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