Friday, July 30, 2010

The Cyclones At Coney Island

No, not the iconic Cyclone roller coaster:

The Cyclone

We are talking about the baseball team:

The Cyclones

Sean Murphy, who puts out the MurphGuide, a guide to fun things in New York and the surrounding areas, is throwing a party next Friday, August 6th. It includes beer, hotdogs and hamburgers before a Cyclones game at Peggy O'Neill's (the party is at Peggy O'Neill's, the game is in the ballpark), and an after-the-game party as well.

Peggy O'Neill's

Peggy O'Neill's is certainly convenient to the game, it is built right into the baseball park.

I have been to these shindigs before and they are a lot of fun. And for only thirty bucks it is a hell of a deal because the price also includes tickets to the game and a Cyclones baseball cap.

You can get more details by clicking the link below:

If you live in New York the MurphGuide is a really good way to keep abreast of what is going on, and to get some great deals as well.

Oh, and speaking of parties, there is still time to get in on what I can only assume would be the biggest Oktoberfest party going.  Just check it out by clicking below, and if you are up to the challenge grab a spot.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lawrence's Of Sintra

On our second visit to Sintra to visit the Palicio da Pena and revisit Quinta da Regaleira we had lunch at Lawrence's.


This is a lovely little hotel with a very nice dining area.  It has been around since 1764 although, obviously, it has changed hands several times and has a bit of work done to it.  Still, it exudes plenty of old-world charm.  There is a small number of tables for outside dining, but the inside was just too elegant, and cool, to pass up.

In 1809 Lord Bryon stayed at the hotel for ten days. Lord Bryon was famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as "mad, bad and dangerous to know."  The Mysterious Chinese Woman says the same of me.

Mad And Bad

The dining area sprawls a bit so there is a feeling of intimacy no matter where you sit.  And lots of windows so during the day it is quite pleasant as you look out on the greenery.

Like Being Outside, But Air-Conditioned

We didn't check out any of the rooms, but the common areas were really cosy looking.  A nice place to hang out and have a glass of port while reading a book of poems, by Lord Bryon, perhaps.

A Nice Place To Relax

Bring Me My Port

Although the atmosphere of the dining room gave the appearance of being a bit stuffy, the waiter was anything but.  Very friendly and with a good sense of humor.  Always a plus when dealing with the likes of me.

Mysterious Chinese Woman Perusing Her Dining Options

We got a free little starter dish that was interesting.  Cheese, some thinly-sliced ham and a little bowl of giblets of some kind or another.

Our Starter Kit

I am a big fan of giblets, especially gizzards.  I love the little bars in Northern Minnesota that have jars of aging turkey gizzards behind the bar.  I never fail to have one if I see them.

I can't remember what I ordered for an appetizer, but it had goat cheese in it.  A very pungent goat cheese.  Somewhat reminiscent of socks so old and moldy that they have begun to turn to mush.  Not really my cup of tea, but the dish taken as a whole wasn't bad at all.

Sock It Too Me

For my main dish I ordered a hare pie.  I mean How could you resist?  When it arrived I thought perhaps the hare would jump out when the cover was lifted.

Hare Today

But no, it just laid there, dead.  But delicious.  Hare has a decidedly different taste than rabbit.  It is darker and juicier and, in my opinion, more flavorful.

Hare Pie To Die For

Shrimp are quite expensive in Portugal.  Especially when I am used to getting them so cheaply when I am in Mexico.  But prawns are popular, and that is what the Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered.

Proud Of Her Prawns

I am not sure what the Mysterious Sister-In-Law ordered, but I suspect it was lamb.  If there is lamb on the menu she almost always orders it.

For dessert the Mysterious Sister-In-Law had a piece of chocolate cake with ice-cream.

Just Desserts

I had lemon sorbet in champagne.  Quite tasty and very refreshing.

Drinking My Dessert

The poor Mysterious Chinese Woman was full and settled for nothing more than an after-dinner tea.

This was yet another of the really good reataurants in Portugal.  I would gladly go here again for a moderately special occasion.  Maybe make a day of it in Sintra.  We never did get a chance to visit the toy museum.

Tomorrow I am heading out to the Mysterious Sister-In-Law's again for another barbecue.  This time to celebrate a birthday.  Before I go I will try to post pictures of our visit to Palicio da Pena.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My View

Why do I think that the President of the United States appearing on "The View" is totally inappropriate?  Please, don't let him jump on the couch while proclaiming his love for America.

What's next, "The Jerry Springer Show"?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back To Lisbon

On our first trip to Sinatra we wanted to stop at Lawrence's, a very nice restaurant in a hotel.  Unfortunately, it didn't open until later in the afternoon.  But we did spot what looked like a nice little restaurant up the hill a bit.

Patco do Garret

After a bit of a hike, everything seems to be a bit of a hike, we arrived and, thankfully, it was open.

The Somewhat Misleading Entrance

The entrance is misleading because it is at street-level.  However, because the restaurant is built on such a steep hill, or cliff, or whatever, you walk down into a fairly large restaurant with a very nice outside eating area.

The Outside Eating Area

As I am sure you can imagine, I worked up quite a thirst hiking up here.  And they had just what I needed to quench it.

Hitting The Spot

The view was quite pretty up here, and then my view was even prettier.

A Pretty View

There specialty up here was fresh fish prepared on an outside grill.  I can attest to both the freshness of the fish and the outside grill.

The Master Of The Grill

For some reason I didn't take any pictures of our food, but it was very good indeed.  Nothing fancy, just fresh fish served right from the grill.  It doesn't get much better than that.

It is too bad that it takes so long to get to so many places.  It sometimes makes me a bit sad when I know it is unlikely that I will ever get back to a restaurant like this.  Everyone was friendly, the food was delicious, the prices reasonable and a nice location.  I would like to be a regular here but, alas, it shall not be.

Tomorrow I will post about Lawrence's.  When we returned to Sintra to visit Palacia da Pena it was open and we had a mighty fine meal.  Hare pie for me.  I also have pictures of Palacia da Pena and much more so there will probably several more posts about Lisbon before I am done.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ugh!! Disgusting!!

Taking a short break from my posting about Lisbon, I couldn't help but share this rather unsettling experience.

On Friday the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I headed to my Mysterious Sister-In-Law's to prepare for a Sunday barbecue.  Jim, my brother-in-law was going to pick us up at the New Brunswick train station.  He wasn't sure when he would get there so we agreed to meet across the street at Marita's Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar.

Marita's Cantina

I have been in there before for a drink or two while awaiting a ride and it seemed like an okay place.  I noticed that it was kind of empty for right about lunch time on a Friday.  Two other people at the bar and one couple having a meal.  But I didn't think much of it when I ordered my Margarita.

The Margarita wasn't bad, but not good either.  Your standard tequila (and not much of it) in that overly sweet Margarita mix, shaken with ice and poured into a salt rimmed glass.  A sadly typical Margarita these days.

Soon Jim showed up and we figured as long as we were here we would have lunch as well.  A bad mistake.  I ordered a ribeye steak and asked for it to be done medium rare.  Jim ordered a stuffed pepper.  I don't remember what the Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered.

My steak, which cost $14.95, was pretty much well-done.  Not that you could do it any other way because it was, at best, a quarter of an inch thick, and I am being generous.  A pretty sorry piece of meat.  Jim at first thought what he got was a potato stuffed with spinach.  The batter on the pepper was so thick and mucky and the pepper was kind of shredded.  If there was any stuffing in it we couldn't find it.

But, that wasn't the worst of it.  We each ordered a Sangria.  How bad could that be.  I was immediately suspicious when it came with a Maraschino cherry.  And my suspicions were confirmed.  It tasted like some kind of a tropical fruit punch with little or no alcohol.

And then things got gross. We were drinking our "Sangria" and complaining about it.

Jim And His "Sangria"

Now, look closely at the bottom of Jim's glass.

Bud Lite

Not exactly what you want to find at the bottom of your glass, even if you were drinking a Bud Lite.  Kind of makes you question the whole "cleanliness" thing.

When Jim showed this to our waitress she uttered a bit of a shriek and said she would tell the bartender and then just kind of disappeared.  We were done eating so we paid the bill, leaving cash, and Jim and the Mysterious Chinese Woman left to get the car.  I stayed at the table, not wanting to just leave the money unattended.

After about five minutes or so the waitress walked by to tend to the other couple in the restaurant and never even looked at me and didn't pick up the money.  No apology, no "So terribly sorry, we aren't charging you for the drinks," no nothing.  Just acted like I wasn't there.

Same thing again when she walked by the second time heading back to the kitchen or the bar or wherever.

I finally just got up and left, leaving the money on the table.

All in all it was not only one of the worst drinking and dining experiences I have ever had, it was also one of the most, how shall I say this, one of the most disgusting.  And topped off by a total lack of concern by everyone working at the place.

Nice looking place, great location, I will never set foot in the there again unless I see an "Under New Management" sign.  And even then I would be cautious.

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