Saturday, April 09, 2011

Back To My Local Watering Hole

I haven't really gotten out and about all that much since my return form Mexico.  Been a bit on the lazy side.  But on Friday I did return to the Waterfront Ale House.  For some reason I had a hankering for one of their hamburgers.

But, First Things First

I started out with a Southampton Bier de Mars.  This is a local beer brewed on Long Island by Southampton Publick (not sure why they need that "k" on the end) House.  It was quite good, with just a touch of sourness.  Kind of a hard apple cider finish to it, but not a sweet cider.  It doesn't have much of a head and is kind of a pale orange in color.  I believe this style of beer uses an ale, or top-fermenting, yeast but then is lagered (aged in cool conditions).  Very tasty, although I don't think I would quaff them all day.  It is a respectable 6.5% ABV, although I have seen reviews saying it is as low as 6.2% ABV and as high as 7% ABV.  A bit unusual to find such a spread.

Bar Man Is From Bier de Mars

I ordered an old standby, a Yuengling Lager, for the Mysterious Chinese Woman.  I have been trying to get her to remember what she likes and order for herself, but she prefers to rely on my judgement.  Sometimes that works, sometimes not so well.

But Yuengling Is Just Fine

Gaid agreed to pose for an updated photo so I don't have to keep digging into the archives.

Some Things, And Some People, Just Never Change

There was a table with a some kids sitting up front by the window and it was obviously one of the kids birthday.  I suggested to Gaid that he bring over a cupcake and sing Happy Birthday.  Bet you can imagine how that suggestion was received.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I decided to have a bit of a nosh in addition to the free popcorn so we ordered a hamburger and an order of Jamaican chicken wings to split.  I had a 21st Amendment American Bitter to go with it.  I guess they sell this beer primarily in cans because even the draft handle had an empty can on it.  In fact it looked like it was just a can stuck on an old draft handle.  Somehow Sam must have gotten a keg of the stuff.  It wasn't bad, kind of like a beefed up Budweiser.  And with an ABV of only 4.4% it is definitely a beer you could drink all day long.  Especially on a hot summer day.  In fact a case of cans in a cooler of ice sounds pretty darn refreshing.

Our Hamburger

The Mysterious Chinese Woman With Her Half

The hamburgers were, as always, quite delicious.  Sometimes I will go for the bacon/cheeseburger or even the hamburger with just blue cheese, but the plain ones have to be good or nothing put on top will fix it.  They also come with a large serving of very good fries.

And, We Also Had The Jamaican Chicken Wings

These too were very good.  A nice, slow building heat and very flavorful.  The heat was so slow building that after your first bite you think "This isn't very hot at all."  A couple minutes later and you are thankful that you have a beer handy.

I was going to call it a day but then I saw that their Bar Special, only $4.50 if you drink it at the bar, was Magic Hat Howl.  I am a big fan of Magic Hat and their #9 is one of my go-to favorites.  I had never had the Howl before so wasn't sure what I would get.  I thought maybe something yellow, like the moon, or something.  I didn't expect a dark stout.

What The Howl Is This?

Actually, it wasn't a bad beer with which to end the day.  And Magic Hat claims it is a black lager, not a stout.  Not sure exactly where one draws that line.  This beer has a nice coffee and cream colored head with a decidedly blacker, dark coffee colored rest of it.  And the taste has a bitter coffee flavor as well, with maybe a hint of chocolate lurking in the background.  Not a bad beer at all and with a relatively benign 4.6% ABV you can down of few of these.  Maybe half a case of the American Bitter and half a case of Howl in a cooler of ice would be a good idea.

Ah, I was in a mellow mood and could have gazed all night at one of my favorite sights.

So Beautiful

But toddle off we did.  Me to take a nap and the Mysterious Chinese Woman to watch some sad love-story about two Chinese peasants on the eve of the communist revolution.  She woke me when it was over so I could catch the Knicks/Nets game.  Knicks just killed them.  Next season the Nets are moving here to Brooklyn, not far from where I live.  I will probably go to a game or two and they will be the first games I have gone to since giving up my Knicks season tickets during the Thomas/Starbury era.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Dust Buster At McSorley's

Oh no, a bit of history has bit the dust.  Who would have ever thunk it?

McSorley's - The Oldest Pub In New York

That was an old photo from July of 2009 when my friends Bernie and Bob and I hit a few bars one day.

Way back when I was just a little Bar Boy I had read about McSorley's and the dust festooned turkey wishbones that hung above the bar. There is a story behind them, of course, but each wishbone represents someone from the neighborhood who did not make it back from World War I, or The Great War, as it was known then. Before going of to war the soldiers would get a free turkey dinner at McSorley's. The wishbones were hung above the bar and saved to be reclaimed when the soldiers returned. The unclaimed ones remained.

Kind Of A Poignant Reminder Of Lives Lost

It was rumored that hair-spray was used to keep the dust in place and to satisfy the health inspectors. But, in an era when you have to wear gloves to make a pizza (unless you are in the new Papa John's Pizza commercial), can't serve fresh mozzarella or make your own dried sausage or do a million other things that have been done for generations with no harmful effects, the dust, of course, had to go.

It Just Ain't The Same

On Sunday morning, Matthew Maher, the propriertor, carefully took down the wishbones and removed the dust and then replaced the ones that did not crumble. He then put the dust in a jar and took it home with him.

Oh yes, the Health Department made him get rid of Minnie the cat as well. No cats allowed, no matter how big the mouse problem becomes without one. I am sure hundreds of lives are saved every year by not allowing bars to have a cat.

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.