Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Just thought I would pop up a quick post to let everyone know that the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I escaped the wrath of Hurricane Sandy completely unscathed. We are in a part of Downtown Brooklyn that is high enough about sea-level that we wouldn't have to evacuate even if there was a category 5 hurricane. At least according to the evacuation map . And we didn't seem to get much wind damage either. I walked around the neighborhood yesterday and aside from a few fallen branches didn't see any damage.

Of course my main concern was:

Pete's Waterfront Ale House
Pete's Post Sandy

It looked a bit forlorn, but then it was early and not open yet. I was happy to see that Sam didn't let the storm curtail his entrepreneurial instincts.

What Else Would You Expect
 Pete's Hurricane Rum Punch

I did pop in there last night and the place was packed. They were really short staffed and everyone was working their tail off. Mary, the bartender, was into her second shift and even Sam was serving drinks and clearing tables. Hats off to the hard-working crew.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Mash Up

Okay, I know, I am way behind on posting about Alaska and Canada. But the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I just got back from a barbecue eating expedition in Memphis so I will kind of shuffle between the two. The Memphis trip was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I got the hankering to go after watching a Food Network show that featured Memphis barbecue. We got to Memphis on a Tuesday afternoon and left on the following Monday morning. In the five and a half days we were there we hit eight barbecue places and had ribs in six of them. I shall be reporting on each of them.

But first, before we left we had a little barbecue at my sister-in-law's place. Mostly the same stuff except for the beef tongue.

Ready For Smokin'

I didn't do much to it, just trimmed off some of the fat and then lightly salted and peppered it.

Had To Have Some Chickens, A Duck And Lamb Too

And Everything Assembled

Did a few racks of ribs too. Nobody starved. The tongue was a bit bland, will do more to spice them up the next time. The ribs came out perfectly and I did a throwback rub in honor of my other sister-in-law's birthday. I made the original rub for one of her birthdays many years ago and it is one of the few recipes I have ever written down. Quite flavorful and packs a nice kick.

We flew out of LaGuardia on Delta and I must say that I was really impressed by the new Delta terminal. Not your typical waiting area.

Like The Future


Those iPads are provided free as well as the internet connection. You can also use them to order food and drinks. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Even The Restaurant Had Them

Well, One Of Them

And they had kind of a futuristic looking bar island where you could grab a quick one.

Conveniently Located

It is a pretty short flight to Memphis and once we checked into the hotel, right around the corner from Beale Street, we wasted no time in hitting our first barbecue joint.

Rum Boogie Cafe

It looked promising enough, a few people at the bar and a hundred or more guitars signed by their famous and not-so-famous owners. Lot's of old posters hanging on the walls.

Looks Good To Me

Well, looks can be deceiving.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

I wouldn't say it was bad, but it was bland. And the coleslaw, served on the side, was bland as well. I like to put the coleslaw on the pulled pork, but it didn't help in this case. No smoke flavor either so I suspect they just cooked the pork in the oven. The French fries were okay, though.

Mystery Gumbo

The Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered some what turned out to be mysterious gumbo. Mysterious because it seemed to lack most of the ingredients that were listed on the menu. Thing like the sausage, shrimp, chicken and alligator. About the only chunks that were big enough to identify were chunks of celery. The gumbo was flavorful, I will have to give it that. But if something says it has shrimp in it you would expect to see at least one shrimp. Same with the rest of the stuff. Oh well, I guess this is what you get for just stopping into the first place you see. The Ghost River beer, a local product, was quite good.

Okay, next post it is back to Alaska.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Pig Island

Okay, another break from my Alaska posts. Yesterday the Mysterious Chinese woman and I headed out to Governor's Island which had been renamed Pig Island for the day for a beer and barbecue festival. One of the great things about where I live is that we were able to just walk a short distance to catch the free ferry. The first ferry departed at 11:00 AM and then they run about every twenty minutes or so. We got there about 10:30 AM and the lines were already starting to form. And then people just kept coming.

Waiting For The Ferry


And Here Is The Ferry

Amazingly, there was room for everyone. But it was pretty packed.

Top Deck

The bottom deck was packed too with everyone who brought their bicycles and strollers for the little kids. But we got our seats and just chilled out for the short ride.

Just Chillin'


I don't know why, but I didn't get any pictures of the beer tents. Only Six Points beer was being served but they had several types and there was no problem getting as much as you wanted. Although the event was sold out I think they reduced the number of tickets this year because it wasn't as crowded as last year and the lines weren't nearly as long. Much more pleasant. But that isn't to say that there weren't a lot of people.

Having A Wonderful Time

Last year there were several smaller bands playing around the festival. This year they just had one band but it  had more of a stage and was at one end where people could gather and not get in the way of the food vendors and the lines.

The Band

Joe Doe was my first food stop, probably because it was right next to one of the beer tents. They, like most of the vendors, were here last year.

Joe Doe's Big Sandwich

And Joe Doe's Sandwich Maker

They also had some pate and a big jar of pickled stuff that included sausage, okra (too tough) corn, radishes and who knows what else.

Mysterious Stuff

One of the things they had this year that was new was a pig butchering demonstration put on by Wusthof Knives. And it was quite interesting.

How You Butcher A Pig


And, of course, a few of the many vendors that participated.




Now this is a neat little smoker that would be fun to have. Perfect for pedaling to a park for a picnic.

The Ultimate Portable Smoker

I was happy to see that my hometown of Minneapolis was represented as well.

Made Me Kind Of Homesick


And my friend Sam and his Fuhggeddaboutit barbecue team representing Pete's Waterfront Ale House was there.

You Can't Fuhggeddaboutit

His smoker isn't as portable as the little one, but it does the job.

The Big Smoker

And Smilin' Sam Himself

I had the pulled pork, delicious as usual, and his really delicious homemade headcheese. Sam was nice enough to cut off a big hunk for me to take home. And it didn't take me long to dig into it once I got back to my place.

There Is Always Room For Headcheese

Speaking of Pete's Waterfront Ale House, don't forget that September 30th is the Atlantic Antic, far and away the best street fair in New York, in my humble opinion. He will have that smoker out in front of his place and be serving up more pulled pork sandwiches. The line is always long and hopefully the Black Coffee Blues band will be playing as well.

And that was my day on Pig Island.

Here's Looking At You

More on Alaska next time, I promise.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Bus Ride In The Park

Just a quick flashback. You may remember this picture of a statue in Fairbanks:

Honoring United States And Russian Airmen

I did a little research and found out that before the United States actually entered World War II (we were horribly late to the game) there was the Lend Lease Act, signed into law on March 11th, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of World War II in Europe and nine months before the United States entered the war in December, 1941. It was a program under which the United States supplied Allied nations, including the Soviet Union, with military goods, including airplanes.The memorial has bronze statues of U.S. and Soviet pilots wearing cold weather clothing standing in front of a granite backdrop with a bronze propeller. The monument commemorates the flights of American planes from the continental United States via Alaska to Siberia and were flown by both United States and Russian airmen. There, I just had to get that off of my chest.
Okay, on to the bus trip which, unless you were on the bus, might seem a bit boring. Basically we just saw a lot of park with a few animals seen from great distances. But I did get some pictures of why they call those wide, shallow meandering glacial rivers braided rivers.

Braided Rivers

Again, glacial river sounds like something clear and refreshing but, as you can see, in reality they are shallow murky things that support little in the way of life. In deeper areas there may be a few salmon who wander into them and a few beluga whales will go after them. We were very lucky in that it was a very clear day and we got a pretty good look at Mt. Whitney off in the distance.

Mt. Whitney, Or At Least Most Of It

The Mysterious Chinese Woman And Me Blocking Most Of It

Oh, and the wildlife. We didn't see any moose or mountain goats, but we did see several elk and a bear with her cubs.

Ooh! Look, A Caribou

And Some Bears

We thought we saw some mountain goats, but they were just some hikers who were all down on their knees, for some reason.

Looking For Magic Mushrooms, Perhaps

And here is a picture of our bus, must have a picture of our bus.

Our Bus

And a picture of the happy vacationers.

So Very Happy

Stay tuned, things get a bit more interesting. We get back on the train again.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our First Evening At Denali Park

Well, we weren't actually in the park, that doesn't come until tomorrow. And we didn't exactly go out exploring the Alaskan wilderness. Instead we settled in to my first couple of Maker's Mark Manhattans. The small, informal restaurant that wraps around the bar and extends out to the deck has some very good food. We ate there a couple of times.

Nice Views, Good Food

But on our first night we decided to take a little shuttle to a place down the road that had a good reputation.

The 49th State

Both our guide and the bartender said we should try it, as did a couple of people at the bar. So how could we resist. And it was worthy of the praise.

Typical Bar Interior

But this really gladdened my heart,

A Brewery In The Back

Fortified with the knowledge that I would be delivered to my cabin's door by a series of shuttle buses and therefore would not have to actually walk on any potentially dangerous paths, I partook of a few of their brews. Sadly, I remember little about them except that they were very good. I think one of them used pine buds instead of or in addition to the hops.

And for an appetizer, well I couldn't pass up on their version of a Scotch egg. Instead of using pork-sausage they use reindeer sausage. For those of you who don't know, you make these by wrapping a hard-boiled egg in a sausage and, well, fat of some sort. When I make my own I fry up a pound of bacon and use the bacon fat. Then you deep-fry the thing until the outside starts to crisp up. Quite delicious, in my opinion.

A Scotch Reindeer Egg

I can't remember what the Mysterious Chinese Woman had for dinner, but I know she liked it. I had a steak and it was great. Good piece of meat and done to perfection.

No Leftovers Either

Now what wondrous view could elicit such a reaction from the Mysterious Chinese Woman?

Oh, Look, It's A...

Well, to be fair, it was a mighty damn fine piece of pie. Made with wild blueberries that were as flavorful as any that I have ever eaten, and I have eaten my share. And the crust was just perfect. We did something we very seldom do, we ordered a second piece to take home for breakfast.

I don't know how many of you saw "Into The Wild." It was about this guy who goes off to live in a school-bus in Alaska and ends up dying. Anyway, The 49th State has the school-bus that was used in the movie. Not the actual one, mind you, just the reproduction.

Not The Real Bus

And for those of you who might worry about having to eat that strange Alaskan food, take heart. There are alternatives available.

Available Alternatives To Alaskan

Okay, my next post should include more exciting scenery and wildlife pictures, mostly shot from the inside of a bus.