Showing posts from December, 2011

Beer and Comedy: City Steam Brewery and Cafe

Award: Best Brewpub in Downtown Hartford, CT FA Rating: FF Price: $$

We were running low on time getting frustrated and tired in this one horse town, everything closed by 5 PM, including the little mall and food court. I was using all of my phone's powers and finally I just gave up and said we probably ought to just go to City Steam Brewery and Cafe. It turned out to maybe be the coolest place we could have found in the area.

These were great, and the sauce was fun and delicious!

Then I learned that they have comedy shows there every weekend! If I lived in Hartford or wanted to visit for a weekend again, I'd put this place at or near the top of my list.

Menu Highlight: Mini Sweet Potato Tater Tots- served in a basket with a sriracha aioli and cilantro coconut crema - $6

Bowling, Pizza, Beer: Flatbread Company (Inside Sacco's Bowl Haven)

Flatbread Company is casual restaurant/candlepin bowling hall in Davis Square (Somerville).

They have two sizes for their flatbreads, small and large, and our waitress told us we could get a large in half one kind and half another, so I ordered a foodie kind and my companion ordered a more traditional pie.

They also have a great drink menu. I tend to have eyes only for beer, so I don't remember much about the cocktails and wine other than that I briefly glanced and saw that they had a tidy list of both. They had maybe a dozen drafts, and one of the best selections I've seen in the Boston area. For instance, they had an IPA from Sixpoint (my favorite brewery), Moody Street Stout from Watch City ($4.75, 5.9% ABV, so creamy and delicious), and the Steel Rail E.P.A. from Berkshire Brewing Company (also $4.75, 5.3% ABV, fairly light and really tasty, with that really nice malty finish I love so).

Also, yes, it's a pizza place, but the salad is so good! The celery's bitterne…

Mountain Fresh Creamery: Clermont, Georgia

On a drive from North Carolina to Atlanta, my sister wanted to stop and try a cute little ice cream place, and it wasn't long before we found one.

The woman working there was very nice and explained to us all about how the operation worked.

We got a pint of butter rum, but unfortunately I was just about out of Lactaid, so I only got to have two bites.

Butter rum's not my favorite anyway, which was really better for me since I couldn't have much of it, but it tasted good, and Cami and Nonalee seemed to really enjoy it.  What was awesome was the fresh, creamy butter we also bought there.  There's nothing like fresh butter, and that's definitely worth a trip to  a creamery or a market where they sell their stuff.  Buy or make yourself freshly baked bread and spread some real, fresh butter on top... now that's the life.

Anyway this place was ridiculously cute.  Here are more pictures:

Rib Country: Georgia: Cleveland

On our way from North Carolina to Atlanta, my sister, Cami, and her fiance, Nonalee, wanted to stop at Nacoochee Grill in Helen, GA for what Nonalee said were the best ribs ever, but when we got there, they were randomly closed that day.  We stopped by the nearby grist mill and country store, Nora Mill Granary for some fun treats, and they confirmed Nonalee's suspicion that the best ribs available nearby and on the way home could be found at Rib Country in Cleveland, GA.

The interior is huge, with a small store in the front and most of the space dedicated to wooden tables and booths filled with delighted, bbq sauce covered patrons, many of whom clearly have made visiting Rib Country a happy, frequent tradition.  Between cheerfully serving their parties, the waitresses (yes, they are all women, or at least they were when we were there) catch up with their regulars as to how their mama'n'them are doin' lately.  Ours couldn't have possibly been any friendlier (god how …

Bogarts: NC: Waynesville

After snacking at Frogs Leap Public House, followed up by a bit more shopping in Waynesville, I headed with four other friends to continue our evening at Bogarts.

 They only Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Shock Top Wheat, and some amber beer, but you know, sometimes you just need some cheap light beer for a good time with friends.  "A good time that won't let you down," I believe I heard somewhere.  It's $3.27 for a beer and $3.74 for a glass of wine.

Since we asked for sides of ranch with everything else, they got us started with it right away.  Bread dipped in ranch is totally awesome, by the way.

The menu is of the boring variety, but that being said, everything was delicious.  And there was so much ranch!  The house made ranch was, as my notes say, "killer."  It was that thinner, very buttermilky kind that I love so much, that it's so hard to find north of the Mason-Dixon.

They had awesome sweet potato fries with a little extra crust, a little thicker, and…

Frogs Leap Public House: North Carolina: Waynesville

FA Rating: FFF

Putzing around Waynesville with a party of five, we wanted somewhere nice for some appetizers and a drink or two, and we settled on Frogs Leap Public House (with an ever-changing menu you can check out online), which would turn out to be an excellent decision.
The preserves were very nice, with so much flavor and just the right sweetness level.   The cheese was an awesome balance of sheep and goat, so that the goat aspect didn't make it too goat-tangy.
The Devils are roasted medjool dates filled with smoked blue cheese, wrapped in house honey bacon, served in spiced honey ($5).  The key to getting a dish right, and especially to getting me to enjoy blue cheese, is to get the proportions right, and they have quite a task here, what with multiple forms of sweetness, a bit of spice, tanginess, and bacon.  And they got it right.  It was wonderful.  It only comes with four though, so count your party, subtract the vegetarians who won't be making an exception for the de…

Embajador Restaurant: Boston: JP

I can see this store and its bright, flashing lights from my window, and I have thought a number of times about going there and trying it out, but I have always felt like it wasn't the food I wanted at the time or, more often, I've just been intimidated.  I can see that it is run by Hispanic people and seems to be patronized almost completely be Hispanic people.  Oh and I just realized the menu is totally in Spanish.  Of course I'm cool with all that, and my Spanish is certainly good enough, but I feel like an intruder, wonder if I'm going to order something or say something they'll find strange.  I'm socially anxious, this is to say.

I hate that being hungover today and telling someone with whom I'd made plans, "Nah, I can't.  I'm tired and need to go home and chill," invariably means buying I'll be buying snack food from Trader Joe's, then seeking out food from a restaurant and getting take out, eating all of that, plus the snack…

Barber Orchards: North Carolina: Waynesville

On our way from the Highlands to Waynesville, we stopped at Barber Orchards in order to get some of their apple turnovers.
How could we not buy some Moonshine Jelly?

Yup, it tasted like sweet, alcoholic jelly.  Not bad at all, but definitely more for fun than aiming at the most delicious jelly possible.
Of course we accidentally got a few treats for right then too.
In these big, fluffy but dense, sweet but flavorfully glazed fritters there are also little real pieces of apple throughout.  Very nice.
Yes, I had a donut too, despite the impending dinner.  But I shared it!  And how could I not!  It was seventy-five cents!!  Now, I've been thoroughly converted to yeast donuts, but this did have a nice consistency for a cake donut as well as great cinnamon apple sugar yumness.  It was a lot fresher than the apple cider donuts that I tried in NYC farmer's markets.

They also had apple cider out for sampling, and it was spectacular.

I should've been a little more patient and heated it u…