Q. Is it a Submarine or a Grinder? Or perhaps a Hero? A. All of the above.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Game Dinner!!!

So last night was the Half Door Beer & Game Dinner, which I've been talking about for ages and was, as hoped and expected, amazing. The above photos, in order, are:

1. Hard Cooked Quail Eggs w/ Montana White Fish Caviar on Crostini, paired with Weihenstephan 1809 Berliner Style Weisse

OK, these little suckers were delectable. I only had, oh I dunno, 6 or 7 of them. I mean, how often do you get a chance to have quail eggs? I mean, really! The beer was nicely paired with the egg. Apparently, as per our host & emcee, Brendan, this was the style of Berliner Weisse before Napoleon's troops ruined it. That's Napoleon for you, always ruining stuff.

This dish was the second-best in my opinion. I could totally go for a quail egg right now. I could make the world's tiniest omelette.

2. Fried Frogs Legs with Tarragon Sauce, paired with La Brasserie des Franches Montagnes La Meule

I wish I could say I totally remember what I wanted to say about this beer. It, as all the others, went very well, some better. The frog's legs were awesome, like an unholy union of a fish stick and a chicken finger, like think if the Gorton's Fisherman ran off with Colonel Sanders, only better.

3. Turtle Soup au Sherry, paired with Birreria Baladin Sour Nora 2005.

This pairing was inspired, absolutely. Brendan outdid himself picking out the beer. I tried this incredibly complex, ancient-style beer and thought, "No way is this going with a rich, hearty and complex soup," but I was completely wrong. While the soup was not my favorite dish (probably my least favorite, but I hate saying that because I liked everything), with the beer it just sang. The beer, with its unusual mead-y like character and hints of savory, was a gorgeous mid-dinner addition.

4. Grilled Ostrich Rounds w/Leek Risotto, paired with Brouweij de Glazen Toren-Cuvee Angelique

The ostrich was my hands-down favorite, and the beer was a great pairing. The strength and nuttiness of the beer complimented the red-meatiness of the ostrich. So good, so pink!

(side note: I'm starting to feel like Homer Simpson when he became a food critic and liked everything. The he became a jerk and that dude tried to kill him with a deadly eclair. No deadly eclair for me.)

5. Almond Crusted Antelope w. Porcini Cream & Blue Cheese, paired with Biurrifico Montegioco Demon Hunter

Well, I'm not much of a mammal eater, so I only had the tiniest bite of the Antelope. Dr. Pete was a fan, as he consumed BOTH portions! I have to say, I loved this beer, and not only because of the kick ass name and kick ass label.


The spiciness of the beer, however, held up nicely against the antelope without overpowering it.

Dessert and other pictures are going to be coming up in a later post, as Blogger only lets me upload so many images.

You'll have to just wait for that friend pumpkin pie....as well as photos of the beer, our beer host, and yours truly + Dr. Pete!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Humps, the Humps, the Lovely Tavern Lumps

So this weekend was the Nook Farm Harvest Festival. As many of you all know, Nook Farm used to be the name of this immediate neighborhood. Anyway, we started out the day by, of course, going down to the Half Door to watch a game (Peter) and struggle with the massively difficult Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle (me).

So like I think I've said, tomorrow is the Beer and Game paired dinner. (Squee!!!!) Dr. Pete and I noticed that not only was the bar closed tomorrow for the event, but for several days thereafter. For the ever frightening description of "renovations."

Come to find out, they are getting rid of their lovely barroom lump (pictured above, with glasses on it). Sigh. Legend has it that the lump started as the tiniest crack, and proceeded to grow, imperceptibly, into the small hill pictured. You actually can rest a glass on it, but it is not recommended that anyone over a certain amount of alcohol consumption do so.

[Legend Type Singing]
Many a good drink has gone down that way
O'er the lump in the bar when the drunken men sway

Hey, and there's one of our bartenders! Isn't he attractive?

So then it was off to the Nook Farm thing, which was mostly over by that time (we missed the roving Mark Twain impersonator, damn), but caught these lovely ponies on tape. So, as a reward, PONIES! And yes, apparently all I can say is "ponies."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One of Hartford's Hidden Gems May Close

I had been planning a blog entry on some of the hidden gems I have found in the Hartford area, but I've had to modify it to note how upset I am over the possible closing of my favorite one. I've been trying in vain to email myself the cameraphoto I took of the storefront, but technology seems to be my enemy today.

Right after Dr. Pete and I moved here, and despite the delectable stores all around us, we found ourselves bemoaning the lack of Boars Head products. Yep, leave it to us to always find something to bitch and moan about. So one day, on the way to Whole Paycheck, we passed by a little shop in a called Kingswood Market, and it was advertising Boars Head. A few days later, Dr. Pete stopped in and came home with one of those Flintstone's Steaks. Now, I am not a steak eater myself, but even I have to be impressed by a steak the size of a toddler.

So we started going to the market regularly. Not only were we impressed by the hominess and impressive selection of goods, but the absolute highlight is the butcher/bakery section. Aside from the Brontosaurus Steaks, there are these fresh baked chocolate chip cookies that make your head swim and your blood sugar sing. But, for me, the holy grail of all holies - the perfect macaroni and cheese. Not too fancy, not too plain, just honest mac-n-cheese unadorned by nouveau ideals of soul food, but fresh and modern enough to make even the most cynical hipster swoon.

In short, perfect. Go for the edge piece where the cheese is brownish and seals in the macaroni.

And excuse me while I drool on myself just thinking about it.

But, as they say in that Eagles song I like to quote all the time, call something paradise and kiss it goodbye. The landlord of Kingswood Market, who is like the Once-ler guy to Kingswood's Lorax, is looking to make it impossible for Kingswood to remain in business. He says that Kingswood, which has been in business for decades and still delivers food to its elderly clients, should "get with the times." Nuts to that. In this day and age, if I go to a market and the guy at the counter slips in a chocolate chip cookie, just because they are piping hot from the oven, into my grocery bag, they have my heart.

Someone else can take the sit-ups!


WEST HARTFORD - Kingswood Market, an old-fashioned grocery store that still makes deliveries to neighborhood customers, is facing closure at the end of next month after some 70 years in business on Farmington Avenue.

Market owner Dave Bornstein, whose father bought the business in 1958, says he couldn't negotiate an affordable rent with the building's owner and probably will close at the end of next month when his current multiyear lease expires.

The building's owner, Al Nweeia, says he isn't kicking Bornstein out. Bornstein just wouldn't agree to a fair rent that the market would bear, Nweeia said. And Bornstein, he said, hasn't changed his business to keep up with the times.

If you are a local or even a friend who'd like to contact Kingswood to give them a nod of support, here is their Citysearch profile:


Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Cows!!!

For extra cows from the parade, see below.

Coming next post, my outrage over one of our Hidden Gems being closed due to landlord greediness. This is the best place in Hartford for Mac and Cheese. It is going to suck if it closes.

Enjoy the pretty cows!

Cows on Parade

So the Cow Parade has come to West Hartford.


I remember the cows back many years ago in NYC, and I was obsessed with them, then. I know a lot of communities have variations on the cows - ears of corn, ponies...but there is something about the cow which is beautiful, unassuming, and a bit of an open palate. PLUS, SOOOOO many opportunities for puns.

Dad was visiting and we went to W. H'ford to check out the cow parade, and we took photos of our favorites.

Apparently, I can only publish so many photos on one post, so I'll publish the rest in the next one!

Cows ARE awesome.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

For Bronxbox. I love you.

I remember the time when I came so close with you

I let everything go it seemed the only truth
And I bought you that ring, it seemed the thing to do

What makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated
So what makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated

This entry is just for my love to John aka Bronxboy aka Kissimmee from the NHOT. I love you, John, and you will be terribly missed. You were a rock and an awesome slicer and dicer in the forum. And, much more importantly, you were kind and always honest and forthright. I miss you already. And, for Heaven's sake, I hope it's a Rock and Roll Heaven.

I love you, Liz. So much. My heart is with you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ladies and Gents! Gather 'round!

So Peter and I attended the Connecticut Ren Faire, which was awesome. I was lovingly garbed by ET, who does amazing work! What you cannot tell is, in my basket I have a cell phone and a digital camera! Oh, and a wooden spoon, for no good reason.

The Faire was great - I oohed and awed at all the amazing goods for sale - kick ass Ren Wear, sun catchers, a village smithy....Peter, the Mad Monk, bought a new woolen belt for himself, and I indulged in a cheering stick for Dame Fiona the Fearless!

I have to admit, I have not been to one of these things in a WHILE, but this one was a good one. This is the 9th Annual CT Ren Faire, and they call the little village they set up "The Shire" (of course), but it really was massive.

Sadly, the turkey legs were all gone by the time we got there. I had to content myself with Ye Olde Cheese Sticks, and the Mad Monk had shepherd's pie that confused him, "Broccoli? There's broccoli in this. " Me, "Well, it is a Ren Faire." Him, "I don't think they HAD broccoli in the Renaissance." Me, "Good question."

So some other highlights until I get to the bloodlust.

The "Poprah" Show. The only PG-13 thing I attended all day. Bawdy bawdiness, for the sake of bawdiness, and big boobs. Basically an improv show with guys dressed as various clergy members spoofing the Oprah Show. They encouraged the crowd to show their breasts. Friggin hilarious, and Mad Monk Approved (TM, pending).

Being mistaken, by an uncostumed couple, for a worker. Luckily, I knew how to point them to Ye Olde Cheese Sticks.

And, wait for it, BLOODLUST.

I cannot hold back any longer, and chant with me, "Blood Makes the Grass Grow, KILL KILL KILL!":

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Connecticut Transplant in King Arthur's Court

Oh, it's here! It's here!

*Claps hands like a little girl*


Belly dancing! Free games! Knights! Falconry!!! Such a mind-blowing and time-bending event that they can actually manage to advertise over 40 hours of entertainment a day. I didn't even know that was quantumally (new word!) possible.

The only thing that makes me sad is that I have no Ren Faire duds. No bodices, no skirts. Dr. Pete has a monk costume, so he's cool - not that it won't take some amazing kind of pleading and begging to get him to wear it. Though the sweet temptation of giant turkey legs might work.

I'm looking on the site, and the wedding packages aren't bad at all. Considering how much weddings cost these days, even the Royalty Package, at $3,500 is pretty affordable for the entire kit & kaboodle. That's for 40 people, they even throw a feast for your arse.

So onto other events around the area....I must MUST go to this:


(Warning: sound effects on the site...they are cool but don't want to get you in trouble at work)

Hah, the gallery kicks ass:


If you were wanting something a little less scary (and that is certainly subjective), you could go to West Hartford and check out this year's Cow Parade:


I don't know if you have ever had the cows come to your home town, but they are kind of cool and distracting, in a "this isn't what the town normally looks like" sort of way.

So Peter's father was in town this weekend for a convention, and Saturday night we *finally* made it out to Carbone's, which is supposedly the best restaurant in Hartford.


I have to say, there is probably not much about Carbone's that I could say that has not been said, and hundreds of award-bestowers agree with me that the food at Carbone's in probably the best. I'm not an enormous fan of Italian (oh, but I'll eat it), and the menu was somewhat limiting for vegetarians, but my cheese ravioli was light and fresh-tasting, with a sauce of chunky plum-tomato. I didn't try Dr. Pete's or FIL's veal (veal!), but considering they both disappeared, I'll have to imagine they were great.

I'd probably go back on a day other than Saturday, or a little later on Saturday, as the place was packed when we got there and the staff seemed a little rushed. However, the crowd thinned about half-way through the meal, so we got a better chance to talk to several staff members about the wine, etc. This is in way meant to imply we were ignored at all for the first half of the meal.

I would be somewhat snarky at my FIL's need to ask how much the specials cost, but he reads this blog, so I can't. Sorry dad! But it DID spark an interesting discussion - the nicer a restaurant is, the less likely it is that the prices of the specials will be noted. I just generally look at the price of something similar on the menu, take 20% of the price and add it on. I.E. if something similar to the special is on the menu for 40 dollars, you can guess the special is going to be about $48. Dr. Pete and I both think it's a little rude to ask the prices of specials, but FIL disagrees. I'd be interested in hearing anyone else's opinion on asking the prices of specials, as I agree that people could go either way on this.

Gin O' Meter: I didn't have a G&T, so I cannot rate in that way, but I had a kick ass Pomegranate Martini. It was VERY good.

OK, kids, until next time, wherein I list a number of Hartford's Hidden Gems. Take care!