I’m Always Up for a Good (Fried) Pickle

(originally posted 3/22/2009)

I had a date last night.  No kids, no pets, just me getting to be an adult (well, I almost never act like an adult, what I appreciate is being out somewhere without having to wrangle one or more of my herd).

I was taken to one of my favorite restaurants, The Pub.  It is a British-style pub only with better food.  It has so many beers on tap.  I’m not a big beer drinker, but I love to try things so I always order at least two different beers. I was going to The Pub about once a month, but with the crummy economy and my busy schedule, I haven’t been in since early last fall.  That’s a damn shame.  I really had missed this place.

beer sampler - Kentucky Bourbon Cask Ale, Leffe Blonde, Cask Beer (didn't catch the name), Dogfish Head 60 Min

So, my date (my sweet husband) and I started out with a beer each and a beer sampler.  The beer sampler is your choice of 4 beers.  I ordered a Strongbow as my beer.  I have to say, this is the best Strongbow I’ve ever had.  You could really taste the apple.  It must have been especially fresh.

We always get the Kentucky Bourbon Cask Ale when we get a sampler.  It is aged in casks that were previously used for Bourbon so this Ale has a distinct bourbon flavor and goes straight to my head.  It’s a much smoother beer but unless my intention is to be lying on the floor in a pool of my own vomit, I can’t drink much of this. I’m a light weight and this isn’t a beer for light weights.

The Leffe Blonde was similar to the Stella Artois.  It is also a Belgian beer.  It was just not my thing.  I don’t know why I always end up ordering a bunch of ales, I’m not really a fan of ales.  Most places carry far more ales than other types of beers though, so maybe that’s why I always end up ordering so many ales. My date (hi honey!) said that he thought the Leffe had a hickory-like flavor, and not in a good way.

Every month, the Pub has a different cask beer.  It’s served room temperature in the traditional manner.  I wish I had caught the name of this month’s cask beer.  It was quite good.  It had some texture (less filtered) and was less carbonated than beers on tap.  The last cask beer (other than the Kentucky Bourbon cask ale which is always on the menu) I had was called something like the Queen’s something or other.  It wasn’t my style.

The Dogfish Head is an India Pale Ale.  There are some ales that are so outstanding that they overcome their ale-ness and I like them.  This is not one of them.  It was distinctive but too bitter.  It was fun to try though.

One of my favorite beers is an ale.  I can always drink a Blue Moon.

So, after my Strongbow and the beer sampler, I ordered what the Pub calls a Snake Bite.  There it is Harp over cider.  Unfortunately, the Harp was skunked. EWWWWWWWWWWWW! So I had them replace it with a Black Velvet, which is Guinness over cider.  Yummy.

There’s an Irish pub, Claddagh’s, that had a whole page full of half Guinness drinks.  My favorite was the Black Moon, Blue Moon and Guinness.  Unfortunately, the Claddagh’s by my house closed down.

My date had a Tetley’s English Ale (which is not made by the same company that makes Tetley’s tea) and a Tennent’s.  Tennent’s is a solid Scottish lager.  Tetley’s looked impressive but had no flavor.  For months, the Pub had Tennent’s on the menu but had some issue with the supplier.  Now, someone in my party orders a Tennent’s every time we go (usually me).

Oh, we ate while we were there too.  I have to have fried pickles when I go.  Don’t ask me what the attraction is, I can’t figure it out.  I usually forgo fried foods.  And I like pickles, but I don’t go out of my way for them (insert your dirty jokes here, you can go all kinds of places with a set up like that).  But there is something about these…. maybe it’s the beer.  When I’m drinking beer I crave fried pickles? I don’t know.  But these are irresistable.

We also had an order of Hong Kong style BBQ wings.  The wings were average size, nothing disappointing and the BBQ sauce was really good.  I can’t identify the exact flavors but it was a pleasant sweet taste.

Then we had our meal.  We were there for about two hours, so we had things brought out a little bit at a time.  So our first dinner was the toasty of the day.  Toasties are panini sandwiches.  Yesterday’s toasty was a bangers and cheese toasty. The toasty comes with fries and another fried pickle (hooray for fried pickles)! It was really good but there was too much cheese and not enough banger (sausage).  After a

while, we decided to get another dinner, so we had the sliders meal.  They have a slider of the day!  Yesterday’s was pot roast.  I would have ordered that but I was overruled and we got the regular sliders instead.

The sliders were awesome.  The meat was more meatball shaped, but it was grilled and had a strong smoky grilled flavor.  The onions were cooked in Guinness and I could’ve eaten a plate of them by themselves.  My husband likened the buns to K-mart blue light special buns.  I didn’t find them that distasteful but really wondered why such wonderful little burgers were served on such crap buns.

So after all the beer and the food, I was hoping to finish out the meal with a new dessert menu item.  It was an alcohol infused cheesecake.  Unfortunately, they didn’t actually have it.  Disappointment.

Instead, we paid the tab and walked across the street to another one of my favorite restaurants, Sweet Melissa’s, for coffee and dessert.  This place really has some sinful desserts.  I hate going here because I always eat way too much.  Last night was the first time I’d been there and not ordered the macaroni and cheese.  They have some of the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had (Bistro 185th in Cleveland might have a slight edge but it is close).  But what kills me at Sweet Melissa’s is the dessert.  They have hand made truffles and more cakes and pies and chocolate dipped strawberries.  Oh dear, it’s too much.  Insulin! Insulin!

So, we had a couple of flavored cappucinos and two desserts.  They have a chocolate bomb of the month.  This month’s was caramel.  It was mind-blowing.  It was so sweet.

When we ordered this, we were also going to get the chocolate fondue.  I’ve only had chocolate fondue once, it was a bunch of fresh fruit cut up to dip in the chocolate.  I think I had it in Montreal, but I could be wrong (isn’t that horrible, I do so much nice stuff that I can’t remember where I had chocolate fondue).  The waitress talked us out of the fondue.  She said it was served with marshmallows and pretzels.  I’m glad she warned us.  The fresh fruit is awesome, I would’ve been annoyed getting a set up with pretzels and marshmallows.

Instead, the waitress recommended the chocolate torte.  It was so chocolatey.  I couldn’t figure out why, when we ordered capuccinos, the waitress brought us waters first.  Thank god for those waters.  I so needed that water.  In fact, I might want to stay with just water for the next month after all I ate and drank last night.

I really would like to say that after all this eating and drinking, I went out all night tearing up the town.  Actually, we tried going over to Dave and Busters, but it was really crowded.  The parking lot was so full (and that parking lot is massive) that it would’ve been hard to find a spot.  I was just not in the mood to deal with crowds like that.  So, I came home, we watched a TIVOed episode of The Soup (I love you Joel McHale) and I passed out on my couch.  I AM the party girl!

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