Sunday, January 9, 2011

I HEART New York

Love it, love it, love it! Even in a blizzard. (If there's a blizzard, there are two places to be- at home, with a stocked fridge and lots of books, or NYC. You can get anywhere on the subway -it's not shut down no matter how bad it is outside, or, provided the winds aren't blowing at hurricane force, you can still walk. Even in 8 inches of snow.)
We decided to spend Christmas in NYC this year, both visiting friends that live there, and doing our best to visit as many great beer bars and eateries as we could manage in three (which turned into 4) days. First stop- St Andrew's pub, just off Times Square near our hotel. We arrived there, straight from the airport, at 11PM on Xmas Eve, parched! Mr Cicerone opted for Belhaven's Twisted Thistle IPA, and I decided on Palm, the simple session-style Belgian pale ale that isn't available in Michigan, and I'd yet to try it. I do love this style, but Palm was a little sweet. I prefer De Koninck. I , too, opted for the Thistle when the bartender cried out for Last Call. Mmm.
Christmas Day in NYC.....people everywhere, lots of places open, and not a Santa in sight! I love this place! Lunch found us at Ben's (Kosher) Deli, enjoying a big chopped liver sandwich while Mr Cicerone opted for pastrami and a Brooklyn lager. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly really, the pubs we were hoping to be open were not, so we settled in to Heartland Brewpub for a couple

before heading to the Upper West Side to visit our friends, who fed us a fantastic brisket pot roast (infused with horseradish) along with, on our recommendation,  He'Brew Messiah Bold brown ale. It had been a chilly but pleasant day weatherwise, and sometime as we were walking around I noted to Mr Cicerone, (a little wistfully for his sake), that it would have been perfect if it had snowed, just a little. Little did I know.....

Boxing Day saw us at The Fatty Crab in the Western Village for lunch, just as it was starting to snow. (Our friends had told us that we were in for about 4 inches that day- nothing out of the ordinary.) We had a great lunch of  sticky chicken wings, a fabulous turnip and Asian greens curry, coconut rice, and a pork belly & pickled watermelon dish. Oh yeh! With Pork Slap Pale ale.
Mmmm, pork belly with pickled watermelon.
 Then a short walk (in the snow)

to The Blind Tiger in Greenwich- one of the cosiest pubs we've ever been in. With a fabulous beer list. We availed ourselves of Full Sail IPA, Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale, and a few more treats that we hadn't tried (my memory fails me!). Next stop- Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn.It was snowing pretty hard by now, but we were getting around just fine (gotta love that subway system!) There was an English brown from Harvey's on cask which Mr Cicerone declared a little past its prime, but the Kulmbacher pils was declared to be excellent. I opted for a De Dolle Dulle Teve tripel (in a bottle). Just hadn't had one for ages!
Out into the wilds again, this time headed for our evening destination, The Ear Inn in SoHo, where our friend Jon-Erik Kellso was playing his regular Sunday evening gig. Alas- we were just a couple of blocks away, braving the (now coming down in buckets) snow and wind, when he called to say that the show was cancelled, as the musicians could not get there.
The guitar player's car!
So, back to the subway, and we headed back towards the hotel and spent a delightful evening at The Pony Bar.
Next day- we awoke knowing we would NOT be heading home that day as planned, and after spending half the day locked in our hotel room organizing our way home for the next day, we ventured out into the aftermath. It had stopped snowing, but there was 12 inches of snow on the ground and a biting strong wind that made it just a bit unpleasant out there. We had a strange lunch in a Japanese fast food place (McDonald's for Japanese food! Really!), and spent the afternoon relaxing in our room before heading out to The Algonquin Hotel for a pre-dinner cocktail, and then on to BXL, a fabulous Belgian cafe and beer bar. What a treat! Great beers, food and service, and it was really inexpensive! We enjoyed Ommegang Adoration, Duvel Green, Chouffe Houblon IPA, and a dark strong from La Rulles, as well as moules and Flemish stew. A lovely (and cheap!) evening! Next day- our last- we headed to the Holy Grail of cheese shops, Murray's in Greenwich, and spent a very happy hour there! Then, back to Blind Tiger for lunch and a couple before heading back to the hotel and on to the airport. Needless to say our 7.45PM flight did not leave until after 11PM, so we got to hang out at the airport bar with a Guinness (or two).

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