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Entries in beer (13)

Wednesday
Oct192011

Rain, Part I

Click to visit their siteSeems that the rain has rolled into town big today...with it that New England chill that promises a long winter.  No problem here because we've got a strategy: Homemade Split Pea Soup with crusty local bread and a beer for dinner!

More on the soup later...  My trip to Hartford Baking Company this morning has me craving dinner already (and I haven't even put the split peas on the stove yet!).  In short, I asked for a recommendation and co-owner Scott Kluger took a break from hand kneading dough to talk to me about a few of his breads...ultimately we settled on his French Country ($4). 

When I was all set, he returned to his baking beside his mother, Virginia, who is, as I can personally attest, a master at the sort of pastry you remember from your childhood.  Today I had a raspberry square with that buttery flakey dough that only top quality ingredients and a loving hand can turn out...the raspberry jam on top was bright and fruity without any cloying sweetness.  I loved the toasted almonds...a nice touch and terrific crunch!  (Just as I always order corned beef hash for breakfast, I've been eating raspberry squares since I was stuck in a stroller in Huntington Village at what is now Arise Above Bakery on Main Street - I'm an expert!)

Thank you to Scott and the team at Hartford Baking Company...we'll see how the soup turns out...at least I know that I'll have an amazing sandwich on handmade bread if all else fails.

Friday
Sep232011

Max's Oyster Bar

As I'm sure West Hartford "locals" know, Max's Oyster Bar has a terrific happy hour.  The owners were smart here, though, and focus the "specials" on deeply discounted food instead of drinks.  In sum, I went crazy there yesterday...the perfect storm: an early lunch, a long car trip, all afternoon at a vineyard (with just crackers) and generally lousy weather which always makes me hungry.  Before I stood up to leave after an hour and a half, I had had:

12 Cherrystone Clams and 5 Atlantic Oysters from the raw bar, a tuna burger, two fish tacos, a Brewtus Maximus Pale Ale (made for the group by local brewmaster Hooker), and a Stone IPA.  This is a really solid example of how sometimes, the whole "pairings" thing should really be tossed out the window.  Was this beer I ordered too strong beside the oysters and clams?  Yeah, probably.  But on a Friday afternoon when the point was to treat myself and do whatever I wanted, it all worked perfectly together...even though I decidedly left my sommelier hat at home.

The bartender, Brian, is a terrific guy and I may blame his attentive and courteous service for at least 40% of what I ordered.

The bill for this frivolity: $34.  (And it would have been much less if I hadn't treated myself to the Stone IPA - which is delicious but pricey.)

With deals like this, I'll see you on Monday, Max!