Whilst visiting with the family I came to discover that they are all winos and drinkers. Not much of a surprise, considering there’s not a ton to do. But the fact that they enjoyed wine DID make me smile.
And luckily enough there is a Brewery and Winery tour, AKA a “Beverage Tour,” within an hour’s drive of my grandparents!
Cue family road trip! I went with my dad and his two younger brothers. It was just me and the boys. And I was not able to keep up with them. Haha.
I started strong but by the middle of the third tasting I was feeling it and we had a LOT more driving to do.
This was at the Ommegang Brewery which is the only one that you can buy outside of the county. Check your local Costplus or beer stores to see if they stock it! The really fun part about this brewery is that they have a Game of Thrones inspired selection of draughts.
The tasting was lots of fun and offered a bowl of pretzel sticks and dips and cheeses to sample through the flight of beers. It was entertaining and the girl was very enthusiastic, but I got real full and sick of beer real quick on this one. Though I asked for half samples of the beer, our beer host kept on forgetting and giving me more. So I was more often than not passing it on to my non designated driver companions, aka Dad and Uncle Mike.
Overall, my favorites of the tour were the first winery, Bear Pond Winery, that had the MOST delicious mulled wine (kept warm on a candle warmer, no less.) We ended up going there twice while visiting because the WHOLE family loves it! And also the Fly Creek Cider Mill. Because cider is amazing and doesn’t taste like alcohol. Also because it had so many SAMPLES. It was better than Costco! There were samples of sweet dips, spicy dips, cheese dips, soups, crackers, honeys, fudge, ciders (free tasting there!!), and even samples of apples.
Honestly, after that I kind of zoned out and focused on taking pictures while the boys had their fun. In the last winery there was this group of women who were just absolutely having a blast. Trying all sorts of extra wines, buying all the accoutrements and plastic travel wine cups, they had literal arms-ful of souvenirs and wine products. And my uncles and dad are the exact type to join in on their fun. They were all joking around and it was joyously (and inebriatedly loud) all the while a daughter in law sat looking sophisticated and too-good-for-this in the corner, sipping wine talking about how her husband was off ‘coon hunting. She said ‘coon so many times it was obvious she was simply enjoying the hilarity that was her life.
They make this “Cooperstown Beverage Tour” real fun by offering a free souvenir cup when you go to each of the 6 locations on the official list.
We almost didn’t make all 6 though. At the last stop on our route we got to Butternuts Ale and Beer right after they closed. My Uncle Steve got out and started circling the place looking for any signs of life (or viable entrances). We weren’t having any luck, but as it happens my dad woke from his nap and decided to go join the fun. Right at that moment someone opened up the rickity garage door in front of us to officially say they were closed. Buuut my dad and uncles made sure to ask if they could at least have a stamp.
The brewery lady was more than happy to oblige and even gave us all our souvenir cups (no tastings though) and a pile of 20 coasters EACH. I don’t know why we had to have that many cardboard coasters, but they made for great frisbees to toss at my once-again-sleeping father on the way back home. ;P
So this is one of the MOST famous places in all of Boston. According to my dad, and most of the internet. It is a small bakery in the North End of Boston, aka the Italian district. As you walk the streets from the center of Boston (well to me and my dad that was Fanueil Hall) the buildings slowly turn into apartments and change in style till it feels like you are in a whole new city. You can feel the unique Italian neighborhood vibe in this main street of North End.
You walk by café after café after Italian restaurant after pastry shop. It was beautiful and painfully and heartachingly reminded me of Europe.
The inside of Mike’s was just as quaint as the rest of the street. It was American old-school with the feeling of a 50’s diner including embossed metal ceilings
But the highlights of the place was truly the pastry display which spanned the length of 3 walls, leaving only the entrance wall clear of racks of sweets.
The true torture of this place was picking which dessert. Not only did they have cupcakes, tiramisu, other small cakes, ice cream, cookies, cannoli, etc. But they had multiple FLAVOURS of each. So once you decided what TYPE of dessert you craved you had to pick what TASTE you wanted. I debated hard for the entire wait between peanut butter and espresso cannoli. I ultimately chose the peanut butter. It was so rich and decadent. I had some trouble finishing it. But the cannoli pastry was flaky and with a surprisingly dense bite. In fact, it reminded me of the Mexican sopapillas. I had never had a true cannoli before and this one has set high standards.
Then my dad tried the tiramisu and it was perfect. Just the right balance of espresso, chocolate, cinnamon and liquor in a creamy and spongy cup. Their coffee was delicious as well, though my choice of a flavoured latte was perhaps not the wisest. I was so over-sugared that I had trouble thinking about any more food for the next 4 hours.
My only complaint was the service. As in the owner was the sole waitress in a ridiculous tiny and crowded go-to spot for the lunch hour. We actually didn’t have to wait that long, but it’s the principal of the thing.
Also, keep in mind, if you go there they ONLY accept CASH. No credit, debit, checks. If not for my daddy being old-fashioned I would have missed out on a delicious treat.
That is a picture of delicious, warming, hearty Cod Pie from one of the many restaurants within the confines of Quincy Hall, Boston.
Since I don’t have much else to say, other than wowza this was good and I wish I could have tried ALL of the restaurants in there, I shall give an impression of Quincy Hall’s insides.
It is like a mall food court or an airport restaurant area. Only full of dozens of option of EVERYTHING. There was East Coast seafood, salads, macaronis, Indian food, Asian food, desserts every which way you looked. Sandwiches and soups on nearly every menu. There was pizza and BBQ, ice cream, and smoothies, to boot.
All you had to do was walk up and down the length of the historic Hall until something caught your eye. The most interesting part, though, was not the food but the seating. For all of the hustle and crowding of the Hall, there was a very limited seating area. A mere quarter section of the hall full of low to the ground wood tables and square no-nonsense seating. You had to STALK your seats out like they were your PREY. You literally had to POUNCE on an opening or you would lose your place. There was no time for even a quick walk. You determinedly sprinted to your place and set your food down before your feet made the last steps.
After finding our seats, however, we did realize there was a second floor with a few more seating options. I regret that we didn’t roam about the floor above us, but there was so much to do and see and walk to that it simply was overlooked.
Also, I know that my postings have been irregular. I don’t even have the excuse that I’m busy. I simply keep forgetting to go through my pictures and do reviews!
I hope you are enjoying my New York (and Boston!) reviews though. I’ll make up for my tardiness by uploading some of my non-food pictures of the country side and city! (Eventually, at least.)