Clearview: A charming, laid-back, friendly vineyard. Good wines, music, just a great for relaxing, sampling and kicking back with a glass. A southern stop on the underrated Shawangunk Wine Trail.
If you are in NYC around Halloween time you have to visit Abracadabra on 21st St. If you are not in NYC around Halloween time you have to visit Abracadabra on 21st St. It’s magic. And it’s loaded with good taste going in and out.
Portland has a lot of great brewpubs and tasting rooms, and they vary in approach from foundational, Gritty McDuff’s, to traditional, Shipyard, to continental, Oxbow, to outdoorsy, Rising Tide. However, for a distinct experience, try the Urban Farm Fermentory & Gruit Brewing Co., a relaxed, New Agey drinking experience just across the street from the Lone Pine/Goodfire, back to back operations, and despite their good reps, I’ll not direct you to them due to their sin of tapping too many IPAs. The approach to brewing at Urban Farm Fermentory is creative and pretty unique, featuring beer, mead, cider, kambucha and jun. What’s jun? Check out the bottom right corner of the photo. The illustrated explanation may help. Or not. They even had a pettable dachshund at the bar. Is any hot dog safe in a room of people drinking beer…and some other beverages I’ll tentatively identify as related…? Well, the other customers may have been vegetarians. And we’d already eaten, so…Anyway, said dachshund, seemed as chilled as the two-leggers. I particularly like a sourish brew called Biscuit Phrase, which somehow had a yogurt component. Didn’t hurt, may have helped, good beer, whatever the case.
Okay, so it’s a chain restaurant, which I found out after eating, but who cares? Its dining room is casual and comfortable, the staff is attentive and the back and rear deck look out on Casco Bay. They have pies that are effectively pizzas with tomato sauce, but you can go without as well. I stumbled upon Punctuated Equilibrium with Kalamata olives, rosemary, red onions, Sunset Acres goat cheese, fire-roasted sweet red peppers and whole milk mozzarella baked on bread dough with homemade garlic oil and herbs. Ingredients run to the organic, if you are into that sort of thing. Very good and inexpensive.
What the hell, say I, when you’re toutistring about, may the calories burn in the fires of flaky perdition. Or something like that. Ham and cheese croissant: Sinful! Almond croissant, with nice, light whipped cream sandwiched in the middle: Sinfuler! But the Blueberry Violet Cheesecake: Not even Fr. Egan could come up with a penance long, dreary and severe enough to get you off the hook for that one. But you weren’t gonna see heaven anyway, were you? So you better sink your teeth in whilst here. Oh, and the peanut butter sandwich cookie was monsterous.
Outstanding. We ate in the close, cool downstairs bar and dining room part of the historic, building. The almond crusted goat cheese salad and stuffed lobster were excellent but the portobello mushroom Alouette cheese appetizer was out of this world, and I don’t throw around extra-planetary superlatives a lot. They had a prickly pear sour beer from Two Roads Brewing, Stratford CT, that was first rate and quite sour. More on that latter. Best go visit Dan Packer whilst in the vicinity.
The food is great, but, no matter what, get the Verde Margarita!