Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Little Eats in New London

This is going to be just a short entry that will hopefully lead to more in the same vein.

I find it intriguing to work a position in which my schedule changes depending on the school year, especially when foraging for food. So far, I've managed to sample a few of the many eateries in New London:

The Hot Dog House on Montauk Ave.: My Favorite New Place. The food is good and simple, and I am completely addicted to the fresh sweet potato fries - an order of those & soup (Black Bean with Pork is divine) makes for a very satisfying meal. This little bistro is very clean, the decor is fun and the owners are absolute dolls- Venus & his wife are as friendly as can be - Venus himself speaks in declarative sentences: 'The same type a food we eat at home!' 'The sweet patata fries are always fresh!' 'So, whaddya know, she's gonna blog about us!' It's always a delight to go in, have a chat, and leave with some good eats.

Saeed's International Market on Ocean Ave.: I never regret getting anything to eat here. They have every permutation of spinach & feta (the kihi being my favorite) and delicious felafel wraps. They also have many fun, exotic eats & sodas, but those can be a wee bit pricey.

The Recovery Room on Ocean Ave. (across from Saeed's): Excellent thin crust pizza (the spinach & gorgonzola is my favorite) and humongous salads that are really meals for two people. The atmosphere is cozy, unless it's extremely busy, and the prices are fair. More of a place to go when you have time to sit and eat, but calling in an order works, too.

The Bean & Leaf Cafe: Another contender for Favorite New Place- they have excellent fair trade coffees & teas and great food - the paninis are really satidfying, served with homemade pita chips, hummus and a small salad. There is plenty of seating & local talents are given a chance to shine. I first visited when they hosted our college's Digital Photography class show.

The Montauk Cafe & Market on Montauk Ave.: This is a little sandwich-and-coffee joint that's within a short walking distance from work - I've had really great sandwiches here (the Cowboy Sandwich is really great- kind of a messy reuben) and they have Green Mountain coffee, which is always fresh, hot & strong. The only downside is that they shut at 2:30 PM....

Well, that's it for now....hopefully some of you readers (all 4 or 5 of you) will visit these places & report your experiences!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wet, Wild & Woolly Weekend

This past weekend was certainly a whirlwind, starting with a quick nip after work on Thursday at the Cedarwood Lounge attached to the Willi Bowling Alley - not exactly the most glamorous place, but the drinks are strong, big & some men I know...

Friday night, Bernie & accompanied Lushy Luke to the incredibly hideous Sneakers Sports Bar in Ashford (I would like to point out it was LL's idea and we are such loyal friends that we agreed to go). The pictures in the link make the place look good; I'm pretty sure we were the only three in there with a full set of teeth and not wearing plaid. The two video games they have are Bowling & Extreme Hunting and some scary looking guy was using the air hockey table as a coat rack. I'll bet the air hockey table is the cause of most of those people losing their teeth - extreme puck action! I think I drank all the Stoli they had in the two hours we were there....and then it was.....


I started off the day hungover because I apparently over-consumed during the two hours I was tortured at the above-mentioned redneck hell-hole. Fortunately, instead of feeling sorry for myself all day, I knew we had plans for the evening: hanging out with Miss Wendy in New London to celebrate her birthday at the Hygienic Art 29 festivities!

We had a restorative dinner at the Asian Bistro, then headed out to the Whaling City after switching outerwear and clothing around. We stopped first at the Golden Street Gallery and saw some great pieces by the artists featured there - it was also sanely populated, which was nice. On our way there, we popped in to see the work being done on the old El 'n' Gee club - they have completely redone the bathrooms (hooray- it had gotten CBGB-esque in those loos!) with Joan Jett & Johnny Cash painted on the doors, a new bar shaped like a guitar, new floors, and they've removed the separator between the bar & stage. The guys working told us the plan was to have a variety of acts, from theater to comedy to music. However, one of the local artists said she had heard it was being turned into a "gentlemen's club" - let's hope not.

We then popped over to Sarge's Comics (the Popular Place for Anniversaries & Birthdays!) and touched everything, but had to leave because they were closing. Miss Wendy did try to convince me to bargain for the Promethea action figure that's been sitting there forever....but I wasn't up to it.

So then, off to the events! It was icy cold out, which meant that once people were in a building, it was tough to get them out. We were not able to get into any of the rock shows at any time as the two clubs were seriously packed. We did give the Hygienic Gallery a try, but I got halfway through before having a major attack of claustrophobia & sprinting out the back door. There was very little to be seen well because there was no room to back up and look at any of the work- a return trip is necessary! Bernie & I managed to find & extricate Miss Wendy, then we all decided we needed drink, because after all, it was a birthday celebration.

We ended up at the Bank Street Roadhouse (which is generally rednecky on non-festival nights, but quite tolerable on this Saturday) and the Rivergods were playing- a very nice, upbeat set for sure (Fun Fact: Nancy from the Rivergods is the sister of my immediate supervisor). Drinks du nuit were vodka tonics and gin & tonics for Bernie. It started getting a little crowded in there so we moved on.

We left and looked at the other clubs, noticing the clientele at this point were spilling onto the sidewalk- no way we were going to shove our way into that! We ended up at a restaurant bar for the rest of the evening having a nice chat & more drinks before heading home.

Thanks, Wendy, for letting us celebrate with you!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Vittles, Video Games & a Venue Change

Last Saturday, Bernie & I, along with some friends, made our first foray into the wild world of Dave & Buster's. At first I wasn't so sure about this place: it's located in Providence Place Mall, so I thought it would be loaded with small children. But joy of joys: ostensibly children are not allowed in there after 5:30 PM! Hooray!

The first obstacle was the parking garage, obviously designed by some sadistic non-driver. On every level there were a billion ways for other cars to zoom in & create near-hits as I awkwardly negotiated the same level 3 times.....we finally found our way out of the labyrinth and soared upwards to....the first level. I'm pretty sure some form of higher mathematics went into the numbering/naming of the levels, but I didn't have the Royal Slide Rule with me to figure it out.

After luckily finding a newly-vacated parking spot, we went right into the mall- I've never been to Providence Place Mall before - it's hellishly huge and seems to have all the same shops as every other mall, but I was told The Secret: as you go up each level, the stores escalate in price.....

We quickly found Dave & Busters and it was BUSY! We had been told it would be a two-hour wait for a table, so we planned on playing games, then eating. Luckily, we ended up with a table within 10 minutes, so we changed our plans. The food was fine, nothing special, but we did get some sort of deal where we received a $10 game card with our meal and our waiter was not only very entertaining, but very hot. Always makes the food just a little better.....So, fed & with a nice buzz going on (Belvedere was the drinkable vodka served there), it was off to the games!

The games were a bit overwhelming, what with all the flashing lights & the number of people around. Surprising to me, everyone was very fair about letting those waiting take a turn. There were driving games, flight simulators, AIR HOCKEY, shooting games, some strange roulette-type games, a crane machine with cheeeezy bling, boxing games- a lot of choices to be sure!

We hopped right on driving games to start- don't ask me the names, all I know is they tossed me around while I maniacally drove & was laughing hysterically...Miss Wendy, I have no idea how you could drive any of those games with a martini in hand! You are truly a Patsy Stone....
We played more games of that ilk, and of course I had to play with the flight simulator- graphics-wise, far more sophisticated than the one I trained on at Windham Airport, but far less accurate. For instance, I didn't crash nearly as many times....
Bernie & I accidentally hogged the ginormous, flourescent air hockey table for several games, Mikey played Donkey Kong for a really long time, and I tried my hand at Space Invaders- 'tried' as in 'tried to figure out how it worked' (it's been a loooong time) and then the message 'Game Over' appeared....

After a couple of hours, and using the Jaws of Life to pry Bernie way from the games, we were DONE. We noticed that around 8:30 or so, it started getting very meat-markety in there for the 18-21 year old set. Eeew.

My suggestion is not to go on a Saturday night- it was fun, but packed. And be prepared to spend some money! All in all, it was a really fun time and everyone was having fun on the same level- pretty cool!

So, what's all this about a venue change? Well, Bernie just landed his bad self a new job with the New London Housing Authority! Less hours, more money - whoo hoo! Congrats, pootie-pie!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

....and now, Reality.

Sadly, this is the first day back to work since Dec. 21. It was so difficult to have to get ready & be out of the door within 2 hours of waking.....but, I have memories of a fabulously festive holiday season to soften the blow!

Bernie & I were fortunate enough to host some of our closest friends - the Wombats from Albany, Miss Wendy, Alex, Marko and the Boojums- for an impromptu cocktail party. I'm really beginning to appreciate the merits of smaller gatherings, especially the ability to be able to talk to all of our guests! It was especially nice to be able to make Wombat small-talk as we don't see them nearly as often as we'd like!

The next night, my parents threw a fantastic wine & cheese party for their neighbors - it was lovely, with really nice people and more cheese than even I could eat. (I'm pretty sure at this point I'll never have to worry about brittle bones with the amount of cheese I've consumed in the past week and a half....)

On New Year's Eve, we scrapped our original idea of going to Boston, but we didn't want to ring in the new year at home. So, we dolled up and headed over to the Mohegan Sun casino, of all places. But I'm glad we did- we 'discovered' a Mexican restaurant in there & made a ton of noise at midnight along with the other patrons- it was such fun! Then we cruised around, looked at the fab decorations and people-watched for a bit & then headed home.

Then we started the new year in the best way- we didn't do a damn thing all day. Hooray!