Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lazy Restaurant and Movie Review Post

I went out this past Firday for dinner and a movie with my friend Heather. As she was dog/house sitting for her parents in Willoughby that's where we met. While the Willoughby Brewing Company is conveniently located in downtown Willoughby we opted for Ballantine's. A nice place over all with an upscale-corner-bar appeal.

The dining room seems a lot bigger inside that outside so despite a relatively full crowd we were seated immediately. I liked this place immediately when I discovered the beer list to be significantly larger than the food menu. When we asked what was on tap our waitress pointed us to the menu as there were nearly forty (40!) beers on tap, plus a rather extensive bottle list. I am strongly of the opinion that if good draught beer is available why bother with a bottle? She opted for the Bell's Oberon, one of the best summer seasonals available in the region, and I for a barley wine whose name I now forget, suffice it to say it was delicious. An excellent balance of malt and hops and a strong, but pleasing bite, it was nearly 11% after all.

The food menu is simple but tasteful, nothing overly fancy but nothing terribly dreary either. A handful of pizzas top the menu ranging from the simple--four cheese and white--to some fancier fare which I cannot recall. The middle of their menu featured a good mix of salads and sandwiches, including their burgers, which is what we both ordered. She got the basic burger which came with cheese and fries, I got the bleu cheese burger with caramelized onions, bleu cheese, garlic aioli, and bacon (I don't remember seeing bacon on the menu's description, but it was a great surprise). The burger, cooked medium, was moist and juicy, with the onions and the aioli balancing out the dryness of the bleu. My burger came with a side of fries, thin cut and fried crispy--well done!--and a fried pickle! Death by food!

More beer came with the food, Heather sticking with the Oberon still, I however switched to a summer bock from a brewery I can't remember. Malty and strong with just the right hint of hops in the aftertaste it was the perfect accompaniment to such a hearty burger, cool and refreshing with a lightness that balanced the heaviness of the meat without being lost in the shuffle.

The bill came to about forty dollars, not bad for four delicious beers and two serious burgers.

Next we were off to the movies where I finally saw Star Trek. Totally worth the wait. Great acting, solid action, and a twisty plot that wasn't impossible to understand. The new Kirk as all the swagger and charisma he needs to fill Shatner's shoes and, thankfully, none of the weird phrasing. The new Bones is as dour and grouchy as he should be, and Syler as Spock is fantastic. Overall, a great summer action movie and a great re-introduction to the series.

After the movie we decided to grab another drink, this time at Frank and Tony's, or F.A.T.'s as they call it. A dimly lit little dive of a bar, their liquor shelf and draught selection belied the iffy clientele, an odd mix of "bros," metal dudes, and their assorted female companions and hangers-on. But I love a dive and I heard Slayer twice so I can't complain too much. We started out with Dortmunders but I switched to the new Grassroots Ale, also from GLBC, for the next round. I'd been interested in trying this since I first saw it in a store a month or so ago. Flavored with coriander, lemon balm, chamomile, and lemon basil it bears a more than a passing resemblance to the beer it seems to be replacing: Holy Moses. Light and crisp with tons of citrus and hop notes, it's not my new favorite at GLBC, but it's a solid summer sipper, very clean and refreshing.

All and all it was a good night out: good food, good drinks, and a good movie.


bstizzle said...

Jon, you gotta remember the names of the beers and the breweries that make them.

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