February 19, 2008

Since I can't go to Belgium....I went to Baltimore ?????

A few folks are Belgium bound next week. Since I can't go---I went to Baltimore instead.
Sounds crazy.
But as you all know....

We planned a trip down since November...
Max's tap room on Broadway was having their annual Belgian Beer Fest.
Three days only closing from 2-11 the next am.

Work obligations requested my presence in Philadelphia on sat and sun...so we went down Thursday to go to the fest on Friday. I'm just going to talk about our Thursday outing this time around- then move into lambicville tomorrow.

Lance was in charge of the reservations.
I told him I always to the grunt work.
To my surprise-he picked a swank spot, PAZo.

We walked around Fells point for a bit while waiting for the clock to strike 9.
First we went to "friends"- a place I had seen on the interweb while looking into our trip.
Nothing too friendly about it.

The space was too big to be cozy and the bartender was too cool to be -well- a good bartender.
And most unfortunately, the Brewer's Art Resurrection was nothing short of diacetyl -laden-and should never have been "brought to life" in the first place.

This was one of my favorite beers three years ago.
The last few times I had it...it was off. I realize they are no longer in the Philadelphia market, but I thought in their "hometown" it would be on point....but alas, I had two in two different spots while I was there...and it could have been a fluke thing....I will give the boys the benefit of the doubt.

We moved on from "friends" to "One-Eyed Mikes." Lance had wanted to go here back in Nov.
but we never made it...He was mentioning that we should try to find it now while we kill time....and as soon as his not so wet whistler said that, I looked up to the right and there it was- all by its lonesome in the middle of Bond St. I got a good feeling right away.

Beer selection...not so good. painful.
bottles of Grand Marnier on the wall... world- record.
Service- more than friendly.

We actually had margaritas with grand marnier in them.
One-eyed Mikes (website defunct) is the home of the worlds first grand marnier club.
Patrons buy a membership for $150...and they get their bottle of grand marnier.
The bottles are kept on a shelf and retrieved by a "dewey decimal" system of sorts.

The catch is...the shelves are in back of a row of two tops.....so everytime, the bar man or maid needs to get one, they have to interrupt a couple having a not so romantic dinner.

Of course- they tried to get us to get a membership...they barely accepted the fact that we don't live in the state, nor in "charm city" as a proper denial.
But we promised we would come back to eat the next day.
They seemed satisfied with that.

Paza was as pleasant as a high brow tapas place in baltimore could be.
We ordered a lovely bottle of malbec (sommelier and all) and enjoyed a few courses....
Here's my lamb...two ways...
A rack and confit...perfectly cooked to chef's preference (i usually go mid rare on lamb anyway) soooooo goood.

We moved on before dessert and decided that are dessert would have to be a little bit o' grand marnier to finish off our grand outing.

They knew we'd be back, but not so soon.
WE made some friends, played the juke and had multiple "members" befriend us.

The best part of the night (lance will tell you it was his crackers at the restaurant) was the "shot in the dark.: One eyed mikes has to close their doors every night at 1 am- while most bars close at two. So to keep their regulars regular despite their premature pumpkin turning... they do the "shot in the dark" at 1 am the turn off all the lights, get everyone a shot and toast to them. And thank them for their support.

My kind of place.
and Mike -even though I didn't get to meet him despite our three (next blog) trips there in 24 hours.....is my kind of guy.
I hope he had a valentine as swell as mine.

next blog-=-=
Max's Belgian beer fest
World cafe live beer fest
Happy 6 month anniversary to Dock St.
Chef "boy R steve", my roomate featured dish of the week
and a disappointment at Mustard Greens.

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