Day Two: The Heat Wave Continues…

Dear Diary,

Day 2 of being held captive by this heat. It hovers over the city and blankets us with sweat. I do not know if we will make it out. It is relentless and the city is restless. I fear we may be on the brink of a meltdown. Those who venture out into the heat have a strange look about them…as if they know they cannot escape. I believe we have descended into the bowels of hell and God has forsaken us. “When will it end?!” people cry out in the street. I have no answer for them. Mother Nature can be cruel.

…we cannot get out…the heat is coming.

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Hello SUMMER

Today is the official first day of summer and apparently Mother Nature wanted to remind us of this fact by giving us our first 90+ day. Thanks a lot. Anyone who lives in NYC or has visited NYC on a day like today knows that it is completely unbearable. The subway is about 20 degrees warmer than it is outside, it smells worse, it’s humid, and stuffy. It also kills your appetite. Who wants to even think about eating food when it feels like you’re in a furnace?

Food Kiosks at the Brooklyn Bridge

That being said, I sit in an ice box all day long, so I still get hungry. I decided that I would hit up the food kiosks by the Brooklyn Bridge because they’re so close to me. I had planned on grabbing a couple tacos from Taqueria Nixtamal but when I got there I saw that La Newyorkina had a little cart. They make Mexican paletas, frozen ice pops, and what could be more perfect on a day where it feels like 96 degrees out? They had quite a few delicious sounding flavors but I decided on grapefruit. I figured it would be fruity and acidic, which meant extra refreshing. And it did not disappoint. Nice and tart with just a bit of sweetness. I enjoyed it while watching all the tourists look at the bridge. At $4 it is certainly the priciest popsicle I’ve ever had but that’s NYC for ya.

My grapefruit paleta

“Off-Centered Ales for Off-Centered People” Dogfish Head

It may have become abundantly clear from my previous posts that I am a fan of Dogfish Head beer. I will admit that they are probably my favorite brewery. I suppose some of this stems from the fact that they are from Rehoboth Beach but also, as everyone knows these days, they make some amazing beers. It may seem strange then, given that I’ve been going down there my whole life, that I’ve never actually been to their brewery in Milton, DE. Rick and I were determined to rectify this unfortunate fact. However, in typical Dana fashion, I put off looking into the brewery tours assuming (stupidly) that we would be able to walk in on any given day and get a spot. How silly of me. By the time we investigated it became clear that, not only did we need to make a reservation, but that every single spot was taken during the week we were there. Thwarted! Rather than feel like complete failures, we decided to go to the brewpub in Rehoboth instead.

75 Minute Cask Ale

While we waited for our table, there was an hour wait and you can probably expect that type of wait all through the summer, we had beers at the bar. Rick and I both got the 75 Minute Cask Ale, also known as the Johnny Cask. It’s made and distributed in very limited quantities so we were both excited to check it out. The 75 Minute is made with a combo of their 60 and 90 Minute IPA’s that then goes into a cask to finish conditioning with even more hops and maple syrup. This is a great video from New Brew Thursday, where they interview Sam Calagione about the 75 Minute. I was not disappointed by this beer. It was absolutely delicious. Super hoppy and flavorful, smooth mouthfeel, and all around great flavor. I even said at one point that I might like it more than the 90 Minute. I like a bold beer and that’s exactly what the 75 Minute is.

The brewpub itself serves typical pub style food – burgers, fries, salads, sandwiches but also has wood grilled pizzas. If you’re expecting some type of gourmet meal, go elsewhere. It’s not a fancy place and neither is the food. The service can be so-so but everyone I’ve dealt with at the restaurant has been friendly and accommodating. They’re usually completely packed so don’t be surprised when the hostess isn’t super excited about your party of 8 on a Friday night.

Alpine Idyll Wood-Grilled Pizza

We started off with the calamari, parmesan french fries, and the Alpine Idyll wood-grilled pizza. The calamari was cooked perfectly, always an indication of a competent kitchen staff, and it came with banana peppers on top. Interesting twist but delicious. It’s kind of hard to go wrong with good calamari. The fries were fine. Not as crispy as I like mine but that certainly didn’t stop me from eating them. The pizza, which came with white truffle oil, sautéed mushrooms, prosciutto, Firefly Farms fresh goat cheese, arugula, balsamic reduction drizzle, was probably my favorite part of the meal. I know it seems like there’s a lot going on there but it all worked together perfectly. Salty, earthy, with a good tang from the goat cheese, plus some smokeyness from the grill. Yum.

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

I got the Portobello mushroom sandwich as my main. It came with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, arugula, and I think some goat cheese. It was, as far as grilled Portobello mushroom sandwiches go, pretty damn satisfying. Nothing to write home about but a good combination of flavors that left me happy with my choice.

Indulgence Burger

Rick got the Indulgence Burger, which, as its name implies, was really indulgent. Here’s the description from the menu “Piled high with a beer battered onion ring, melted cheddar, and house made bacon. Consider yourself challenged.” Rick used the term “religious experience,” though I’m not sure if he’s referring to the burger or the fact that we were busy sampling so many great beers.

In the end, the reason you come here is to try the amazing brews that Sam Calagione and his team have come up with. On any given day they could be testing out a new beer or one that they only serve at the brewpub. This is reason enough to take advantage of the beer flight that you can create on your own. You get to choose 5 beers, any 5 beers that they have that day. Awesome. I went with the Johnny Rawton, Hellhound, Shelter Pale Ale, Black & Red, and 75 Minute. Here are my brief thoughts on the 3 I haven’t already reviewed.

Johnny Rawton, Hellhound, Shelter, Black & Red, 75 Minute

The Johnny Rawton is a Pils but a hoppier version. It’s earthy, light-bodied, and has a definite taste of citrus (lemon?). It’s different from a lot of DFH’s other beers because it’s less in your face. I would define this as a summer beer. Very refreshing but not that complex. It’s only available on draft so good luck finding it.

I loved the Hellhound on my Ale. At 10% it is a strong beer but doesn’t drink like one. There is a lot of citrus flavor, as the beer is brewed with lemons, that makes it feel lighter than it actually is. The beer was brewed to commemorate Robert Johnson, who was a blues guitar player back in the day. That’s about all I know about him….Anyway, like I said, the beer is awesome.

Finally, there was the Black and Red. I have to admit that this was the first DFH beer that I really did not like…at all. It’s super dark, heavy, and fruity. It’s brewed with mint and raspberry. Oh man, it was not for me. The mint is strong upfront but then the raspberry quickly takes over. It felt medicinal – like drinking cough syrup. I’m sure there are plenty of people who enjoy heavy beers like this but I couldn’t even finish the sample size. Never again.

Liquor for sale

Dogfish Head also has its own distillery at the brewpub where they pump out really interesting liquor. They have liquor flights, as well as the beer flights, and I’ve done it twice and enjoyed it both times. They have several different flavored vodkas, along with rum and gin. Definitely worth checking out if you’re there.

The brewpub has a great atmosphere – it’s busy, loud and happy. Afterall, how could you not be happy in such a beer Mecca?

The Ice Cream Gauntlet

Royal Treat Ice Cream Parlor

As anyone who goes to the shore knows, ice cream plays an integral role in boardwalk culture. Just like cheap, cheesy t-shirt stores, ice cream shops are everywhere in beach towns. I felt it was my duty to scout out my favorite ones, you know, for the blog (this has become my favorite excuse now when I want to get certain food – “it’s for the blog!”). There are 3 in particular that I tend to gravitate towards while I’m down there: Royal Treat, The Ice Cream Store, and Kohr Bros.

Royal Treat

Royal Treat is a Rehoboth staple. It’s been around for 30 years serving breakfast and ice cream out of a house on Wilmington Ave., right off the boardwalk. It’s an adorable place and their ice cream is homemade. The only thing that drives me NUTS is that they won’t let you try any of the flavors. What is that about? Luckily, almost any flavor you try will be fabulous so you can’t really go wrong.

Black Raspberry in a sugar cone

This time around I was in a fruity mood so I went with black raspberry. I have to say it was one of the best ice creams I’ve had. The flavor was perfect – not too sweet but the fruit came through really nicely. The texture was extremely creamy and smooth. It’s the type of ice cream you dream about having.

Peanut Butter

My Uncle Chip got the peanut butter flavor. Real peanut butter in the ice cream! I’m not a huge pb person but still looked yummy. My Uncle Ross insisted on getting a milkshake but he copied me and went with the black raspberry flavor. I’m sure it was delish.

Just a sample of their many flavors

The little kid in me LOVES The Ice Cream Store. It’s got a bagillion flavors and by that, I mean, 70 flavors. But that’s neither here nor there. Hello, they’ve got a Sirius Black flavor! Obviously, he’s my favorite character from HP and so when it makes it on the menu I must get it. This place is awesome. There is always a massively chaotic jumbling of people outside trying to figure out what they’re going to get. Pressure! Do I get bacon? Or maybe the Green Fairy? But what about Better Than Sex?! AHHH too many to choose from and before you know it, you’re at the front of the line, scrambling to figure out if you want the Booger flavor or the Motor Oil. The great thing here is that they’ll let you try as many flavors as you want. That’s right, just keep asking for samples until you decide but try not to be a jerk and ask to try all 70 – that’s just mean.

Pink Mint & Mayan Chocolate Cinnamon

As always, I panicked at the last-minute and went with 2 completely random flavors: Mayan Chocolate Cinnamon and the Pink Mint Chocolate Chip. Yeah, I went with the Pink Mint because the colors on the door were pink and green – I’m a sucker for marketing. It was a good flavor but no better than any other mint chocolate chip I’ve had. The chocolate cinnamon, however, was awesome. Deep, delicious, chocolate flavor, followed by a big spicy kick from the cayenne and cinnamon. Starts off soothing and cool and ends with a hot punch in the back of your mouth.

Espresso Chip & Key Lime Pie

My mom got key lime pie and espresso chip. It truly tasted like key lime pie, only in ice cream form. The espresso flavor reminded me of the espresso at il Laboratorio del Gelato in NYC. It was a strong flavor.

Finally, there is Kohr Brothers (sorry for the lack of pictures – just imagine a soft serve ice cream cone and you’ll get the idea). It’s a chain of frozen custard shops started in 1919 on the boardwalk of Coney Island and now serving several states. Their flavors change seasonally (I’ve gotten cinnamon and pumpkin there in the fall) but they always have staples like chocolate, vanilla, and orange. Orange is my favorite because when you swirl it with vanilla it becomes an orange creamsicle. I always top it with rainbow sprinkles. Love sprinkles. Frozen custard is particularly silky and smooth and the flavors at Kohr Bros are surprisingly rich.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these shops.