Just A Little Food Tour

Archive for the 'Pubs' Category


The Quiet Man Public House (Peekskill, NY)

The Quiet Man Public House Peekskill NY

The Quiet Man
15 N. Division
Peekskill, NY
(914) 930-8230

We followed the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery with a trip to Peekskill for the Hudson Hop & Harvest Festival. For reasons I will not go into here, we ended up looking for somewhere else to hang in Peekskill. Driving down N. Division, we spotted two things we rarely resist: The words “Public House” & a Guinness sign. Decision made: dinner & drinks at The Quiet Man Public House.

I’m a sucker for Irish Pubs – especially if actually owned by someone Irish. Yeah – they all pretty much look like something out of a Hollywood movie set (dark wood, moderate lighting & various Irish memorabilia) – & usually feel quite a bit like the real thing in Ireland – but they are also usually just what you need on a slightly chilly Fall day. A perfect Guinness pint pour (or maybe two) plus decent fish & chips was my choice. I would have preferred the chips be more “chiplike” – they were a bit limp & definitely frozen – but the fish was solid – not greasy, nice batter with moist flaky fish. If I lived in the Peekskill area, I guarantee this is where you would find me on any given Sunday afternoon.

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Idle Hands (Manhattan, NY)

Idle Hands Bar Lower East Side Manhattan NY

Idle Hands
25 Avenue B, Downstairs
New York, New York 10009
(917) 338-7090

Full disclosure about Idle Hands: a former co-worker of mine from my Astralwerks Records days – Rob Morton – is a partner in this bar. Despite that fact – I still love this place! Those old school NY folks out there will remember this space as the old Save The Robots. Down a flight of stairs – speakeasy style – into a fairly nondescript basement bar. What they saved on glitz decor – they turned around & poured into what they pour. This is billed as “bourbon, beer & rock” & all three are here in spades. One of the best bourbon selections in the city. Too many craft beers to sample without blacking out. Plus a great soundtrack that – unlike so many bars in the city – is loud enough to make the party but not so loud one has to shout.

My friend Rob was tending bar when we arrived, so I let him make the beer & bourbon choices. I asked for something hoppy in a beer & he chose the wonderful Uinta Brewing Hop Notch IPA. Big hoppy punch with 7.3% ABV. A nice way to kick things off. Followed that with Lagunitas Brewing IPA. A bit less hoppy & 6.2% ABV. I decided to stick with this for the rest of the night.

While there were no surprises with the beers – I had had both prior to Idles Hands – I knew Rob could surprise me with a bourbon. He chose the Kings County Distillery Bourbon. A beautiful rich caramel bourbon that paired nicely with the hops. Now I have to find a source for this in upstate NY.

We ended the evening with a shot of Evan Williams courtesy of Mr. Morton. It’s a solid simple bourbon – nothing amazing but definitely does the job.

It’s rare to find an East Village bar that is not filled with idiots or takes itself too seriously. Idle Hands is like hanging in your – or a friends – very well stocked basement with some of the best curated Spotify playlists on the planet. You may not remember it the next morning – but you’ll definitely have a great time here.

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Live Bait (Manhattan, NY)

Live Bait Bar Manhattan NY

Live Bait
14 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 353-2400

During my years in NY, I was not a major fan of the many dive bars my friends enjoyed. One of the few I did like – & for reasons I cannot explain – is Live Bait just off Madison Square Park. Part dive bar/part Southern comfort food joint/part raw bar – it has a slightly affected feel to the roughness but still remains genuine. The staff is friendly – it has a fairly large bar – & a fairly decent catfish po’boy.

On a recent trip to NYC & as a worm up to lunch at Wildwood BBQ – Cherie & I stopped in for a couple of beers & a snack. Looking over the menu, we settled on the Fried Jalapeños with spicy queso & Jalapeño Hush Puppies. Both were nicely fried without being greasy & arrived at our seats piping hot. The dipping sauce for the hush puppies was a sort of tartar sauce sort of thing – not really worth using or noting. The batter on the Fried Jalapeños could have been crisper but they brought a nice bit of heat. The hush puppies – while nicely moist & flavorful – lacked any real heat. Cherie quickly solved this issue by taking a hush puppie – cutting it in half – putting a fried jalapeño on the hush puppie – & adding a dollop of the spicy queso. The combo of the two snack added up to one perfect treat. To those out there with a fryer reading this – embed a jalapeño in your hush puppies & call it Devil Dogs. You’ll thank me in the morning.

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Spitzer’s Corner (New York, NY)

Spitzer’s Corner
101 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002-2203
(212) 228-0027

Full of Porchetta porky goodness, we headed south into Soho/Lower East Side to see what was new & check out the Essex Street Market. The market is amazing – but more on that another time.

Having wandered for a bit & with NYC still somewhat August blazing (I believe the temperature was about 85°F), we decided to look for a place to get out of the sun & have a beer. Cherie noticed an open front bar at the corner of Ludlow & Rivington. First impression was it was targeted at the eurotrash & wanna be hipster douchebags that stay at THOR. Perhaps it is. In any case, it had 40 craft beer taps & a very friendly helpful bartender – so we took a seat. Sometimes looks can be deceiving.

Spitzer’s claims to be a gastropub – a term I find a bit obnoxious. If you’re a pub & serve food – you’re still a pub. The “gastro” generally serves no purpose other than to add 25% to very item price. The menu reflected that. Much of it was a bit too over the top & over priced to be decent pub grub. Beer prices were in the usual craft range ($7 or so for a pint). We had decided to have a couple of beers & skip food until we noticed one appetizer priced at a reasonable $5:

Pork Fat Edamame

Given we had decided the day would be devoted to pork – foregoing BBQ for other porcine delights – we were basically obligated to order this dish.

Rather than steaming and/or blanching the edamame, Spitzer’s sautes them in pork fat then tossed them in cayenne & sea salt. It’s a double punch of saltiness with a touch of spice & the smokey porky undertone of the pork fat. We polished these off in no time.

Quite glad we did not just this pub by it’s cover & ventured in. Will now need to see if I can replicate this at home.

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