A Day of Mixed Experiences

               You know what it is they say about the “Best Laid Plans?” Well, that particular kind of bad-luck situation seems to cross my path quite often; in fact, almost every time I attempt to plan a day with someone else. Heck, I once scheduled a day to take off of school (special 1-time use card privelage thing) a couple months ahead of time, and it just so happened that day ended up being the 1 day after 10 years that we closed due to Snow.

                This of course was no exception yesterday, when me and Paige from Alcohol by Volume finally met for a day of Brewery and Food Truck mingling. So, after driving all the way down to Indeed, I suddenly found out that, not only do they open at 3 as opposed to the Noon time we had planned, but the Food Truck I was looking forward to was scheduled for Saturday, not Friday (darn their confusing Calendar). Called my meeting buddy to re-think, drove to meet at Fulton… which also wasn’t open. SO we just met at a bar Downtown, since she was already walking on Nicollet.

                So, after booking it all the way from Fulton to Nicollet and 10th (I had already found this awesome 10hr Parking Meter, paid 50c for 4 hours, I’m not letting that baby go) I entered “The Local” and went about searching. For those who haven’t been, it was my first time too, they have a fun old-school bar interior, divided right in half by a long, extensive woodwork. The rest of the pub is interspersed with private cubicles, glass dividers, wood stands, and other such patchwork forms of older-styled décor, designed mainly for creating senses of privacy. It’s a really cool and fun thing to walk through… but it sucks when trying to find somebody. I circled twice, and ended up having to sit and have her find me instead.

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                Took about an hour, but finally got the day kicked off. The rest went smooth and simple. Shared some talk over a beer; being quite tired from the run, I needed a creamy Kilkenny, and to our luck we found they held a Harriet, so she went for that. After expressing the interest, the bartender decided to find a growler of their Saison and poured us each a taster.  Really had that characteristic Harriet Fruity-Hoppy complexity on the nose, though my more experienced colleague pointed out its characteristics technically weren’t along what a true “saison” should be. At the very least we agreed it still tasted good.

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                Feeling the need for a change of venue, specifically one that held food, I offered two main ideas, and we headed off towards Marquette. Since, sadly, we only found one Truck still parked, I decided to take her to option #2: Devil’s Advocate. Shockingly this was the first time she had even heard of it, so I thought it’d be a fun experience, even if Food Trucks weren’t involved.

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                A nice, complex and darker Winter Ale for her, and my first glass of Dragon’s Milk Stout, and we went for a simple order of meatball sliders. Pretzel roll double of Beef w/ Red Sauce and a Single Chicken w/ Mushroom; it was my first time trying the fries too, which I definitely give them much applause for in their perfection of soft inside and crispy outside. It was my first time seeing their dessert menu, too, and I definitely suggest your next visit include one of their seemingly simple yet slightly twisted items. The cheesecake we ordered, for instance, was made with Mascarpone instead of the typical Cream; made a bit smoother and not as heavy.

                Talks had no real common thread, ranging from the complex and storied past of Finnegan’s Brewery to the practices of separate city Brewing Clubs (of which I’m thinking I might look into for joining), between Hidden Bars and Donny Darko, and a particularly noted discussion of various food-related TV Shows.

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                The day ended at Fulton, where at least I was able to show off one of our prided Trucks, Little G’s. Inside, I had my first glass of their newer War and Peace stout. Very powerful, punchy in style, you really got the bitterness of the Malts and Hops; a fun little version of one of my favorite malt-bases. To our delight, we also found out about their recent foray into making their own sodas, and we both just had to share a glass of Juniper-Blueberry. Much like all homemade sodas, it was awesome.

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                We ordered an Italian (Sausage, Onion, Pepper), a simple heavy style to fit their thicker, doughier crust. She certainly approved, though sadly was full from our trip to Devil’s to eat more than one small square. Finishing our drinks, we called it a day and went our separate ways.

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                It was certainly a fun get-together, and I enjoyed the chance of being able to share our respective loves and interests in these two growing culinary scenes. Very much looking forward to the next little experience, hopefully I’ll actually be able to show off more than one Truck next time. Until then, we’ll both keep on tasting and trucking for your reading pleasure!

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                Oh, one final note. Since I had another hour on my meter, and was still a bit affected from the drink, decided to stop into the nearby Saffron for a little waiting snack. Sadly, they didn’t have the Lamb Brains available (could have sworn I saw it on one of their Happy Hours at one point, but apparently I was wrong), so I tried a little dish of house-cured beef called “Bastirma.” Rubbed with Turkish spices, one could really get that gentle complexity in the aroma, and the chew was nice with the clean fat and concentrated meat. Certainly a nice, simple appetizer to end the day with.

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