Eastern Road Trip 2010: Day One

Greetings! Fitting that I’ve gone from one trip to the next without any other posts at all, but alas, such is life. Yesterday we packed up the car and began the 5,000 road trip that will see us cross four states and five provinces en route to the end goal of Justin’s wedding. As usual, plans don’t always come together.

The goal was to make it from Toronto to Syracuse for lunch at Dinosaur BBQ, as featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, before getting to Boston in time to catch a concert by my favourite band, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. Alas, the unexpected world of border crossings. We stood idly by for over an hour at the Queenston-Lewiston crossing, thereby ending any chances of arriving in Boston early enough for the show.

The first stop happened as planned, albeit a bit later than usual lunch. Dinosaur BBQ came recommended by Adam Gertler on said Food Network show for their BBQ chicken. Mary did a chicken and rib combo with mashed potatoes and tomato and cucumber salad, I did the pulled pork and brisket combo with beans and chili. All of it was excellent. This is a huge place in the middle of an older, slightly industrial area of town that was absolutely packed even after 2pm in the afternoon. Food was served quickly and tasted great, highly recommended. I even managed a flight of odd beers: Middle Ages Ape Hangar Ale, Ithaca Cascazilla, Lake Placid Ubu Ale, and Middle Ages Wailing Wench. Ape Hangar was crap, the others were great.

After that it’s a long haul of boredom to the Boston area, trust me. Oddly I’m starting to recognize things after my many trips this way, and we pulled in near 8:30pm. We hit dinner at a place called nourish in Lexington, meant to be a restaurant of ethically sourced food that’s relatively natural, organic, etc.. Small issue that the service was horrible and the food was average, regardless of the restaurant being almost empty. I did enjoy a Peak Organic IPA before we hit the Fireside Bed & Breakfast in Lexington for the night. A very nice B&B with wireless internet (w00t!), air conditioned rooms, and a really friendly and helpful host. We caught a late night swim before retiring out of sheer exhaustion.

So this morning I lay out the goals:

  • My geek cred life goal of having my picture taken outside Kirkland House at Harvard, the dorm where Facebook was invented is primary
  • Securing the Yard Bird (Harvard) foursquare badge is second
  • Lunch at Mr Bartley’s Burger Cottage, which was closed on our first visit in 2006
  • Doughnut at Craigie on Main, as recommended by Food Network magazine
  • Delivering a rather large care package of Ontario beer to Josh Christie

Let’s see how many of these I can cross off today!

Circus Mexicus: Day One

So I type this from the free Internet in my Pricelined hotel here at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel Tempe. Yesterday wasn’t too eventful – a late start but we made it to the airport in Buffalo on time, having had no stop for food at that point. Near the gate we found a restaurant called Which Wich that I hadn’t heard of before. Interesting concept where you grab a bag, use a Sharpie to select what you want, hand it to them and they make it for you there, then slide it into your bag. Tasted pretty good, loved the idea of the place.

I have to note that Southwest is all you’ve heard they are and more. They’re the airline Westjet patterned themselves after, which is noticeable, but they really take it beyond. From walking people’s children around the plane to singing through the PA, even to just plain old jokes and fun. We were even allowed to store our guitars in the overhead containers because the steward noted he also played and he’d never let someone touch his instruments. Lucky us.

We were barely here when we headed down to the Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe to meet up with Nick Jasken. Nick and I have a storied history dating back about 16 years by our best estimate, but this would be our first real meeting. Back around 1994 we connected over a mutual love of the band Extreme, and from mailing lists to message boards to newsgroups just built up a rapport for some time. Our contact broke apart until I found his MySpace Music one day and realized that we were both bald guitarists who’d moved on to become big Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers fans. So long story short we met up, had a great evening that lasted about five hours of just conversation. Four Peaks has awesome food and even better beer, I managed to try the Bleu Light Special Burger and the Kilt Lifter, Hefeweizen, Hop Knot IPA, The Raj IPA and Oatmeal Stout, all quite nice. Ended the night with a night swim and hit the sack at what was almost 2am Toronto time for the end of a long day.

So today? Today will be the Diamondbacks game, and a pretty cool story to tell courtesy of our old friend KP – check back tomorrow!