Monday, April 30, 2012

Adventures in (re)Visiting Vermont and Revisiting Blogging by Boy Kyle

  It has been entirely too long since we last posted an adventure. And it's not for lack of adventure. It's merely a case that everyone is familiar with: Life gets busy and things fall by the wayside. But we've circled back around and picked the baton back up. The first few posts may be recaps of things we've done in the past year but we will get back to fresh new adventures before too long. For now, I'll let you know about our most recent adventure in Montpelier, VT.
  For those just joining the blog (why are you jumping in at the middle? Start at the beginning; things will make much more sense), Girl Kyle and I are avid craft beer fans. So much so that I've started a career in it. The inspiration for this latest trip was an elusive brew called Heady Topper from The Alchemist Cannery in Waterbury, VT.
  Some back story on The Alchemist: John and Jen Kimmich had a highly successful brewpub operating in downtown Waterbury when Hurricane Irene caused major flood damage. The damage to the brewpub was extensive enough that they were forced to close indefinitely. But soon they were able to open the Alchemist Cannery a few miles up the road. No longer operating an eatery/bar they have been able to focus all their attention on brewing. As a result, New England will be blessed with a more readily available supply of Heady Topper, their flagship double IPA.
  In search of this TRUE king of beers, Girl Kyle and I journeyed to Montpelier, which is about 20 minutes from the Cannery and also home to our favorite bar, the Three Penny Taproom. Some of you may recall back when we had our road trip around New England, we stopped in at the Three Penny and could not stop raving about the bar and the owner Scott Kerner. This would be our daily home base for the extent of our trip.
  Our first full day we wandered around the downtown area investigating the shops. Books were purchased, lunch was eaten, fresh roasted coffee beans were purchased. At 6:30p we had dinner reservations at Hen of the Wood, where we feasted upon rabbit. This was the best tasting rabbit I've ever had. The only downside to the meal was that the man at the table next to ours had some issues with halitosis and every so often I would get whiff of something decidedly non-rabbit like. But this would not dissuade me from enjoying every last scrap of my meal.
  We also visited the Prohibition Pig which is in the former brewpub location of The Alchemist. Delicious smoked meats and good brews.
  On our last day we headed to the Cabot Cheese Annex. They had a wide range of cheeses, ranging from the standard sharp cheddar to cheddar aged 5 years to cheddar with bacon in it. Girl Kyle procured some 2 year aged cheddar and cheddar with sage in it.
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  After one more quick stop in at the Three Penny Taproom, it was time to realize our goal for this trip. So off to the Cannery we went. Being in the brewery was an absolute delight for the senses. One of my favorite smells is fresh hops and fresh malts. This building had both of them in spades. Not only were we able to check out their process but we could do so while inhaling the sweet perfume of fresh beer ingredients. Of course we had to buy some Heady Topper to cap off the adventure so we did.
  A hearty thank you to Scott at Three Penny for being an all around awesome person and for his generosity. Anyone traveling near Montpelier needs to stop in for a tipple at his bar. It's well worth your time, as is the Hen of the Wood. We throw our support fully behind these two gems and hope you will too.


  Now for a little housekeeping. Like before, this blog will strive to bring you new and renewed adventures as often as we can. However since both Kyles are working more and on largely opposing schedules we're finding it necessary to relax our rules a bit. We'll still try to get a new adventure up every week but we won't guarantee it. What we can promise is that we will have at least one a month. As always we will be accepting suggestions for affordable/free adventures which can be sent to us at KyleandKyleBlog@gmail.com. Stay tuned and we hope you'll jump back on the bandwagon with us as we explore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adventures in Strolling by the Kyle


Once again, we had a hard time coming up with something to do this week (which is why you should be emailing/commenting us suggestions to do for our adventures). There was a Christmas stroll that was being held down the street from us in the Barnstable Village, so we decided to give it a try. It was absolutely freezing outside but we decided to brave the cold and enjoy ourselves. I love the Barnstable Village. It has a very postcard feel to it. There's a ton of history there and lots of gorgeous old buildings. If I had a lot of money I would definitely move into one of the historical houses in a heartbeat. Many of the businesses were open and had cider/cookies/etc for anyone to enjoy. There was a lot of music and cotton candy and Christmas lights. It was quite nice. I got to go into a lot of the buildings that have always interested me but I've never had any reason to go into them. For some reason there was a table that had two donkeys with them. They were very cute but boy Kyle and I couldn't figure out what they were doing there. That picture is of an ass...get it? Anyways, it was quite freezing out but we definitely enjoyed ourselves. It helped us get in the mood of Christmas coming up quickly. It also allowed us to explore a lot of the village that we had never seen before.
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The thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that the General Store was not open. Almost every other business on that stretch of road was open, including the realtor's office that is part of the same building as the General Store. There have been some issues with the General Store the past few years and I don't think they did themselves any favors by closing for the stroll. A lovely coffee shop opened next door and immediately the owners of the General Store were up in arms because Nirvana (the coffee shop) was taking business away from them. While Nirvana does serve sandwiches and pastries, the selection is very limited. The coffee is far better than their neighbors' but I really don't see how they can be damaging sales as much as they are said to be. That was the first part of the whole kerfuffle that made me start to slowly remove myself as a customer of the General Store. Over the past summer Nirvana donated all their profits for an entire day to the Sturgis Library. Obviously I'm a bit biased but I think even if Kyle wasn't directly involved with the library I would have been really impressed by the move. There are other small grievances I could put forth but I don't see any reason to pile on. And now to be closed for the Holiday Stroll... I think they really need to do more for the community that they're a part of. I hope they can turn it around because having a store like that in the village is a great thing and I'll be quite sad if it goes away. Also, there were donkeys in the road.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adventures with Harry Potter's Diet by the Kyles


The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. This food-centric entry came about when Kyle discovered the book and found some delightful recipes. I've always loved breakfast foods so I lobbied for the rosemary roasted potatoes and a farmhouse bacon scramble. For dessert we had pumpkin pasties. After debating the pronunciation for a while we got to work. Kyle did the lion's share of the work but I prepped the bacon and the potatoes. She is also the much bigger Harry Potter fan so she could probably tell you when and where the different foods were eaten. (Side note, the new Harry Potter movie is very entertaining.) The food all turned out really well, and we can definitively say that we're 2 for 2 with our food adventures. There's something lovely about cooking things in bacon grease. And I'm realizing more and more that rosemary is my favorite herb. I love it on chicken, corn, potatoes, even in beer (find Babayaga by Pretty Things)! The pasties were lovely and just filling enough to top off a fun meal. It's a fun cookbook and I'd recommend checking it out. The recipes leave plenty of room to improvise and are easy enough for novice cooks like me to follow along. We still could use more suggestions from you guys. If there's something you'd like to see us do, send us an email at KyleandKyleBlog@gmail.com with your ideas.

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I have been a big fan of Harry Potter for many years. So when I heard that there was a cookbook out, I knew that I had to get it and try out some recipes. There's a very wide selection of food to choose from. With each recipe, the author cites where the food is mentioned in the books and also gives some English history related to the food as well. Anyone who has ever read the books will be very familiar with the pumpkin pasties. They are mentioned many times throughout the series. This was the only super Harry Potter food we made for the night. Here is the recipe if you are interested in making them yourself:
Pastry Crust:
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbs cold butter, cut into chunks
3 tbs vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into chunks
4-6 tbs ice water
Filling:
1 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Pulse about 15 times until the mixture resembles coarse yellow meal, with no white powdery bits remaining.
2. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 4 tbs cold water over the mixture. Toss the mixture together with the spatula until it starts clumping together. If it's too dry, add more water 1 tbs at a time. Gather the dough into a ball and pat it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Use a saucer to cut out 6-inch circles.
4. Put 2-3 tbs of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Moisten the edges with water, fold the dough over the filling, and crimp with a fork to seal the edges. Cut slits to make vents. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes or until browned.
Makes 6 pasties

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adventures with The Frames by Girl Kyle

I was particularly excited about this week's adventure. Boy Kyle and I went to NYC to see The Frames. If you have never heard of them then I suggest that you go onto youtube right now and listen to some of their songs. I first got into them after watching the movie Once which came out in 2007. Glen Hansard, the lead singer of the band, plays a busker on the streets of Dublin and meets a fellow musician from the Czech Republic. The music in this movie is incredible. I unfortunately have never had the opportunity to see them live before. Boy Kyle was lucky enough to see Glen Harnsard's side project, Swell Season, about 2 years ago. Time went by achingly slow since we bought the tickets about 2 months ago. Kyle's cousin, Sarah, was gracious enough to let us crash at her apartment so we didn't have to get a hotel. This was proving to be a great weekend.
The train ride into the city was fine. When we got to Penn Station, we had no idea where to go from there. Boy Kyle contacted his brother to find out the easiest route to get to Terminal 5 where the band was performing. Google's directions were so convoluted that we just decided to walk there. We had to walk 22 blocks through the city. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the ridiculous amount of people and the very odd smells. We got to the club early even after we almost lost each other about 15 times in the crowds. We celebrated our achievement with two pints of Guinness. We figured it was fitting since we were seeing an Irish band. We were able to get incredible spots on the balcony. No one was obstructing our view and we were able to see the stage clearly. Whenever Kyle or I went to visit the bar or the bathroom, we had many people try to squeeze their way into our spot. We had to be aggressive in guarding our spots. I would have punched someone in the face if they tried to squeeze their way past me and obstruct my view. (I really wouldn't have of course, but it would have been very tempting.) There was one opening act that wasn't too bad. Thankfully they only played about 4-5 songs. Then The Frames got on stage and I freaked out. I was jumping up and down and yelling and clapping. Boy Kyle just stood there with a big smile on his face. It reflected our personalities perfectly.

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The Frames are absolutely amazing live. Glen Hansard has an incredible presence while on stage. You can tell that he gets lost in the performance. I love when musicians do that because you can see that even though they've been playing for 20 years, they can still put just as much emotion into it as when they first started playing many years ago. I wasn't disappointed with their set list, either. They played for about 2.5 hours and had around 4-5 encores. The crowd was going crazy the whole time. It was a very exciting show. (Minus all the loud drunk people and then the sober people shushing even louder than the loud drunk people.)

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We got out of the club around 11:30 and knew we had to walk back to Penn Station. The walk back was just as crazy as the walk to the show. After seeing that much of NYC I have come to the conclusion that I don't really enjoy it. It's too much for me to handle. It's too loud, there are too many people in one small area, and it smells pretty awful. I could go on. Jeez, I sound like an old lady. I've been on the Cape for far too long. The train ride back wasn't bad. We were both exhausted and couldn't wait to get to Sarah's apartment and sleep for a long time.
We had a fantastic time and I've never seen a show as good as that one. I really really hope that they will come back soon enough so I can enjoy their spectacular performance again.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adventures in (failing at) Geocaching by the Kyles


Our apologies for the delay in posting a new activity. As we mentioned last week, we're running out of ideas, daylight, and expendable income. However we did find some time to go Geocaching this past weekend. "What is that ridiculous word that Kyle just made up?" you might ask; it is a glorified scavenger hunt, complete with its own website. I used to be a bit more active with my hunting but I lost my handheld GPS device about 5 years ago. I found it again recently and thought it would be fun to get back in the habit of exploring. I picked 3 places that were all within 3 miles of my house because I didn't want to spend a lot of time driving around. The first cache was reportedly located just off Rte. 132. After a quick walk around where it was supposed to be, I decided that most likely it wasn't still here since there was no dog park like the website said, only a Comfort Inn. The second place was a nature trail on Rte. 6A in Barnstable. As we pulled into the parking lot, we discovered that there was a man getting ready to go off into the woods to hunt. Since we would also be in the woods (hunting inanimate objects for the purpose of discovery, not their sweet flesh-meat) we were a bit nervous. But it takes more than the threat of getting our human faces mistaken for that of a deer/turkey/bear/sasquatch to deter us. We located the coordinates about a half mile into the woods and I began to look around. I soon gave up though because I'm impatient. The last place we looked was at the Wheldon Library in West Barnstable. This location was even more frustrating than the nature trail because there clearly was nowhere to hide a cache. I also remembered that sometimes the "cache" is just the location. Which is all well and good but dammit, I want an actual prize I can hold in my hand. Yeah, a library is great. Where's my effing plastic sheriff's badge? So I had to resign myself to the fact that I would have to look again some other time. Which I will. And I'll make note of it in whatever completely non-related entry it coincides with.

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I have never personally been geocaching before so when boy Kyle suggested it, I thought it would be interesting to try it out. And it was the first nice day we had for quite a long time so it was a good excuse to go for a walk. Kyle did most of the work so I just followed and enjoyed the nice weather.

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The only excitement of the day was when we came into contact with the hunter. Thankfully he was hunting for non-humans so we made it out of the woods alive.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adventures in Laziness by the Kyles

So we apologize for being so lazy. We have been trying to figure out affordable things to do since it's now getting colder and colder, but alas we have failed. We have something lined up in a couple of weeks but other than that we're stumped. We'll keep trying to come up with something to do in the meantime. If you have any suggestions either post them in a comment here or email us at kyleandkyleblog@gmail.com. Please please please help us with some ideas!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adventures with the Military and the Top Shelf Flea Market by the Kyles


This past weekend Girl Kyle and I went to an open house at the Otis Air Force Base. The purpose of the open house was to let people see some of the barracks and the equipment being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also there was a section where historical re-enactors set up recreations of a camp from their time period. There was a Civil War camp, both Union and Confederate soldiers; and a World War II camp, both American and German soldiers. I have to say that while I understand that someone always has to play the villain role, I don't think I could ever get into the mindset of portraying a Nazi, at least in a re-enactment capacity. I think it's just the idea of having to collect Nazi memorabilia in my spare time. There was a mock battle put on by the World War II re-enactors and it was great fun to watch. But at the same time it made me feel very uncomfortable. It had nothing to do with the people portraying the soldiers, it was actually the people who gathered to watch. I could see that the people participating in the skirmish were very serious about what they were doing and they had a healthy respect for what it was that they were doing. However there were several spectators, young and old, who had the attitude of "this is going to be awesome, I can't wait to see all those guys die!" It had a bit of a Roman Colosseum feel and it really upset me. For that reason I don't think I'd ever be able to do what those re-enactors do.
After the battle was over, we wandered to the modern barracks. There wasn't much to look at, just temporary housing mostly. But there were soldiers wandering around who are currently enlisted. I couldn't help thinking that it was entirely possible, even likely that these men and women could be overseas before Christmas. And that not all of them would make it home. It was a very heavy day for me and even though it's good to get some perspective now and again, I was grateful that I could leave the base, get a drink and go back home to watch Big Bang Theory. And it's because of the sacrifice of all the soldiers represented there, from the Revolutionary War to the present day, that I am able to enjoy the banalities of every day life.

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Moving on to a more lighthearted topic, last Sunday was the Top Shelf Flea Market in Somerville. It was a small gathering of local vintage clothing merchants who brought items from their shops and sold them at pretty steep discounts. I was able to procure a splendid cotton bow tie for $7. I've recently started a quest to start dressing even more like an adult than I already do and regularly wearing a shirt and tie is part of the plan. There was a lot less at the flea market than I anticipated but it was still fun to see all the vintage clothing.
After leaving the market, we had lunch at Redbones; a barbecue restaurant with an impressive beer selection, including an Imperial version of one of our favorite beers, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale. The food was great and the beers were even better. I found out the next day that my boss' old shop was right around the corner from Redbones so we'll have to check it out the next time we're in the neighborhood.

I (Girl Kyle) had a different experience than the other Kyle during the open house at Otis. My family and I did Civil War reenacting for about 7 years. I haven't been to a reenactment since we stopped participating so it was nice to see the encampments and the soldiers and campfires and things like that. My mom and I portrayed soldiers and participated in the battles. Surprisingly there were a fair amount of women soldiers in the ranks (this is becoming more and mo
re popular which I definitely approve). I have never been to a World War II reenactment before and I've always wanted to go. This was a great opportunity for me to see what they do and how they set up camp. I agree with Kyle, it was unsettling to see the Nazi flag waving about in the German camp. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable portraying the Nazis. But I guess someone has to do it. They had some really cool items out on display. They had lots of tanks and motorcycles and jeeps. During the battle that we saw they actually used the tanks which was very surprising. The battle was very exciting. I haven't seen a reenactment battle in quite a long time. I'm always the one in the battle. It's a completely different experience watching a battle happen rather than being in it. Watching a battle happen can be very emotional for me. It's really hard to watch something that you know happened in real life and many people were killed because of it. It's really easy to separate yourself from that idea while you're in the battle. It's a lot of fun and typically you know a lot of the people involved so it's like playing war on the playground. But when you're outside of it and just a spectator, you can see what it really looked like and how horrible it must have been to be involved in it. I can understand other people's excitement watching the fake battle but they should remember that what they're watching happened in real life. People were killed, families were ruined. It's easy to forget that when you're emotionally detached. Seeing the modern soldiers walking around was hard for the same reasons that Boy Kyle said. They are involved in a real war. The other people are just portraying people in war, they won't have to be shipped out a couple months from now. So while the day was fun, it was also heartbreaking.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions so leave a comment or email us at KyleandKyleBlog@gmail.com