Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures in Chicken by Boy Kyle

I just want to say up front that, yes, I cooked a whole roast chicken by myself. And I brined it, as well. I'll now give you all the chance to sarcastically say "oh wow, Kyle cooked dinner all by his self!"

OK, let's move on then, shall we? Brining a chicken, for those who aren't familiar with the process, is essentially the same as marinating. You concoct a very salty broth and the salt removes the existing juices in the chicken and allows the broth to soak into the bird. The brine that I made came from a recipe on the internet. It involved salt, sugar, thyme, rosemary, lemon, garlic, onion and beer. I chose an Autumn Maple ale from The Bruery, based out of Orange County, CA. I had to make some changes to the recipe because the recipe called for 64oz of beer and I only had 25. I would have gotten more but it was $15 per bottle so one would have to do.
After cooking up the brine I had to let the chicken sit in it for 24 hours. I probably could have left it in for more but we were hungry and wanted to eat.
You have to understand that I do cook more than Kyle will have you believe. It's just that I feel more comfortable cooking on a grill. I'm not entirely sure why, probably it's the primal thing but I think it has more to do with the fact that when I'm cooking on a grill I'm present through out the process. I can turn the chicken/steak/burger/hot dog/vegetables whenever I please and I have more control over it. Baking means I have to just rely on the oven. I can throw something in there and go watch Mad Men. Which is what I did. After about 40 minutes I pulled the chicken out of the oven and it smelled amazing.

It also tasted great, though a little salty for my liking. A result of the brining, I'm guessing. The best flavor came from the wings and drumsticks. I think it's because there was less meat so it was able to soak up more of the flavors. It was pretty juicy, which ordinarily I'm against but in this case I was pleased with it. A common complaint is that oven roasted chicken is dry. At least that's what I'm told. So overall I think my first attempt at brining and cooking a whole chicken in the oven was a success. There's still some left if anyone's interested, though they may have to wrestle Kyle for it.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Adventures in Vermont by Boy Kyle

After driving for almost 5 hours from Belfast, Kyle and I decided that we needed to take a break from the car. Which is why the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT came in very handy. Not only was it convenient, it was also one of the absolute highlights of the entire trip. I will now give them a shameless plug. Go to the Three Penny Taproom if you are ever in the general vicinity. Scott Kerner (one of the owners) was behind the bar when we walked in and he was by far the greatest bartender I have ever encountered. He was very knowledgeable, friendly and seemed completely overjoyed to be able to get us beer. And the best part was that you could tell that it wasn't a faux personality that some bartenders and servers adopt to try and get more of a tip. Scott was genuinely having the time of his life talking to us about craft beer and getting to know us.

Unfortunately we did have to leave eventually. By the time we got to our hotel in Burlington we were exhausted and it was only 8pm. By a stroke of luck there was a restaurant at the hotel so we didn't have to bother trying to figure out what to do about dinner. The next day we ventured out to the Magic Hat Brewery, which happened to be about 2 blocks from where we were staying. Neither Kyle nor I have been a fan of Magic Hat but I thought that it might be an interesting tour. Plus maybe they'd have something we never heard about and would enjoy. We did discover an ale that we'd never heard of but we didn't like it at all. I can't say it was a bad beer but I can say that my taste buds were VERY displeased. No official tour but we got to walk around on a balcony and see the first batch of the day being bottled.

From Magic Hat to Otter Creek. Otter Creek was nice and they had a fantastic pumpkin ale, which we bought for the campsite. I don't really have much else to say about Otter Creek, they don't do tours anymore for insurance reasons, and the beer we had was quite good but unremarkable.

Then we arrived at our campsite. And quickly found out why it was labeled a "Premium Lean-To."

We also discovered that we had left our pillows in Burlington. I'm still paying for that mistake since I haven't had a proper night's sleep even as of last night. But what made the night even more uncomfortable was the rather loud and active pack of coyotes that were serenading us all night long. Throw in an overnight low of 40 degrees and you can see why neither of us slept well that night.

The next morning we went to the Long Trail Brewery. Long Trail makes great beer and after Magic Hat we were delighted to be able to start our afternoon off with something pleasant. The food was pretty average and the other patrons were a little annoying but it was a very nice time just the same. After the brewery we wandered around the little town of Woodstock. It was rather quaint and somewhat artsy. We found a great coffee shop downtown and relaxed for a bit before heading back to camp. Once there, we had dinner and got ready to call it an early night. At least that was the initial plan. Kyle was extremely concerned about having a repeat performance of the night before. I initially thought we could stick it out but the more we talked, the more I realized that there was no way she would be happy staying another night. I wasn't particularly excited about driving the 3-4 hours home but I didn't want the trip to end on a sour note. I hadn't slept well the previous night but Kyle had had a worse time of it than I did. I don't want to give the impression that I was disappointed at going home early because really there would have been very little difference between leaving that night and leaving first thing in the morning. So I opted for going home that night because I wanted to ease Kyle's mind and be sure that we would get a decent amount of quality sleep. So I drove as much as I could before fatigue set in and Kyle got us the rest of the way home. It was an amazing trip and I think I'd like to do something similar next year. Maybe some new destinations along with past favorites.
If you have any suggestions or questions, please email us at

Adventures in Vermont by Girl Kyle

For the second half of our trip we spent some time in lovely Vermont. The time it takes to go from Belfast Maine to our destination (Burlington Vermont) takes a little longer than 5 hours. I am terrible with long car rides so I was not looking forward to this part at all. This is typically how we entertain ourselves when we're in a car for long periods of time:

We decided to stop in Montpelier at the Three Penny Taproom to take a break from being in the car for so long. My car also needed a break because it was getting pretty angry at me for making it drive up many mountains for hours and hours. When we walked into the taproom, we were greeted by Scott, the bearded bartender. They had many great beers on tap and it took awhile for me to choose what I wanted. Kyle and I finally decided to share the Dogfish Head Red and White Ale that was pretty tasty. We then each got a flight. I got the Flemish sour ale, a single hop IPA, and I think a Belgian white. I was pretty impressed by everything I had. Before we left we introduced ourselves to Scott the bearded bartender. He was very friendly and had a huge smile on his face the whole time we were there. He gave us free stickers which I put on my car to shamelessly promote them. To get to Burlington, we had another hour of driving ahead of us. It wasn't a bad drive barring the fact that we both had to use the bathroom really really badly after having all that beer. Thankfully We made it to the hotel without any problems.
Our next stop was the Magic Hat Brewery. I've never been a fan of their beer so I wasn't super excited to go there. They had all of their beers on tap in the gift shop so we tried the Single Chair Ale and it was super yucky. Needless to say, going to their brewery did not change my opinion of their beer. The brewery itself though was pretty cool. They had a nice set up and you went onto this balcony in the brewing portion of the building so you could watch everyone and what they were doing.
Our next stop was to go to the middle of town in Burlington. I've never been there before and I heard it was a cool place so we decided to check it out. We ate lunch at the Skinny Pancake which is a crepery. They had fantastic food but their service was abysmal. There is a brewpub that we were hoping would have some yummy beer to offer. But alas, we were out of luck. I had an ESB and Kyle had an IPA. You would think it would be pretty tough to screw up those, but this place succeeded. Here is our wrap up of Burlington:

Our next stop was Plymouth Vermont. Before we got to our campsite we stopped by the Otter Creek Brewery. It was a nice little place and we sampled some beer. We left there with a spectacular six pack of Wolaver Pumpkin Ale and a pint glass. We stayed at Coolidge State Park which was about a mile up a mountain. We had a prime lean-to. We had a beautiful view of the mountains and we were right next to the bathroom. It was perfect. When it got dark outside while we were cooking dinner, we could hear a pack of coyotes having a field day scaring the crap out of us.

They sounded pretty close and it was pretty awful to hear that in the dark. Needless to say I slept terribly. I got up 4 times to pee and I was absolutely freezing. Our gorgeous campsite turned into a hell in the night. But our view in the morning made up for all the stuff I went through during the nighttime. (Well, maybe not completely since the next day I was totally exhausted.) Our first stop the next day was Long Trail Brewery which was about 5 minutes from where we were. I love Long Trail. Their beer is consistently good which is a rare thing. We had lunch at the brewery and they had a self guided tour so we checked that out. We had pretty much run out of things to do and took every map and tour guide we could find to plan our next outing since it was still around 12. We took a trip over to Woodstock which is about a 10 minute drive from Long Trail. Woodstock is a really nice little town. It's very artsy. We went to the library (very pretty), we went to the outdoor art show, got some tea and coffee, and then went to a thrift store. It was a nice end to our trip. When we got back to our campsite we had some dinner and I did everything in my power to talk Kyle into having us go home. We were supposed to spend another night at the campground but there was no way I could sleep in that tent again. I really wanted to sleep and be warm. We went back and forth but I finally got my way :). We didn't get back to the Cape until about 2AM but that was fine. I got to sleep in my nice comfy bed.
Kyle and I had a great time on our trip. We had some great beer and great food. By the end of it we were pretty sick of beer though which I didn't think was possible. It was just nice to go on a road trip and relax. We really needed it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Adventures in Maine by Girl Kyle

We went on this trip with the intention of visiting different breweries and brew pubs in New England. We decided to start off in Maine and continue on in Vermont. We were going to stay a night in each town on our list until we got to Plymouth Vermont where we would camp for two nights. So I will start off this post talking about Maine. Oh Maine how I love thee. I have only been to Maine once and that was when I was 13 or so and I was in Portland for about 3 hours waiting for a cruise to Nova Scotia. So I don't have much of a history with Maine. We visited Portland for the night and then went on to Belfast.
I was really excited about Portland and kind of indifferent to Belfast. The first bar we visited was a nice Irish bar near the waterfront. Naturally and to my great excitement they had Kilkenny on tap so of course I had to have that. I swear I never get sick of that beer. It was the beer I drank during most of my time in Ireland so it brings back good memories. After we left there, we went to Novare Res, which as Kyle mentioned is an amaaaaazing place. They have over 200 beers available by the bottle, 25 beers on tap, and two cask beers. We were in heaven. We stayed there for quite a long time and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We made our way to Gritty McDuff's after leaving Novare Res. Kyle was more excited about this place than I was. They brew their beer in the basement. That sounds pretty sketchy but I'm pretty sure that's the way most brew pubs do it. I'm not the biggest fan of their beer. We had the Halloween Ale and after the Flemish sour we had at Novare Res, it was really hard to get super excited about this beer. Oh well. We were pretty tired after driving all day and then drinking beer so we decided to call it a night.
The next morning we went to Allagash to take their tour. This was the only official tour we had for the whole vacation. I'm really glad it was at this brewery because they tend to go outside of the box with their beer. We went with a big group of people that were from the store Hannafords. They were quite loud and slightly annoying but whatever. The tour guide was really nice and she showed us some interesting stuff so we were happy. It was my goal to get a bumper sticker from every brewery we went to on the vacation. I didn't succeed but I think I added 4 more stickers to my already highly decorated car. After we left Portland we made our way to Belfast.
Belfast was a very interesting place. We had to drive about 2.5 hours to get there so when we pulled up to the motel that we were going to stay at I was not a happy girl. This place looked like it was somewhere that people went to commit murders in horror movies.
To my very very pleasant surprise, it was surprisingly really clean, cute, and the people who worked there were very nice. I think that was my whole impression of Belfast. It looked like a place where people got murdered but then when you actually spend time there, it's actually quite nice. And it was my favorite place of the vacation. It was a really quaint little town. It was right on the water and it felt like it has been a fishing town for centuries. The Three Tides was where we had our first beers. I had an imperial IPA which I think is the best one I've ever had and Kyle had a barley wine.

When we left the Three Tides, we made our way into town to have dinner. There weren't that many places open and it felt like we were back on the Cape since it was so quiet and it was only about 6 or 7. We decided to eat at an Italian place that had yummy food. We each had a Shipyard there but by that time I think we were a little over done on beer for the day. We then left the restaurant and took a walk around the town. They had a big foot bridge over the water and we spent some time there. So all in all Maine proved to be a pretty awesome place. We found some fantastic beer there and I would love to go back to both Portland and Belfast.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adventures in Maine by Boy Kyle

Portland, Maine. I've never spent any time there until last week and I'm really glad that it was part of the road trip that Kyle and I went on. Portland was the first stop on our whirlwind New England Brewery tour. Turns out due to lack of funding and time off from work we had to whittle the trip down a bit. But I'm glad that we did because by the end of the 6 days I was pretty tired and, I'll be honest, a bit sick of beer. I'm getting ahead of myself. Portland was great and it really started the trip off on the right note. After checking in to our hotel we went down to the waterfront and located an Irish tavern called Bull Feeney's and had a snack of fries. From there we wandered over to a brewpub called Gritty McDuff's. The clerk at the gift/souvenir shop recommended a bar up the street named Novare Res (latin for "to start a revolution"). Novare Res is tucked back behind everything and had great outdoor seating. The highlight, however, was the overwhelming selection of beers from all over the world. Kyle and I finally settled on a wild Flemish ale. It was a little pricey but delicious. Novare Res definitely gets a thumbs up from me, despite the online suggestions that it's filled with "pretentious dirty hipsters". I saw no evidence to back up those claims and found the staff working there to be delightfully friendly and helpful. Dinner back at Gritty McDuff's, a nice walk by the water and then off to sleep.

The next day we went on a tour of the Allagash Brewery. It was a great tour and we got to see the barrels where they age their specialty beers. Had I been more read up on the brewery I would have asked about seeing their koelschip room, which is where they do open air fermentations. Perhaps next trip.

After Allagash we went to the Shipyard Brewery and were disappointed to discover that we wouldn't be able to take a tour. But the gift shop was nice and we picked up a few souvenirs and headed out to our next destination.

Belfast, Maine. I'd never heard of Belfast before but had read about a great restaurant there so we added it to the itinerary. Driving in to Belfast, we had our doubts. It's a small fishing village with a lot of uninhabited and run down buildings and not much else. Or so it seemed. Once we got settled in we went out exploring and discovered that the Three Tides restaurant and Belfast itself was absolutely delightful. A very small downtown area but a lot of fun. Also there was a lovely foot bridge over the river.

It's hard to narrow down a single highlight from the trip to that point because everything about it was great. Besides the driving, that was a bummer. And not touring Shipyard. But Allagash was terrific, Novare Res was a brilliant stroke of luck, Three Tides and Marshall Wharf were fantastic, Belfast was a great surprise... All in all Maine was amazing. We were pretty sad about having to leave but it left us really excited for our next state... Vermont.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adventures on the Rail Trail by Boy Kyle

The idea of a tandem bicycle is much better than the actual use of a tandem bicycle. Kyle was more leery of it than I was but it's understandable considering the size difference between us. So we quickly went back to the rental barn and switched to individual bikes. I chose a cruiser which felt enormous but was much more comfortable and fun than most bikes I've used in the past.
I knew from previous trips on the trail that about 6-8 miles from the entrance in Dennis there was a general store that sold sandwiches. It sits across the street from a decent sized pond. Could be a lake, I guess. The goal was to ride to the store, eat lunch by the pond, then head back. That didn't exactly happen.
I had to call my brother after realizing that we'd been pedaling for about an hour and a half and I wasn't recognizing landmarks. Also we had passed a sign that said "Now entering Chatham." The general store is in Harwich. For those who are unfamiliar with the Cape, Harwich is the town in between Dennis and Chatham. Obviously we'd gone too far, and apparently in the wrong direction. The kicker is that I had looked at a map around the 3 mile mark and still chose the wrong direction.

Luckily when I called my brother we discovered that there was a pizza place about a half mile down the trail. So we were able to have lunch and rest our weary legs for a time. Unfortunately we had to cycle the 10 miles back to the car. It was a gorgeous day and it felt really nice to be outside and be active but the frustration of getting lost and the realization of just how far we were from the car took away from the experience. It's a good thing that we got so much exercise though, because our friend Liz made us delicious, authentic Belgian Leige waffles that night.
Right now Kyle and I are on a New England road trip having more adventures that we can write about so keep an eye out for more updates coming by the end of this week!
Questions, comments or suggestions? Email us at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adventures on the Rail Trail by Girl Kyle

Since I picked Plimoth Plantation last week, it was boy Kyle's turn to pick what we were going to do this week. He came up with the idea to go biking down the rail trail. I have done it before but it was quite awhile ago so I thought it would be fun. We rented a tandem bike and went our merry way down the bike path. About 5 minutes later I decided it was a pretty awful idea to rent the tandem bike. I was sitting on the back seat so the only view I had was of Kyle's back. Now, I'm not saying that he doesn't have a nice back because he does. It was just going to be a really boring ride if that was going to be my only view. And I felt like we were tipping over the whole time and I couldn't let go of the handlebars at any point in fear that we would fall over and crack our heads open. So I insisted we go back and rent regular bikes. The one I chose had a very wide seat which was awesome.

Once we started going I felt like I was a kid again. When my family used to go bike riding, my dad and I would have mini races and then my mom would scold us for going too fast. I forgot how great it felt to go really fast on a bike. It's very freeing (I'm not sure how else to explain so if that's not a real word then I hope you understand what I mean). Kyle had mapped out our trip so that we could stop at a general store that was about 8 miles from the starting point to have lunch and then turn around and go back. About 4 miles into the 8 mile we came across a little rotary where you could either go towards Harwich Center or Wellfleet Center. Kyle chose what he thought was the right way and off we went. About an hour later Kyle figured out that we had gone the wrong way. And here is me complaining about it.

I got cut off from making the video so here's the rest of it:

Of course after riding a bike for about 10 miles without having lunch and then realizing you've gone the wrong way can be a little frustrating. Thankfully we got a hold of Kyle's brother and he told us that there was a Sweet Tomatoes about a quarter of a mile down the path from where we were so at least we could eat something. We sat down for as long as possible because we knew that we had to do the whole thing over again. That's the only problem with biking a trail, well not the only problem but maybe the biggest one. You have fun but then you realize you have to get back to you car which means all those fantastic down-hills will turn into horrible up-hills.

After biking 20 miles (we calculated it when we got back and realized we went from South Dennis to Chatham) and very sore legs and butts, we made it back to the car. I got a pretty bad sunburn (why would I think to put on sunscreen on a really sunny day?) and Kyle got ridiculous looking hair from the wind. The positives: the weather was gorgeous, we ended up with pretty decent bikes, and we got to have beer halfway through the trip. The negatives: the wind, going the wrong way, a bad sunburn, the wind, and the wind. So I would say it was a success.

Week 2 Coming Soon!

Sorry for the delay in the second installment; we're quite busy getting ready for our vacation. The plan is to have our entries up by tomorrow afternoon, hopefully. Rest assured, we do plan on having adventures to write about this coming week as well so we shouldn't fall behind schedule. Thanks for your patience.
- Boy Kyle