(30th) Avenue (Mexi)Q

Hey folks! Artsy guy here reporting from a mere eight blocks from home... MexiQ on 30th Ave. in Astoria, Queens. This place has a sort of Tex-Mex fusion-ish vibe happenin' with the menu, and the results are mighty tasty.

But this craft beer fan rejoices most over some of the kegs they're getting. This trip found me with a coveted glass of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Also on the menu: Southern Tier Unearthly IPA, Dogfish Head 90 Minute, and much more. Their happy hour features their Mexican beers (Dos Equis and Modelo) if that's your bag.

This is a fantastic local hang. I do wish they updated their beer menu more often. (After three visits in the last month, I've observed that the number of depleted beers still on their menu is much higher than other bars with the same type of rotating selection... and better systems.) Still, it's a great destination for those with a hankerin' for tasty craft brews. And that's what's HOPpenin'!! Cheers, y'all!

Brew City: Comet Café!

Artsy guy here, once again dropping a line from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I meant to post this on Sunday night, but I thought it was apropos to sit a bit with the intense news that came from President Obama.  Then I was all about the travel day and some technical difficuties and, well, here 'tis...

The Comet Café on Farwell Avenue has been in the neighborhood for eons, but somewhat recently it's been reinvented on many fronts, and is currently recognized nationally as a destination for slow (local and lovingly hand-prepared) food and craft beer.

This craft beer fanatic was pleased with the great selection on their relatively limited tap rack (Three Floyds, Bell's, Lagunitas, etc.) and the Sunday night special that offered a free basket of bacon (yes, BACON!!) with a bar purchase.  Their bottle selection is out of this world. AND the first Tuesday of each month, they offer Beer School where, for $20, those new to craft beer can learn a thing or twelve.

Guy Fieri brought his show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to feature the café based on its amazing comfort food. Highlights include AJ's Compact Turkey Dinner (fried balls of turkey, taters, and stuffing served with brussels sprouts), bacon-wrapped meatloaf, a killer brunch, and (he says over a basket of bacon) some truly amazing vegetarian options. Visit their website to learn about all the delectability (and more).

This is at once a brilliant neighborhood haunt and destination for the discerning hungry and thirsty traveling through the MKE. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods, get thee hither! That's what's HOPpenin'!! Cheers y'all!

Brew City: Sugar Maple!

Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer incorporated! We're gonna do it! Okay, many of you have seen the opener of Laverne and Shirley as the glove goes down the assembly line of Schotz Brewery. Milwaukee, Wisconsin has long been associated with the behemoth side of the American brewing industry because it gave birth to Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz. But the world of craft brewing is also alive and thriving in Brew City!

Howdy! Artsy guy here. I'm here in the MKE to see my artsy goods exhibited at Ten Chimneys (estate of the late, great Lunts of Broadway) and decided to take advantage of the weekend to catch up with friends and visit old haunts from my recent days at Milwaukee Rep. One of these is Sugar Maple in the Bayview neighborhood.

This place is a craft beer lover's dream. They feature 60 rotating taps (SIXTY!!!) that rely heavily on local and regional craft suds (i.e. New Glarus, Bell's, Three Floyds, Founders, etc.) and those from across the country (i.e. Lagunitas, Moylans, Rogue, North Coast, Oskar Blues, Southern Tier, Ommegang, and more). And they have hard booze too although I was, as usual, hop-focused.

(Interesting fact #1: Sugar Maple occupies the former home of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin that relocated in 2007.)

I ordered a taster tray of amazing mostly local stuff to which my bartender added another wee taste of something she thought I might like (and she was right). The only food they serve is a rotating menu of soups made by local restaurant Triskele's. The simple menu works very well. My bowl of sweet corn and potato chowder was incredible. The place also features the work of local artists and musicians.

If you find yourself in Milwaukee, get thee to Sugar Maple! That's what's HOPpenin'! (The catch phrase is a groaner, I know, but one day I'll just embrace it without qualification.) Cheers, y'all!

(Interesting fact #2: Sugar Maple was named for the state tree of Wisconsin.)