Archive for January, 2008

I had lunch at the J & K Café the other day. It’s located at 183 E. Main Street in the Alliance Building on the corner of Stone St. and E. Main. Walking distance from most places centrally located downtown. They also deliver to the downtown area. The menu features a good selection of sandwiches, paninis, and there own invention; several variations of toasted burritos. They also have salads and soup. I had the grilled chicken sandwich combo. A juicy charbroiled chicken breast served on delicious italian hard roll with your choice of 2 toppings (grilled onions & mushrooms) and choice of cheese (pepperjack) , I choose homefries for my side and it also came with a can of soda all for $6.95+ tax.. A good deal if you ask me. Owners John and Kelly have really take the hands on approach to running this place and I have a lot of respect for business owners that operate this way. The décor of the café is beautiful, Kelly’s done a exceptional job with interior. I swear they’ve done something new to improve the place every time I visit – and it doesn’t need any improvement. I would say it has an upscale italian café look . The clientele is mostly business people from the surrounding high rises. Overall this is a great place for quick lunch without having to deal with a waitress or a great escape from your cubicle for a relaxing cup of joe while you listen to the music and read the subtitles on flat screen TVs . The place is already bustling and I expect it to only get busier with future demolition of Midtown. Check it out…
FYI: they don’t serve alcohol but I really don’t see the need to.


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Ambitious Brew

ambitiousbrew.jpgI just read the free downloadable sample excerpt of this  recently released paperback edition of the book Ambitious Brew about one hundred fifty years of American beer, from the German immigrants of the 1840s to the microbrewers of the 1980s. It was very enjoyable and I found myself transported to the pioneering days of american brewing after reading the excerpt, it’s fascinating what the early pioneering brewers went through to brew beer in early America. I wonder if the other time periods covered in the book are as interesting? I hope to get my hands on the book itself sometime soon. Here’s what the critics said:

“It’s a treat to drink from Maureen Ogle’s superb schooner ‘Ambitious Brew’ . . . What she packs into this brisk, entertaining and insightful account is worthy of a toast and a round on the house.”
Peter Rowe/San Diego Union-Tribune

“The rise of lager beer, and the great names associated with it – names like Busch, Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz and Miller – is the subject of Maureen Ogle’s effervescent, occasionally frothy “Ambitious Brew,” a fairly standard history with a provocative thesis attached. Ms. Ogle . . . takes the air out of a few myths . . . .”
William Grimes/New York Times

“Ogle beautifully weaves together [brewers’] tales, moving from one mini-bio to the next as the industry and the country grow. . . . [and her] storytelling ability keeps Ambitious Brew flowing.”
Bob Oswald/Chicago Sun-Times

Want more synopsis?

When a wave of German immigrants arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century, they promptly set about re-creating the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind. Just fifty years later, the American-style lager beer they invented was the nation’s most popular beverage — and brewing was the nation’s fifth-largest industry, ruled over by fabulously wealthy titans Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch. Anti-German sentiments aroused by World War I fed the flames of a well-established temperance movement (one activist even declared that “the worst of all our German enemies are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller”). Prohibition was the result.

Beer came back in 1933, but Americans’ taste for Budweiser and Schlitz did not. Per capita beer consumption remained stagnant for the next few decades, and only reached its pre-Prohibition high again in the 1970s. That was too late to save the hundreds of small beermakers who went bankrupt in the 1950s and 1960s. By the mid-seventies, only forty-four brewers remained.

But even as those few giants monopolized the industry, a younger generation’s passion for innovation and entrepreneurship sparked a new era in beer’s American history. In the 1970s and 1980s, a handful of homebrewers built small breweries and began making lagers and ales of a sort not seen in the United States since the mid-nineteenth century. Today there are well over a thousand breweries and brewpubs in the United States and there has never been a better time to explore the pleasures of fine beer.

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Happy New Year! – With everything happening with the local beer scene, breweries expanding, great new watering holes opening, we have a great new year of beer to look forward to in Rochester. I went to the Tap and Mallet for the second time last saturday night with my parents while they were in town visiting. What more can I say- it’s true, this place is really great and it’s a perfect fit for the eclectic South Wedge neighborhood. From the house beer, McBane’s Bitter right down to waiters knowledge of the beer selection, the owners have really covered all there bases from my perspective. I always seem to assume I know more about the beer I’m ordering than my waiter/waitress, but I wouldn’t assume this at the Tap and Mallet. My dad questioned the waiter several times regarding the belgian beers on tap and how the on tap belgian beers compared to what they have available in their bottled selections. He found our waiter Paul quite knowledgeable when put on the spot. Not to mention he was always was willing to give us samples before we made our draught selection. The available bottled selections weren’t ones I’ve grown familiar with at Beers of the World either, they have carefully picked there selection of bottled beer and kegs which shows in the select varieties presented.. But my favorite thing about the this visit was that I got to try the Sausage and Mash entree. What delicious homemade sausage with little bits of charing on the outside, coated with ale gravy. Presented placed on a creamy pile of mashed potatoes sprinkled with parsley. I have never had a sausage this good. The taste was somewhat similar to a white hot if I had to compare it (veal and pork style) but taken to the next level flavor and quality wise with a lovely contrast between the texture of the charred casing and soft, course cut filling. Forget steak! I’ll take the poor mans filet anytime. I’m looking forward to my next visit already…

So I know it’s time I get my butt over to Swan’s Market or Hartmann’s Old World Sausage shop and see what other lovely delicacies I can find on my plate, sounds like a new years resolution to me. 

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