FINALLY -- the long-promised post about last Friday's dinner and movie (I know you've just been aflutter with anticipation). =)
There's a town just north of Bangor called Orono. It's a college town. Since every college town has to have at least one brewpub (depending on the size of the school!), there's a little place in Orono, not far from campus, called the Bearbrew Pub. I've heard a lot about, especially from Derrick (you may remember him as my co-inventor of the Limeburner), but I've never made any grand effort to go there. There's a great pub in Bangor, which is a bit closer to my home, so it's never really been a priority. Last Friday, however, Kevin and I decided to see the new Harry Potter movie in a small theater close to Orono. We thought we'd make an evening of it and have dinner at the Bearbrew first. It's a fairly small place with a great second-story deck -- and we love to eat outside! There is, of course, Bearbrew microbrew beer on tap, along with a fairly extensive drink list. The food is typical of such a place -- burgers, sandwiches, pasta, etc. But what I really find to be unique about the Bearbrew is its vegetarian-friendly offerings. Several of the appetizers are veg-friendly: hot artichoke dip, cheese quesadillas, a big, soft pretzel with your choice of dips, and our favorite -- samosas! Samosas are an Indian dish -- potatoes, peas, onions, and curry wrapped up in dough and deep fried. The Bearbrew's samosas are a bit different -- they're made with wonton wrappers instead of a bready dough. They're served with raita, a yogurt dip with diced cucumbers and onions. Yum!
For entrees, vegetarians can choose from such meals as veggie burgers, a veggie & hummus wrap, a pasta dish or two, and falafel. Yes, it's foreign. Middle Eastern, in fact. Most people look at me pretty funny when I mention it. As you may have guessed, it's hard to come by in greater Bangor, Maine, so I was ecstatic to see it on the Bearbrew's menu. I am a falafel junkie. Falafel itself is a patty made from ground chickpeas, onions, bread crumbs, and spices. The patty is traditionally deep-fried, but I have recipes that call for it to be baked. Maybe someday I'll get around to actually making my own... but I digress. The Bearbrew serves its falafel patties in a pita pocket with green-leaf lettuce, cucumber slices, tomatoes, and more of that yummy raita. I was a little nervous about trying it because frankly, I'm a falafel snob. I usually only eat it in Paris. Yes, Paris. France. There's a big Jewish population in Paris, and therefore, lots of Middle Eastern food. Next time you're surfing the 'net, do a search for "L'as du Fallafel (the French use two "Ls" in the middle)." Loosely translated, that's "the ace of falafel," and rightfully so. But again, I digress. The Bearbrew's falafel pleasantly surprised me. The presentation is completely different from that of the Jewish places in Paris, but just as good. The raita really pulls the whole dish together. Needless to say, I highly recommend it...
... but I can't say the same for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." Now, I've read all five books several times through, and seen the first two movies at least as many times. The books are great, and the movies are pretty damn good. Kevin has read the books even more times than I have. Apparently Alfonso Cuaron read a different version of the book. Maybe the Spanish version didn't translate to the same storyline as the English version...? All I know is that when the movie was over, the first thing I said to Kevin was, "what book was that based on?" A lot of plot points were changed pretty drastically. A lot of what I thought to be important details were left out. My other question was "does Cuaron think we didn't see the first two movies?" I know, different directors have different styles... but the differences between Columbus' films and this one were just too drastic for a series. I want to see some consistency. For example, the school and its grounds should probably look the same from film to film. Cuaron tried to make the school grounds look a bit too much like Middle Earth. And the Whomping Willow should probably be "tamed" the same way in each. And Fred & George Weasley probably shouldn't look so much like Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber in the third installment, when they were so clever in the first two. I don't want to give too much away, though. If you haven't read the books, you'll probably think "Azkaban" is fine. But this is supposed to be a food blog, not a movie review blog. And I'm not very happy with my writing today, so I think I'm done. For now. =)
This site has been up for about a week and a half so far. According to my hit counter and my calculations, people other than my mother and I are actually checking the site on a regular basis (yay!). If you are one of those people, and feel so inclined, would you please send a note by clicking on the "Talk to Me!" link at the bottom of any post? I've only told a few friends about the site, so I'm curious to see if the people I've told are reading it, or if other people are just stumbling upon it somehow. Thanks!
Duh... I found a free image hosting site... I just wasn't searching for the right terms this morning, I guess. I found it shortly after this morning's post. So now, you should all be able to see my header graphic. Please let me know (either way)!
I feel a bit better today... I'm coughing a lot now, but it's not bad as long as I don't get too active. And -- even better -- the heat is supposed to break overnight! Yay! I know, it's only been two days, but that's two days too long for northern New England, as far as I'm concerned (it's 90 right now, with a heat index of 94). So between the cooler temperatures and the waning of the Killer Cold from hell, I should be back to (almost) normal and cooking within a couple of days! I'm still thinking about cornbread... =)
I finally found the help/support/FAQ section of my blog service this morning. It seems as though I cannot upload images to this site through them -- I have to find a "web server that allows picture linking," upload the pictures to that site, then insert them here. Can anyone help me find such a service? I have no idea what to look for. Apparently I will most likely have to pay for this... hopefully it won't be too much! If you know of a site that will allow me to do this, PLEASE hit the "make a comment" link at the end of this entry. Thanks!!
Until last Saturday, I had not had a cold in about two years. Apparently, this one thinks it needs to make up for lost time. I am sick. I have spent the past three days in bed, in varying states of consciousness, living on grape ginger ale, fruit, and fruit juice popsicles, watching Renee Zellweger movies (I highly recommend "Chicago" and "Down With Love!" "White Oleander" is also pretty good, for a book adaptation, but the book is better.). Finally, this afternoon, thanks to the modern miracle called "Robitussin (which happens to be, unfortunately, the foulest, most heinous-tasting substance on the planet!)," my head is a bit clearer, and I have plans to drag my sorry body back to work tomorrow.
On a brighter note, the digital gods smiled on me, and my digital camera came today! I can't wait to get out and see what it can do.
It's hot here today. We have had such a strange year so far -- almost no snow over the winter, lots of rain in the late winter, and cool, rainy weather most of this spring. Today, all of a sudden, it's about 80 degrees... something we haven't seen since last August. Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, and the the rest of the week is supposed to be back to "normal," around 70 degrees. I look forward to that. Between my cold and this heat, I haven't felt much like moving today.
Soon -- I promise! -- this blog will get back on track, and will hopefully be a bit more colorful with the addition of some pictures from my new camera!
I've been craving cornbread lately, so that will probably be on the menu (and the site!) later this week -- as soon as it's cool enough again to bake. Maybe I'll put some raspberries in it... or maybe Craisins... hmmm...