Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hebron Harvest Fair, Hebron, CT

One of the many things I like about the fall is the country fair.  I live in Berlin, so I naturally go to the Berlin Fair.  I love looking at the animals, watching the tractor pulls, and listening to the seductive call of the carnival barkers as they try and part you and your money.  Oh, one more thing—the food.  I have developed a strict eating protocol for enjoying the many gastronomical delights that the fair has to offer.  If it is sautéed, fried or deep fried, it’s on my menu. 

This weekend, I went to the Hebron Harvest Fair.  I went with my wife and nephew and niece.  It was a beautiful late summer day.  A perfect day to enjoy a cold one.  Sorry, it’s a dry fair.  A dry fair!?  We walk through the gates and I am immediately struck by the amount of people.  This place is crowded.  I have never seen so many people; so many people in Harley-Davidson logo wear, cowboy hats and missing teeth.  A bike riding, Texas dentist could really clean up there. 

There are many different food booths at the Hebron Fair.  I decide to check out a Philly cheese steak.  I get it “wit.”  Mmm, shaved meat, Cheese Wiz, onions and peppers on a soft roll.  Delicious.  We decide to walk off the meal so we take a stroll down to the animal exhibits.  As we walk into the sheep house I see rabies advisory sign.  That’s certainly comforting knowing I might be exposing myself to one of the most deadly diseases known to mankind.  We move on to the see the cute little goats staring at us with their little goat devil eyes.  I know it’s cruel, but as I was looking at the animals I couldn’t help but think, BBQ brisket, lime marinated chicken and braised short ribs.  Time to get something to eat.  I decide on a Cajun bloomin’ onion.  An onion, dipped in spicy batter and deep fried.  It’s served with horseradish sauce.  This one was cooked perfectly.  The individual pieces were easily plucked off, the sauce was delicious, the onions hot and crispy.  The four of us couldn’t put a dent in it. 

We wandered around until we found the tractor pull.  This must have been the junior division because the tractors were modified lawn mowers.  They made a lot of noise but didn’t go too far.  Race on Sunday, mow on Monday.  What would have been real cool would be if they had a push mower division. 

Dockdogs had an exhibition there.  This is competitive dog jumping.  I’ve seen this on TV, but to see it live was really a treat.  These dogs can jump!  The dogs were mostly Labs, but there were a few Dobies.  The longest jump I saw was 20 feet, 6 inches.  It was phenomenal.  We walked by the lumberjack show.  Lots of flannel, denim and suspenders.  I watched them throw some axes, but thankfully left before the log rolling contest. 

We found a good place to sit and enjoy some people watching, and a fried dough. There were lots of girls sporting Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots.  Two punk/emo/semi-goth/very jaded and smug  looking girls walked by wearing of all things matching raccoon tails.  Raccoon tails?  A couple of tweakers were strutting around in green tinted mohawks.  A pair of semi-stoned teenagers was being marched away in cuffs by the cops.  Oops! They must have forgotten that selling drugs is still illegal. The fried dough was excellent by the way.  Hot, crispy, crunchy, covered with powdered sugar and cinnamon. 

We decide to move on.  We go into the craft tent and check out the offerings.  Beautiful photographs, paintings, textiles, ceramics and more.  I was especially taken by the woodturning.  I’ve done a little of that a long time ago and believe me, it is not easy.  I strike up a conversation with one of the guys doing the demonstration.  He took a small piece of cedar, put it on the lathe and with a series of chisels turned it into a small vase.  At the end, he gave it to me.  How nice was that? 

We are getting hungry again so we hunt down the deep fried Twinkies booth.  So crunchy, so crispy, so greasy, so gooey, so tasty.  I’m pretty sure it’s not that healthy, but it was good.  This one had a chocolate center.  Surprise!  We heard a rumor that they were going to be serving deep-fried bubblegum, but we couldn’t find it.  Deep-fried bubblegum actually won a prize as the most creative food entry at the Texas State Fair. 

It’s getting late and we are tired.  All that walking around, all that fat.  We buy some beef jerky on the way out.  Have to have some protein.  We had a great time.  We get back to my nephew’s house and crack open a much need cold one. Good food and good company.  Before I go to bed I take a double Lipitor. What a wonderful day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Burger Quest goes to Goldburgers

  Next stop on the Burger Quest is Goldburgers.  Great name for a burger place or a Jewish deli.  Goldburgers is located in downtown Newington, CT.  They have a fairly extensive menu that includes, hamburgers, chicken burgers, hotdogs, sausage burgers, fries and even grilled cheese.  And yes, you can get a veggie burger here as well.  They also have daily specials such as tuna salads, macaroni salads and even Nutella French toast.  I bet that is tasty.   They claim that the meat they use is all natural and locally sourced.  

It was a gorgeous late summer evening when we got there.  They have a few tables set up on the sidewalk so we decided to sit outside and enjoy the view.   The inside is just okay.  It’s painted red and yellow; ketchup and mustard.  They have a couple of booths and tables.  It’s very clean and well maintained.  They don’t have a beer license, but water or soda works for me.   They carry Mexican Coke, which is a huge plus.  Mexican Coke is made with real sugar and not high fructose corn syrup.  You can taste the difference.  Coke with sugar is richer tasting.    I found some at Stew Leonard’s a few months back.  It was in the classic green bottle.  Oh man that was good!

The help is very enthusiastic and, well, helpful.  I went with the Bacon, Egg and Cheeseburger, which is two patties, American cheese, bacon and a fried egg.  I also got the regular fries.  My wife went with a regular cheeseburger and sweet potato fries.  They also have onion rings, waffle fries, and cheese fries.  If you don’t like their house burgers, you can create your own. You can choose different sauces, cheeses and toppings. The possibilities are endless.

We place our order and find a table outside.  After a few minutes of people watching our food arrives.  The hand cut fries were very hot and crispy. The first bite of the burger yielded a big surprise.  The egg was over easy.  Ahhh! All that luscious, runny yolk combining with the cheese and bacon was pure heaven.  The bacon was crisp.  The sesame seed roll was soft and fresh.  The meat was right on point with a nice beefy flavor.   We leisurely ate our meal savoring the food and the evening.  Total cost for two was just $20.55 with tax. 

This is a great place for a quick snack or meal.  The place is clean, the help is great and if the weather permits, you can sit outside and enjoy some people watching as you enjoy a good burger. 

Rocky Came Home Yesterday

Rocky came home from the hospital yesterday.  He was understandably very groggy and disoriented.  Although that changed soon enough when he spied one of our cats.  He gave a halfhearted chase and then laid down panting.  A good sign nonetheless because he hasn’t lost his spunk.

The vet had to shave him for the surgery so his rump and the top part of his tail are bare. Think German Shepherd front and  baboon butt.  I’m thinking about putting a pair of boxers on him with the tail going out the fly so the other dogs in the neighborhood won’t laugh at him.  

Needless to say, he is very clingy.  I am typing this with one hand because the other one is petting him.  He obviously didn’t listen to the vet telling him not to jump on the couch or bed.  He came home armed with all kinds of meds.  This is the tough part because he has no appetite so we can’t mix it in his food or hide it in a treat.  I have to open his massive jaws and literally shove the pill down his throat with my thumb.  Then, keep my fingers crossed hoping he won’t spit it out.  Hey pharmaceutical companies!  How about a beef flavored antibiotic or a lamb flavored analgesic?

The prognosis is good.  Although we haven’t gotten the pathology report back, it’s pretty certain that he had cancer.  Chemo and radiation will be the next step on his road to recovery.  I highly recommend pet insurance for those who have an animal.  We never bought it for Rocky so we’ll be eating Ramen noodles for the next month or so.  One good thing was that the consultation, CAT scan, and surgery came way under the estimate the vet gave us.  But I happily pay the bill--twelve months, no interest--because I will have him around for a few more years.  Pet ownership, just like marriage is for better or worse.  As a responsible pet owner, it’s my obligation to take care of this guy and give him the best life I can.  The reward is the look of love and joy he gives me when I come home.  And that, as the MasterCard commercial says is PRICELESS!