Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New York Adventure

During our annual trip to upstate New York last weekend for Sheila's job, we decided to hit a couple of BBQ restaurants. One was Route-7 Grill in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the other was Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. Since we were going to be eating out for three straight days, it seemed only fitting to work in some BBQ too.

So we left Friday and took the back way through Litchfield County and into Great Barrington, a neat little Berkshires town where antiquing seems to be the biggest economic driver. We had hit Route-7 Grill a couple of years ago, and I was looking forward to another visit.

No dice.

It might have helped if I had checked their web site. Closed for lunch on Fridays. I considered pulling a Clark Griswold at Wally World and storming the place, forcing the kitchen staff to cook us a great meal before being taken out by a swat team. Decided not to do that.

Sheila was expectedly steamed, as we had passed probably a dozen places that would have been great for lunch along the way. It didn't help that it was 2:00 pm either.

So I said "we're eating at the next place we see, regardless of what it is." That totally worked out.

We rolled up on a place called "Bizalion's Fine Foods" about a mile up the road. We walked in and it was clear that we were going to have a special lunch.

This place is a little French cafe and food shop owned by Francois and Helen Bizalion. They bring a lot of the great things about France to their shop, and we had a great lunch served by Francois. I had a prosciutto, brie and butter panini that was just outstanding. Sheila had a quiche Lorraine that she loved. Francois created a special cheese and baguette plate for Max too, choosing a cheese that I don't remember the name but he said was the favorite of his four year old daughter.

We loved our stop here. We will be back next time we pass through the region.

Saturday, we decided to hit Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, which was on the way to our destination of Canandaigua. I could do a whole post on this place, as this was the fourth year I had a day to explore this town while Sheila was busy with work. Strange place.

Anyway, the plan was to hit Dinosaur early Saturday night before it got too busy. Again, a little research might have been helpful. The St. Patrick's Day parade had been held that afternoon in Syracuse, and by the time we got there it was packed with hammered people with green painted faces, dumb hats and green head to toe. At least an hour and a half wait. See ya later....

So after Sheila's work function Sunday, we hit the road and I decided to give Dinosaur one more try. Took a different tact this time, called ahead when we were 30 minutes out. We got there and were seated immediately.

A wait had already started when we got there, so it was good that we called ahead. We ordered fried green tomatoes as an appetizer, which were probably my favorite thing of the meal. probably because I had never tried them before, and they were awesome.

For dinner, I got something called Tres Hombres, which is a three meat plate of spare ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork. The pork was the best part of the plate for me, very moist and flavorful. I only got a little bit, because Max was grabbing fistfuls of pork and jamming it into his mouth.

The ribs were very good. Sheila got a half rack dinner so we had plenty of them, and they were pretty moist and tender.

The brisket was just ok, one piece was really tough but a couple of others were tender.

Sides were good, Sheila enjoyed the mac and cheese, I had chili and fries, both were fine.

Overall, I liked Dinosaur. The place is clearly doing great business, it's nice to see that it can be done to make a killing in BBQ.

After we left Syracuse, we stopped at a travel plaza and I got a venti Starbucks coffee and two of those canned double shots, and I drove the entire way home without stopping (around 250 miles). It felt good to do a monster driving shift, it had been a long time since I had done big miles like that. Was good to see that I could still do it....

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