The New Menu Blues

For the love of beer

The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, we would both notice the new Specials Menu on the bar, but you would be less worried than me.

“I think this will be OK. A little change is good now and then.”

“I won’t be convinced until I see the full menu. There’s too much at stake here.”

“Speaking of steak gentlemen, we’re replacing the Ribeye with a New York Strip that people have been lovin’. Can I setup some drinks?”

“You can Cheryl, and I’m going to join my young friend in a beer today, but he’s buying.”

“I’ll take that, it’s cheaper than that fancy-schmancy wine you normally drink.”

“It is good wine, but I’m in the mood for a draft today.”

“Cheryl, with all this new chef / new menu stuff, you’re not changing the taps are you?”

“Well, we cycle things in and out, but Yuengling seems like it’s here to stay.”

“Yeah, that’s what they said about Brooklyn Lager. Ahem, speaking of beer, have you made up your mind?”

“I was looking at the Sam Seasonal, but is Winter Lager already gone? It’s only January.”

“Yep, they’re way ahead of the curve this year.”

“Didn’t you used to have a different winter brew?”

“We did, Magic Hat Winter Howl, but they stopped brewing that.”

“Pour me a glass of the Meiomi.”

“That was a short-lived love affair with beer.”

“Hey, I tried.”

“I thought you said a little change is good.”

“A little, but it’s not like I’m going to drink a Bud Lite. On the other hand, they’ve got trout on the specials menu. When was the last time you saw trout in this place?”

“I don’t care about the things they’re adding, I’m worried about what they might take away.”

“Here’s your wine. Don’t worry Dan, they aren’t taking wings off the menu.”

“What about the eggplant fries and the brussles sprouts. Those are about the only vegetarian items you have, well, along with Bruschetta.”

“You’re not a vegetarian.”

“My daughter is, and I like to bring her here.”

“The fries and sprouts stay. Bruschetta is gone until they can make it with fresh tomatoes. The new chef wants things to be a little more upscale.”

“Upscale? Is my trout considered upscale?”

“You won’t know until you see it on the plate?”


“They say that ‘the poor eat calories, the middle class eats nutrition, and the rich eat presentation’ – ‘Upscale’ is targeting the rich. See if your trout has some fancy sauce drizzled around it.”

“I’m not rich. Where’d you hear that, anyway?”

“I think it was on NPR. They’ve been doing a series on what we should be eating.”

“Did they say you should be eating wings?”

“No, but I don’t come here for calories or nutrition, and I certainly don’t come here for presentation. I come here for comfort. If they start taking comfort off the menu, I’m going elsewhere for food.”

“Shepherd’s Pie, Lasagna, all of our burgers will still be on the menu.”

“What about pizza?”

“No changes to the pizza line-up.”

“And the clam chowder?”

“Still on the menu, but it will come in a bread bowl.”


“You know he’s going to eat the bowl Cheryl. You sure you want your customers watching that?”

“It’s not like I eat like a caveman, what’s the point of having soup in a bread bowl if you’re not going to eat it?”

“Not a caveman? I seem to remember the beef tips in gravy, you know, when Cheryl asked if you wanted a squeegee.”

Check it out, Chili cheese fries or Gravy fries

Check it out, Chili cheese fries or Gravy fries

“That was good gravy. That’s what I’m talking about. Gravy is comfort food. Who doesn’t love gravy?”

“You boys getting any food today?”

“I’m having the trout. I don’t need comfort food.”

“I’m taking some wings with me to my daughter’s place to eat during the Steelers playoff game.”

“You want Buffalo sauce or Barbeque on those wings”

“I like Barbeque, but Buffalo helped us into the playoffs”

“Yeah, but Buffalo doesn’t have a good record in the playoffs.”

“Good point, BBQ.”

“OK, here’s your trout. Let me know when you want me to put those wings in.”

“Whoa, Cheryl, what _is_ this?”

“What’s what?”

“This stuff next to my trout where the garlic mashed potatoes are supposed to be.”



“Ha! – There you have it. Lentils, the upscale alternative to mashed potatoes, for the man who doesn’t need comfort food.”

“I can get you a side of garlic mashed if you want.”

“Thanks Cheryl.”

“You can put those wings in now. My work here is done.”

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
This entry was posted in Customer Service, If having a beer, Opinion, Rant and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to The New Menu Blues

  1. For the records, from friend David, it was an “egg and bacon” bap in Isaacs on the Ipswich Waterfront. The last time I went there and had one, I bit into it and the egg ran down onto my trousers and onto the floor!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. GP Cox says:

    Football is 9 hours away and I’m drooling for football food already!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I should have eaten before reading this. Wow – some great looking food. We use to eat at When Pigs Fly in Kittery Maine. They made this grilled cheese sandwich on a Texas toast type bread made in-house with roasted brussel sprouts. It was the best ever grilled cheese sandwich. They still have the sprouts on the menu as an appetizer, but took the sandwich off the menu. We’ve stopped going there. It gets serious when they take your favorite food off the menu. :-(

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t thinking when I scheduled this. Now I’m sitting here in the rain staring pictures of breakfasts I can’t have. The place with the counter makes an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on grilled Italian bread. I get mine with sliced tomato. Oh my, this was a dumb idea. Brussel sprouts with a grilled cheese? That sounds odd but I think I’d like to try that.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Charlie says:

    As always, great pictures. But, like the others, Now I’m hungry for food, beer and football.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with Charlie… (Except the football — sorry) Wishing you a superb Saturday. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Almost Iowa says:

    Dan, you had some memorable lines today, I especially liked the one:

    “I come here for comfort. If they start taking comfort off the menu, I’m going elsewhere for food.”

    Another one caught my eye too:

    “but is Winter Lager already gone? It’s only January.”

    That is the problem with change…. people get carried away with it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thansk! You’re right about change. There’s something to be said for “we have a good thing going, let’s not screw it up.” At the rate Sam Adams is going, we’ll have Octoberfest on tap in June.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bikerchick57 says:

    Lentils? Blech! Could never feel the love or a distant like with them. I’m with you on the garlic mashed taters.

    In other news, let’s hope for two magical outcomes today. Go Steelers! Go Pack Go!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan Antion says:

    I got your back today, Go. Pack! The Steelers need a big miracle tomorrow, but I’m hoping it can happen. Nothing like playing your third stringers in the playoff, but they’re all pros…right? And yeah, lentils? Not happening.


  9. Yum. Send me an order of those bacon-wrapped things in the last photo, along with the fish. I’ll come up with my own side dishes – lentils are on my no-no list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jan says:

    I’m trying to envision eggplant fries! Course any football watching party has to include bacon – not sure about the trout though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Eggplant fries are quite good. About the thickness of a thick French fry. Batter-dipped, deep fried and loaded with Parmesan cheese. Served with a marinara sauce for dipping. Yeah, no trout for the game, and for sure no lentils.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s time for lunch. My mouth is watering. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. jolynnpowers says:

    Bacon, bacon, bacon, yummy

    Liked by 1 person

  13. John Hric says:

    I remember once back when my dear wife could drag me to a Tribe game that they tried to convince me Bud Light was draft beer. Thousands of brews later I have finally therapeed that bad memory away. And that was just hearing it. Never put it to my lips. shivers just thinking about it. And while the garlic mashed taters sounds very good a lentil stew would make me forget about the trout and garlic mashed potatoes. Though I doubt that the lentils were the peasant feast of which I am dreaming now…. Now that we are having a beer is never a bad start !

    Liked by 1 person

  14. joey says:

    Uh, I want some eggplant fries now, Dan.
    I don’t care for menu changes, either. When we eat at our local pub of choice, one of the best things about it is that I’ve eaten there since 97 and not a single menu item has changed. Between the two of us we’ve eaten every option, and I want my only problem to be deciding which one I’ll order.
    (I’m guessing the beers do get rotated, but they’ve always had Guinness!)
    You must really love bacon.
    Is the trout fried? Fried fish loves mash…I don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Paul says:

    No, you definitely don’t want the Bud Light. But bring on the comfort food, Dan. Nothing like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or a burger and fries, in a good diner …

    Liked by 1 person

  16. marianallen says:

    I note your heavy emphasis on bread and bacon. I approve this message.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I happen to love lentils, but do they have dark beer? :-) I’m getting rather hungry. Wonder why that is.


    Liked by 1 person

  18. I like the look of that clam chowder. Lentils instead of garlic mashed potatoes, yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. dweezer19 says:

    That last photo had my mouth watering. Ummmmm…..lentils with trout? Not unless they are plain, sprouted and added to my very fresh mixed baby greens salad nestled right next to my garlic MASHED POTATOES….ummm…yeah!
    Another tip that you know you are about to be “upscaled” is when your meat or fish comes with an ‘aioli’ drizzle. Not that they aren’t usually tasty but the price automatically goes up 2 bucks a plate when it is mentioned. Like ordering name brand wine instead of the “house”. I often like the house wine. I have found some fairly decent Reisling that way. Glad we kept the Yuengling. Lee will be relieved. He gets so out of sorts when a place doesn’t have it, especially here in Florida where it should be served EVERYWHERE. You won’t see either of us going for a Bud Light. Ha. I grilled last night. He watched and had his Yuengling. He only tried to orchestrate once, but a turn of my tongs in his direction and he let me have the grill. We ate outside with the smell of charcoal still lingering on the air. A perfect night. Sides? doh. Mashed potatoes and roasted Acorn Squash of course. The only drizzle was the Olive Garden bottled dressing we had over our Spring greens. lol My Yuengling was shared with the pork chops-makes a great basting aid.
    Great post Dan. Hang in there and keep those suggestions going to keep it real at the bar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Cheryl! the first week of new specials features sea scallops. I like those, but it seemed curious ‘cuz it included butternut squash and spinach. I figured I’d give it a try. The squash was pureed and drizzled around the scallops and a few leaves of spinach were added as a garnish. the price was the same, but the number of scallops had dropped from five to three. For the record, I’d be happy to sit with Yuengling while you grilled. No fighting for the tongs :)


  20. joannesisco says:

    What I got out of this post …. beer. Beer! Beer! Beer!
    Food! Food, food, food. Mashed lentils.

    Stomach just growled. Glad it’s almost time for dinner :)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “It’s not like I eat like a caveman, what’s the point of having soup in a bread bowl if you’re not going to eat it?”

    “Not a caveman? I seem to remember the beef tips in gravy, you know, when Cheryl asked if you wanted a squeegee.” I laughed out loud!

    Lentils with the trout doesn’t even sound appetizing! Cole slaw, fries, or a baked potato would do for me.

    The family is happy their team has gone this far! Go Steelers! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Deborah! I’m glad you enjoyed this. We are very happy with our team, but concerned about tomorrow’s game. I’m hoping for a miracle. It’s been a year full of them, so I think it can continue. I would get cole slaw if I was feeling healthy. I couldn’t deal with the lentils.


  22. You absolutely killed me with this post. I could eat my shoe right now. Go Steelers. (pass those wings around)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Deborah says:

    My favorite restaurant in the area used to have five stores. Over the years, it went down one by one, but the original always had my fish and chips and an array of breakfast items to die for (and always a special or two to choose from that was nearly a give-away). But alas, the last one closed before I returned in July. I guess when I waited two years since my last visit, they didn’t get enough business. But I’ve noticed it’s harder and harder to find great places to eat–only these chains and more chains. As for lentils, I’ll do it them in soup with apricot preserves and/or curry. (Don’t judge!) ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      No judging here Deborah. Well, maybe a little around the subject of Bud Lite, but… These guys opened a second restaurant on the other side of Hartford. It closed after a couple years. they also own an upscale place in the next town to our north, but I’m not a fan. I hope this place stays in business, but they should stick with what works. They draw a good crowd, and people like the food. I’m still optimistic that the main menu won’t change all that much.


  24. Glynis Jolly says:

    Truth be told, Dan, none of that looked that appetizing to me, way too many carbs. Carbs are fine, but in small doses so I don’t feel like I’ve eaten an entire whale.


    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks for providing the healthy perspective Glynis. These aren’t staple items in my life, but they do represent the places I like to visit. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to eat (out or in) and, yeah, there’s usually some carbs. Lately, I seem to be focused on pancakes.


  25. reocochran says:

    Just leaving message to let you know I left you a “I’m hungry!” comment, Dan. . . :D

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Wendy Brydge says:

    Thank God, I literally just finished eating lunch when I clicked over to this post, Dan. You can’t just post delicious food photos all willy-nilly like that!

    I think bacon deserves to be its own food group, frankly. But as a steak connoisseur, replacing Ribeye with a New York Strip???? NO. No, no, no. Heads would roll for that. O_o

    And hey, I don’t remember making you breakfast potatoes. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Ack, you caught me. Yes, there’s another Wendy’s in my life. I have already apologized for the food photos. I had just eaten when I scheduled this post. When I looked at it in the morning, I was so mad at myself for posting pictures of breakfast food I couldn’t have. Mea Culpa, yeah, that was dumb. It’s interesting that you favor the Ribeye. Most people do prefer the New York Strip. As for me, I don’t typically get steak at this place, there are better steak places nearby. Maybe the problem was the way they prepared the Ribeye. IT sounds like you have some expertise in this area. I’ll defer to your judgement. At least we have agreement on the treatment og bacon :)

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Good food huh? By the way this reminds me of a question my wife Sarah wanted to ask you. Have you ever been to Katz Delicassen in New York City. Its on the Lower East Side. She saw some sandwiches on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. prior2001 says:

    Ok like your other readers I am hungry!!
    And very fun post – the part about poor eat calories – mid nutrition and rich presentation- well ruby Payne has her list of these triad differences and I think with food she said the poor go for quantity – “you eat up – have seconds – want some mo'” and the middle class aim for quality – “that angus steak was never frozen” and the rich is the same as your upscale – presentation – “a few lines of sauce under the four layered pastry and meat served on bone China”
    Oh and should have went with buffalo sauce and not bbq (jk)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks. Sorry about making you hungry. I’ve heard variations of the poor-mid-rich, but they all somehow end with presentation (which you usually can’t eat unless you want to look like a caveman). Make sure you serve the right wings on Sunday. I am now a Broncos fan for the remainder of this season. GoBroncos!

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior2001 says:

        Thanks for saying that – but like you said in your coffee chat – we might need a miracle –
        Oh and real quick – back to the triad of classes – I guess with money – if you give each class 500 bucks – here is how they handle it – the poor will spend it almost immediately – pay this one back – indulge and give a bit to then maybe have one owed to them – the middle class will “manage” it / maybe pay a bill or hold it for end of month stuff or add it to an investment pool – and the rich – banks it and adds to rest – ha!
        Not sure how accurate they are – but there are differences – and oh yeah – gravy is comfort food for sure

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Hihi, I hate upscaling but I love lentils. NOT together with trout though! :o

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Aunt Beulah says:

    Dan, I think it takes great skill to carry a piece of writing with dialogue only and manage to involve and amuse your readers the way you do. I read once for enjoyment and once again to study how you do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Peter Nena says:

    Apart from those hunger-inspiring, mouth-watering delicious pictures, one other line caught my eye: ‘the poor eat calories, the middle class eats nutrition, and the rich eat presentation’
    Sounds true, though I have never thought of it that way.
    A man I know, who is a construction worker, a foreman, told me that one day he was called to renovate a building for an Indian family in a rich place in Nairobi, known as Spring Valley. When it was time for lunch, the was served a slice of cake and a glass of juice. He said the cake was very tasty and the juice was good, but after laboring in construction work, it was the most inappropriate meal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Hi Peter – I heard that expression and I wanted to find a way to work it into a blog post. The restaurant is changing and they seem to be moving some dishes more toward selling presentation. Smaller portions, but artfully decorated. I’d rather enjoy eating the meal than looking at it. Having worked construction, I can understand that man’s complaint.

      Liked by 1 person

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