First Look: Growler Station, Jin Ramen, Lin-sanity and more…

Made my way over to the Growler Station in the West Village a couple times now. It strikes me as a little odd that you can’t actually drink beer in the place unless it’s a brewery or tasting event. You are expected to fill those growlers of yours based on descriptions(which they actually do quite well, with lots of big screens and an upcoming ipad app w/ recommendations and sortable by style). You can fill your 64 or 32 ounce growlers, or pick up one of their Beasts, a 32-ounce recyclable soda bottle, with one of 20+ craft brew options. They told me the beast has all air pulled out and can stay fresh in your fridge for up to 3 months. I was skeptical, but heard from a couple friends they tried it a week later it tasted ok.

The selection was impressive, a lot of local stuff, as well as regional American and International craft beers. Bottles were a little more limited, but with a name like Growler Station, you’d come to expect them pushing the stuff on draft a bit more. There was also a fridge with some artisanal cheese, I believe I even saw some recommendations for pairings. I was a little surprised to see the prices. I don’t think I saw any 64 oz growler fill for less than $11.99 and some going for as much as $49.99. I’ve always had a problem with paying a lot for a growler, because in my opinion is just doesn’t stay fresh and true to the brewers intention. Either way, if you’re gonna get it, drink it fast. That stuff doesn’t keep well once oxygen hits it. The place had a lot of good stuff on tap and from what I’ve read, this is the first of a chain hitting other US markets.

Angelhair of Harlem
On Sunday evening, I made my way up to Harlem to try out Jin Ramen. Conveniently right off the 125th St 1 train stop, it’s a quick trip to the neighborhood. The last few years, I’ve been big on Ramen, eating at a various places across the city. I have a local place near my apartment, Naruto Ramen, that I consider my go to, but I always like to venture out to try something new. I came across this review from J.Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats and he always is on the money.

They greeted me as I walked in the door and sat me down right at the bar, where I had a front row view to the kitchen. The staff was super friendly and talked me through everything I ordered. Started off with the Nankotsu Kara Age, which is fried chicken cartilage. It was delicious, having almost a calamari type consistency to it. I then had the Shio Ramen, a combo chicken/pork broth. It was good, a little lighter than I usually get. The handmade noodles were thin, but well-cooked and seasoned, as was the pork. The egg, which is one of my favorite parts, was perfectly cooked after being soaked in soy sauce overnight.

Overall, a great new spot that I will visit again. Very friendly staff, they greet everyone as they walk in and out, which is always nice to see. The menu will continue to expand and feature more items, including gyoza, which is a personal fave. Not much in terms of beer, but they had a couple different selections of sake, plum wine and Sapporo. If you’re in the hood, check it out. Definitely worthy of a visit.

I am checking out my first game at the renovated Garden tonight. This is first time in close to 20 years, since the Finals run of Ewing, Starks and Oak, there’s this much excitement in the Garden. I love it as a Knicks fan. I’m not sure people see this for the real story that it is. We’ve already seen one over-zealous editor at ESPN get fired for a bonehead headline. And there was the hilarious, but completely boorish sketch on SNL last weekend. As this wonderful article on points out. The kid transcends race. I think the real story here is that of an underdog, a kid that was never given a shot, surfing on his brother’s couch, almost getting cut by his third team this year, then stepping up out of nowhere and doing the great things he did.

I think more people that don’t know a thing about basketball, can relate to this and aspire to do the same thing some day. It’s a story about perseverance in a time when this country needs it. If Jeremy Lin can do what he’s doing, why can’t anyone chase after their dreams in life. It’s a sentiment that truly does transcend race, basketball and sports. It’s a attribute of his life that touched us all. So, I say good for him. Hopefully Coach D’Antoni can figure out how to make this team put it all together and give the Bulls, Heat and Celtics a run for their money in the playoffs this year. Knicks fans could use it. Talk about some tortured fans.

Listening Pile:
Memoryhouse – The Kids Were Wrong
Memoryhouse formed some five years ago in Southern Ontario, Canada as a sort of art/music collaboration. Their new album is named after the effect when you zoom and pan out of still images to give them a sense of movement. I think that’s awesome. The song above rocks a bit more than the rest of the album, a dreamy, hazy lo-fi indie-pop album. The one thing about this album I really like are all the tiny little flourishes that ad a wonderful nuance to the songs.



This Week’s Links, Plus First Impressions: Birreria

A Night of Stars
Finally made my way over to Birreria at Eataly a few weeks back. Should have mentioned it or written a post about it, but alas, time slipped away. I was thoroughly pleased with the experience. The food was good. I enjoyed a fantastic pork shoulder with a side of potatoes, a yummy simple arugula salad and some fried shitake mushrooms. I had one of the house beers, the Wanda, a casked chestnut mild ale. Followed it up with a Del Borgo Reale Anniversary, a delicious and crisp, Italian IPA. Good stuff! Cool atmosphere, staring at the stars through the closed roof. I went in the middle of winter, but I bet it’d be a great place to sit around and sip on beer with a cheese plate on a warm Spring night. Check it out if you can. Lots of beers, a couple housed ones on cask, lots on tap and bottles, plus tons of wine and lots of Italian, but German inspired fare.

My Future Looks Bright
With Spring Training just about ten days away, it’s great to see that the Yanks have a couple prospects on all the top lists. This one from ESPN has ManBan pretty high. There were all those comps to Johan Santana last year in Spring Training. Pretty awesome to see kids lower in the minors make the list as well, that bodes well for the short and long term of the team. Hopefully guys like ManBan and Dellin Betances contribute this year or next, then those other kids come help out a few years down the line, when some of our aging veterans need to be put out to pasture. Though, everything I’ve read and seen about Dellin Betances, makes me start to think of Daniel Cabrera. Truly one of the most frustrating pitchers to watch in recent memory. He’re hoping he’s more AJ Burnett(the good years) rather than Cabrera.

Pliny The Sixer
Picked up a four pack of the newly release Sixpoint Resin yesterday, Resin has been labeled as a “double IPA,” but you know how those crazy cats at Sixpoint’s operate. Nothering ever fits neatly into a particular style.  From what I’ve heard it’s a hop-bomb with a sweet citrusy taste. Makes sense, from the description, it’s supposed to have double the hops of normal DIPA’s, with resin secreted from the glands of the hop cone. Resin will also have the distinction of being the first craft beer available in a 12-ounce “redbull” type can and will be available for a limited time, if you can find it. Don’t fear, two more canned arrivals coming soon, The Harbinger, a canned Saison and Apollo, a summer wheat.

Half Full
The British government seems to think Britain’s binge-drinking problem could be as simple as mandating laws to water down alcoholic drinks. Sounds like a horrible idea. Seems like a problem as old as time. Ask the US how that whole Prohibition thing panned out. Leave it alone and tax more, that’s what they’ll probably do anyhows.

Listening Pile:
Twilight Sad – Another Bed
Great new video from a song on their stellar new album, No One Can Ever Know. While the video is disturbing in that, “wait a second, those are pretty good looking corpses” kinda way, the song is pretty awesome and the video is very well executed. Also, keep in mind, he has a wedding ring on. So, next time you make small chit chat with that hipster video clerk you think is kinda cute, just remember this video. But, I digress. The song is awesome, the record is as well. They play Bowery Ballroom at the end of the month. I’ll be there, sad at the fact that the  best beer I’ll be able to get will be a Sierra Nevada.