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First Mensiversary Gifts

It’s fun to celebrate marriage mensiversaries.  Rather than make note of it every year, we’ve decided to make note of it every month.   This isn’t that abnormal really, it’s just like having a regularly scheduled date night.  It’s an excuse to take time out to focus on your spouse and mark it in some way of celebration.  Nothing we do is hugely involved or deeply complicated.  We simply make a point to do something out of the ordinary or special to celebrate our marriage.  We try to do something different every month, but as the months mount it might be hard to keep that up.


Our first mensiversary snuck up on us pretty fast.  It’s actually what prompted us to celebrate.  I imagine noting the first month of marriage is something most couples notice, and we were no different.  Still basking in post-wedding bliss we decided it was a fun tradition to start.  Two weeks in Hawaii and Halloween being the first weekend we were back our first month was on us before we’d even really settled back to normal.  We decided to get fancy burgers from Bobby’s Burger Palace nearby in Paramus and decided the first mensiversary gift was gourmet hamburgers.


I’ve written about this before, but as time goes by I’m going to try to document every month’s moment.  Some are silly and some are born of convenience, but the purpose is always the same; recognize and remember our wonderful marriage.

May 22nd, 2012 by Ceetar in dinner, Food, life, marriage, mensiversary
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Fair Lawn Promenade Needs a Brewpub

Fair Lawn is getting something called the Fair Lawn Promenade along route 208.  This is right next to the gym, so I noticed recently when they started leveling out the ground and clearing the weeds.  It’s been empty lots for a long time.


The Fair Lawn Planning Board has approved the application for the “Fair Lawn Promenade,” a proposed mixed-use village on the Route 208 Northbound site of the former Kodak property.


My first thought: It needs a brewpub.   The signs mention retail and dining, so why not?  It profiles as a “upscale town center environment” and given the inclusion of some affordable two-bedroom apartments, it stands to reason that it will promote people just like me.  By that I mean couples in-between owning a house and graduating from college.  In my experience this is a demographic that appreciates real beer and would enjoy being able to get locally brewed beer a stone’s throw from home.


So why not a brewpub, preferably one with a beer garden, for us to enjoy?  There are already a bunch of apartments within walking distance, which is where I live, so it’d be a great place for a happy hour or watching a game.  It would create that nice city benefit of living within walking distance of a cool bar or restaurant while still living in the suburbs.


I saw brewpub even though a typical sports bar with a good beer selection would probably work too.  This particular area could use a microbrewery serving good food, because to my knowledge there isn’t one anywhere nearby.  Building from scratch could provide the ability to factor in a nice beer garden too, with long benches and trees.


Certainly if I had the capital to start up a business, I’d be all over this.

May 11th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, dinner, Food, new jersey
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Longhorn Steakhouse Review and Beer List

Me and my wife went to Longhorn Steakhouse for our 15th mensiversary last night.


First impressions for me at most restaurants are formed by the drink list.  Naturally I look for beer first, but a nice signature cocktail list is impressive as well.  Longhorn did well in that regard, they had a couple of interesting looking drinks and some margaritas.  The beer was less impressive, but they did have 10 or so taps and they weren’t horrible.  Mostly the expanded standards, highlighted by Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel.


As far as the menu, my biggest complaint would be that there didn’t seem to be any beers that cried out to be paired with steak.  No porter, no malty ESB.  Newcastle Brown Ale would probably be the closest.   In essence the beer menu is a national one with very little thought put into it.


The food was pretty good.  I actually enjoyed the appetizer, salad and sides more than the steak.  I got some firecracker spicy chicken rolls, a Caesar salad, and a loaded baked potato.  My steak was a bourbon-glazed bacon-wrapped filet that was cooked medium, although it looked a wee bit more than that.  It seemed more a generic steak than a filet, and tasted like it.  I guess you get what you pay for, but it does brand itself as a steakhouse so I was surprised that that was the only part I was disappointed in.  It also needed more glaze and crispier bacon.


Ultimately stuffed, we passed on dessert even thought it looked delicious.

January 11th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, dinner, Food, marriage, mensiversary
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When Restaurants Don’t Have Beer Menus

As a fairly normal suburbanite, both here in New Jersey and when I lived on Long Island, I occasionally go out to eat and like to try new restaurants.  If I hear about a new place, or am just searching through popular restaurant sites, the first thing I’ll do when I find something interesting is go to their website to look at the food and drink they serve.


Nothing annoys me more than when they leave off the beers.  Now, I don’t _have_ to have a drink with dinner, but a cocktail or a beer or a glass of wine is often an enjoyable part of the experience.  If a menu leaves off the drinks I assume they’re not interested in that part of the experience, and it often makes me choose a different restaurant.   Another annoying habit is if the menu infers that they have beer, but doesn’t list them or elaborate on what type.  Beer comes in vastly different flavors and varieties, you wouldn’t list your entrees as ‘pasta dishes’ would you?

Another restaurant menu sin is when they don’t keep it updated.   You often see this in newer restaurants that create a website when they are first starting, but don’t have anyone managing it regularly.  This is a shame in the day of social media; a Twitter and a Facebook page tweeting current specials and seasonal beers being tapped go a long way to drawing in customers that enjoyed the restaurant when they tried it, but need something to draw them back in.  I recently experienced this at a restaurant in South Orange, NJ called the Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant.  It’s a local place that both me and my wife enjoyed, with all the beer brewed on premise.  However their menu online is out of date, and so is the menu at the restaurant.  They had around 15 beers listed, but only actually had about eight of them available.   That’s understandable as it’s a smaller place and it’s not always possible to keep up with that many different brews, but simply printing out a new sheet of paper and editing the website would go a long way towards letting customers know what the options are.  Even worse is that the website claims they keep the current draft list posted on their blog, but it hasn’t been updated in a year.


The very best restaurants are ones that have a solid base beer list and a couple of rotating taps that they can fill in with whatever seasonals or trial beers they want.  This type of setup suggests that the people running the establishment are truly interested in the beers they serve, and want to give the customers a quality brew.   A tweet or sign stating that a restaurant has the newest Brooklyn Brewmaster Reserve is often enough to make me plan to have a meal there.

September 16th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, dinner
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Celebrating Our First Month Wedding Anniversary

Between the amazing wedding and the unbelievable honeymoon to Hawaii, the letdown afterwards was quite harsh.  One of the ways we chose to mitigate that was to celebrate each month of our anniversary.   We weren’t doing this for excuses to buy huge presents or anything, but simply to recognize and remember.

We declared the one ‘monthiversary’ the gourmet hamburger anniversary.  We got burgers from Bobby’s Burger Palace and sat together and enjoyed them.  Bobby’s makes great burgers and it’s always a nice treat to eat them.  Certainly better than Bubba Burgers out of the freezer.

So nothing overly fancy or heavily planned out.  Just a simple dinner to represent one month of marriage bliss.

June 1st, 2011 by Ceetar in anniversary, dinner, marriage
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Excitement in the Little Things

I’m also a big fan of variety. I was feeling stuck and bored with Long Island in general, having grown up there, and spent most of my life there except for the three years in Buffalo for college. Even though I’ve only moved to the other side of the city, a mere 35-40 minutes away, the differences make me feel good.

It’s the little things, going to a different mall, trying out the different local pizza places, not knowing my town well enough to walk through with my eyes closed. It can be fun just driving around, getting a feel for the neighborhood, and the surrounding area. Yesterday I was driving and was in nearby Ridgewood when I suddenly realized how and where two streets connected, and it was like a whole area of the map in my head unclouded. Sort of like how when you explore the map in games like Warcraft or Civilizations, you gradually get to see more and more of the map as you go to new areas. Whereas back home, even trying to get lost or go for a drive, I’d think to myself,

“Oh, It’s Old Country Road again. How boring.”

I knew how to get places, I knew what was at those places, and It ceased to be exciting. Even things like “Wow, it’s dark here.”, or “Hey, look at that cool house.” are new and interesting, because I haven’t seen them before. Even if they’re similar, it’s the variety that excites me.

Eating out has gotten easier too. We’ve got a whole list of places that we want to try. The Gotham Diner, that diner that’s in a barn, that sub shop around the corner.. the list goes on as we discover new places. On Long Island, we’d eaten at so many places that it’d lost it’s excitement.

“Hibachi place? Nah, we were just there.”,

“Fridays?…nah, too long a line.”,

“Diner? Eh..”

It’s even nice to have a different view out of the windows in our apartment.

October 4th, 2008 by Ceetar in dinner, garden state, long island, new jersey, new york, pizza, ridgewood
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