|Thing o' beauty, isn't it? (image borrowed... or |
outright stolen... from A Good Beer Blog)
When I got there last night, I was thinking IPA. There were a couple black IPAs I had wanted to try out, and was examining bottles when my wandering eyes saw a familiar logo.
Could it be? It was! A 1.9 pint of Hobgoblin from Wychwood Breweries. I looked over to the left, and to my delight, found an entire 6-pack (and a half: one of the nice things about CJ's is that you can mix and match to try out new brews). Granted, the import was a bit pricier than one of the local brews... but you know, I don't actually indulge all that often, and by golly, it was the Hobgoblin.
|Sure, I COULD have just taken|
this picture myself. But I didn't.
|The Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge|
After several calls, the cigar thing was kind of turning into a bust, but we decided to cross over anyway. I had my passport card; Randy had his stamped-up passport, and we were good to go. We crossed the bridge in the late afternoon, and it was then, as we waited in line for Customs, that I started piecing together our predicament.
"Y'know," I said, "I've never actually been pulled into Canadian Customs before."
"Is anyone?" Actually, it was a valid question.
"We're about to be,"
It had occurred to me that we were two guys, about 20 years apart in age, with almost the same first name. In fact, our names are slightly different in spelling (my "Randall" has two 'l's to his one). It wasn't much, I thought, but taken as a part of the whole picture, it could be an issue. On top of that, he was, as I mentioned previously, from Colorado, and had a passport full of fun and interesting stamps. Stamps from places like Malaysia.
|Plus, I was wearing a shirt|
similar to this one.
At least we could honestly tell them we weren't coming to meet anyone. I'm also extremely happy we had presence of mind to say, when asked, that we were coming over to hang out and hit a bar with decent beer, and NOT to that we wanted to get Cuban cigars.
Fortunately, since Canada customs almost never brings people in (they rarely need to: by the time you leave the booth, they already know whether you've ever committed a crime, the last time you were in Canada, and how long it's been since you've had sex), we didn't have to wait long before being called to the desk. While officials ran our passports through an alphabet of national and international agencies (and possibly our parents), we were treated to live entertainment in the form of an impromptu Q&A session to determine our continued presence in the country.
"You met on the internet?"
"On a website for political activists."
"Where are you from?"
"Have you always lived there?"
"Crap! Neither have I!"
The interview was over. We waited.
This waiting has interesting effects on people. I knew darn well I didn't have anything on me that would be illegal or get me in any kind of trouble. Yet, I still had to stop myself from checking. At least in front of the guy. I'm pretty sure I checked my pockets when he turned his head, though.
We get on with it
The check came back. We were deemed harmless. We went on our way. After that was pretty uneventful. We drove through downtown Prescott, ON, continued up King Street, left Prescott, went through various towns with "welcome" signs informing you that, if you fail to change the battery on your smoke detector, you are sure to die a fiery, suffocating death. Evidently this is a real problem, and if I may, I'd like to take this opportunity to suggest that Canadians consider not only batteries, but also to stop building their houses out of match heads and gasoline. At some point, we landed in Brockville.
|This is what it looks like. Find it as fast as you can.|
A tiny little place with a mostly brick interior and friendly staff, The Georgian Dragon ("The Dragon?" I should ask the locals what they call it for short. Or is it too cool to shorten?) is the perfect place for a quiet drink and excellent food.
And yes, the food is excellent. My friend got his fish, and I asked the waiter what he recommended. He said Bangers and Mash, and I took him up on it. For drinks, my friend asked for and received something local: a pale ale, I believe. I asked for something dark.
|While you can google pics of |
Bangers and Mash, they're made
a little different everywhere... and
nothing on Google does them justice.
And yes. Yes, I did.
I've visited many restaurants, pubs, taverns and bars. I've found something to enjoy about each of them. But for the overall atmosphere, the ambiance, the food (my Heavens, the fricking food!), and the beer selection, The Georgian Dragon may well be my new favorite place. The fact that they also introduced me to a new favorite beer doesn't hurt either.
Sad, when it comes right down to it, that I haven't been back since. But I'm looking for an excuse. So, you know, if you're ever in the area, and need somebody to show you around...