Birthday Bar Hopping – Canz & Sweet Afton
Following the Heinz press event, I headed into Astoria to meet up with friends for one last happy hour – at Canz. Unfortunately, Canz has some weird happy hour that isn’t every day, so on this Thursday, we contented ourselves just drinking and eating what TC and I had enjoyed last time, for full price.
Close to Halloween, El Pizza Padre showed up to show off his muscles. Hilarious. There are other pictures of El Pizza Padre in action that night, but those’re for those who were there…
I ordered a side of sweet potato waffle fries to munch on – and while the honey mustard on the side was a little overly sweet, as Beer Boor noted, the waffle fries themselves were fantastic. I all but insisted that he try making them but he refused, citing lack of tools. Um, here you go, it’s only $10: waffle fry cutters. Make it happen. Crunchy, perfectly fried, and just super tasty.
Since TC had enjoyed them last time, he ordered the sliders again, though this time they appeared to be a little dry. I didn’t want one this time, so I am only repeating what I heard someone else say about them.
We also ordered the loaded fries at our server’s suggestion (I asked what her favorite was) – topped with ranch dressing, cheese and bacon, they were a tasty munch but the fries quickly got very soggy, which was unfortunate.
I sort of love spinach artichoke dip, so I added these as well. We were surprised by how few chips came with it, but it actually wound up being enough – we finished the chips just as the dip ran out, so it was perfect.
Dean also ordered a sandwich – a sort of Reuben – that he said was way too oily with a butter-saturated toast acting as the bread. I still don’t know why the onion rings are striped, though they were perfectly fine – if you like very thickly battered onion rings.
Then we ordered the Hulk fishbowl, which means the rest of the night becomes progressively hazier and the photos become progressively blurrier (and more and more photos of people goofing off were taken…). This fishbowl was much better than the blue one we’d ordered last time. Oddly, with 5 people sharing this time, it took longer – or felt like it took longer – to finish this than it did with 3 people last time…
More fried foods to soak up the alcohol! We placed another order, this time tater tots that were expertly fried with a super crunch outside and lovely chopped potato interior. I really liked these though Beer Boor grumped that they tasted like they came from a bag. So? They were fried to perfection! That’s a skill! Whatever. We also added an order of sweet potato waffle fries since we’d liked them so much the first time – I didn’t take another photo – plus they were $3.50. That’s a bargain!
Shortly after this, a few of us left to catch their trains back to other boroughs. Then, finishing up more alcohol, TC, Beer Boor and I – the only three left standing – decided to traipse around Astoria. I wanted Queens Comfort, which was next door, but they literally closed 5 minutes from when I checked – I was pretty mad! I wanted fried green tomatoes! – so we headed further down to a bar that Beer Boor vaguely remembered having good beer.
We finally walked into Sweet Afton, me freezing because though the rain had stopped, the temperature had dropped to easily in the 30s. WTF. That was October. In any case, the place smelled truly awful but we gamely soldiered on and took a seat, and eventually we got used to the smell, haha. I’d been promised fried pickles. I ordered the above, not really understanding what I was ordering – it said housemade root beer! … with rye. Rye Root Beer, to be exact. I drank it, but … progressively sloshier… Also, see that funny white streak behind my mug? Yeah, there used to be a candle on the table, but one of us got super drunk and knocked it completely across the table, spilling all of the wax… I believe none of it hit me, thankfully.
And here we have over-battered McClure’s pickles that were deep fried. I did not like these at all. They were completely cocooned in way too much batter that overwhelmed any hope of the pickle taste breaking through; I wound up pulling my pickle out of the batter to eat just the pickle. Beer Boor promptly picked up my batter skin and ate it, chiding me for wasting. I don’t know what I was wasting, as it didn’t taste particularly good! These are some of the worst fried pickles I’ve had in a while.
We also ordered salt & pepper ribs, I think possibly because I thought it said Dr. Pepper ribs and I was totally thinking about Brooklyn Star and their Dr. Pepper ribs. For $11, this is what arrived. The ribs were cooked properly and had a nice char on the outside, with tender meat that pulled easily off the bone, but were seasoned simply with just salt & pepper. Yes, that’s the name of the dish. So while there’s no misrepresentation going on, these aren’t ribs I would order again, as they were a little boring with just salt & pepper dressing them. Meh.
Then we ended the night at a bar a few blocks away, drinking more beer while watching the end of an amazing World Series game 6, seeing the Cardinals claw their way to fight back (and yes, they won the World Series the next night!)… I wish I could remember the name of that bar because I quite liked it and the awesome bartender named Dave, who encouraged me to sing loudly in the empty bar and then invited me to karaoke night (I’m a terrible singer, but I’m shameless and LOUD).
One of the very few times I’ve actually bar-hopped in my entire life. I had a fantastic time and spent a wonderful birthday with friends. HUGE thanks to TC and Beer Boor for staying out so late to celebrate with me, and extra-super-duper-thanks to TC for making the whole week super special – you are the bestest good twin a girl could ever hope for! And thanks again to both of you for the birthday presents – they were very much appreciated.