Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Brooklyn Pub

We decided to have a girls night out with some friends at The Brooklyn Pub. As Danelle and I were getting ready we were practicing our Brooklynese.

Me: Yo, notfuhnuttinbut I'm dyin for some fish n chips ova heeya.

Danelle: Are you seriously going to wear that?

Me: What are yous busting my bools ova heeya, goombah?

But alas, nobody in Brooklyn speaks like this anymore; it's full of white hipsters and is now totally devoid of all personality. It's ironic that hipsters pride themselves for not going with the flow, but the neighborhoods that they take over become full of people exactly like them. But I digress. The Brooklyn Pub is nothing like this. It is chock full of personality.

It's on Chestnut Street in Dunmore. As you approach you can see patio heaters which give the illusion that there's a cozy fire on the patio. It's super cute.

The above photo is from their Facebook page. It's a little different looking for the winter yet still inviting. We wanted to take our own picture, but it would have meant standing outside in 0 degree weather without a glove trying to take a good pic in the dark.

Inside is tastefully decorated as well. It used to be Gubbio's and was pretty dated, but the new owner George Kelly polished it up nicely. He said it cost him thousands of dollars to remove the stench of cigarette smoke from the place, and of course made it a non-smoking establishment.  If you want to know how I feel about it still being legal to smoke inside of bar/restaurants here, see my previous blog post
Anyway, George is actually from New York, and he's the nicest guy you will ever meet.

The place is bi-leveled: the lower level is the bar and the upper is a cozy room with a pool table as the main focus and a few high top tables.

The menu is comfort foods, mostly. Fish and chips, mac n' cheese, burgers, paninis, salads, oh, and check this out - pierogis! They also sometimes have shepherd's pie as a special. 
We all had the fish n' chips except for Lynne, who had the scallops. They use fresh cod, which is quite a coup for Dunmore, and it was delicious.

Lynne said her scallops were good. They came on a bed of fettuccine, so of course our favorite Italian had to ask for a spoon to "eat it properly".  I don't get this and never have. Each mouthful seems like so much work. When Danelle and I told her that we cut our pasta, the record stopped. She looked at us like we just pooped on the table. Seriously. I'm not even sure if we're still friends. She had that "You're dead to me" look in her eyes.
I also ask for a fork when there are only chopsticks on the table. Nothing must slow down the delivery of food to my mouth. Nothing.

They have a decent selection of beer on tap. 16 varieties, I think. Their happy hour specials are pretty good: $5 martinis and $1.00 off all beers. The staff is competent and friendly. See, we're not impossible to please!

They have a Valentine's Day dinner special (as does every restaurant in town), which means we will be having dinner at home tonight. Anyway, you can check out the menu and specials on their Facebook page:

To summarize, good food, good people, nice ambiance. Put this place on your must visit list. You'll love it, I promise!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Nonno's Pizza

Nonno's Pizza in Moosic is across the road from the Montage movie theater. This may explain why it was absolutely packed when we went there.
Our intention was to grab a quick bite to eat before meeting family for drinks. That's not what happened. Let me tell you all about it.

We go in and it's a full house, so we have to wait maybe 15 minutes for a table. That leaves plenty of time to take in the ambiance, or lack thereof. I would describe this place as neutral. It's big, with a vaulted ceiling. The floor tiles are brown slate, the walls are off white, the tables are brown, the booth upholstery is beige. And the walls are totally bare. Not one picture. I entertained myself by reading the exit sign over and over. Probably the most non-inviting place we've ever been to. And it's chilly, so after coming in from the winter cold and expecting warm relief, you just never really get it.

Finally we're seated. I order iced tea and Danelle orders a Shiner Bock. The server comes back with my tea but not the beer. Ten minutes later and still no beer. So Danelle flags down the server as she's whizzing by and asks if they forgot about the beer. The server shrugs her shoulders and with a there's-nothing-I-can-do-about-it look says, "I'm waiting on the bartender for that." Really? For a bottled beer? Ok, five minutes later the beer appears.

As we peruse the menu, I realize that the reason for the crowds are the low prices. This is definitely the cheapest Italian place we've ever seen.

I ordered the Old Forge style pizza and Danelle ordered eggplant parmesan. After about 15 more minutes Danelle's salad and bread arrives. The rolls are good; they're warm and taste like onion and herbs. Here's me eating like a caveman because we didn't get bread plates.

We dared not ask for any because we could all be dead by time we got them. It wasn't just that she forgot to bring out plates - it's just not their policy to use them, based on looking around at other people's tables. And don't get me started on the salad. Seriously, I can write a whole blog post on the salad atrocities committed by restaurants. I'm saving that for another post.

Finally, (by now we have some long, thick flowing beards) the food arrives! We got here at 5:30, and were supposed to meet family at 7:00. It's now 7:00.
The pizza is good. Not great, good. Danelle's portion of eggplant parm is tremendous. It's roughly the size of a newborn baby. And it comes with salad and pasta or fries.
But here's the thing: it's clearly been microwaved. There are really hot spots and really cold spots, so it's not all that enjoyable. But she did say it was good flavor wise.

As I write these reviews, I wonder, are we just picky bitches who are impossible to please? No! No I tell you! We would forgive slow service if the food was great, or if it was a real cool place to hang out, but this place had none of that going on.

I must mention one really cool aspect of this place: they sell six-packs of beer to go! If you're from another state, you're thinking, "So? Big deal!" If you're from Pennsatucky, you know this is a big deal. Nobody here does that, because of some ancient puritanical alcohol laws that are still on the books.  I don't know who they had to blow to make it legal, but I hope all pizza places follow suit.

Anyway, we finally get out of there and meet my sister and her husband at the Brooklyn Pub in Dunmore, which turns out to be the polar opposite of Nanno's. It's an awesome place that will be the subject of the next post. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bar Hill - A Long Overdue Review

This is our very favorite place to be. We love it so much that we got married here. Seriously! And we highly recommend getting married in a bar.

Located on the corner of Prescott and Ash Streets in the Hill Section of Scranton, it's a small place with great ambiance. Cozy, inviting, and friendly. It's a wonderful place to have drinks with friends. Even if you go alone, you will probably end up having a conversation with others at the bar. They have acoustic music on certain nights. Usually on Thursday, Nowhere Slow plays. They're really good. We rarely stay there past 9:00, though. I've found that from 5:00 to 9:00 the more mature crowd hangs out, and then the young hipsters come in for the music later.

This is what they call a small plate restaurant. Eric Piccotti, the owner, wanted to classify it as a tapas restaurant, but here in Scranton, foreign words are scary. Here is a typical reaction of a Scrantonian hearing the term "tapas":

Stosh: Tapas!? Jesus Haich Christ, what are yas in a turd world country?
Yosh: Haina or no?

When (not if) you go, you should try the lobster nachos. Dear God, there are no words. If you find yourself licking the plate, do not feel self conscious. It's expected.
We like the specials. Every day they do a different soup, salad, Panini and bruschetta.

If good help really is hard to find, then Bar Hill got incredibly lucky, because every single person who works there is exceptional. They're more than staff to us; they are our friends. And a good-looking bunch, aren't they?


As bartenders, they are pretty creative and feature a different original drink every night. Last night I decompressed with Sean's Raspberry Surprise Martini. Okay, so I had three of them. On an empty stomach. They use fresh ingredients in their drinks and they don't even have crappy bottom shelf liquor. This place is classy. We're not. That's why we love it here; it makes us feel classy.

Also gotta give a shout out to the owners Peggy and Eric Piccotti. They are the coolest and kindest people you could ever meet. And that's what sets this place apart from the rest. They make you feel like family.

So don't waste your time in shitty dive bars getting cancer from second hand smoke. Go to Bar Hill. Now. Hurry! And like them on facebook!