Weekly Check-In: Why I Always Look Up the Menu In Advance

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Does anyone else look up menus online before they go to eat? I do it chronically, and I’ve gotten some shit for it over the years.  I guess it takes away the spontaneity? I think if a restaurant didn’t want me to know their menu beforehand, then they wouldn’t publish it on the internet.  And if I’m going to be at a couple different places in a day, it helps figure out which one I’m going to have my main meal at. It also saves more time for socializing! I can go on, and on.

Now, I’m no so rigid that I pick out what I’m having in advance and make everyone adhere to it. I don’t even do it every single time I go out for food, but I think maybe I should, because this past weekend was a missed opportunity of epic proportions.

I wasn’t planning on doing much this past Saturday. I wanted to go to the gym, and get my shopping done for the week, and since it was supposed to be crappy weather, I was all set to hunker down with one of the many new books I cannot stop buying. Then I woke up Saturday, and got my grocery shopping done, and went to the gym, and got home and realized that shockingly the forecast was wrong. It was sunny and hot.  It would’ve been a great day to sit out in the sun and read, but we haven’t had a weekend yet that felt this summery, and I felt the urge to do something, namely, have a couple drinks near a body of water, which is one of life’s great pleasures.

There’s a distillery out in Bethel, NY, about  45 minutes from me, that I’d been wanting to take my father to for a while. He’s a whiskey guy. He is also someone who likes to drink near bodies of water, mainly to look at the boats, so I figured after we checked out the distillery, we could spend the afternoon at one of the waterside restaurants at Kauneonga Lake, a couple minutes away. I assumed we’d be at Benji and Jakes, just because my dad’s a pizza guy.

Views from the distillery porch.

Our stop at the distillery was short-lived.  They don’t do a traditional tasting, but rather just have you buy tasters.  So you’re essentially buying a shot. We each got one of bourbon. I don’t love whiskey, and my dad “is more an Irish whiskey guy,” so after that we each got a beer and sat on their patio. Then we moved to the lake. We parked and I suggested Benji and Jakes, but the old man was not hungry yet. He figured we’d eat later, closer to home. I can more or less always eat, but wasn’t starving, so was fine with that at the time. Benji and Jakes had a lot of people walking in, and since we weren’t eating (they hands down have the best margarita pizza I’ve ever had), we went next door to the more sparsely populated Local Table and Tap.  The bartender asked if we wanted menus. I though about looking one over, and maybe getting a snack, but reminded myself I don’t need to eat at every stop, and just had him tell me about the beer.  The mystery of why I felt so drunk after just one pint at the distillery was solved when he motioned to the Catskill IPA (which I’d drank), and said it was “super strong and would knock you on your ass.” Mental note to always check the ABV.

Views from the deck of Local Table & Tap.

We had a nice, relaxing afternoon sitting on the waterside deck and shooting the shit.  We left when it was getting around dinnertime, to head home and meet my mom and brother, had dinner and a couple more beers, and I was happily in bed circa 11:00.  Well, happy until I looked up the menu for Local Table and Tap on a whim. When we were walking out I saw a server carrying some sort of meat dish that looked really good. Please check this out yourself.  I’ll wait.

Views from the deck of Local Table & Tap.

First of all: Moroccan spiced meatballs with tzatziki? YES.  Whiskey BBQ wings? Sure. I’m never going to say no to a new and interesting chacuterie.  The burger and seafood arabiatta look great, but I was never going to be getting an entree, so they aren’t as upsetting. What’s really tugging at my heartstrings is the pierogies, with  garlic, kielbasa, caramelized onion, and dijon sour cream sauce. WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THAT?

I’m really into the pineapple sculpin lately.

Because I was stupid and didn’t consult the menu prior. I missed what would’ve possibly been the crowning snack of my weekend. This is why we check menus beforehand.


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