Thursday, December 17, 2015

Red Lodge Ditch Day

Melissa is not ashamed to admit that on occassion, she needs to get the hell-out-of-dodge and experience a little life outside of her normal two-block radius (the school and TBP are both two blocks away from Abode 212). Therefore, when the itch to run begged to be scratched, Melissa proposed a "ditch day" to her fellow co-worker and friend, Lisa. With full enthusiasm, Lisa agreed to join in the shenanigans and Melissa took a long, thoughtful look at upcoming Tuesdays (the only day that perfectly lends itself to down-time and ditch days). Being perfectly centered between the holiday breaks, December 8th was the day fated to serve the whims and desires of two women on a mission: drink coffee as frequently as possible, eat delicious things, drink something with alcohol, buy some gifts, gallivant and perform a couple of heel clicks - all in the sweet little mountain, ski town of Red Lodge, MT.

The ladies met up in Cody, WY where the wind about knocked them over but also provided the proper amount of "push" to head toward that Montana border and a day of freedom and fun! With a "Christmas cookie latte" making its way down the gullet of each traveler, the Jeep was put into drive and Winter Ditch Day 2015 began.

Upon arrival in Red Lodge, the first order of business was to grab a morning snack at the newly opened Wild Table. A quintessential chalkboard sign in front of the bakery/cafe/hole-in-the-wall-of-perfection, advertised freshly made Chocolate Croissants, which seemed to be the perfect beckoning off the streets and into the most perfectly quaint, seasonally decorated dining nook.

Full Disclosure: The Wild Table is a new business in Red Lodge, MT. It is owned and operated by a good friend of Melissa's. While her opinon may be biased, the truth is, owner Sheena is a phenomenal, creative, professionally trained chef who knows her way around pastries, breads, seasonal produce, holiday classics and all the comforts of delectably prepared foods. Melissa embraced her bias and not only enjoyed a croissant in shop but happily ordered dinner and dessert for her and Mike (as well as breakfast and lunch for the following day). All in all, Melissa gratefully devoured these foods from The Wild Table: Chocolate Croissant, Egg Salad sandwich on a Ciabatta Roll, Tomato Soup with Brandy and Cream, Minty Rice with Feta and a Pomegranate Relish, Caramel Apple Pie and Carrot Muffins. None were disappointing.

With enough caffeine and perfect pastry love coursing through their bodies, Melissa and Lisa began their shopping spree day in downtown Red Lodge. They made stops at a variety of outdoor goods stores, Back Alley Metals (impressively welded gifts and more) and Babcock & Miles (the finest wine and food selection for any lover of good and delicious things). As they increased thier piles of goods that would need to be wrapped for husbands, kids and family they worked up enough of an appetite to stop at Bogart's for their famous Margaritas, a couple bowls full of chips with salsa and main entrees which would put them on the verge of sleep while simultaneously carrying them through the last hour of gallivanting.

As the last stops on the gallivanting through Red Lodge came to pass the ladies ran back to The Wild Table to pick-up their dinner and then made their way to Red Lodge Coffee Roasters to ensure just enough energy to get themselves back to their respective homes and evening responsibilities.

The ladies returned to a wind-blown Cody, made one last gift-getting run to Sierra Trading Post then went their seperate ways feeling rejuvenated and excited. The event was such a roaring success that the girls are already plotting future ditch days and Tuesday outings to refresh, revive and rejoice in all that is delicious and fun! When bragging about their adventures to students Melissa and Lisa have made sure to add the following at the end of each conversation: #BFFGoals #BFFWinning #Adulting


Friday, December 4, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: The Hosting

While many aspects of plotting out the Thanksgiving Holiday took place weeks prior to the actual event, plenty of tasks were left for the day of and the day prior. With weather forecasts predicting snow, guests of Abode 212 opted to travel one-day early and arrived on Tuesday evening. This implied the added perk that they would be able to enjoy Mike and Melissa at home, as opposed to at The Burlington Place (courtesy of The Burlington Place being closed on Tuesday's). Mike had run a few errands in town and agreed to grab sandwiches for dinner (original plan - Breadboard. secondary plan - Subway. Original plan failed because the small business ran out of bread...bummer). Melissa's parents offered to bring chips and an assortment of breakfast breads for the following morning. And Katie offered to bring dessert. Guests and food in place, Tuesday was shaping up to be a lovely evening at home.

Upon the safe arrival of all guests (after one set replaced a tire in Buffalo AND not a single snow-flake had fallen by the time night fell...go figure), the crew spent some time chatting, catching up and enjoying a cozy evening at Abode 212. The following day would see Katie taking on a long shift at The Burlington Place so that Melissa could stay home and work out some of the Thanksgiving meal preparations that couldn't be done weeks in advance. Thus, the home of holiday-prep was filled with lounging pets, a singing father (so. much. joy.), an eBaying mother and a busy worker bee host. Melissa had made sure to get her turkey set on the booze train first thing in the morning (a salty brine of hard-cider, bourbon, cinnamon sticks, rosemary, thyme, allspice berries and plenty of chicken stock was the track for said booze train), then at home set to work on the barley-mushroom salad, lemon-rosemary rolls (THE MOST AMAZING ROLLS EVER!!!), bourbon-pumkin-pecan pie (similar recipe here), hummus, vegetable prep and of course the cheesecake!

Wednesday ended with Melissa heading down to The Burlington Place with her parents to grab a couple of beers, a pizza (specifically The Sweater: pepperoni, sausage, buffalo chicken, jalapeno, and banana peppers on garlic olive oil with lots of additional buffalo sauce drizzled all-over!), greet some favorite customers and catch-up with Melissa's bestie (deets: the art teacher from Burlington Schools, Lisa: she's awesome and the students have decided she and Melissa are besties, one student even commented that the two were an example of #bestiegoals). Following these evening pleasantries, Melissa and her parents returned home at a decent hour, whereas Mike and Katie got stuck shootin' the shit with a handful of enjoyable customers until the late, late hours of the day (a.k.a. the early hours of the morning).

Come Thanksgiving morning the entire crew of guests and residents of Abode 212 were "game-on" for grubbing. Muffins, danishes, bagels, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate and all the proper add-ins were set on the bar cart, allowing everyone to dish and booze-up (that's right, the add-ins were most definitely boozy: Rumchata, Bailey's Irish Cream and Bailye's Chocolate Cherry Cream) as they were so inclined. Mike and Katie had agreed that there were some significant college basketball (Gonzaga!) and football games to have access to throughout the day, so Mike worked some magic with the newer TV from the bar, various wires and mobile access to the BP cable provider. Thus, the afternoon entertainment entered Abode 212 as Katie eagerly and excitedly cheered for the Zags (go, Jose!) and had Melissa's parents on the edge of their seats a bit shocked at just how vocal Katie could get. Additionally, at some point prior to the holiday meal, Mike, Katie and Zuma suited up for some chilly weather pheasant hunting. Most notably, hunting provided the perfect opportunity to fall into shit-holes (litterally) and wear the dog-out just enough not to be a beggar during the holiday meal
As the mid-day hour passed, the bar cart was re-arranged and played host to various dips, vegetables, olives, pickles, crackers and chips - just enough to keep everyone from becoming hangry prior to the full holiday meal. Thus the turkey continued to roast and fill the house with delicious and enticing smells, while guests kept themselves entertained with a puzzle, phone games, texts and calls to friends and family, cuddling the pups and choosing new brews to try (since Mike and Melissa keep a nice "little" collection on hand always).
As the last parts of the meal came together: heating the twice-baked potatoes, preparing the stuffing, boiling and seasoning the green beans, etc; Melissa set the table. Of course, this wasn't just a matter of pulling down the plates, Melissa had spent nearly as much time dreaming about the perfect dining table as she did dreaming about the perfect foods to adorn said table. So it was, the table was set with the Blue Willow plates Melissa has inherited from her grandmother and great-great aunt, white linen napkins with fall-themed napkin rings and a lovely holiday centerpiece (that Mike thoughtfully picked up while in town just a couple of days prior to the holiday). With the meal prepared and the table set, guests took their seats, spent a thoughtful minute going around the table and offering up their gratitude for family, friends, health, etc. and happily began filling their plates with all the bits and pieces which so perfectly came together to comprise the holiday meal.

Food comas setting in, nobody could imagine stuffing down a slice of pie directly after the main meal. So couching up or resting on an empty bed, the afternoon was spent relaxing and continuing the earlier projects of the day; namely pup cuddles, puzzle building and a round of Pandemic. As everyone shifted just enough to free up some belly-space the dessert plates found themselves filled with tasty morsels of pie and cheesecake. Then, as daylight faded into evening, Tom and Patty headed home to their dogs and the guests and residents of Abode 212 found their way into pajamas, beds and comfy spots for movie watching.

Friday saw everyone rolling out of bed at their leisure with most opting to remain in their pajamas for the entirety of the day. Melissa threw some ribs into the roaster, to be ready for a late lunch and continued forth with her day by adding Rumchata to her morning coffee. If napping were a popular activity on Thanksgiving day, it was wildly trendy the day after. Snack. Drink. Nap. Repeat. That was the basic routine of Black Friday at Abode 212. After chowing on some ribs and thanksgiving leftovers Mike and his father took Zoe and the Dude out hunting (everyone else continued forth with the Snack. Drink. Nap. Repeat. routine). Later in the afternon, Mike made a good, hearty go at hot tubbing, spending a few hours lounging and listening to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.

As evening set in and the cocktails got a little creamier (lots of Rumchata, Tequila Rose) and harder (9% beers, whiskey, etc); Cards Against Humanity made it's way to the living room center and had the whole abode filled with tear-filled laughter (although the subject matter cannot be repeated here...or anywhere for that matter). Having chuckled and gasped their way through the entire contents of Cards Against Humanity everyone began to move from comfy couches and chairs into comfy, warm beds for their final Abode 212 holiday slumber.

With the arrival of Saturday morning, guests of Abode 212 began packing their belongings while the regular residents set about returning to their regular routine, including long shifts at The Burlington Place. While returning to a routine can often feel like a complete drag, all who enjoyed their holiday at Abode 212 entered their routine well-fed and well-rested, shouting: bring on all that good Holiday Cheer, December!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: The Preparation

Melissa is a bit obsessive about food. (Let's be real, it's a bit more than a bit.) For example: she carries with her a small, green notebook to record ideas of names and ingredients for the infamous #TBPPizzaSpecial. Recently, while visions of cranberry sauce and the perfect turkey danced in her head; her mind landed excitedly upon the idea of a "Thanksgiving Series" of pizza specials at The Burlington Place. Not your typical "throw-the-leftovers-on-the-crust" concept, but...well, see if you can follow: This year, the Thanksgiving special is the Muchas Gracias - a pizza built on top of a cranberry salsa for sauce, dollops of cream cheese, fresh red onion, fresh jalapeno and ground turkey. Future pizzas will be built using Arigoto, Danke, and Merci as their nominative inspiration. Fun, right?

And whilst dreaming up the next five years worth of Thanksgiving Series Pizza Specials, Melissa was planning her own, booze-driven Thanksgiving meal. Having mastered both a Rumchata Cheesecake and Cabernet Blueberry-Cranberry sauce for last years "No-Parents, No-Rules" holiday extravaganza, the rest of the traditional dishes needed to undergo a boozing factor for Abode 212's first ever Thanksgiving meal (to be shared with Katie, Tom, [maybe Patty], Harland and Brenda).

Having only limited opportunities to run to town for groceries, planning had to begin just over a month in advance. Food magazines from the previous three Novembers littered the living room floor, Pintrest was at the ready and consideration for food traditions loved and loathed was at the forefront of the decisions to be made. This meant, that Melissa took into consideration facts like her folks are non-sweet potato eaters, and Mike will always pass on the green bean casserole and traditional pumpkin pie, so why work hard to incorporate those as main dishes? To be expected of a girl who prepared her first, full-on turkey dinner her senior year of high school (for the pure joy and experience of it all), Melissa felt no intimidation at seeking out new dishes, new methods of preparing a turkey and new ways to incorporate all the classics (sweet potatoes will find their way into the hummus this year, served on the relish tray as opposed to alongside the stuffing and a mushroom barley salad will fill the gap for the green bean casserole).

The menu began to take shape with boozy concepts taking a firm hold on most menu items- Melissa was struck by recipes for a bourbon brined turkey and a hard cider brined turkey (therefore, it should be no surprise she combined both concepts and had a hard-cider-bourbon-brined turkey to serve). As the turkey brine began to take shape in mental format, cooking the bird became the next matter of interest. Having a small kitchen and one small oven and NOT wanting to run down to The Burlington Place to take care of various parts of the meal, Melissa began her research on using an electric roaster oven to prepare a turkey (conveniently, an electric roaster came with the purchase of The Burlington Place, so Melissa owns one by association). Many bloggers and roaster experts had high praises to sing of their turkey's prepared in an electric roaster, claiming it was quicker, resulted in a juicier turkey and most importantly freed up oven space, Melissa was convinced and brought home the roaster to be cleaned and used on the big day.

While, some parts of the meal had been decided a year in advance: the Cabernet Blueberry-Cranberry sauce and Rumchata Cheesecake; the rest had to be decided upon in time for the bi-weekly grocery run. As such, from the piles of magazines a Mushroom Barley Salad (courtesy of Food & Wine), Lemon-Rosemary Rolls (courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens), and a Salted Pecan-Bourbon Pumpkin Pie (also courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens) made it onto this years menu. Additionally, a sweet-potato hummus and roasted chickpea appetizer (each courtesy of Pinterest) made it onto the snack cart. Brenda and Katie rounded out the holiday meal with twice-baked potatoes and lemon-butter green beans respectively.

Other, aesthetic details that came together in the preparation stage of planning the meal included the purchase of white linen napkins complete with paper-leaf napkin rings (an homage to Mike's grandma Carolynn who believed in the power and purpose of a well-set dinner table, no matter the occassion). Melissa also purchased a sturdy, folding bar cart to use as the brunch and snack station to be located in the living room so guests could easily snack without getting congested in the small kitchen of Abode 212. (Brilliant!) Melissa also repurposed her old, OLD, dorm fridge for a convenient, dining room drink station, another trick to avoid the congestion of the kitchen. Additionally, Mike conquered the building of shelves in one guest room so that boxes of beer (just a small collection that the Harrington's have been building for a few years now) could be better organized and less obtrusive in the small room. Mike also added small hooks to the back of both guest rooms for robes and towels (now that guests have the opportunity to soak in a hot tub).

In the life of Melissa Harrington, preparing for guests and big meals is just one of lifes great joys, the actual hosting obviously trumps the whole process, but the immensity of joy to be experienced in the whole of the event is truly life-giving. The small details, the big details, the menu plan, the cleaning tasks - all played into the execution of a most enjoyable, incredibly delicious Thanksgiving holiday.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Strange Call(s)

Working in a small town bar offers numerous opportunities to be enlightened or stupidified by the stories and anecdotes of our fellow man. Plenty of conversations at the bar have left Mike and Melissa shaking their heads in wonder, dismay or shock. (Don't get us wrong, plenty of conversations add to the beauty of humanity as well, but those stories aren't quite as entertaining.) However, it isn't everyday that multiple phone calls end up being the primary source of confusion. Yet, Saturday, November 28th, provided a most memorable series of phone calls to The Burlington Place that left Melissa shaking her head and Mike rolling his eyes.


Call One.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Female Caller: Hi Melissa, do you have spaghetti sauce?

M: Uhm...we have pizza marinara...?

F.C.: this not the store?

M: Nope, this is the pizza place in town.

F.C.: Do you have the number for the store?

M: I don't know it off the top of my head, let me ask...


Call Two.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Male Caller: Hi, can you tell me what's on tap tonight?

M: As in, what we have for beers on tap? (because this could also be understood as a question regarding whether or not we were hosting some kind of event on a Saturday night, right?)

M.C. Yeah.

M: Uhm, well we have Atlantic City Gold, Saddle Bronc Brown and Black Butte Porter.

M.C. Okay.

M: Are you planning on coming out for a cold one or coming with a group for dinner?

M.C.: Oh, coming with a group.

M: Well, we recommend calling ahead if you plan on dining in.

M.C.: Okay, thanks.

(Follow up; no groups came in that were particularly concerned with our tap selection)


Call Three.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Male Caller: I'm calling about the crow hunt.

M: Okay (lots of ensuing conversation about the details, how to pay, how to participate, did you know the number on the poster is wrong - why yes I did, good for you for Googling, etc)

M.C.: Well, I thought maybe there was just one farmer who hosted the event in the field, you know so everyone can have the same opportunity, so it'd be more about shooting skill.

M: Well, generally people just get permission to shoot wherever, some take it pretty seriously with calls and decoys, others just want to drive around and shoot at shit every once in a while.

M.C.: Chuckles, okay, well we'll call later this week and let you know if we're in.

M: Sounds good, thanks.

(Follow-up: Melissa is relating the conversation to Mike and patrons, because she doesn't know a lot about crow hunting, but is pretty sure being in the same field would yield about 20 minutes of shooting opportunity before all the crows would wise up and leave that field for the day or season. Mike reflects on the phone conversation and concludes, if we hosted the event in that way, it'd likely be a skeet shoot...not a hunt

Note, we understand where the caller was coming from and his desire to have access to a place with plentiful crows, equal opportunity, less opportunity for cheaters to cheat, etc - Just not sure how that would play out in real life.)


Call Four.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Caller (soon to be identified): Is Mike there?

Melissa: Mike Harrington?

Caller: Yes.

Melissa: He sure is, is this Tom?

Caller: Yes. (mumbles about the IRS or some such thing while Melissa hands off the phone to Mike)

Mike and Tom: Back and forth conversation of this sort

T: Blair's has Bourbon County Stout, why didn't I see Bourbon County Stout at your Place?

M: We have it too.

T: Why didn't I get some? You're a bad salesman.

M: We have it, I'll make sure you get some.

(Continued on and on with plenty of accusations, chuckles, "apologies" and promises of letting the crow counting judge have one for his services next weekend.)

Generally speaking, phone conversations at The Burlington Place are pretty straight forward:

1). Are you open/what are your hours?

2). We'd like to make a reservation for _____ people at _____ o'clock

3). I'd like to place an order for pick-up

So, having this series of phone calls, in one day is absolutely out of the norm, but good for a few chuckles nonetheless!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Memories: A Pre-Thanksgiving Reflection

I am grateful for the power and potency of memories. I love the opportunity to reflect on all the moments before that have fed into this particular time and place: the way our table will be set with linen napkins in honor of late Grandparents who valued such things, the way we'll chuckle about holidays past and the ways we enjoyed them as children vs. how we now enjoy them, the way we'll take a moment to remember all those who aren't gathered with us whether due to death or distance, the way we'll remember our own celebrations from far off lands and all the friends who filled in for family on those occassions. These are the memories that tie the present together, keeping us rooted to the past and giving us the wings and courage to enter all the unknowns, all the new settings for new memories.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2014: #tbt4tht

As we prepare to add a new set of Thanksgiving memories to the files, we joyfully reflect back on Thanksgiving 2014 - the Thankgiving of "no-parents, no-rules!", Williston, ND.


The years 2013-2014, for the extended Harrington clan, saw some fairly major changes. Big moves: across the state, to other states; graduations and the beginnings of grad programs; engagements, wedding plans and a wedding; business start-ups; and all the small, bric-a-brac that accompanies life - giving fullness while also contributing to all the mundane. Therefore, as Thanksgiving 2014 approached, the Harrington children and their partners in crime (be it dog, spouse or both), were eager to spend the holiday creating a new, different set of memories, specifically a set of memories, that regrettably would leave out the parents.


With satisfied bellies and a recently walked mutt, Mike and Melissa continued on and after having endured blowing snow and the flat-flat lands of North Dakota, were welcomed into the home of Molly and Landon. As one would expect (regardless of whether parents are present or not) the foursome cracked open some beers, found some snacks and caught up, made jokes and plotted the Thanksgiving festivities.Prior to Mike and Melissa entering the scene for a Harrington Thanksgiving minus Tom and Patty, they took a minor (read, major) detour through Spearfish, SD in order to share a round of drinks, fine lunch fare and heartfelt hugs with Melissa's parents and sister/sister's family clan. A cozy lunch stop at the Bay Leaf in Spearfish left Mike and Melissa feeling the true warmth of the season regardless of the frigid temperatures outside (and unbeknownst to them, the long miles yet ahead on their journey to Williston, ND).

The following day saw the arrival of Katie, Zuma and friend of the two, (soon to be friend of us all) Kristina.The day was spent baking, snacking, boozing (seriously: no-parents, no rules!), lounging, being impressed with Kristina's ability to win over the sassy little Lady Annyeong. As the dinner hour made it's appearance we opted to shove ourselves into one vehcile and head over to Williston Brewing Company (which ironically does not brew any beer of their own - BUT do provide a decent selection of local brews, so...) Full bellies, lots of laughter and a continued mantra of "No Parents - No Rules" lead the Williston Thanksgiving clan back to Chokecherry Lane for shots of Patron (with cinnamon sprinkled orange slices rather than salty limes...a VERY good idea), Rumchata Root Beer Floats, Apple Crown on the Rocks, glasses of wine, bottles of imperial stouts and imperial black IPAs, and on and on.

Thanksgiving morning brought with it the tried and true American tradition of enjoying the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Meanwhile and throughout, Landon began preparations of the big meal and the day carried forth with all the makings of a perfect holiday meal: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, the whole works! With full hearts and fuller glasses of wine the clan sat down to enjoy all the holiday had to offer. Games of Pandemic, viewings of football/futbol and of course boozing (including Bloody Mary's the morning after) rounded out the holiday weekend on the whole. While the entire clan knew that having had parents would have changed little in terms of thier holiday enjoyment, the mantra of "No Parents - No Rules" carried them through and will forever summarize Thanksgiving 2014. Among the most memorable of holidays, when all were young adults, conquering change and putting tradition (new and old) at the center of all things to be carried into the always unpredictable, always full, future.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Life Snippets hosted by Lady Annyeong: Fall 2015

Fall highlights from the perspective of the "Lady of Abode 212":

  • Winter arrived later than usual, which meant more time lounging in the backyard.
  • M 'n' M have finally figured out how to "help" this Lady warm up to visitors - FOOD! I have met some new friends, of course they are only friends after handing over a treat (cheese-sticks being the #1 choice).
  • Mom thought it'd be real cute to dress up as a cat for Halloween, truth: it wasn't that cute, I'm far cuter without a costume!
  • Dad likes to throw me in his loud, rickety trucks to drive to town. The Alabaster Disaster (T.A.D.) kind of freaks me out, but I do adore cuddling up next to him for our weekly trip to town, so I''ll deal with that bit of inconvenience.
  • I had this AMAZING habit of storing my dry dog food all over the house, in case I got the midnight munchies. Apparently, this annoyed my humans - they commented it was something like stepping on, their solution? Feed me wet dog food. Let me just say, this is all my doggy heart needs to be fully satisfied, I don't even mind not being able to store food for munchies, this food trumps all that dry, hard food I'd been forced to choke down over the years.
  • Mom has made a solid habit of journaling, reading, praying and drinking coffee in the mornings. This means, bonus cuddling and having a giant bed to lounge on for an extra 30 minutes everyday - pure bliss. She's also decorated the room a bit better (one of hte guest rooms that is) and dad even put some shelves up recently to store all their beer...seriously, the things they do in the name of "research" - I should say I'm starting a cheese stick factory so I can just eat all the cheese sticks I want and claim that it's my "duty".


Fall lowlights from the perspective of the "Lady of Abode 212

  • Mom and Dad left me alone, twice, in September - for a wedding and beer-filled, Denver weekend - seriously, how can leave this sweet face behind?
  • Mom went back to work at the school and there have been some "busy" nights at The Burlington Place, which generally means I get a few less if I can handle only having a huge back yard to run around in, so much neglect in my days.
  • The parents also got a hot tub this summer, finally set it up this fall...which means, they go outside more often, but guess who has no desire to get into the hot tub? This mutt. So what good is this thing that takes my cuddle people away? No good, no good at all!

Well, as my people would say: Cheers humans! If you come a knockin' you better be holding a cheese stick!



Monday, November 23, 2015

Will Trade: Pizza for Donuts


Since thier first fall here in Burlington, Melissa has heard rumors of mythical, magical donuts prepared by a particular, deep-rooted, Burlington family. These home-made, legendary, donuts are most commonly available on All Hallows Eve. However, for the Harrington's, being well over trick-or-treating age, without any children in their care AND having to manage a bar...there have been few opportunities to seek out these highly acclaimed morsels.

This year, the third Halloween of Mike and Melissa being present in Burlington passed with only a small teaser. Melissa begged and pleaded with numerous high school students who had stopped at The Burlington Place for their fill of candy, and eventually the Harrington's were recipients to one (only ONE!) of these sweet treats.

However, the youngest son of the ever-famed donut making family, assured Melissa at school the following week, that these home-made donuts should only be eaten fresh. This particular conversation lead to Melissa striking a deal that the next event which warranted the preparation of donuts, would be the ideal time to hold some fresh donuts aside and deliver promptly to The Burlingotn Place.

So it was, on the evening of Friday, November 13th, a caller rang into The Burlington Place, asked for Mrs. Harrington and claimed to have some fresh donuts available. Payment required? A simple, one topping pizza. Could it be done? You bet your sweet tooth!

Therefore, prior to some kind of crazy, unpredictable pizza rush on Friday the 13th, Mike and Melissa each devoured 3.5 home-made donuts, just the right amount to see them another TBP Friday night. This moment in history also marks a true coming-of-location, the creation of a root, the deepening of belonging, the truth of feeling as if one is truly a member of a long-standing community.

Cheers to donuts that give you roots!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Great American Beerfest: #TBT4THT

Here we go, a Throwback Thursday for The Harrington Times.
Since re-entering the blog world, I've discovered some true #tbt moments, some drafts which are simply titles, yet speak to the stories I wish would have been recorded. As I work on getting those out of the mines, I figure I ought to work on some more recent memories, moments from the past, but not quite so long ago. I figured, since most of my undone posts are beer related and the stories I most "recently" kept at the forefront of our blog space were beer-related, I might as well take a relatively small step back in time and re-experience the Great American Beer Fest (GABF, if you will).
GABF, is as Mike explains, the World Series of Beer. It is the beer event of beer events, if you have even the smallest love of craft beer, your sudsy-fermented-beverage-loving tastebuds want you to take them there. The challenge, however, is getting your hands on a set of tickets to this highly prized event. Fortunately, for Mike and I, we entered our proprietorship of The Burlington Place well aware that relationship building would be an essential ingredient to our happiness and success. Not only did we seek to build relationships with patrons, but additionally with our distributors, sales-reps and delivery folks. One such relationship, with our Budwieser distributors (who also distribute plenty of fine craft beer) has been 100% rewarding...especially when they have a handful of GABF tickets available and know that the TBP couple would love them and take full advantage of all the perks. Therefore, four tickets in hand, Mike and I made our way to Denver, meeting up with Dave and Julianne en route and began a weekend of sipping as many 1 oz. beer pours as possible in a 5 hour period.
Some key experiences and insights from our time at GABF:
  • Veterans of GABF come adorned with pretzel necklaces, smart
  • You should go in with a strategy...or develop one quickly. Mike went for the try-any-sour-ale-available strategy whereas Melissa went for the if-it-was-aged-in-a-barrel-it-should-be-rolling-down-my-gullet strategy
  • Brewers are a very clever bunch considering we drank beers named: Morning Wood, Beavers Milk, Hopspresso, Sodbuster, Good Juju, Helluva Caucasion Stout, Melt My Brain, Sunday Morning Stout and Biere Joi (among plenty of others)
  • If you have a cousin in the beer industry - you might just run into her while attending GABF
  • Alas, if you've been emailing somebody in the craft beer/brewing industy, you might just run into him while attending GABF (and since few people can promote craft beer so well in a small, Wyoming town, you just might be a bit memorable)
  • You CANNOT taste nearly as many beers in a five hour time span as you think you can, however, 1 oz. pours can help you on your way to buzz-dom
The evening of GABF festivities was filled with meandering and sipping, comparing and hoping that you would not end the evening with a last call of something less than fitting of your personal style. (Note to futue attendees: beware of the drunks who grab a pitcher off a breweries table, claiming it's their pilsner yet having no true idea what it could possibly be all the backwash and watered down beer that gets poured've got it, random pitchers). Fortunately, if your last call is a bit off color, you happen to be in downtown Denver with plenty of great dining and snacking options. For us, that fine dining option centered on the desire for wings and a lack of desire for researching our full options, so we ended up at Chili's for an assortment of appetizers, a watermelon margarita and a recap of the best beer moments. (One conclusion: Short's Brewery was one of our all around favorites - crazy flavor combos - gin and tonic beer, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, bloody Mary, etc. and super AWESOME tap handles!)
So, having had an eventful evening running around America's greatest beer fest, the Sunday after is best served by heading any where that has a Bloody Mary bar and allows for some good eats, fresh air and golf, obviously. Therefore, head to a Top Golf. As our good friend Dave explained, Top Golf is like bowling meets mini-golf. In essence this means, you have your own "lanes" or bay complete with clubs, golf platform and wait staff service directly to your table. It also means you don't actually have to know much about golf to have a good time (similar to mini-golf). Ultimately, you're guaranteed to have a good time sitting, lounging, chatting and boozing it up with friends (and family if you're double lucky! - Thanks Mark and Calley for coming all the way out to see us!)
With beer from the previous night finishing it's marathon through our livers and bloody Mary's to satisfy our typical Sunday morning craving we headed back toward Ft. Collins to depart from our GABF company (only after a typical, epic-proportion, liquor store stop - because, why stop at 1 oz beer pours when you can take a few cases of specialty brews that aren't available in your own market?) A few long hours on the road lead us through Douglas where we stopped for wings and pizza (since we're obviously experts in determining quality of such things) and then continued back to reality...serving our own fine pizza along a killer selection of craft beer!

Cheers friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Winter Arrival at Abode 212

True to many locations around the state and region, we've had a most lovely, mild fall and are still awaiting the first big snow.

Considering that this summer Mike built a most dreamy patio in our back yard and we've even managed to adorn said patio with a hot-tub, I'm a bit more excited about winter and piles of snow than I have been in previous years. So, when Wednesday morning came with a quick little spit of snow, I looked out upon our patio and imagined a long, cold winter holding my favorite glass of red wine while sitting in a tub full of 104* water.

Winter sure will be lovely. I'm not dreading her arrival in the least!

Reviving The Harrington Times

In the previous week we have:

  • Hosted three groups of 20 diners; amid the usual smattering of two-tops, three-tops, four-tops, etc.
  • Prepared 209 pizzas for dine-in and take-out (in a town of 288 people)
  • Enjoyed steak and eggs for Sunday Brunch, prior to going to work selling pizza and beer
  • Watched Dracula: Untold while devouring squash and pork enchiladas
  • Received a gift of New Glarus brews from a set of hunters that literally come through once a year
  • Shot a pheasant (Mike, specifically conquered this task)
  • Began conducting a few flight searches in hopes of some spring travel
  • Prepared a menu for Thanksgiving to be hosted at Abode 212
  • Looked over numerous math tests to assist students at Burlington Schools (Melissa, specifically conquered this task)

And now, some thoughts on reviving the blog space.

Truly, there is no surprise that in opting to start a small restaurant/bar business has left us with little to no spare time. To that avail, blogging was among the first hobbies to find itself on the back burner, the back burner of our Laramie home nonetheless. So, a bit of searching and reviving, a bit of time management and adjustment has lead me to digging out a new pot. A new pot that will likely find itself on the back burner, however, it will at least be the back burner to our new home, our Burlington home, the home we affectionately call Abode 212.

In terms of managing a blog that was initiated with the purpose of chronicling big and mundane moments of a life together, it seems a bit overwhelming to jump into our story three years from the previous post. If we’d peacefully lived under a rock in those passing days, weeks and years, it’d be easy to pick up the story from there. However, we’ve been busier than we’ve ever been as The Harrington’s. We’ve learned infinitely more about running a business, tax structures, small town politics, regional success, old buildings, home-ownership, cocktail recipes, the service industry, hosting family and friends while working multiple full time jobs, etc. And personally, I want some of those stories chronicled. I want a resource, a place, where I can return and remember all those moments: big, small, mundane and heel-click worthy.

So, perhaps the next three years (and the previous three) will be presented in the least chronological of order The Harrington Times has ever known. Perhaps this “phase” will quickly die out and chronological order will be the least of any of our worries. For now, I’ll look forward to regaling any wayward readers with the latest tragedies and comedies of our little Burlington life. Fortunately, in this age of the “hashtag” I can easily take advantage of #memorymonday, #throwbackthursday/#tbt and #flashbackfridays/#fbf in order to document the moments which would otherwise get left on the back burner of our sweet Abode 212. All these moments, past and present, feeling ever crucial to the make-up of our lives, worthy of recording, of remembering and of sharing.

Cheers to revival friends! Revival of a blog, revival of stories and revival of writing habits (a personal favorite).


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