After five days of rain, wind and Joaquin-fueled angst (and after dealing with the residual effects of a 50th high school reunion weekend), the weather gods finally dealt me a nice day, so I determined to get out on the Blue Eagle for some overdue WT. (That's "wind therapy" for you four-wheelers.)
I figured I might catch some deciduous trees doing their fall foliage thing, and while the woodlands were not yet totally aflame in color, here and there patches of flora were igniting, especially along the canal in Somerset County near the villages of Griggstown and Rocky Hill.
Setting my mental GPS, I was bound for Blawenburg, headed for Hopewell and navigating to New Hope. When I got to the intersection of 206 and 518, I noticed, for perhaps only the 250th time, a bar and grill called the Tiger's Tale. It's been there since 1985, having gone through a few iterations with other names.
Must be a college kids' hangout, I thought, what with Princeton University only four miles down the road. But as I was hungry (and always up for a brew), I decided to stop for lunch.
The Tiger's Tale is decidedly NOT a college kids' hangout, and according to affable, young barman Nick, the clientele is generally 30 and up. The bar is spacious yet comfortable, and there are side rooms for table dining as well as a few booths in the bar section. Even better, Manager Manolo told me there were twenty-one imported and domestic beers on tap, and more in bottles.
I ordered a River Horse Hipp-O'Lantern, and while perusing the menu, I couldn't help but notice the gigantic sandwich platters being served to two guys next to me. I guessed they were 45-55 years old based on the topic of their conversation (business, leverage, etc.), not to mention the fact that their noses weren't buried in their smartphones and they were actually talking to each other.
So I asked them if they were regulars here, and they said yes. And they added, "because the food is phenomenal."
It sure looked good on the menu of the day, but lots of menus sound good. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, they say.
I was this close to ordering the Sautéed Calves Liver and Onions, but I ordered a cup of Shrimp and Corn Chowder Soup and a Liverwurst sandwich on rye instead. While a liverwurst sandwich (even with Boar's Head Liverwurst) is just that, the soup was absolutely the best soup I've had in many a moon, and I was sad that I hadn't ordered a complete bowl. That it paired up nicely with my Hipp-O'Lantern was an added bonus. And the bill being under $20 was nice, too.
In short, I had passed by this place many times on my many rides in search of twisty, winding, empty two-lane black top, always promising myself that I'd stop in one day. I'm glad I did.
And I'll be back. Maybe even for this charity Stein-Hoisting Event.
I might get the Calves Liver, too.
But I'm definitely getting a pail of the soup.