An evening of food and drink in Armory Square

Happy hour and dinner on a Friday night can get stale. Last week, we mixed it up a bit.

Since we were arriving at different times, we met at our usual Friday haunt, the Blue Tusk. Rather than my usual Boddingtons (cold days) or 1812 Amber (warm days), I stepped out of my mold and tried Stone's Old Guardian. This is a barley wine from the people who make Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Old Guardian is a smooth wine that takes on the characteristics of an Irish red – slightly hoppy, with a little bit of a chocolate overtone. It's served in a 10-oz glass, and is a slow sipper.

The three of us then went on to Bistro Elephant, where we were seduced by menus, soft jazz, and a waiter who disappeared into the kitchen for two minutes to check the specials and came out with a 15-minute soliloquy.

I'll just get right to the goods here. We shared an appetizer of a spring roll filled with king crab legs and vegetables, served with a dipping sauce of rice vinegar with jalapeño peppers.

For dinner, M— had duck in a tamarind sauce, served with rice and paired with a pinot noir recommended by our server. J— had sea scallops the size of her head, served with mixed mushrooms and rice, and paired with a raspberry framboise. I had their house duck, served in a Grand Marnier sauce over mashed potatoes, paired with a bourbon old-fashioned.

Our desserts included a raspberry sorbet, a mixed-sorbet basket, and a chocolate cake with a molten center served with burnt sugar ice cream. They make all their sorbets and ice creams in-house.

I topped the evening off with a glass of Harveys Bristol Cream sherry, served the good ol' way (room temperature in a glass) at Clark's Ale House, famous for its roast beef sandwiches and for not accepting tips at the bar.

Both the Blue Tusk and Clark's are on All About Beer's worldwide list of 125 places to have a beer before you die.

Highly recommended, all the way around.


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