Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garryowen Irish Pub (Gettysburg, PA)

For the Fourth of July this year, Noah and I decided to take a bit of a mini-vacation and spend the weekend at a B&B near Gettysburg, about 30 miles away from where we live. When we mentioned this to my parents, who visit Gettysburg a couple times a year due to my dad's job, they suggested an Irish pub in town that was very good--but they couldn't remember the name. Not a problem, because a Google search for "Irish pub Gettysburg PA" essentially brings up a full page on only one restaurant--the Garryowen Irish Pub.

Garryowen boasts an impressive menu of traditional Irish fare, as well as a strong beer list and a whopping selection of 55+ different kinds of whiskey to try. We sat at the bar even though there wasn't a wait, which might have been the right choice; not ten minutes after we sat down customers started pouring in, and suddenly customers who arrived not long after us were faced with upwards of half an hour's wait. Service was still friendly and moved at a good pace, and customers who arrived later were directed to another, upstairs bar where they could wait.

For dinner, Noah had bangers and mash, and I tried the fish and chips. Both were excellent--I remember Noah's meal being particularly strong, but I also thought the fish and chips were well above average, especially the quality of the fish and the fact that it wasn't completely fried to a crisp like many fish and chips can be. For me, though, the standout was when we got to dessert. Instead of having a traditional dessert, I opted for an after-dinner whiskey. I love whiskey, but have not had the chance to try many different brands. Because of this, I know how to describe what I like, but not how to pick the best whiskey that fits the description. Garryowen's whiskey menu helpfully gives descriptions of each whiskey, but since whiskey appears to be what they do here I asked the bartender for help. I like to drink whiskey that is not too smooth; as I described it, I like "a whiskey that kind of punches me in the face". One of the whiskies I was considering was the Jameson Gold Reserve, and after consulting with Noah and with the bartender we settled on that as the best option. I haven't had many different whiskies over the years, but this one was the best I've had; it starts out with that nice hit (the "punch you in the face" feeling I requested), but afterwards the flavor of the whiskey bloomed really nicely. Drinking it was definitely a pleasurable experience. It's an expensive whiskey to buy, but not so expensive that it wouldn't be appropriate for a special a Christmas gift. *wink wink*

Garryowen Irish Pub
126 Chambersburg St.
Gettysburg, PA
Open 7 days/week, 11AM-2AM

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hickory Bridge Farm is a restaurant and B&B tucked way back in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Florence and I are staying for July 4 weekend near Gettysburg, so we thought it would be great to try Hickory Bridge for dinner. Getting there was an adventure - it's only 25 minutes away, but it's deep in the country and many of the roads are unsigned. We found it without having to call, but it was pretty close.

The place itself is a classic country restaurant - the menu is fixed and the price is by the person. The food is served family-style, and there are a lot of options. When we were there, they had crab imperial, oven-fried chicken, and pit beef for main dishes; scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, broccoli with cheese sauce, corn fritters, and baked apples for side dishes; and bread, spiced peaches, and salad to start.

The quality of the food varies - the crab and chicken in particular were excellent. The corn fritters, potatoes, peaches, and apples were very good, and the pit beef was good but for an unusual glaze - I think raspberry, but I'm not sure. The other food was okay, but I just had a taste and focused on the better items. They'll happily bring you more of anything if you want, so I didn't waste space eating food I didn't love.

We also had a delicious bread pudding for dessert. Typical bread pudding in every way, but very well-made - and I think that describes the rest of Hickory Bridge as well. It isn't adventurous, but it is quite tasty.

Hickory Bridge Farm
96 Hickory Bridge Road*
Orrtanna, PA 17353
Dinner price as of 7/4/2014: $25.50/person + tax/tip

*Google dropped us off at the corner of Hickory Bridge Road and Jack Road. The restaurant is actually about 1/4 - 1/2 mile south of there.