Friday, October 24, 2008
On Day 1 of our Connecticut trip, we travel to Reading, Pennsylvania for an overnighter. With friends only about a half hour away, Reading was a great midway point on our trek eastward to New England.
I did quite a bit of internet research, looking for a nice hotel and, of course, a couple great places to chow down.
An historic hotel in the heart of Reading, The Abraham Lincoln is a vintage high-rise full of charm and modern conveniences. We are staying on the 16th floor in a well-appointed room with mini refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and free wifi- the internet connection being extremely important if you are internet-addicted like us.
Happy Hour was in full swing when we arrived at 6 pm so we dropped our overnight bags in the room and headed down to the bar for refreshment. We made a couple new friends and threw back a half-price Yuengling draft beer before heading back to our room to freshen up from a day in the car.
The chosen restauarant this evening is The Ugly Oyster, an authentic Irish pub created in a circa 1700 building on 5th. It exudes Celtic charm… and Celtic music over the speakers. On Thursdays, the music is live and lively. This pub is everything I imagined it would be: dark, woody, ornate, weathered, and smelt of fish and chips.
Ron ordered us a couple snifters of 15-year old Scotch as we reviewed the menu. Being an obsessive planner, I had already perused it on-line and previously decided on the fish and chips. Although there were some other good-looking seafood choices like the steamed seafood platter recommended by our server, I was not swayed. Ron, making the wise decision to leave the Scotch-drinking to me, asked for a pint of hand-pumped Dead Guy Ale while he continued to ponder.
A large plate of fish & chips, costing $11.50, appeared in front of us. The Guiness batter was thin and crispy, coating thick pieces of fish that remained flaky and moist after frying. Fresh-cut potatoes fried in peanut oil accompanied the fish, playing the role of “chips”. I loved that the fries were crispy and dark brown. This fish was delicious – the best fish & chips we’ve had.
Ron finally decided on a large chickensteak sandwich prepared Jamaican jerk-style with hot & sweet peppers, onions and melted provolone stuffed inside a toasted 12-inch roll. The sandwich was packed full of meat for only $6.75. For an additional $1.50, he also received an order of fries. I cut away a small piece so I could taste it – nicely toasted with a good amount of spice, this sandwich delivers on taste and value. In fact, after eating a piece of my fish, Ron couldn’t polish off the chickensteak.
Service was prompt and sarcastically-friendly. Just the way we like it.
They serve several beers on tap and have over 80 beers from around the globe available by bottle, including the Scottish Skull Splitter Ron tried. And, of course they serve Guiness! We definitely recommend the Ugly Oyster for an adult beverage AND a meal. FOUR FORKS
We walked the few blocks back to Abe Lincoln full and happy with Ron’s souvenir pint glass in hand – thoroughly enjoying the first night of our trip in Reading, PA. Of course it doesn’t hurt that we are still on a bit of a “high” from the WVU pounding of Auburn last night.
His skull is still splitting. Maybe he’ll add something later.
More tomorrow as we make our way from Reading to Mystic, Connecticut.Ugly Oyster Drafthaus 21 South 5th St
Reading, PA 19602