Jul 26, 2018

A day at the new West Side free-game wildlife preserve

Doc’s report:

I met Harry and the G-man recently at the new Crowne Pub on Midland Street and settled into the late mid-summer afternoon. As I often do in a new place, I tried something I’ve never had before. In this case, it was a beer-battered, deep-fried zucchini.

Not a plate of sliced half-dollar zucchini fried in olive oil with minced garlic like I do at home; it was a whole zucchini. It was perfect: crunchy on the outside but yielding to the bite and moist in the middle, with two side sauces: ranch and an eye-opening sriracha.

Harry and the G-man split a chocolate-drizzled Twinkie, coated in cake batter and deep fried.

William Blake may have been right in his observation that “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”  But if you ask me, that Twinkie was leading to an ambulance ride over the Vets
Deep-fried Twinkie at the Crowne Pub
Bridge and up Columbus to the cardio ward at McLaren.

So A+ on the finger food at the Crowne, especially if you like batter-dipped and deep-fried food as an occasional treat.

And the circuses at the Crowne are as satisfying as the bread:
  • A game room separate from the bar, with rich wooden benches, polished mirrors adding depth and cushioned stools made of old beer kegs.
  • Two ping-pong tables with metal nets, perhaps a nod toward the ping-pong diplomacy that helped end the Cold War and bring down the iron curtain -- now the metal nets of sport.
  • New, level pool tables with balanced cues and welcoming pockets. Fortune favors the prepared mind, but you can’t beat having been raised with a pool table in your basement.
  • An old-fashioned, charming, low-tech wooden shuffleboard table. I can’t recall which of the three of us did well there. Does it really matter? Don’t we just play for fun, anyway?
  • A wooden cigar store Indian.
  • And every game free. That’s a first for this blog.

But the biggest game at the Crowne … 

… is the big game in the Crowne: all stuffed, mounted and displayed prominently on the bar’s upper west wall. After seeing Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” I’ve had a life-long aversion to taxidermy, but
Some of the animal art on display
I have to acknowledge the appeal it holds on others.

I do feel sorry for the former animals. They all have that same puzzled final look. Probably because they all had that same puzzled final thought: “What is that -- a gun?”

The various pronged ungulates you can see there include a handsome gazelle. There’s also an elk, an ungulate also displayed prominently on the Great Seal of the State of Michigan, with an enormous rack.

Centering the mounted herd is a water buffalo, mainly its head. That reminded me of something I learned in bar trivia: Mozzarella cheese traditionally comes from the milk of a water buffalo, hence “buffalo mozzarella.”

I encouraged the Crowne’s accommodating and visionary owner to consider instituting trivia at the Crowne. He’s thinking about it.

The pub’s central motif comprises dozens of handsome wooden decoys of ducks, known to bar trivia regulars as a flock, brace, raft, team or paddling. Who doesn’t like ducks?

You get the sense that you’re in a hunting lodge without, of course, having to stay at an actual dirty, uncomfortable, dangerous, stupid, terrifying hunting lodge. (On my bucket list: Stay south of Grayling.)

See the Hairy Guy’s report on the Crowne Pub: Cheap beer, a bear to be named later, free games and a deep-fried Ding Dong (till 1:30 a.m.)


louise harris said...

Sounds like a fun place! We will have to give it a try!

Doc the blogger said...

I tried to re-create that Twinkie at home. I knew something was missing. You have to wrap it in bacon, and then deep fry it. Candle light and soft jazz, and the evening falls into place.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my mind wandered after you said "enormous rack."