One thing about growing up Canadian, you have a sneaking suspicion that you have missed out big time on the whole BBQ ribs thing. You can brag about Canadian beer, about how its a dry cold so you should suck it up or how watching hockey is sooooo much better than any other team sport but then you remember how all those things would be improved by a pile o ‘ribs and you know something is missing. In this morning’s New York Times there is a description of New Yorkers lining up at a ribs-fest:
In New York, demand for great barbecue tends to outstrip supply. A few weekends ago, thousands of ‘cue-seekers descended on Madison Square Park for the Second Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, hoping for a shot at Mike Mills’s Memphis baby backs and Ed Mitchell’s North Carolina ribs. The lines were epic. Some waited it out. Many fled to nearby Blue Smoke, figuring that New York barbecue is better than no barbecue at all. And quite a few — present company included — hopped on the subway to Chinatown and sated the craving with a huge pile of Cantonese spareribs.
I know that fever, BBQ rib fever. Apparently, I live 2 and a half hours north of a very legitimate ribs joint, the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse but it looks too bikerish for the kiddie set. Regardless, we are not going that far south this weekend, heading for Oswego checking out the canal, Fort Ontario and Rudy’s, more of a fish joint on the beach, an inland Bill’s. The Kingston Brewpub does a very nice smoked ribs but they are not cheap and not plenty. My ideals would be like the lobster feeds of youth, picnic table covered with newspapers and piled with red sea spiders. Does such a ribs place exist in Canada?
I could yap it up like a Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce membership nominee. Suffice it to say it is a beautiful town to which we will return.
The view to the south from the fifth floor of the Hotel Saranac.
The view to the west from the same fifth floor of the Hotel Saranac.
I was told that this is the best booze shack in Watertown, NY. Right next to the Eckerd’s Pharmacy…where you can find the best beer selection in the county. And you thought druggists selling ciggies was weird.
The St. Lawrence from the Thousand Islands Bridge. In the good news section, winter is over because I could see water in the St. Lawrence. Remember, you read it on a blog so it must be true.
So we are back from being over the border, having had a great time. I took some movies to be posted later of the Battle of Ogdensburg recreation which are fairly neat – if seeing grown men dressed up funny shooting cannon within town limits is cool to you.
But as I was driving through east end Ogdensburg, New York, I noticed this. What is a “Hot” that you could win first prize for? The particular outlet for them is called Whimpy’s Inn.
We are heading over to beautiful Ogdensburg, 100 km down river on the USA side, for the 14th. Beats the hell out of the Valentine’s Day when myself and herself were amazed at the easy access to the coin laundry machines before we remembered the date.
It is not the reopening of the cheese plant that attracts us. No. It’s the nutty recreationists dressing up like 1812 soldiers for the annual Battle of Ogdensburg re-enactment. Here is the contemporary British view of events. Apparently a group of Newfoundlanders were key to the victory. Here is an American perspective. Pretty big battle with 800 redcoats involved on a direct attack on a US village and fort. Here is a map of the battle. Canadian re-enactors as well as US take part. The area had a mid-1700s French presence and only became the USA in 1796 when the British retreated after the Jay Treaty.
Later St. Lawrence University will play host to Vermont at Canton in NCAA hockey – fewer guns but more real fights.
So we went over to St. Lawrence County, New York, on Saturday to catch a War of 1812 re-enactment of the Battle of Ogdensburg organized by a local group, Forsyth’s Rifles Inc.. We were not disappointed. I had never been to one of these things before – other than being a mock soldier at Citidel Hill in Halifax for one day (I got sun stroke in the shade) – and so in had some pre-conceptions that, on one hand, it would be like a radio nerd convention and, on the other, a bit gungho.
It was neither. About 60 guys, who could very well have been all high school history from either side of the river/border, played out the actual battle with some authenticity for over about an hour. They were quite happy to answer all questions and made sure everyone kep a safe distance. The grey-coated British advanced over the ice in formation, cannons roared from both sides and fifes were played. It was quite cold and a couple guys said they were considering taking Walmart and holding it instead.
I wrote earlier this month on the events and provided links in that post. A year later in the War of 1812, the USA invaded Eastern Ontario and got hammered at Chrysler’s Farm where a much smaller force protected Montreal against 8000 soldiers (including the real Forsyth’s unit) coming up the river from Sackett’s Harbor. There is a bigger re-enactment in summer of that battle which we will likely take in. The Ogdensburg guys head over for that.
Some short movies of the action – all around 2 Mbs so expect some delay
The fifes play as the battle nears
The US forces march out to meet the Brits
a US cannon fires
The US musketmen are ordered to fire at will – note small Brit snowshoe unit coming up to the left in trees
Please give me a heads up if any of the links in the multi-media post do not work.