Pinky Sue’s Smokehouse
Thursday September 16th 2010, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Food

We noticed a small bit from Polly Campbell about a new BBQ place opening in Newport and decided to drop by today for lunch.  Pinky Sue’s is located in the space formerly occupied by NuVo on York Street in Newport.  The interior is sparsely decorated, with a lasso, straw hat, and some horseshoes on the wall, surrounding the cozy dine in area and takeout counter.  Seating for about 20 people is available.  Pinky Sue’s serves up baby back ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket along with an extensive menu of homemade sides.  Between the two of us, we ordered up a 1/2 slab of ribs and a 1/2lb. brisket sandwich along with baked beans, mac-n-cheese, broccoli salad, and sweet potato fries.  (We tried for the sweet corn casserole, but they were out.)

Ribs, brisket, and sides from Pinky Sue's Smokehouse

Before digging in to my ribs, I snuck a quick piece of the brisket which was juicy and flavorful — far above average for brisket in the Cincinnati area.  The ribs were served dry with sauce on the side, something I always appreciate.  The ribs were clearly dry-rubbed and upon pulling a bone off I discovered that these ribs were about as fall-off-the-bone as they come.  Ordinarily that would also be a warning sign that the ribs were going to be a mushy mess a la Montgomery Inn, but that was not the case here.  The meat still had wonderful texture with just enough chewiness.  The rub had a little heat to it — not overpowering, but definitely added some kick to the dining experience.  Most of the flavor seemed to come from the rub — there wasn’t much smoke flavor nor smoke ring evident.  If anything, the ribs were a little on the dry side, but that was nothing some judicious use of the bbq sauce provided couldn’t solve.   Overall the ribs were excellent and for me rank among the best to be found in the city.  The sides were all good, but none were outstanding.  The broccoli salad was a nice touch, bringing something a little different to the table.  It was composed of chopped broccoli, golden raisins, bacon, and sweet/vinegary mayonnaise-based sauce.  The combination of sweet, tart, and savory flavors along with the satisfying crunch that came with each bite made it a nice complement to the main course.

We were told during our meal the “grand opening” is to be this Saturday and will include a live band, so if you’re looking to try some new BBQ this weekend it’s definitely something to consider.  The restaurant, being brand new, is still a little rough around the edges, but the food is good enough to warrant repeat trips and given its proximity to downtown Cincinnati it’s an easy choice for downtowners looking for a lunchtime BBQ fix without having to drive out the suburbs to get it.

Pinky Sue's Smoke House on Urbanspoon

Roadtrip 2010: Day 17
Monday September 06th 2010, 9:43 pm
Filed under: News

Today we left Syracuse and paused for lunch in Buffalo.  We had intended to eat at the Anchor, where the buffalo wing was invented, however they didn’t open until 4pm because of Labor Day.  Instead we wound up at Charlie The Butcher’s for some beef on weck, which was absolutely delicious.  From there it was just a matter of driving home, where we arrived around 8pm.  All told, this trip covered some 6800 miles, about 1600 of which were on dirt or gravel roads taking us to some of the most remote locations accessible by vehicle in North America.  The long miles of gravel roads took their toll on the Land Rover — the fuel door latch and part of the brush guard had to be repaired with duct tape and the windshield will need to replaced after several unfortunate meetings with rocks kicked up from the road.  One rock hit with such force that there is still a small bit of the rock embedded in the windshield.   A native Labradorian joked that the first thing they do when getting a new car is to, “take a hammer to the windshield.  That way you aren’t disappointed when it gets hit by a rock.”  Thankfully though, we had no use for any of the other assorted spare parts and emergency supplies we brought along — not so much as a flat tire the entire trip.  Along the way we visited 7 states and 5 provinces in two countries while reaching two oceans, the Arctic and the Atlantic.  Wildlife was abundant.  We saw black bear, moose, wolves, foxes, whales and all manner of small mammals and countless types of ducks and birds.  We also got a taste of the remote north — the vast expanses of empty space, the beauty of the pristine lakes and rivers, as well as $5/gallon gas and $13 hamburgers.  We gained a fine appreciation for paved roads, cheap gas, and native English speakers…it’s good to be home.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 16
Sunday September 05th 2010, 11:58 pm
Filed under: News

Today we spent the day in Lowell, Massachusetts.  After breakfast at a local diner we visited the Trolley Museum, then took a boat tour of some of the canals that run through the town.  After a quick lunch we checked out the Boote Mill Museum before hitting the road again.  For the Roy Rogers fans out there we ran across an actual corporate Roy Rogers restaurant in one of the Thruway rest stops.  I excitedly ordered up a Double-R-Bar burger, eager to see how it stacks up to the tasty treats served up by the independent location in Mt. Carmel.  Disappointed is the best way to describe it.  The ham was a few thin, round, slices with an odd texture and virtually no flavor.  We’re not missing out on anything by not having “real” Roy Rogers restaurants in Cincy.  Tonight we’re near Syracuse, New York.  Tomorrow we drive home, stopping only for lunch at the Anchor in Buffalo.

Roadtrip 2010: Days 13-15
Sunday September 05th 2010, 1:26 am
Filed under: News

Slow or inconvenient internet access the last few days, so I’m a little behind.  Thursday we took the ferry from Newfoundland over to Nova Scotia and drove over to Moncton, New Brunswick where we spent the night with some friends.  In the morning we grabbed breakfast at a nearby diner before heading south back into the USA.  We crossed into Maine around lunchtime and arrived in Bar Harbor in the early afternoon.  After checking into our nice, but no frills hotel we spent the afternoon walking around Bar Harbor.  Late in the afternoon the wind began to pick up and the fog started to roll in signaling the impending arrival of Hurricane Earl.

Bar Harbor

We took that as our cue to head for higher ground, so on the recommendation of our hotel owner we backtracked up to Trenton to the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound where we had an amazing dinner of freshly boiled lobster with corn on the cob and rolls.  This morning Earl was still making his presence felt in the form of a driving rain and low clouds.  That meant that the high surf made the Acadia National Park coastline particularly spectacular, but it also meant a drenching anytime we got out of the car and that certain areas of the park were closed due to dangerous conditions.

Acadia National Park

It also meant that all you could see this morning from the top of Cadillac Mountain was the top of Cadillac Mountain.  After leaving the park, the rain slowly tapered off and eventually we hit blue skies as we made our way west across southern Maine on our way to New Hampshire.  By the time we reached Mt. Washington it was a glorious day and we could see from the base of the mountain that the summit was clear, so panoramic views were definitely in store.  Just before we reached the top of the peak however, it clouded over.  We parked at the summit and jumped out of the car to discover 70mph winds and visibility of about 100 feet.  We struggled against the wind up the rocks to the actual summit before ducking inside the gift shop to warm up and relax for a moment.

Shelly & Andrew atop Mt. Washington

Happily, after venturing back outside, the clouds passed and we were afforded the views we had hoped for.

Mt. Washington

After making our way back down the mountain we headed south to Lowell, Massachusetts where we are again staying with friends for the evening.  Tomorrow we’ll spend about half the day here in Lowell, then push on to somewhere in New York for the night before we make our final drive all the way home.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 12
Wednesday September 01st 2010, 9:58 pm
Filed under: News

This morning we head down into Gros Morne National Park where we took a boat tour of Western Brook Pond.  Western Brook Pond was carved out by glaciers and was originally a fjord before a strip of land raised up and cut it off from the ocean.  As a result the lake sits between towering cliffs and is over 1000 feet deep.  It’s hard to describe what it’s like floating along beneath the massive granite walls enclosing the lake, but it was absolutely awe-inspiring.

Western Brook Pond

After leaving Western Brook Pond we stopped for ice cream in Rocky Harbour and then drove out to check out the Tablelands part of the park, which is a strange area where the mountains are barren and resembles, more than anything, the surface of mars.  Very strange to find smack in the middle of the very green, very “lake-y” Gros Morne National Park.

The Tablelands

From there we headed south to St. Georges for the night.  Tomorrow we’ll take the ferry over to Nova Scotia and drive over to Moncton, New Brunswick.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 11
Tuesday August 31st 2010, 7:32 pm
Filed under: News

We left Mary’s Harbour this morning before the gas station in town opened, so we stopped briefly in Lodge Bay to fuel up before continuing down the Labrador coast to Red BayRed Bay was recently discovered to have been an important Basque whaling port in the 16th century.  An underwater excavation uncovered the wreck of the San Juan and subsequent excavations on a small island in the harbor uncovered more Basque artifacts as well.  The small village sported two museums dedicated to the discoveries which included some artifacts uncovered in the wreckage, though only a few pieces of the actual ship.  The ship was returned to the bottom of the harbor after all the pieces were removed, examined, and cataloged because that was the only way they could preserve it.  Evidently the waters up here are so cold that wood doesn’t deteriorate underwater like it would in warmer locales.  From Red Bay we bid adieu to the gravel roads that have composed the last 1000 miles or so of our journey, and made our way to L’anse Amour where we checked out the lighthouse at Point Amour, the largest and one of the oldest in Labrador & Newfoundland.  Nearby was an ancient Indian burial mound which is believed to be the oldest in the Americas, dating back as much as 7500 years.  After a quick lunch in L’Anse Amour we made the short drive back into Quebec to Blanc Sablon where we caught a ferry over to St. Barbe, Newfoundland.  From there we drove down to Hawke’s Bay where we are staying for the night.  Tomorrow we will spend the day in Gros Morne National Park, where we will take a boat ride on Western Brook Pond and take a drive through the Tablelands.  Even though it feels like we’re finally back in “civilization” tonight, the internet access is painfully slow, so no new pictures until tomorrow.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 10
Monday August 30th 2010, 7:08 pm
Filed under: News

Today we took a ferry out to Battle Harbour where we spent the day learning about the restored fishing village located there,

Battle Harbour

as well as walking around Battle Island, the small island upon which the village is situated.  In addition to the village, the island is also home to an old Marconi tower,

Battle Harbour Marconi Tower

a plane wreck,

Airplane wreck on Battle Harbour

and two cemeteries.  There is also a beautifully restored church

Battle Harbour Church

and eye-popping scenery all around.  We enjoyed a hearty lunch on the island and a walking tour of the village led by a local whose family lived in Battle Harbour for generations.  We pretty much had the run of the place — besides ourselves there was only one other couple visiting the island.  On the ferry ride over to the island, we saw some whales blowing water out their blowholes in the distance.  On the ride back, we got a closer look at them.

Whale near Battle Harbour

Battle Harbour, at 52.273462,-55.583954 marks the farthest east we’ll go on this trip.  Just south of Battle Harbour is Cape Charles, reachable only by foot or boat, which is the easternmost point of mainland North America.  Tomorrow we start our journey southwest towards home, visiting Red Bay and Point Amour before taking a ferry down to Newfoundland.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 9
Sunday August 29th 2010, 9:41 pm
Filed under: News

We left Labrador City this morning and headed east on the Trans-Labrador Highway.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover that they are in the process of paving the road on the way out of the city so we got about 80km or so of paved road before we caught up with the paving crew.  From there it was all gravel, all the time.  We paused briefly at the Smallwood Reservoir to snap a few pictures,

Smallwood Reservoir

then continued east until we arrived at Hamilton Falls, where we took a short hike around to a better viewing point of the falls.  The waterfall is barely a trickle now because the flow was diverted to power the generating station in nearby Churchill Falls, but you could easily tell what an impressive sight it must have once been.

Hamilton Falls

After refueling in Churchill Falls we made our way yet further east until we reached the trailhead leading to Muskrat Falls, just a little west of Happy Valley/Goose Bay.  This river, not having been dammed (yet), made for an impressive set of rapids.  The trail led right up to the edge of the rapids and you could feel the force of the water in your feet.

Muskrat Falls

From there we ran into Happy Valley to refuel, then headed down the brand new section of the Trans-Labrador Highway that runs between Happy Valley/Goose Bay to a spot on the Labrador Coastal Highway about halfway between Cartwright and Port Hope Simpson.  Darkness was just starting to fall as we hit the Labrador Coastal Highway, so the last 150km or so into Mary’s Harbour was on gravel, in the dark.  A little stressful trying to wend our way down the road when the headlights only illuminated 50 yards or so, but ultimately we made it.  Tomorrow we’ll take the ferry out to Battle Harbour where we’ll spend the day before returning to Mary’s Harbour again for the night.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 8
Saturday August 28th 2010, 10:35 pm
Filed under: News

After all the rain yesterday, it was a relief that today was a gorgeous sunny day.  Just outside Chicoutimi we paused at the Caribou River to enjoy the view before pushing onward.

Caribou River

From there we made our way into Saguenay National Park.  The drive through that park is among the most spectacular we’ve seen anywhere.  The road winds it’s way through the mountains, alongside picturesque rivers and lakes.  We stopped for a few photos at Lac Resimond

Lac Resimond

and a covered bridge spanning the Salmon River.

Covered Bridge in Saguenay National Park

Shortly after exiting the park, we found ourselves following along the St. Lawrence Seaway coastline as we made our way between many small coastal towns.  Longue-Rive had a particularly nice view

St. Lawrence Seaway

along with Rageuneau, which also sported an obelisk and some dinosaurs.

Shelly with a dinosaur

Once we hit Baie Comieau we turned north on Highway 389 which would take us up to Labrador.  A short drive up 389 brought us to the Manic-2 Dam

Manic-2 Dam

About 150km later, we came upon the truly massive, awe-inspiring Manic-5 Dam.

Manic-5 Dam

From there, the road turned gravel for most of the next 400km.  We stopped to admire the beautiful Manicougan Reservoir which, when viewed from high, high above (or on a map) resembles a giant eyeball.  The reservoir was created by the Manic-5 dam and sits in the crater of a massive meteorite strike.

Manicougan Reservoir

A few hundred kilometers further along, the road mysteriously turned to blacktop and even briefly became a divided highway.  It turns out we were passing through Gagnon, a mining town that was dismantled in 1985 when the mine closed.  That did give us about 90km of pavement, which turned out to be nice…the last 70km was steep, windy, gravel road.   Just beyond Gagnon we checked out the Fire Lake Mine, which is supposed to be closed, but there nevertheless appeared to be some activity there.

Fire Lake Mine

About that time we got stuck behind a semi, a minivan, and two pickups just as dusk was falling.  The result was that there was so much dust being kicked up in the air that I could barely see the road in front of me for about 50km.  I kept my eyes glued on the faint flow of taillights ahead of me through the dust and hoped they knew where they were going.  After about an hour of white-knuckling it down the road, we arrived at the Mt. Wright mine — a mountain-topping operation of truly massive scale.  It was too dark to try to take pictures, but it is impossible to describe the size of the mine other than to say that it is bigger than you can imagine.  Just past the mine we hit paved roads again which allowed us quickly enter Labrador


and make our way to Labrador City for the night.   Tomorrow we start our trek on the Trans-Labrador Highway.

Roadtrip 2010: Day 7
Friday August 27th 2010, 10:36 pm
Filed under: News

Today it was time to leave the James Bay area and get in position to head up into Labrador tomorrow.  With today mostly being a travel day, I suppose it was a good time for it to rain buckets all day long.  On the other hand, about 350 miles today was on gravel roads which get soupy and rough in the rain.  We left Radisson and head south down the James Bay Road until we hit the North Road.  We stopped about 80 miles out on the North Road in Nemaska to top off the fuel tank before heading down the rest of the road.  We stopped not far past Nemaska to look at the Lescar Hills, but that stop wound up lasting only as long as it took me to jump out of the car, snap a few pictures, and jump back in.  The driving rain precluded any further exploration.

Lescar Hills

A bit later on the rain let up a bit and we were able to take a little more time in enjoying a set of rapids on the Rupert River — this time about 100 miles upstream from the rapids we saw on that river on day 3.

Rupert River

The rain was as heavy as ever by the time we reached Frotet Lake, the headwaters of the Broadback River.  It was nice seeing the headwaters of a river we crossed earlier in the trip, but again the pouring rain allowed only a quick snapshot before diving back in the car.

Frotet Lake

From there we finally made it to Chibougamau, the southern terminus of the North Road.  There we filled up on gas, got some groceries, and continued south to Saguenay where we’re currently ensconced in our hotel, preparing for the first leg of our drive up into Labrador.