December 2016 Archives

Fish Fry Review: Rockhound Brewing Company


What's this? A fish fry review? Man... I forgot all about these things... ;-)

Truth be told, I've been ingesting my share of fish fries over the past few months, but haven't been to any new places. I've had fish at Mickey's Tavern a number of times (always excellent), 5100 club, RP Adlers, and others. Most have been pretty solid, but not remarkable (outside of Mickey's); nothing worth writing an update for.

That said, we did wander into a fairly new establishment here in town called Rockhound Brewing Company, and it turns out that their fish fry is seriously good. The beer is outstanding as well, and definitely worth a taste or three.

The brewery is located along Park Street, near the fairly new St. Mary's hospital (across from where the old Ideal Body Shop used to be). There's not a ton of signage, so be vigilant. And... speaking of vigilance - keep an eye open for parking spots, because parking in the area can be a bit tricky.

Once inside, grab a seat at the large u-shaped bar (full disclosure: we've never had table service - it's always been bar seating), and take a peek at the excellent tap offerings. My favorite is the Greenbush APA - it's a nice, full-flavored American Pale Ale, with nary a sign of astringent aftertaste.

Rockhound also features guest taps, and a complete bar with mixed drinks. The happy hour specials are quite generous, and run from 3pm - 6pm.

Their normal food menu focuses on comfort-type (pot pies, mac n cheese) and burgers. We've had the burger here before, and it was quite good, so if you find yourself in the neighborhood on a non-Friday, don't hesitate to grab one. But, as it was a Friday night, we were there to put down some fish.

After chatting with the bartender for a bit, we placed our order: two cod fish fries. One with french fries (for me), and one with a side salad (for Jenny). We also grabbed fills of our Mug Club mugs - 20oz of brew for the price of a pint. Another outstanding deal.

The fish arrived in no-time, and it upon delivery, we were taken aback. This wasn't your typical 2- or 3-piece "cod finger" offering. No sir. The Rockhound Brewing Company serves up a monstrous piece of cod steak. Easily enough for two people to share.


The massive portion of flaky white cod comes with a pile of fresh fries, a mayo-based coleslaw, a tartar-like aioli, and a slice of warmed/grilled lemon. The glistening drops in the photo above are from the squeeze of lemon that I had applied. Malt vinegar aficionados will have to bring their own flask, as the Rockhound doesn't offer it as a condiment.

After spritzing some lemon over the cod and taking a sample of both the slaw and tartar (normally not my favorite, but this one had a generous hint of black pepper and was pretty good), I cut into the cod.

The batter was just slightly heavy, but boasted an outstanding mix of flavors. We could definitely detect the presence of beer in the batter, along with a touch of salt and a nice dose of black pepper. The batter on the top of the fish stayed nice and crisp throughout; the underside became a tad mushy due to the piping hot fries trapping heat and moisture under the cod. The batter was expertly applied - it clung nicely to the gigantic cod.

Regardless, the fish was truly outstanding. We both ate our entire piece(s), which is saying a lot. The cod was perfectly cooked and flaked easily while remaining firm and meaty the entire time. Flavor was balanced and just a bit mild. Oh so good.

For $15, this was an amazing piece of fish and an excellent overall entree. Do yourself a favor and get over to Rockhound Brewing Company. Imbibe some of their excellent beers, eat some of the great food, and enjoy outstanding service from the staff. I'm definitely a fan.

Food: 5-stars
Service: 4.5-stars
Ambiance: 4.5-stars
Value: 4.5-stars

Entry #601: A good 'ole fashioned rant


As I logged-in to the control panel for my little blog here, I noticed a "congratulations" message from the system. The message informed that I had reached 600 entries with my previous tome.

I also realized that it has been a while since I've gone on one of my infamous rants about something, and since so many of you out there seem to enjoy tales of my frustration and misery, I'll share a recent experience to celebrate blog entry number six hundred and one.

MG&E is incompetent and almost blew-up my house

Ok... that may be a bit drastic, but I figured it would grab your attention. Here we go.

A few weeks ago, upon returning home from work, I noticed a big "hang tag" from MG&E on my front door. The tag said that MG&E had stopped by to replace my gas meter, but I wasn't home, so they asked me to call and schedule an appointment.

I quickly forgot about the request, and about a week ago noticed another similar hang tag on my door. This one was a little more aggressive, as it was filled with highlighter marks, underlines, and a note "requesting" that I schedule my appointment immediately.

So, I called them the following morning and set-up an appointment for Tuesday, November 29 between the hours of 10am and 12pm. Done.

Later that day, I received a phone call from MG&E asking if I would schedule an appointment to have my gas meter replaced. I was confused, as I had literally completed this request about 3 hours earlier. The gentleman from MG&E was also confused. After a bit of a stalemate, he said, "Well, I must have an old list here, so I'm going to erase you from it."

Ok, perfect.

Fast forward to Tuesday, 11/29. I decided to work from home so that I wouldn't miss the MG&E team. At precisely 11:45am, my doorbell rang and it was MG&E. They were here to replace the gas meter. I asked if I needed to do anything, and the somewhat schleppy technician said, "Nope, I'll do it all from outside."


About 10 minutes later, my doorbell rang again. "All finished with your gas meter replacement," said the technician.

I asked if I needed to do anything to see if it was successful, and he said, "You can go see if your furnace is working."

I had a better idea: I'd test my gas range. And yep, it was working.

He said something about needing to do some paperwork in his truck for a bit, so I locked-up the house and headed to work. It was just after noon when I left the house.

At about 3:00pm, I received a phone call from my neighbor.

"Hey Steve, it's your neighbor," said the voice. "I wanted to let you know that I can smell natural gas at my house, and it seems to be coming from your house."

Oh great. Just great... I asked a few questions of my neighbor and he confirmed, "The smell is really strong by your gas meter, and the little dials are spinning at about 100 miles per hour," he said.

Joy!!!! A natural gas leak coming from the newly replaced meter (that I really didn't want to have replaced, because every single project at my house turns into a nightmare).

I called MG&E's emergency line, and a woman answered. I told her the story, but before I could finish it, she started into a script.

MG&E: "Have you called the fire department or 911?"
Me: "No."

MG&E: "Is there anyone in the house?"
Me: "I'm at work. I don't believe so."
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "I really don't know, I'm not at-"
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "I guess it's empty, so no?"

MG&E: "Can you see gas leaking from the ground?"
Me: "Gas is a vapor. I'm not sure how you would see it leaking, and I'm not at home."
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "Oh my god. Really???? No, I can't see it leaking because I'm at work."

MG&E: "Can you smell gas from inside of the house?"
Me: "Again - I am at work and I don't know."
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "How can I answer this?"
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."

(you get the idea)

After the script was read and my answers deemed suitable, the woman said that dispatch would "send someone to look at it within an hour or so."

I decided to head home, so that I could meet MG&E there and to see what the problem was. I arrived home exactly fifty minutes later (traffic was heavy), and immediately walked over to the gas meter.

I took a big sniff.

Nothing. No smell of gas. So, I took a look at the meter, and it wasn't moving.

I looked around - no signs of MG&E. No notes, no trucks, nothing. So, I went to the front door and looked for a note or hang tag. Nothing.

I called MG&E and got the same woman from just an hour earlier. I told her that I was home and wasn't sure if the leak had been repaired, or if the gas had been shut off, or if there was more work to be done.

MG&E: "Is the technician there now?"
Me: "No. I just told you I don't see anyone."

MG&E: "Is your gas working?"
Me: "That's why I'm calling you. I don't know what has been done."

MG&E: "Is the meter locked-out?"
Me: "I don't think so. I don't see any tags or locks on it."

MG&E: "Can you go inside and see if your appliances or furnace are working?"
Me: "What? Just an hour ago, you told me to evacuate the house, and now I'm supposed to turn on a gas appliance? I seem to remember a house in Fitchburg that just exploded from a gas leak a few weeks ago."
MG&E: "Let me check with dispatch to see if they fixed it."

(me on hold for about 5 minutes)

MG&E: "They fixed it. It should be ok."
Me: "Should be ok? Or is ok?"
MG&E: "There was a leak at the meter, and they fixed it."
Me: "Was there any plan to tell me about this?"
MG&E: "Was there a note on your door or the meter?"
Me: "Holy cats. No. This is why I called you. I didn't have any idea what had been done."
MG&E: "Well, good thing you called. It's all fixed now."


Oh how I wish any of this was exaggerated. How do companies operate like this??? Oh, that's right - monopolies. I have no other options or choices for natural gas and electric where I live, so I'm stuck with MG&E.

They forced me to change out the meter, arrived nearly at the end of the service window, did a hap-hazard job, then nonchalantly fixed their mistake without telling me anything, and wanted me to go inside of a house that just had a gas leak to see if it was fixed.


Hope you enjoyed this entry. And I hope my house doesn't blow-up in the next few days or weeks.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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