Author Archives: Arthur Mullen

Student Prince Cafe And Fort Restaurant, Springfield, Mass.

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The Student Prince exceeded my expectations by more than football field! The experience of the restaurant included perfect, personal table service by our server Jeff, who in addition to knowing every ingredient, every dish, it’s inspiration and origin, and how it’s best enjoyed, was our guide thru the 400 years of history on hand at The Fort / Student Prince.

There is no possible way to say enough good words about Jeff, who gained our trust and steered my girlfriend away from her comfort zones (salad, burger) towards the German classics the restaurant is rightfully known for. Her bratwurst and my prime rib (the Sunday special – I would definitely recommend!) were both amazing – bravo to the kitchen on the Sunday in early September 2019 when we visited.

I totally understand why Andre the Giant used to love to eat at the Student Prince. The amazing German food, the awesome selection of beer, the professional, witty, knowledgeable servers like Jeff. For a time traveling nerd like me, I have to add: Bravo for the preservation of the beautiful historic dining rooms and artifacts, really giving a deep sense of place and time to the experience.

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Mount Tom State Reservation, Holyoke, Mass.

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Seeing that we were already on a “recreational adventure” to the great state of (legal recreational marijuana) Massachusetts, we stopped for some natural highs at Mt. Tom State Reservation on the drive home to Connecticut. I remember night skiing, under the lights, when I was a youngin’.

The drive we took (yes, we were drive-hiking on this visit) thru the park just before the sun started to set, was filled with so much natural wonder and memorable scenery and greenery that even I, an avowed (and par-for-the-course, lazy) pothead, am compelled to write this 5 star review, if only so that more of my fellow nutmeggers may have the same experience.

The most strenuous climb was handled by the Prius, but the most scary climb was up the wooden observation tower, with views over seemingly the entire Western half of the state of Massachusetts. If it was still open, and winter, and I still had the gear, and the weather was perfect, it was conceivable that I could still ski down, I told my girlfriend.

And then we drove home thru (and with!) the trees.

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Nick’s Nest, Holyoke, Mass.

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This past summer Raven and I dined at two restaurants in Western Massachusetts that have been open for so many years that my grandparents had actually dined there back when they were dating in their youth: the Student Prince and Nick’s Nest. And what I learned is that both of these badass places have been stayin’ alive by the strength of their unique and delicious offerings, upon which nostalgia is just the mustard on the dog.

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This paragraph is for hotdog lovers. Coming from somebody who loves roadfood in general, hotdogs in specific, and has a laser-like focus on eating hotdogs, for a decade in Chicago, and two plus decades on the East Coast: you have to go to Nick’s Nest for the hotdog. The Nick’s Nest dog is has a unique golden buttery umami-ful flavor profile, with a gentle snap, on toasted bun, that’s in complete harmony with their signature chili.

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The cheese fries are awesome. What else is there to say? Nick’s Nest is old school counter service. The speed of the hotdogs means although you are able to eat for a full meal, the efficiency may make it feel more like a snack. I’m not a doctor, but I would prescribe at least a minute of breathing deeply after each hotdog is ingested, to allow the brain to best absorb the gentle snap of hotdog satisfaction.

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And then order some ice cream.

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Page Hardware, Guilford, Conn.

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This summer we had to get rid of a (leaky!) old air conditioner. We trusted Page Hardware for the replacement, because every time we go there they have what we need and good advice. The Page Hardware building is riddled with historic flourishes that I would like to learn more about, as evidenced in the appliances section in front front of the store. The Page Hardware guy emerged from behind double-hinged bank vault doors with our new unit. It has been working great and was affordable to buy. Thank you for another solid purchase and congrats to Page Hardware on 80 (well deserved!) years in business.

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Sachem’s Head, Guilford, Conn.

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The Sachem’s Head region of Guilford is so-named because when viewed from the air, the coastline resembles the outline of an Indian chief’s head in ceremonial headdress. The yacht club and historic homes anchor the ancient, opulent neighborhood; resilient against the succession of storms that have battered the coast. Sachem’s Head, due to it’s geography, is isolated, and therefore tranquil. It is worth a visit on a lazy Sunday drive but it is also worth remembering that people live here for the peace and quiet, and to be respectful.

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Weinbergers Deli, Grapevine, Tex.

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My friend and his brother (both of whom are local Texans from Grapevine) brought me to Weinbergers, and it was an awesome place for us to have lunch. I ordered the reuben, and the sandwich was generously appointed. The combination of flavors from the corned beef and Russian dressing, to the fresh baked rye bread, were totally on point and satisfying.

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The place was hopping busy for lunch (always a good sign!) but the staff was completely on top of the situation. When a table opened up it was immediately cleaned and we were seated with our number (it is counter service at this deli.) The system runs like a well-oiled machine, with a smile. I love to see a local place doing good business, and that’s what is going on at Weinbergers. Bravo!

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QuakeCon 2019: The Year of Doom Photos

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Thank you everybody in the QuakeCon family for a great experience. Big thanks to my friend Nick for hosting me, and Deadbeat for inspirational second place finish in the BYOC Quake II duel tournament. GGs and hope to see everybody back next year!

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Gaylord Texan Resort, Grapevine, Tex.

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Big thank you to the amazing Gaylord Texan for hosting the QuakeCon event. For the past 3 years (2017 – 2019) I have booked a room for half a week each summer to attend, and the experience has been absolutely tops each year. From the hospitality of the hotel staff, to the coordination of the events staff with the QuakeCon team, it is hard for me to imagine Gaylord Texan in any way improving its performance.

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Thank you to everybody on the team for having us gamers in your well appointed and professionally run resort, year after year.

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