Winter is so long, isn’t it? It took until March this year, but I finally realized the importance of forcing myself out of the house in the evenings to seek out things that spark some light. This is easier said than done, though, so I’m always grateful for friends who take the initiative and extend invitations, which brought me to EagleMonk Pub and Brewery for bingo last week.
It was my first visit to EagleMonk, and I can’t say enough good things about the atmosphere. Unfussy but full of charm, with strands of different-colored string lights and local art adorning the walls and a walk-up counter to order food and drinks, it’s exactly the kind of space that makes you feel welcome and relaxed instantly. With groups of friends gathered at tables, playing communal games and sharing laughs and simple, good food together on a chilly Thursday night, it was as cozy and wholesome as it gets.
The nonalcoholic beverage options, which include house-made root beer, diet root beer and orange and cream sodas that come from a self-serve tap with limitless refills, are truly a dream for anyone opting out of alcohol. I can personally vouch for the root beer, which had a strong flavor and wasn’t too sweet. For food, as I’ve also been trying to eat fewer wheat products, I chose the pesto-veggie pizza, which I, clearly in a very contrary mood, got with red sauce instead.
As a connoisseur of gluten-free products, I deem EagleMonk’s offering more than worthy. The crust, made from a blend of rice and tapioca flour and potato starch, was crisp on the edges and substantial enough to actually lift a slice to my mouth and take a bite, which is no small feat in the gluten-free pizza world. The cheese was bubbly and browned just right, with pieces of tasty, tangy sundried tomatoes, chewy mushrooms and a basil-tomato sauce beneath. It was satisfying and worth the $4 upcharge for the specialty crust.
I couldn’t help looking it up: Though its roots go even further back, American bingo was originally played at state fairs and was called beano, which came from the beans used to mark the squares. The name change occurred when a winner mistakenly called out “bingo” instead. The more you know! I can’t remember the last time I played, but it supplied great punctuation to the convivial conversation and something-for-everyone refreshments, even if we never got to shout out “beano” — I mean bingo.
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