Wednesday, August 29, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Cowboy, Lake Placid

The Cowboy was one of the more interesting finds after a couple of disappointments during our second visit to Lake Placid. Though seemingly a restaurant with a bar, we were excited when presented with an extensive drink menu. The restaurant has an equally interesting dinner menu, but that’s just wasted on us.

Neil, the bartender, extremely knowledgeable in his trade, seemed to know a lot about the variety of liquors they carry, and is possibly responsible for the overall diversity behind the bar.

The refreshing element of Neil’s wisdom was the no-nonsense way he imparted information without coming across as a know-it-all. He had a dry sense of humor, best saved for his martinis, that we enjoyed immensely. In his knowledge of mixers and liquors, he was more like a highly trained chef, but with personality. He seemed to be one of those mixologists who could make something tasty out of whatever he had on hand.

The specialty cocktail menu, with prices ranging from $7 to $11, includes some unique blends like the Western Sunset, the Cowboy Manhattan, and the Mango Margarita. Pam, who has been trying to bring back the whisky sour, was pleased to see the Pale Rider Whisky Sour made with High West silver whisky as a featured drink. But it was the Black and Blue 46er that caught her eye as the one to try. With Maker’s 46 bourbon, blackberry and blueberry juice, lemon juice, and agave nectar, garnished with fresh blueberries and blackberries, she made those yummy noises as she drank it (when Kim finally released it from its photo shoot). Kim opted for a Summer Basil; a savory summer sipper made from fresh basil, Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain and lemon juice. Bottled beer ranges from $3.50 for a Miller Lite to $5 for Red Stripe, Guinness (pint can), Corona, Dos Equis, and Pilsner Urquell. Wine (five red, five white) are priced from $8 to $11 a glass.

Owners Vicki and Rob Breyette, both world-traveled chefs who have lived and worked in such locations as London and the Netherlands, have been operating the Cowboy for over a year. They bring their world travel to Lake Placid with a unique menu and the prowess to extend to the bar. Vicki and Rob acquired the former Caribbean Cowboy, located just down the street, and quickly made it their own, running it for ten years. While the Cowboy has taken many staff and several menu items with it, the Cowboy is not the same restaurant as its predecessor.

Decidedly not West Texas cowboy in décor, a somewhat confusing combination of color and accessory suggest southwest. Or perhaps Ireland. Dark stained pine paneled walls are brightened by a generous number of windows and boldly painted accent walls of orange and green. A saddle, holster, and leather stirrups are casually placed on partitions. Skis, cowboy hats, and artwork hang on the walls and assorted plants and cacti are everywhere.

The bar at the Cowboy is open from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily in the summer; closed on Wednesdays in the fall. Happy Hour specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m., and open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The menu leans toward Asian, with everything in-between. From clam chowder to gazpacho, jerk chicken to Vietnamese meatballs, and burgers to lamb patties, the Cowboy presents a variety of freshly prepared offerings to please any palate, at somewhat steep prices. Soups are $7, appetizers $10 to $12, and tavern entrees are priced from $22 to $34. Sandwiches, burgers and small plates range from $12 to $18.

The bar seats ten, but surrounding tables can be used for dining or as an extension to the bar. The deck in front can do the same for dinner. The deck is spacious, with a small fire pit and cheerful red tables overlooking the street and would be a nice place to relax in the cool evening into night. Located on Saranac Avenue, somewhat off the main drag, The Cowboy is a favorite for locals and tourists to intermingle and enjoy a little something out of the ordinary in Lake Placid.

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Kim and Pam Ladd

In 2013, sisters Kim and Pam Ladd self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they are back on the trail doing research for their next project – a guide to breweries, wineries and distilleries in and around the Adirondack Park.

In 2014 they created their own drinking event, a bartender competition they call “BARRED!”, which they expect will become an annual event held in the early spring in collaboration with Basil & Wick’s in North Creek.

With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her family live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer with a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her husband.

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