Monthly Archives: May 2011

Colorado: Part III

I’ve been ridiculously sick and therefore passing out after taking coughing meds every single night before I had time to blog. Now, however, I’m home, slowly getting better, and ready to wedge myself in the couch and type away!
Our lovely friends invited us over to their house for dinner. I was too busy shoveling the delicious pork roast, rice salad and buttery carrots into my face to get a picture, but I DID remember to take one of Louise’s AMAZING biscotti! She used to make this for my bestie Michelle and me when we were wee tykes rollerblading around the neighborhood and packing picnics to eat on the golf course. To this day, I can’t even look at any other biscotti with any respect at all.
Since we were in Colorado, I had to pick up a local brew. This is Friek, a kriek beer that Odell Brewing made a single batch of. Once this is gone, it’s gone for good (at least until the next Small Batch Revival which we attended – more on that in the upcoming blog). This was not as sweet as I was expecting from a kriek. It was more of a sour ale that you’d enjoy sipping slowly over the course of an evening.
Which I did. This is a delicious beer, made to be enjoyed in a single glass. Personally, I think more than that would be overwhelming and ruin the palate.
The next day we drove around to check out neighborhoods in the area. I love this about Colorado – elk wander freely through the lawns, chowing down on young saplings. I love this because I don’t own saplings that are being chewed on by elk.
For lunch we went to Mad Greens. ANOTHER thing I love about Colorado – this Chipotle-style restaurant with salad. You choose your lettuce and walk down the assembly line picking other vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and proteins to be added, which are all married together with one of their HUGE selections of dressings.

I ate here twice in one day. I want to go back already!
After our healthy lunch, Michelle and I went up to Boulder to walk around Pearl Street and visit the Walnut Brewery – a place I used to go after playing billiards at the Foundry next door. The Foundry is now Absinthe Club. I weep for the loss of innocent pool tables.
Walnut Brewery is a big local brewpub that serves chicken-fried chicken (my favorite when I was eleven), nachos, potato skins and a huge variety of other artery-clogging deliciousness. They also brew their own beer on site in these big mash tuns and fermenters.
We split a taster of their five beers and then ordered a pint each. After 3/4 of that pint, we were both incredibly tipsy (read: a little bit drunk), and had no idea why until we realized that we’d both come from sea level up to altitude. Cheap dates!

Afterwards, we slowly made our way around the different shops of Pearl Street until we sobered up, then I headed to my hotel before the long trek up to Fort Collins. Best friends and beer – not a bad way to spend the day.

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Gelato and Liquor!

AKA Colorado: Part II!

Now seriously, gelato is amazing. You know how much I adore Paciugo. I used to visit every day whilst working at my crappy retail job. However… I have found something that tops even Paciugo!!
This is a Mudslide Gelatini. Double chocolate chip gelato, vodka, Irish cream and coffee liquer.
OH. YES.
GELAZZI! This little lounge in Littleton, Colorado is the perfect spot for kids after school (there were way too many of those), and adults (or people who pretend that they are) for any time of the day.  My best friend Michelle, who I’ve known since I was eight, and I stumbled upon this beautiful little place while driving around town.
Nothing like a liquor-infused gelato to celebrate 2pm on a Tuesday!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Paciugo, but if a Gelazzi moves to town… watch out!

I just had to dedicate an entire post to this. It’s THAT awesome!

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Colorado: Part I

We’re in Colorado for vacation! I’m hopped up on Nyquil and pain killers! My abs are killing me from coughing!

Boo. Not a great way to be spending my first vacation in a year, but at least I’m here! We had a beautiful drive out, when I wasn’t feeling quite so much like death.
I drive a LOT for my job, but generally that’s through flat desert. Utah was a nice change.
Of course we had to stop to refuel. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s in YEARS. The only time I will eat fast food is when it is chock full of massive amounts of candy and ice cream.
The little po-dunk town we stopped in only had a selection of M&Ms or Rolos. I demanded both. It was so worth the intense stomachache I got once we started driving through the twisty mountain roads of Colorado.
My little Buddha opted to go healthy and enjoy an apple. I stuck with the ice cream.
AND pizza! We got a barbecue chicken pizza from the local pizza joint in Grand Junction – Pablo’s Pizza. I love going to places that actually throw the dough in the air and bake as you wait!
We were treated to a gorgeous drive through slightly blizzardy conditions. Ahhh, I never thought I’d say it, but I MISS SNOW!
Now THOSE are mountains!
I’m sorry, I just had to.

Now my Nyquil is kicking in,and I’m coughing so hard that I’m hitting the wrong keys, so I’ll just keep my amazing adventures stored up for tomorrey’s blog post – massive amounts of food, beer tours and wonderful people!

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Apocalypse Eve

Have you all decided on what your last meal would be? We went all out tonight since, you know, the Rapture begins tomorrey and all.

Oh come on, you knew it had to be Ladyface.
I was actually here to celebrate Friday, and to claim my $1 Ladyface Ale (I got the Amazon Imperial Red) that I won thanks to a close guess at what their Mystery Cask #1 beer style was. My guess was a Flanders red ale aged in a rum cask. Apparently it was an aged kriek, but they were generous enough to think that was close enough.
As usual, I had to start with some pommes frites and red ale ketchup.
They’re not sweet potato fries, but they’re still pretty danged good!
The roommates and I split the Wood-Fired Mini Burgers. Turns out, it’s kind of difficult to split two mini burgers among three people, but we all got an averaged-sized bite.
We also ordered the Strawberry Fields Salad and the Flatbread of the day – roasted red peppers and spinach.
This is one thing I LOVE about living in California – strawberries are always in season. Or, if they’re not in season, they still taste pretty freakin’ good. This salad was perfection on a plate. Arugula, butter lettuce, strawberries, goat cheese and walnuts. I’m a sucker for goat cheese!
I’ve never tried Ladyface’s flatbread before. I have NO idea why! This was incredible! A thin, crispy herbed crust topped with generous amounts of cheese, sweet roasted peppers, wilted spinach and a sprinkling of basil.

This is one of those foods that I cry tears of joy over. A lot of my meals involve me crying…

Oh boy. More tears. This is their new Chocolate Porter Torte. This delicate torte is served warm and topped with slowly melting gelato. Beware, I think they put crack into this. I would fight to the death for the last bite – it’s THAT good. I fear the bread pudding may have been replaced as my favorite dessert here. Sorry, bread pudding – you were great, but your new sibling is so much better!
I’ve got a late night ahead of me, so we ordered a pot of french press. Yet ANOTHER thing that I stupidly haven’t tried at Ladyface yet. I think they put crack in the coffee too…

Disclosure: Ladyface does not actually put drugs into their food and/or beverages. They’re NATURALLY addictive!

Happy Rapture Eve! What would you eat for your last meal?

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Filet Mignon Chili

I am now a teacher. I tutor what I like to call “How to Impress Your Man with Food”. One of my pupils can attest to the fact that this tutoring does, indeed, have successful results.
Enter Sofia.

Filet Mignon Chili – Printable recipe available HERE.
Ingredients
12 ounces filet mignon
2 large onions, chopped
1 large can kidney beans (25-30 ounces depending where you buy)
2-28 ounce cans quality, unsalted diced tomatoes
1-4 ounce can hot diced green chilies (go spicy or go home!)
1/4 cup dark red chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium, then add chopped onions.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper, then chop the filet mignon into bite-size pieces.
3. When the onions are softened and translucent, add the filet mignon and cook until browned.
4. Take your kidney beans, drain and rinse them in a colander. You can skip the rinsing, but I prefer a lower salt content – that way I can add it as necessary when seasoning.
5. Once the meat is browned, add the 1/4 cup of dark red chili powder. This will create a paste of the lovely meat drippings. Cook the mixture for about two minutes.
6. Add the rinsed and drained kidney beans, diced tomatoes and green chilies and stir well.
7. Bring the chili up to a boil, then set to low and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Watch your significant other fall in love right before your very eyes. With the chili. And then with you.

This chili is AMAZING and ADDICTING! However, if you REALLY want to impress someone, make it a day before then set it in the fridge to let the flavors marry, then blow their mind the next day!

This chili absolutely MUST be served with some kind of cheesy bread. My personal favorites are Cheddar and Jalapeno, and Cheddar and Garlic from Great Harvest.

It also helps to serve the chili and bread with delicious beer. This is my educated recommendation.
For those who are just beginning to appreciate IPAs, but want something a little easier on the senses, Sweetgrass APA by Grand Teton Brewing is a good one.
This baby is one of the most surprising I’ve encountered – a beautiful amber that tastes like a stout! High drinkability factor. Freakin’ delicious.
Coronado Brewing Mermaid’s Red Ale.
Chocolate lovers will adore Eight-Ball Stout from Lost Coast. Rich with heavy notes of coffee and chocolate = heavenly!
I recommend “In Mem’ry of Bacon” if you’re looking for a nut brown, however, since that isn’t in stores another good stand-by is Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale.
And finally, if you want to enjoy the burn that is somehow enhanced by sweet carbonation, try this gem: Sam’l Smith’s Organic Strawberry Handcrafted Fruit Ale.

Your night is now complete.

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Ladies at Ladyface!

Last night, we had the first meeting of the Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables & Comestibles Education and Tippling Society. It was a WONDERFUL way to celebrate the start of the American Craft Beer Week.
Our group consisted of thirteen ladies total, including Cyrena, the owner of Ladyface, as well as Nancy, the president of the Maltose Falcons.
We had 8 pitchers at the table, full of Ladyface goodness, and spent over an hour tasting and learning about the Ladyface brews, the specific differences between the malts and hops that they use, and then just hung out chatting for another two hours!
Our first taste was the Ladyface La Blonde. This is the lightest beer that they make. It’s very popular with the people who come in looking for a Budweiser or Corona. The only difference? It actually TASTES good! Good tasting beer – What a conundrum, right?
Up next was the La Blanche Wit. This wheat beer has a lovely banana/clove smell from the amarillo hops, and a permanent chill haze thanks to the extra proteins from the wheat that precipitate. Ladyface’s Wit is a really smooth sip for those new to beer.
Blind Ambition used to be my favorite before I learned some respect for IPAs. Ladyface’s equipment doesn’t have temperature regulation down to a tee yet, so everytime I try Blind Ambition, I’m getting something a little different. I’m okay with this. This latest batch is slightly sweet, with a thick mouthfeel and lots of toffee/caramel notes. This is also where I started to feel a little soft around the edges.
The Trois Filles Tripel. A triple is a golden ale with a higher alcohol content. This one is pretty sweet (my mom loved it, being a wine drinker), and 8.4% ABV. I think this one was quite popular amongst our group – but I was waiting on the edge of my seat for what was next: the IPAs!
Ladyface IPA. They have two IPAs here. Ladyface IPA clocks in at 6.9% ABV and IBU 70. This one is for the intermediate IPA appreciators. You’ll learn a lot about quality  IPAs here!
CHESEBRO IPA!!! I’m not excited about this one at all, as you can tell. Chesebro is honestly my FAVORITE craft IPA of all time! 9.5% ABV and IBU 100. This brew is for the real IPA lovers! I love amber beers most of all (hence why Blind Ambition was my previous fave), but I LOVE a hoppy beer as well. Chesebro is the best combination of the two. Ladyface brews this with ELEVEN different hop additions!

Okay, I’ll stop ranting and raving about that and move on to the next one…
Ever since I had Picture City Porter, I’ve felt the need to sprinkle coffee grounds on all of my porters and stouts in order to fully appreciate them.
This porter is 2% coffee. They put five gallons into each barrel, add chocolate malts and push it with nitrogen (creating a finer carbonation so it’s smoother). The result is, as my mom described it, the perfect breakfast beer. No, not because I drink beer with breakfast (unless it’s Shop Brew day!), but because the coffee flavor is so in-your-face, yet the beer is so smooth that you could honestly imagine sitting down to a hearty sundried tomato, goat cheese and spinach omelette, and sip a room temperature glass of porter instead of coffee.

Ooooh, yeaaah!
This baby is the special release: Amazon Imperial Red! Nancy worked with Brewmaster Dave to develop this amazing Imperial Red. (Nancy, I still want to know how you got that head retention!!!)
This. Is. Perfection. In a glass. You guys know I like ambers by now. You know I like hops. This beer is BIG and BOLD! ABV 9.2%, IBU 100, with a rosy red amber hue. I may have cried quiet tears of joy. I definitely thanked Nancy excessively for brewing this masterpiece… with more silent tears of joy…
And yet, Nancy had one more surprise up her sleeve!
Brut du Faucon – a 11% ABV champagne beer, brewed by the Maltose Falcons. This sweet, bubbly beer was my mother’s favorite. This one is very delicious, and very dangerous. It’s an easy-drinker, and tasty to boot. If you’re not keeping track, watch out! I had a few sips, then ordered a full size glass of the Amazon Imperial Red.
Dispersed between the tastings were lessons on different roasted malts…
and a giant pitcher of whole leaf hops was passed around for education purposes. I may have monopolized this pitcher, and taken two hop flowers for photographic purposes… Said hop flowers may or may not have fallen to pieces in my new Ladyface sweatshirts and coated the left pocket with hop resins…

It was an AMAZING night.

The Ladies at Ladyface: Fermentables & Comestibles Education & Tippling Society is open to all women with good taste in beer, and meets every third Monday of the month! If you can say it twice after two beers, you’re out of the club!

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Mumsie’s Day!

In case you haven’t heard, I’m a terrible daughter.

I spent Mothers’ Day in the Vegas, working. My Mothers’ Day looked like this:
Neon lights, smoky casinos and no mumsie in sight. Sadness 🙁
My dad was able to spoil her on the REAL Mothers’ Day, so at least she was happy when she was abandoned… (SHE’S SO PURDY!!!)

Luckily, I was able to make it up to my beautiful mother today. We went up to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and had a lovely, leisurely three-hour lunch.
The waiters forced freshly baked potato rolls on us. We offered resistance, but to no avail. Instead, we were doomed to slather these decadent, soft, slightly sweet breads with freshly whipped butter, and consume them.
It was surprisingly chilly considering it was the middle of May in California, so we both got steaming mugs of coconut chai, which they kindly served in heated china. I didn’t let mine go until all the heat had been sucked up by the chilly breeze.
The burger looked amazing on the menu, but all I wanted at this point was a piping hot bowl of soup, so I ordered the tortilla bisque. Basically, it’s a tomato bisque topped with roasted chicken, strips of tortilla, fresh avocado and cheese, and served at a high price. It was totally worth it.
Mumsie went all healthy on me (booooo!) and ordered a spinach salad with scallops, shrimp, mango and ginger. I sampled one of her scallops, which was cooked to perfection, but I always prefer a big burger or steak. I’m just that kind of girl…
The dessert menu was incredibly delectable, and after a few minutes of indecisive bouncing back and forth between crème brûlée, cheesecake and chocolate cake, we finally asked Jake (our helpful server) for his opinion.
Goat’s cheese cake with kumquat and candied thyme it is! I honestly must say, I wasn’t excited about this. Then I had the first bite.
The cheesecake was served warm (perfect for the chilly weather), the kumquats in simple syrup were tangy and sweet, the goat’s cheese was almost savory, and the crust had me melting into the chair. Don’t even get me started on the candied thyme!

I could have died happy.
One of the workers (my personal favorite) brought us “shawls” aka thick blankets, so we were wrapped up and cozy for the majority of our meal while we enjoyed the gorgeous view.
The entire property is coated with fragrant flowers, and there’s even a fragrance cottage where you can mix your own perfume!
This isn’t the fragrance cottage, but it smelled just as good! We stopped here on the drive down from Ojai for some steaming cups of coffee to keep us warm, and awake for… Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables & Comestibles Education & Tippling Society!

A LONG night at Ladyface (It was supposed to last an hour – it lasted 3!) sampling TONS of different brews, featuring Cyrena the owner and Nancy, the president of the Maltose Falcons (my homebrew club!!)!

But that’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s blog. WAY too many pictures to add to this blog 🙂

HAPPY MUMSIE MAKEUP DAY, MOM!!!!

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Pretty Boys and Beer!

My life is pretty tough. I go on tons of road trips for my job, eat delicious food, stay in beautiful hotels, and drink craft beer. Oh, and after all that, I have to come home and play billiards with pretty people.
Woe is me.

I actually had a pretty busy Friday night -> Saturday morning. I went out and saw Win Win at the independent film theatre – which was wonderful! I love Amy Ryan and Paul Giamotti! It took me a while to decide how I felt about the kid who played the lead – Alex Shaffer. He played a sixteen year-old incredibly well. He was flat and uncaring, and totally believable, but I couldn’t tell if that was because he actually IS a teenager, or if he’s a good actor. Then came the emotional scenes…

Yeah, he’s just a teenager. Major props to him though! Considering it was his first role, I was impressed!

After wandering out of the theatre, surrounded by dozens of elderly couples on double dates, I met my friend from retail-days at Ladyface. Victor and I both escaped the clutches of the congolomerate, and finally caught each other up on how much happier our lives are now.
I swear he’s happy here… and not at all annoyed by me taking crazy amounts of blurry pictures throughout the night for my blog.
Barron showed up a few minutes later and we got down to the important task of ordering beer. I tried Ladyface’s latest cask, “Love Child”, which is their La Blonde that’s been dry hopped. I love tasting their latest, but will always go for the Chesebro IPA if it’s on tap – which it FINALLY was again!

We hung out at Ladyface for a bit, then decided to explore other venues. Our next stop was a bar.
Oh, joy. Lots of underdressed women, dudes with side-turned hats and random vomit on the floor (seriously). Oh, joy.
Loud music, pounding bass, sticky tables. Whee. The TWO good things – they had pool tables…
And craft beer! I got a Firestone DBA (courtesy of Barron and Victor – grazi, boys!) and we played pool until they turned on the lights.

That was at 2am. I’m a wild child!
On the way home, I took creepy pictures of the moon with my headlights shining on the side of the road. I call it art. Don’t question me.

On Saturday morning, I made pancakes.
Sour Cream Pancakes a la Ina Garten specifically. And I fried them up in a stick or three of butter.
Cuz that’s what you do when you get home at 3am Saturday morning and only sleep for five hours.

The end.

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Drowning in Technology!

I’m drowning in technology and LOVING it!

Allow me to introduce the latest love of my life:
That’s right! I went out and got me a…
Hang on, it’s impossible to see without my ridiculously pointless, yet surprisingly useful Droid flashlight…
MACBOOK PRO!!!! This is the first computer I’ve ever bought for myself. It’s also the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought for myself. All my prior computers were either gifts for college or hand-me-downs. I feel almost like an adult! I said, almost…

I have a CRAPLOAD of new opportunities that have popped up in my life lately. Along with the OTHER blog I write, I’ll be undertaking another writing/editing job that will have me sitting in front of my computer for many, many hours at a time. I needed a computer that was faster, non-overheating, had a long battery life and was much prettier  to stare at: enter my new MacBook Pro 🙂 I just love saying it. MacBook Pro. Mmmmm.

It’s Friday and I have a free weekend! I’m off to an indie film date, then having freshly brewed beer with old friends. Happy Friday!!!

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Things I Love: Part II

We’ve already covered this in Part I: I love bread. So very, very much. I love it even more when there’s cheese in that bread. I love it when there’s chocolate in that bread! I love it so!

I also love: BEVERAGES.
Coffee = Life!
Coffee + Ice + Sugar = LIIIIIIFE!!!!!!
Green Monstas!
Green Jasmine Pearl Tea. Zen.
Mango Lassi. A necessity for any Indian buffet!
Watermelon Rosemary lemonade from Lemonade.
Soy chai in GIGANTIC mugs!
Thai tea with boba!
Beer tastings!
MORE beer tastings!
Cheap, paper-wrapped red wine.
Expensive red wine.
Margaritas with real lime juice – none of that sweet and sour crap.
Dragon Eye Mojitos with strawberry puree!
Magners Cider on the back patio on a warm summer’s eve.
Ice cold Anchor Steam in the Santa Barbara Harbor.
Old classics from New Belgium in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Pumpkin beer in October!
I repeat: pumpkin beer in October!
Organic beer!
ANY beer from Ladyface!
Dos Beckis!

I just realized that most of my favorite beverages are beers. Who would thunk???

I love Beverages.
The end.

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