Monthly Archives: December 2011

San Diego Bombardment!

I was blessed enough to be able to have a mid-week weekend down in San Diego with our family friends. Prepare for an onslaught of pictures.
Stone Brewing – I made my own flight: Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Black IPA, IPA and Smoked Porter.
Depressing Beer Mac ‘n Cheese. This was not even half as good as the first time I went there! They served it in a mini bowl with three pieces of sausage and still charged an insane amount. Mac ‘n Sadness.
Pictures of my pops taking pictures of me in the beer garden. We’re cool like that.
Our families spent the evening sipping fine brews, wines and playing charades. My throat still hurts from laughing so much. I loves me these people!

Next day!
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern. Turkey chili and an albacore tuna melt on parmesan-crusted bread. HEAVENLY!
Three-quarters of our family friends: Dave, Terry and Jenn.
The other quarter – Bryce and me, being ourselves.
Walking the harbor after lunch at Jimmy’s.
Ditto.
The view at Cabrillo National Park.
The monument at the park.
Pops and Bryce pretending to be normal…
Pops and Bryce being themselves.
Pretty aperture.
Gazing at the military base.
Boat.
Museum a la park.
Preserved inside of the lighthouse.
Gorgeous ocean views.
A beautiful bathroom overlooking the ocean. A bathroom I wouldn’t mind living in.
Definitely wouldn’t mind the view.
Peaceful sigh.
Concert time!
Gorgeous venue – Anthology.
Food?
FOOD! Organic chicken breast over truffle risotto.
Beer!!! Mission IPA.
Dave Mason. Awesomeness.

TODAY!
Look familiar?
Growler fills at Hess Brewing – Barleywine and coffee porter. My pops says that their barleywine is his all-time favorite, and that’s saying something! He’s very picky about his barleywines. Thanks to tasting room manager Michael Skubic for letting me drop by early – (your mini-growler awaits you at Enegren Brewing)! And good to meet you, Curtis! I didn’t find out what you were planning on brewing with all the grains you got!
Iron Fist! Growler fill of Velvet Glove and a quick taster of the Martial Law.

SLEEP TIME! Up early to go to the shooting range! Fancy heeled boots and guns – yay or nay?

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Christmas Recap

Just putting a quick post up before I head off to pack for a two day trip down to San Diego!
Christmas?
Christmas!
CHRISTMAS!!!!

To sum this all up – Firestone XV (Ah-frickin-mazing! A beer to dream about for many years to come…), fancy rib-eye with a port wine and cranberry reduction and family time with a new game called Quiddler. All of the above were delicious.

Now I’m going to finish packing and preparing for two days in San Diego! Visiting Stone, Hess and Iron Fist again – this time with some family friends. Merry Christmas!!!

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Merry Christmas Eve!

The suicidal tree got sawed apart very quickly after its untimely death two days ago, so luckily we weren’t stranded to starve.
We headed over to Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie for a Christmas Eve Eve late lunch/early dinner. Cauliflower au gratin!
Salt ‘n pepper fries with red ale ketchup.
Deliciously greasy burger with white cheddar cheese.
My last Hutash! Summer is definitely gone. I can’t keep dredging up the past – time to move on to the maltier winter beers!
A center cut of the bread pudding. I was so stuffed that I couldn’t finish my half of this, but it was SO. GOOD!
Somehow I was able to stuff a few cookies in later at Enegren Brewing, however. Kathy (aka Mama Enegren) made the pumpkin spice cookies (recipe via the lovely and talented chef Brie) and sugar cookie wreaths. Yet again, I ate until I hurt and loved it.
An early Christmas gift from my cousin, Allie! A taster board with chalk – PERFECT for my blind tastings. Happy happy happy!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! I’ll be back after spending a wonderful Christmas with my family eating foods, playing games (I hope there’s Liar’s Dice in my stocking tomorrey…) and celebrating the birth of Jesus! And then eating some more and drinking fine craft brews.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Christmas Tree Suicide

Today, we got a lovely surprise of a fresh Christmas tree gracing our street.
With the crazy Santa Ana winds, the gigantic pine tree outside my house came crashing down. We’d just driven past it into our driveway, and were talking about how it had looked like it was leaning more when we heard a gigantic thud. Luckily it didn’t hit any cars, houses or people.
It did demolish our neighbor’s fence though. The cops came driving up the street, I helped them out by standing on the tree, waving my arms and hollering, “It’s right here!” and then proceeded to take crazy amounts of pictures of the destruction.
Mass destruction. Delicious-smelling destruction.
Beautifully broken. Cheesily stated.
I felt the need for a senior photo here. I never got to do the classic peeking around/leaning on a tree pose for my high school senior pic…
Like that.

Or that.

THERE WE GO!

All my feelings of lost childhood/high school senior cheesy-photo-ops have been remedied.

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Holiday Eats

I’ll use any excuse to go out to eat. Holidays just happen to be a yearly built-in excuse. Over the past week, many restaurants have been visited, family functions have brought mass quantities of foods, and jeans have gotten a little tighter. It’s all worth it.
First up – family dinner. My extended family in Awesometown recently got a Big Green Egg, so we went down to enjoy some pulled pork that had been sitting on the smoker for hours. We supplied the homemade mac and cheese and baked beans. I ate until I hurt, then ate some more.
Yesterday I took my family to Two Guys from Italy – a restaurant in Moorpark that is owned by a German woman and sells amazing German food. Oh yeah, they make Italian food too. I ordered a cappuccino, which was delicious, even though I still don’t know what a cappuccino is. How is it different from a latte? Someone please explain.
I also ordered one of my latest obsessions (which I actually first tried at Two Guys from Italy) – jägerschnitzel. I’ve discovered it’s quite difficult to take a good picture of pork that’s been pounded flat, dredged in panko, fried and smothered in a wine and mushroom gravy, served alongside deliciously buttery dumplings called spaetzle. Trust trust me on the fact that it tastes delicious.
Today we checked out a brand new place in Newbury Park called La Cucina di Venti <– my Yelp review. I ordered the Mushroom Ravioli – I know, you’re asking yourself, mushrooms?? But Bexter hates/used to hate mushrooms! I may have been officially converted. This sounded good on the menu and tasted drop-dead GORGEOUS in my mouth. Possibly the best ravioli I’ve ever had, mushroom or not!
For dessert my mumsie ordered the limoncello gelato flute – light, refreshing and zesty, PLUS you get to keep the glass!
I ordered the rich and luscious tiramisu. Seriously, the most heavenly Italian meal I’ve ever consumed.
At the end of a busy holiday day, I like to have a warming glass of imperial stout. I’m repping Enegren’s latest beer Daniel Irons Oatmeal Stout because it’s amazing. Narcissism explosion commence – go check out Enegren’s newly launched website to see more pics I took. Narcissism explosion over.

That skims the top of my holiday eats so far! I’ll be sure to eat a lot more over the next few days before my excuses run out.

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

That title is an abbreviated version of the true name: Vanilla Porter Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies. Since it’s the holiday season, Christmas cookies are high on my to-do list. Sipping winter warmers (i.e. stouts, porters, strong ales, etc.) is also very important. By my brilliant skills of deduction, I also factored this in: Beer in brownies = good. Therefore, beer in cookies = excellent. It’s mathematical, but don’t worry: I’ve got you covered.

Vanilla Porter Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Serves 3 dozen
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Rich, chocolatey cookies are studded with maraschino cherries and drizzled with a chocolate porter frosting.

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Vanilla Porter (+ 4 tsp Vanilla Porter)
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries
  • 6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-3 teaspoon cherry juice

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2
In a bowl, combing the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Step 3
In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
Step 4
Add egg and the 1/4 cup of Vanilla Porter to the butter mixture and mix well, then add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Step 5
Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet and create an indent in the center of each with your thumb.
Step 6
Drain the cherries and reserve the juice.
Step 7
Place one cherry in the center of each indentation.
Step 8
In a small pot, mix the chocolate chips and condensed milk over low heat until melted.
Step 9
Add the 4 tsp of Vanilla Porter and 1-3 tsp cherry juice to the melted chocolate, then spoon 2 tsp over each cookie.
Step 10
Bake for ten minutes.

I used whole wheat flour in my recipe, but I think my next batch will have plain white flour.
The dough will seem pretty dry, but I promise, it works out.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls.
Use all of your post-mall-shopping aggression and jab your thumb into the centers of each ball. If you need to pretend it’s the eye of that evil person who elbowed you in the stomach as s/he grabbed the last Tickle-Me-Elmo that your youngest niece has been begging you for since the beginning of the year and won’t love you unless you are somehow able to get it to her by Christmas, I won’t judge you.
Place one cherry in the eye-socket center of the indent.
Melt the chocolate chips into the condensed milk, add the 4 tsp of Vanilla Porter and cherry juice and stir well. It should be thin enough that it falls evenly from the spoon when you lift it, but not so thin that it doesn’t cling to the cherry.
Drizzle enough frosting to completely cover the cherry, and then some.
Bake at 350 for ten minutes, then let them cool on the cookie sheet for a little bit before you transfer them to a wire rack, otherwise they fall apart and you will be forced to consume the ones that don’t make it.
It’s an arduous process, consuming those poor, unpretty cookies.

I’m off to tempt fate and visit a terrifying place full of homicidal people – the mall. Wish me luck, please.

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Celebrating Freedom

I finished/aced both of my classes and finals! I’ve been taking online classes since I travel so much and don’t have time to actually show up to a class in person, and on Wednesday I completed them! Now I can put all of my focus where it belongs – Studying for the Cicerone test. My cousin Allie also finished her midterms, so we decided that it was time for a day of celebration.
Everyone should celebrate with deep fried foods. Doesn’t matter what the occasion is: Get a new puppy? Eat something deep fried. Birthday? Eat something deep Fried. Diagnosed with high cholesterol? Well, maybe have only half of something that’s deep fried…
I just had to get another look at that delicious, crispy goodness. Le sigh.
After walking around the harbor, we headed over to downtown Ventura, did a little bit of Christmas shopping and ended up at Bernadette’s on Main for a relaxing drink in the sunset.
Allie got her wine and I got a pint of Figueroa Mountain Davy Brown which they recently got on tap – warm and nutty with a hint of sweet caramel. Easy drinkability – case in point?
Example 1.
Example 2.
Then we got “creative” and decided that taking ridiculous amounts of pictures of sunglasses and us modeling the sunglasses would be a good idea. It wasn’t.
Beer + pretending to model with a pensive look = Same boring face I always make.
Wine + someone who is actually a model = Classy palm tree reflections and beauty.

I’m off to bake mass quantities of Christmas cookies! I’m sure no one out there is tired of seeing Christmas cookie posts!

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Barrio Brewing

While in Tucson for my final trip of the year (yaaaaay!), I had one night off to visit a brewery. After scanning my lovely WhereBeer app, I decided on Barrio Brewing – close by and good ratings.
Since it was a Friday night, the place was completely packed. They had a “seat yourself” policy, so rather than wait around and fight for a table in the brewery, we opted to head next door to the bar section.
FLIGHT! If I’ve never been to a brewery before, I always opt for a sampler. They had twelve, so I split this with the table.
Not a fan of their Raspberry Ale that had “real raspberry flavor”. Not quite sure what that’s supposed to mean, but it didn’t smell or taste natural. For the most part, all the other beers were good! I would’ve gone with their Copperhead Pale Ale if I’d gotten a pint afterwards, but as it was twelve shared samplers was more than plenty for me.
Didn’t really understand the decor, but thought it was cool!
All dressed up for the holidays. Overall this is a nice place stuffed to the brim with locals and a gorgeous brewery that smelled clean and looked sparkly as all breweries that aren’t in the middle of a brew should look!

I spent a long day on the road home today. We ended up taking a different highway home and I started to notice something strange…
Through that blur, perhaps you can see where it says “United States”. We spent a large part of the drive tracing the Mexican border.
That in the distance is the long fence that lines the southern section of the country. I had nine hours on the road being stopped by four separate border controls and fighting a downpour that made California drivers forget how to drive and spin out all across the freeways: aka a fun drive!

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Wurstküche

I was introduced to an epic place in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. I helped out with an event for Enegren Brewing and was treated to delicious foods and beers after.
I realized just now that I already used this picture, but since I’m a hotel (Edit: I’ve studied for years to be able to call myself a hotel. I didn’t mean to type “at a hotel” like many of you may have thought…) and it took ten minutes to upload, I’m leaving it in. I’m sure you’ll forgive me – plus it’s a gorgeous pic.
Wurstküche is a sausage sammich haven with twenty-four imported beers on tap. When you enter the front, you’re greeted by a tiny little white room with a line full of people, all of who are holding Belgian beers that have been served into proper glassware. I knew that this was the right place for me. After you’ve placed your order and have your beer in hand, you walk down a long corridor toward what sounds like the center of a dance club.
The room in the back is filled with long family-style picnic tables with crowds of people. Apparently this place is packed at all times of the day – and for a good reason.
Commander Matt ordered a Weihenstephaner Dunkelweizen and I grabbed a Reissdorf Kölsch. I’ve never had a Kölsch before this night – at least not a legit one (must be brewed in Cologne, Germany under the Kölsch-Convention which states how Kölsch is to be defined). This beer was extremely clear, highly carbonated with a bready aroma and crisp taste with an extremely faint end of bittering hops. Summer beer, anyone? High drinkability, especially at 4.8%ABV!
This meal lit up my night! Mango-chicken sausage smothered with whole grain mustard, caramelized onions and sweet peppers. The wonderfully crispy fries on the side were generously dipped in sundried tomato mayo and melted in my mouth. Looking at this picture (not the best picture due to the dark lighting) is making me salivate right now…
Since it was late at night and so dark inside, I would like to apologize for the fact that these pictures are not up to par. In order to make up for this, I’m offering to go back to eat more fries and sausages and take more pictures in the daytime: for the sake of the blog, of course.

I’m selfless like that.

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Ladies at Ladyface: 7

Last night we had our monthly Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables and Comestibles Education and Tippling Society meeting at Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie. With The Beer Chicks visiting and a White Elephant beer exchange, I was looking forward to a thrilling night.
My mumsie and I arrived early and stuffed ourselves with pork belly served over sweet potato cakes and macaroni and cheese with bacon and jalapeño. The mac and cheese was to DIE for! Just spicy enough to give you the sniffles with bits of deliciously crunchy bacon sprinkled throughout and covered with a browned crust of potato chips. I paired that with Ladyface’s Weizenbock and melted into my chair with happiness.
I had to peel myself away after a lovely and relaxing hour in order to join my fellow ladies.
We started with a tasting of winter beers. Lise brought her nut brown with some wonderful labeling.
Her Baltic Sea Dog porter had even better labeling thanks to her 10 year-old niece who has a future career as a beer label designer.
Cyrena treated us to their seasonal ale from the cellar: Fantôme De Noel, as well as a pitcher of La Trappistine to go around the table.
I brought a bottle of my Christmas Popper Vanilla Porter. I’ve named it that because I brewed it on purpose so it would just “pop” out of the bottle in a celebratory way. It comes with its own personalized bucket, as I also planned. I’m sticking with that explanation.
I was thrilled with the outcome. It’s exactly what I had in mind when I made it.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the festivity of the beer as well as the taste! Win win!
The Beer Chicks, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, were in attendance last night and participated in our White Elephant beer swap. They’d actually heard of/read my blog! Internal happiness spaz-out may have occurred… We had a good three hours of chatting about beer, life, bottle shops, brewing processes and everything in between. I walked away with two wonderful things:
An autographed book: The Naked Pint!
The Weihenstephaner Vitus was my draw – from the oldest brewery in the world! My mumsie got the Westoek X, which she will be sharing I’m sure.

It was the perfect way to really begin the holiday season! Bring on the lovely malts!

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