My new job has kept me busier than I ever expected. My new job has also introduced me to new places that serve delicious food and craft beer. Perks! One gem I found this past week – Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks.
Blue Dog is hidden on a side road next to busy Ventura Blvd with an open, free parking lot. In LA, free parking is priceless!
The decor is dedicated to images of beloved puppies – pictures race across the walls and over the ceiling beams.
THE BEER LIST. They have eight taps, all filled with a wonderful variety of craft brews. I hadn’t tried the Cismontane Nopalito de Trigo before, so the manager was kind enough to give me a sip.
A VERY generous sip! This beer was full of wonderful bubblegum aroma spiced with hints of clove. The flavor was full of sweet and tart prickly pear juice which was in very unique balance with the mustiness from the hefeweizen yeast. I’d definitely order a full pour next time!
BURGER LIST. The second most important thing. I had a hard time deciding, but something spicy was needed to pair with that smooth hefeweizen. On recommendation of the bar manager, I went with the Fire Starter.
One of the top ten burgers I’ve had to date. Perfectly seared and topped with crispy onion strings, deep fried jalapenos, pepperjack cheese and honey chipotle sauce. Every bite made beads of sweat break out across my brow. The fries were also out of this world – crispy without being too greasy, piping hot and seasoned perfectly.
I’m VERY thankful to have found this place and will definitely be willing to make the trek out to Sherman Oaks to eat and imbibe every once in a while. The staff, food and beer are all so wonderful, friendly and delicious! After working in beer all day and all week however, I needed a little change.
That oughta do it!
I met up with Barbara, the owner of Magnavino Cellars based out of Oxnard, and got to sample all of these amazing wines. It’s good to keep working your palate through all types of craft. It’s called education, people!
The harvest season is upon us! For our monthly meeting the ladies of Ladies at Ladyface brought harvest or pumpkin beers along with other delicious edibles for pairings.
We may have gone a little overboard with the bottle selection…
Cyrena brought out something very unique for this night – candy pairings!
We got a list of the different beers and the types of candy they should be paired with.
We each poured samples of the different brews and grabbed a small handful of each candy selection.
Needless to say, we were exceptionally hyped up within the first ten minutes.
Very hyped up.
Sugar-headache hyped up.
The first pairing was Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA with sour grapefruit chews. The tang and flavor of the candy really brought out the grapefruit citrus of the fresh hops in the beer. My favorite candy pairing of the night was Weihenstephaner Aventinus and Reeses Pieces. I could explain this one, but I’d rather you just try it.
During the pairings I cleansed my palate with Pliny the Elder. I’d actually ordered this before we all sat down, so this was slowly sipped throughout the evening and also paired wonderfully with all of the citrus candies.
I brought my pumpkin spice donuts to pair with any of the pumpkin beers. Whole wheat and baked. These actually have negative calories so the mass quantities of sugar, beer and other foods are cancelled out. Planning ahead!
Michelle finally caved from all of my begging over the past year and brought back the kraut! Dare I say even better than the last time I had it? We’ve dubbed this “pig kraut” because of the mass amounts of bacon, pulled pork, ribs and kielbasa that reside inside. Lise even made her own bratwurst to go with. Ever had homemade bratwurst? It’s beyond epic. The kraut was such a hit that even the vegetarian of the group had three servings! (She’s a vegetarian except for anything made from pig, apparently.)
Overall it was a long and wonderful night, per usual. We tried many (many, many, many) different beers and got to experience something I’ve never even thought of/heard of: pairing candy and beer.
Our next meeting is December 3rd – Brown bag tasting, white elephant exchange and a look at the new winter menu which will hopefully include short ribs with melted leeks again! If you’re a lady and interested in craft beer, come join us! Any interested men? Find a lady and wait for her at the bar with all of the other men!
The lobsta cookout we had was absolutely incredible and ridiculous.
We started (and ended) the night with seafood. Fresh shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce drizzled with lemon. This was the sweetest, freshest shrimp I’ve ever had the good luck to come by.
The next course was something I’ve absolutely never had before and would never have thought to try. Clam pie. I had some just to be polite and was surprised to find out that I actually enjoyed it! The massive amounts of butter, bread crumbs and bacon topping might be one of the reasons I liked it so.
It was a blustery evening, but luckily the rain had let up for a few hours so we were able to cook outdoors.
It was cold enough that the fireplace spent the evening crackling away in a feeble attempt to thaw my freezing hands. I wasn’t in a sharing mood so everyone else froze.
Then the massacre began. Believe it or not I’d never tried lobster before, excepting some tempura lobster wrapped up in a sushi roll.
For a group of eight, there were twenty lobstas. TWENTY! I wasn’t sure if I would even like lobsta, which was daunting enough in itself. If I hated it could I pull it off acting like I really did enjoy it to be polite?
We removed the bands from the lobsta claws as they tried to remove our fingers at the same time and put them all in a giant pot of boiling water.
To distract ourselves from the horrors that were occurring outside, we poured some zinfandel and shared platitudes of guilt.
Fifteen minutes later, the lobstas entered the kitchen and graced our plates.
This was my expression the entire night as I tried to figure out how to crack, extract and consume the lobsta. It took me about an hour to figure it out, plus a lot of help from those sitting next to me, but believe it or not I actually liked it! I honestly didn’t think I would, and judging by that picture, I’m not sure anyone in the room believed me when I said I did…
We rounded out the meal with fresh apple and cranberry pie. To say I was stuffed is a massive understatement. I fell into a shellfish-induced food coma for another hour before I finally rolled into bed.
Kathy made a baked french toast casserole for breakfast the next morning. Made with fresh challah bread and blueberries, this sweet bread pudding was a perfect lobsta-hangover cure.
Perhaps this will be an addition to my traditional savory bread pudding we make for Christmas! Please note I said addition, not substitution.
Lunch was lobsta rolls made with the six leftover lobstas we were unable to consume the night before. These were much easier to eat and just as, if not more, delicious as regular lobsta! I’d like to add – these New England style hot dog buns with flat sides rock my world. Why are they not made in California??
Commander Matt and I had to book it back to the airport to catch our flight back. We took a detour and stopped by the oldest restaurant in America, Union Oyster House.
We waited for about twenty minutes in order to be able to sit at the original bar. It was well worth the wait.
I got a cup of the clam chowder and a pint of Sam Adams Colonial Ale, brewed specifically for this restaurant. When in Boston, drink as the Bostonians do! Love the local brews!
We finally got the rental car returned…just in time to get a text from American Airlines saying our flight had been delayed. Three times. Our evening was spent at the airport bars enjoying a few local beers and watching as each delay was extended.
When they finally began boarding the plane the ticket checker insisted that everyone make sure their carry-ons were to the designated size. This poor woman got her suitcase to fit…
…and then spent the next twenty minutes attempting to remove it from its confines. We slipped quietly on board for a sleepless flight back to Los Angeles.
I went to my first day at my new job with two hours of sleep, a brutal cold that still hasn’t departed and credit fraud, but I wouldn’t trade the trip for anything! Except maybe a longer visit…
I came back from Boston with a nasty cold and credit card fraud, so forgive the delay. Let’s get back to reminiscing about happier times.
Thursday night we attended the dress rehearsal of Commander Matt’s good friends, Matt and Kristen. The rehearsal dinner that followed took place as the sun set on a wonderfully chilly evening.
The happy group met at a country club after to wine, dine and celebrate.
I was very pleased to see these heaters while shaking in my knee-length dress. The cocktail(s) may have helped warm me as well.
I sampled a little of everything – from lasagna to sole, goat cheese and butternut sqaush risotto to chicken piccata and fresh mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled with balsamic reduction. As usual, I pawned off the leftovers to the people around me.
The wedding went off beautifully despite the downpour and the reception that followed was ridiculously fun and one of the best nights I’ve had. For privacy purposes (and the fact that I didn’t take my camera to either), pictures have been omitted.
On Saturday morning we drove over to Marion – an adorable little town off the edge of Buzzard’s Bay.
The Enegren parental unit took us out on their boat during the short reprieve from rain.
We watched the end of a sailing race! No, wait, this was before the beginning…
This was DEFINITELY either the end or the beginning. Although it may have been the middle… I’m not trained enough to follow.
When you don’t understand something, grab a local beer. That always makes everything make sense. Or just passes the time while you wait for a race to start and/or finish.
I only slightly froze. They had 100+ degree temps over in California, so I was loving the chill!
After the extremely confusing race, we raced back into the bay and moored the boat while Mama Enegren made a fancy lunch.
I absolutely adored the ride in. All of the original houses from the 1800s line the shore, looking like postcard pictures.
We started off with piping hot clam chowda. With the temperature hovering around 60 degrees and a drizzle beginning to come in, this was a welcomed sight, and so delicious! There’s just something about having clam chowda on the east coast that just makes life feel right.
Homemade chicken salad sammiches rounded out the meal. I tried not to finish mine since we had a lobsta cookout coming later that night and I wanted to be ravenous!
We got a lift in to the yacht club, disembarked and perused through the old building, gazing at the history that lined the walls and cabinets.
I couldn’t have asked for a nicer welcome to Marion. Plus, I still had the lobsta cookout to look forward to!