Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company

Yes, I realize that I have, indeed, done a post on this place before. However, that was the restaurant in Calabasas. Today I got an invite to the original Wolf Creek in Santa Clarita – where the brewery is!
The brewery is hidden away in a little strip mall between Starbucks and Rite Aid. You’d never know that beer genius was being conducted in this building.
I got straight to work and grabbed a taster of the Midnight Howl Black IPA before my tour.
As of now, this is my favorite of their beers. Deliciously hoppy with an overtone of bitter coffee rounding out the end.
When sitting at the bar, you gaze through the glass windows and doors directly into the ten barrel brewery, watching the entire process from start to finish (if you are patient enough to sit there for quite a few hours)…
They currently have a copper system, but are looking to upgrade to a larger system, and building, within the next few months to keep up with demand.
The brewery contains the 10 bbl mash tun, lauter tank, a few fermenters and four serving tanks that are full with the high demand brews like Golden Eagle Ale and their Howlin’ Hefeweizen. While it looks like a tight space, Rob, the brewmaster, and his brother have no issue turning out consistent beer with the equipment that has been with them from the beginning of Wolf Creek – 15 years!
Allie and I decided that it was extremely important to taste test all of the beers, and a lot of food, to make sure that our first visit wasn’t a fluke. Quality control.
These. Are. Awesome. “Rings and Thorns” – Ale-battered onions and jalapeno slices, served with a spicy chipotle ketchup and a cooling ranch in case it gets too hot for you. We devoured almost the entire bag.
The Vaquero sammich – sliced steak with grilled asparagus, fried onion strings, cilantro pesto, sliced tomatoes and goat cheese on top of fresh ciabatta. I’ve had this before and needed to do more quality control. It’s still as heavenly as I recall.

Unfortunately we were too stuffed to take advantage of their two-for-one dessert special of the day. I am ashamed of missing out on that.
Thanks to Rob for giving us the tour and letting us try your amazing brews and foods! I’ll be back for that dessert special. And the beer. And the onion rings. And the sammich. And probably to try every other item on the menu…

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The LAB Brewing Company

I’ve been to the LAB Brewing Company (which stands for Live Art Brewing – beer, food, music and art) many, many times with the EBC crew, but never had a chance to take pictures (mainly because we’d go for dinner and drinks after EBC closed). When I received an invite from Alan and Roger the brewmaster for a personal tour and beer tasting (during DAYLIGHT hours), I agreed immediately.
The LAB Brewing Company opened in Agoura Hills November 1st of last year.
The bar area of the LAB looks directly into the brewery which is encased behind glass doors, allowing patrons to watch the brewing process as they sip the outcome.
The beer selection here is incredible! Thirty-two taps, heavy on the IPAs (yay!), and rounded out with nothing but craft beer.
The main dining room features a stage where musicians and deejays play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The covered patio is quaint and cozy, with a fireplace in the corner and heaters placed throughout to keep the Californians warm when the temperature dips below seventy degrees on a winter’s eve.
Now to the important stuff – beer and foods! I grabbed a sampler of all the beers they make – Bad Influence IPA, Take Her Home Tripel, Cold Fusion Java, Big Ass Red and LAB XPA. Bad Influence IPA was my favorite of their available beers – a zesty citrus and floral aroma with an extreme bite (93 IBUs and 7.5% ABV). HOWEVER, I was given a sneak preview of the After Midnight Moo Milk Stout straight from the fermentor and fell head over heels! Hints of sweetness, smooth and creamy – I believe they said it was going on the nitro tap? I should probably go back and check, just to make sure, right?
Alan, Roger and I split an order of the house fries with bleu cheese and garlic. These shoestring fries came out sizzling hot, with potent bleu cheese melting into every crevice. They were perfectly crispy with a light dusting of fresh garlic that melded harmoniously with the cheese.
The polenta came out next – crispy on the outside, delicate and moist on the inside, and drizzled with fresh pesto and marinara sauce. I’m not well-versed on polenta, but from what I tasted, this one’s a winner! If you want more, I consider that a good thing. I wanted more.
BACON IN A CUP!!! This was actually a little disappointing – candied bacon. There was barely a hint of sugar to any of the bacon strips, and it needed to be baked a little longer to crisp up. Didn’t matter though – it was still bacon, therefore I still ate it.
After feasting, I got a tour of the brewery. It’s incredibly tight quarters, especially considering that these are 15 barrel tanks, but they’ve made great use of the small space provided.
Three of the fermentation tanks are out in full view in the center of the dining room, while the milk stout was relaxing in this one in the middle of the brewery.
These fermentors lead straight to the taps, delivering the freshest beer possible.
There are murals across the entire restaurant – this is an artist’s rendition of Roger Bott, the brewmaster. Let’s compare, shall we?
THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY!!! Time to go blonde, Roger?

I think a separate post detailing the epicness that is the LAB burger will be coming up shortly… I’m feeling hungry again…

The LAB Brewing Company
30105 Agoura Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Open 7 days a week, 11am-close

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Golden Road Brewing

Ever feel like the week is just way too long and you need to get out in the middle of the day on Friday and go visit a brewery? Yeah, me too.
I’ve been reading about Golden Road Brewing for about a month now and was dying to get in there and try some of their brews and foods before their grand opening on Sunday. Yesterday the family and I, pooch included, drove out to LA to give it a taste.
The inside of the yellow building (the pub) is cavernous and bright with a beautifully long bar draping across the end.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside – around 82 degrees Fahrenheit, so we decided to enjoy the patio. They have a specified dog patio below this one with umbrellas where you can hydrate your pup and enjoy your meal.
Clean dog beds and fresh water!
It’s great to have a place that’s dog-friendly! We’ve been quite limited in our outings thanks to this fuzzy one.
Behind the bar is a large chalkboard with the entire menu written across. Since they’ve only got three of their beers on tap they weren’t giving out tasting flights. We had to order full pints. Bummer.
We ordered almost across the board – Golden Road Point the Way IPA, Hangar 24 Chocolate Porter and Golden Road Hefeweizen. Their IPA is crystal clear and delicately hoppy – a nice change from the intense hopbombs that are gracing so many breweries nowadays, with a crisp finish. The hefeweizen is a beautiful cloudy gold with notes of banana wafting off the rich head, and a citrusy smooth sip with a sweet finish – PERFECT for the beautiful weather!
They have a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, along with plenty of options for the carnivores out there as well. There were so many options that we couldn’t decide between them. So we got them all.
Maple Fritters – deep fried sweet potato dumplings with a honey mustard dip. These were surprisingly light and crispy, and piping hot to boot. DROOL.
Puffy, golden (I get the theme here, Golden Road!), flaky dumplings of heaven!
We started with a non-vegan dish – the Sloppy Joseph: Short ribs braised in stout and topped with fried shallots and housemade barbecue sauce. I may or may not have licked the plate clean…
Miso Crabby Salad – fresh and light with fresh crab and sliced peppers gracing the top.
For the vegans out there – Coconut “Noodle” Salad: Tender strips of coconut, sliced jalapenos, carrot, chili peppers and cabbage tossed in a light curried sauce with toasted cashews. This burned so good! I wish they’d still had their Festivus Cinnamon Bitter beer on tap to pair! I guess I’ll just have to come back next time they brew it. Bummer again.
Back to the meat! Pulled Pork Sandwich: tender pulled pork that’s been braised in their hef and shredded cabbage on a flaky croissant. I’m stating this here and now – best pulled pork sammich I’ve had to date.
Guess who happened to show up while we were feasting? Cyrena Nouzille and Dave Griffiths of Ladyface Ale! Skipp Shelly, the marketing manager of Golden Road Brewing and a fellow Maltose Falcon from the shop brew also happened to be there – weird coincidence seeing that he works there.
The brewery is right next to the train tracks. I almost had a heart attack when the first one came from behind the building and blasted its horn! I needed to get another beer to calm my nerves.
We enjoyed a good two and a half hours there until the sun went down and the air dropped to a chilly 75 degrees. Delicious beer, amazing food and a wonderful way to end (or begin) the week!
Golden Road Brewing
5430 West San Fernando Road
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Open daily 11am-11pm

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Teru Sushi

Thanks to my cousin Allie, I was treated to a free fancy sushi lunch! Groupons be awesome.
Teru Sushi in Studio City! Complimentary/mandatory valet parking – prepare yourself to give up your keys and two dollars for tip.
This is a fancy place. They give you hot washcloths wrapped in plastic!
The Groupon included edamame, two rolls up to $18 and either free sake or dessert.
Since I was driving, we decided to forgo the sake and settled for green tea. Classy.
The restaurant looks pretty small from the outside, but it extends far back and even includes an outdoor patio. The inside is dimly lit and very cozy.
We decided to get the most out of our deal and got the OMG Roll – spicy tuna with fried onions, topped with albacore and ponzu sauce. Fairly certain I’ll have onion breath for the rest of the week, but it was more than worth it!
Da Bomb – spicy tuna, tempura shrimp and cucumber wrapped in soy paper, topped with avocado, albacore and spicy crab, then drizzled with ponzu sauce. Drool worthy and embarrassing to eat. You basically need to unhinge your jaw in order to fit each piece into your mouth, but it is so worth it. Spicy, crunchy and fresh. Possibly the best sushi roll I’ve ever had!
Since we skipped the sake, we decided on the Teru Dessert. On the menu they said it was a brownie topped with ice cream, but this was actually a chocolate lava cake. Lava cake trumps brownie every time. Even though we were stuffed to the gills and couldn’t finish the sushi rolls, somehow this thing disappeared.

After we waddled out the door and got back in the car, we stopped by Wades Wines to pick up some tasters for the night.
The Alchemist/Ninkasi/Stone’s More Brown Than Black IPA. Beautiful brown color, floral hoppy aroma and a relatively mellow flavor with a touch of bitterness on the end and just a barely-there hint of roasty malts to round it out.

Quite a successful day, if I do say so myself. Now back to draft systems and aroma flashcards!

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The Dillinger

Remember how I said that my pictures would be getting progressively better? I forgot to mention that first they have to get progressively worse… “It’s gotta get bad before it gets good.”

Without further ado, I give you the restaurant that made this ridiculously-high-temperature-wanted-to-pass-out-don’t-like-this-place-at-all town bearable.
The Dillinger: a restaurant in Boulder City, Nevada that had their grand opening on August 19th. After visiting the greasy diners and eating art fair food, I was thrilled to have stumbled across this while walking the town.
They have some good beers on tap, if you choose to ignore the PBR (which did win best large brewery at GABF this past weekend. Weird.).
They carry Dogfish Head! That alone would be grounds for me to LOVE THEM. I got Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA on tap and Ora grabbed a bottle of the 90 Minute. My boss is a hophead. Awesome.
The inside is spacious and open – something you don’t find anywhere else in town. The local diners cram as many tables into the room as they can which makes for an obstacle course if you’re trying to navigate in or out of the room. The Dillinger is airy and serene with soft lights accenting the marbled floors and tiled decor. Amy, our server, was ridiculously helpful and knowledgeable about everything on the menu, AND the drinks! Anytime we started to need anything, there she was! AMAZING service without being in-your-face. Amy, from the bottom of our stomachs, thank you for your help and conversation!
To start, we ordered the fire roasted artichoke. Not something I’d usually go for, but I’m so glad we did!
Tender leaves of artichoke, drizzled with lemon and dipped into this zesty, smoky tomato-chipotle dip. I could’ve eaten the dip on its own with a spoon! Actually, I did eat the dip with a spoon. I’m not ashamed.
I had to order the namesake – The Dillinger. If there’s an item on the menu that is named after the restaurant, GET IT. There’s a reason they name it after the place!
A hamburger, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon and brisket encased between the fluffy buns that are as soft as pillows. The combination of smoky bacon and the sweetness of the barbecue sauce they drizzle over the brisket brought tears of love and joy to my eyes. Why don’t all burgers include bacon and brisket? My new obsession!
Other obsession – their sweet potato fries. I’ve had sweet potato fries before. No big whoop. THESE sweet potato fries, however, are tossed in a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar, making every crevice of the crinkle cut fries explode with the delicate whisper of warm sugar and sweet potato pie. Exploding with delicate whispers. Try to find fries that can do that anywhere else.
The grande finale. This is the best bread pudding I’ve ever consumed in my entire life. Like sweet potato fries, I’ve eaten a LOT of bread puddings. This one makes any other bread pudding embarrassed to be called bread pudding. This is the manager’s mother’s recipe – peaches and raisins ensconced in layers of warm, silky, sweet custard-soaked bread, drizzled with more rich custard and topped with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce.

I was so full after this meal that I had to waddle back to the hotel, cradling my leftover bread pudding with all the love and care I could, before devouring it for breakfast this morning. This meal and The Dillinger –  what dreams are made of.

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