I had an amazing five days in California seeing wonderful friends! I must say, I miss the 80 degree weather while sitting on the patio at Ladyface and the gorgeous sunsets from the beachfront hotel room in Oxnard, but it is so nice to be home in Colorado. I really do feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. Now for a picture-heavy recap of the trip, plus the winners of the Craft Beer for the Homebrewer book giveaway!
Remember how I said that me as a 27 year old wouldn’t be skipping workouts? I may have lied to both you and myself and taken the rest of the trip off. Oops.
Story Tavern in Downtown Burbank on a beautiful patio with even better temperatures and amazing beer. It was a rough start to the trip.
Birthday breakfast at the hotel! A half serving of Eggs Benedict and copious amounts of horrible hotel coffee.
CUSTOM MELT to see my favorites Thomas and Phil! I was headed to the beach so I got some sammiches to go and sat around catching up with these two wonderful men.
I may have also tasted some of Enegren’s beer that I can’t get way out here in Colorado. Sniff.
Nothing Bundt Cake! I picked up a red velvet bundlet as my birthday cake and did a happy dance out the door.
No, we didn’t actually stay here, seeing that it’s abandoned and decrepit, but I had to swing by and say hello to one of my favorite formally-local hotels.
Once I got to the actual hotel, I scarfed down my Custom Melt sammich of choice – the Crispy Chicken: Thomas style. Fried chicken smothered in buffalo sauce and topped with carrots and celery in a creamy heaven sauce. My arteries were aching and it was so worth it.
A slow stroll on the beach followed by a relaxing sun-bath on the lifeguard stand.
Just because I’m artistic and stuff.
I hit the hotel hot tub to warm up and then sat out on the back deck to enjoy the sunset.
Overpriced hotel salmon and cous cous for birthday dinner.
Sunrise the next morning.
Okey, I am definitely missing this right now.
Lunch with my other favorites at Ladyface Alehouse in Agoura. The weather was to die for.
Beautiful mother and daughter!
And so very stylish, Avery! Now please stop chewing on Becki’s sunglasses…
I had to. I always have to. The mac ‘n cheese with bacon and jalapeno is too good to turn down, especially paired with the Ladyface IPA.
After saying farewell to Janelle and Avery, I went out to the mall to pick up some gelato and say hi to my friends who run the place, then enjoyed a walk through the farmers market.
Year round strawberries! It’s killing me to look at this.
Yet another stop on the food list. Andria’s Seafood at the Ventura Harbor.
And another sunset. You bored yet? Too bad.
Another sunrise that will never get old (to me).
I enjoyed a leisurely walk in Downtown Ventura and then drove up the coast to visit more of my favorite people who work at/own one of my favorite breweries. We had to visit The Spot for burgers and shakes while we waited for the brewery doors to open.
Island Brewing Company!
I enjoyed the Avocado Honey Ale with the ocean in the background. A perfect way to spend a Hallmark holiday.
Oh, I miss the ambiance of this place. They’re expanding to the space next door soon, and Mark was kind enough to give me a tour, which basically was him opening a door to a HUGE empty space and telling me to look while pointing out where the gigantic walk-in and canning station will be. Awesome.
Valentine’s Day flowers and sunsets make for a happy Becki.
Once I was back at the hotel I poured myself a Black Market Hefeweizen (all the beer consumed on this trip was beer that I can only find in California, for obvious reasons), and visited the pool for a swim.
Never enough sunsets.
Sunsets with best friends.
Trying to be artistic again and forgetting to drink my Trader Joe’s Mission Street Anniversary Ale (which is only $2.99!!!). Luckily we have a Trader Joe’s opening here in Fort Collins soon! I missed it so much!
Okey, enough with the art.
The final sunset on the beach. Le sigh.
On Saturday afternoon I drove up to the Burbank area so I could catch my flight early on Sunday and checked into this awesome hotel. What a view!
Golden Road was visited. 2020 IPA and Berliner Weisse with woodruff syrup was had. Fried artichokes were consumed. The hotel was visited and slept in.
Bright and early Sunday morning, I was sitting back on the plane with my face pressed against the glass, trying to will myself not to cave and move back.
Oh, Lord, why?
Once I landed, I had to go and check on the progress of my new house! It was 63 degrees outside and the bathtubs were installed! I breathed in the fresh Colorado air and felt right once again.
The wind picked up last night, followed by an unexpected downpour. I opened up this Enegren Brewing 2nd Anniversary Dopplesticke that I’ve had aging in my cellar since right before I moved and sat by the fire enjoying the company of my wonderful family.
What a glorious trip it was.
Okay, you guys ready for the winners of the book? I assigned all of you entry numbers (you could get up to four), and did a random number generator online. The winners are…..
Courtney L. and Aaron C.!!!! I’ve sent you both e-mails to let you know! As for the rest of you…
IT’S NOT OVER YET!!!!!
The publisher has offered up THREE more copies for me to give away! If you didn’t win, your name is going into the next giveaway! As soon as I receive those copies, I’ll put up an extension to the giveaway and three more of you will get this book for free. If you can’t wait until then, here’s a link to buy the book:
Craft Beer for the Homebrewer: Recipes From America’s Top Brewmasters
Happy Monday to everyone!
A few of the things that have transpired lately…
PLINY THE YOUNGER! Didn’t even have to wait in line! I was taking a different route home, got a call from a lovely lady from Ladies at Ladyface and was receiving a pour two minutes later. I’m glad that I tried it, but I’m very glad I didn’t wait in line for it. It’s a perfectly balanced beer. Someone at Tony’s Darts Away explained it the best way – “So perfect it’s forgettable.” I’ll remember it just because of the hype. And the jalapeno and bacon mac ‘n cheese I paired with it.
Enegren Brewing and El Segundo Brewing beer pairing night at Short Order!
Tom from El Segundo Brewing, Matt and Joe from Enegren Brewing.
Valkyrie California Alt in front of the fire on a warm evening.
Bad news for you guys – the food was so delicious that it was devoured before I remembered I should be taking pictures. My apologies.
Custom Melt visited the brewery for our St. Patrick’s Day event!
Green Mac ‘n Cheese with Bangers. Spinach blended into the cheese made it green. And healthy. That’s how that works.
Heavenly corned beef and cabbage melts. It was jam packed again, similar to Superbowl Saturday, so I was only able to snag a few bites of everything.
Irish Car Bomb bread pudding! Thomas of Custom Melt made Valkyrie beer bread to use in this recipe. Have I mentioned how Custom Melt is my hero/haven/love/dream?
We had the 21st meeting of Ladies at Ladyface! Irish brews were the theme.
Plenty of donations from the ladies.
Traditional examples of nitro Irish stouts.
And and “Irish Car Bomb” beer by Ladyface owner Cyrena. She used Ladyface’s Barleywine and threw in whiskey-soaked oak chips. Dangerously delicious, plus each glass had an oak chip or two gracefully floating atop the sweet nectar.
Corned beef and cabbage sliders to top off the evening!
I also designed and hosted a beer pairing at Cafe Fiore in Woodland Hills!
The things my job requires me to do… It’s rough, I’m tellin’ ya.
Chef masterpieces commence….NOW.
Ahi Tuna Tartar with fresh avocado, house-pickled cucumbers and crispy focaccia. I could’ve eaten just this all night and been content.
Citrus-glazed shrimp skewers with citrus wedges and spring greens.
House-made chicken and sun-dried tomato sausages atop sweet polenta, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Again, heavenly.
Corned beef sliders – twas the season.
Awful picture, but possibly my favorite dessert EVER – caramel sauce, freshly sliced Fuji apples and asiago cheese atop freshly baked pizza crust. My boss, my boss’s boss and myself each ordered an additional one to take home and share with those who were truly deserving of such an abundance of deliciousness – that means I ate the majority of it. It’s THAT good.
I had a lovely girls’ night with Janelle and her little Avery last night as well! She made an amazing spread of stuffed peppers, roasted sweet potatoes and fresh salad to pair with the beers I brought.
Farmer’s Reserve No. 2 by Almanac Beer Company. Wonderfully tart and not overpowering with spices at all. This will be a repeat.
Avery was a little jealous of us I think. Only 20.3 years and then you can join us in appreciation of fermented liquids! She shall be trained well when the time comes, but for now I’m enjoying capturing her beautiful innocence.
Coming up this week – a new restaurant review. I did a beer education at this amazing place with an eccentric/genius chef and have been dying to sit down and have a full meal there. Tomorrey is that day.
One evening I was sitting at home after a long day’s work, in desperate want of buffalo wings and a good craft beer to pair with them. I opened my computer, went into Facebook and created the group “Beer ‘n Wings“. Once a week a group of friends and brewery regulars (who are now friends) get together at a new spot and test out the wings and taps, in search of the best in the state. So far we’ve hit up Hooters (twice), the Dugout, Arkaine’s, Brendan’s Irish Pub in Newbury Park, BJ’s in Westlake, Wood Ranch and our latest destination: CUSTOM MELT!!!
The owners of Custom Melt, Phil and Thomas, offered to host our latest wings night. Thomas specially prepared out-of-this-world wings drenched in his own creation of sauces. Thomas and Phil, thank you so much for going out of your way for us!
Important things first – chips and cheese and BEER! Firestone Double DBA on tap? Yes. Sweet toffee malts balanced out with rich, earthy oak and topped off with a touch of hop bitterness. 12%ABV. Yes.
First up were the spicy wings. Tender, succulent and a hearty kick of spice at the end. The second – chipotle barbecue wings. Smoky and sweet. The third?
A combination of the spicy sauce with the chipotle barbecue. This was everyone’s favorite and made for a PERFECT pairing with the Double DBA. The ribbons of caramel in the malts complimented the sugar in the sauce and tamed the flame while the oak danced with the smokiness of the chipotle making each bite and sip taste like more. Okey, now I’m hungry again.
We had a lovely group of nine craft beer and wing enthusiasts. When people heard that Custom Melt was hooking us up, they raced to sign up. This place is HOT within the people of Moorpark for good reason!
Enough pictures, time to eat more.
Good job, John. We went through THIRTY POUNDS of wings that night! I’m quite proud of the nine of us accomplishing this grand feat.
Of course we had to end with an official dessert. Daniel Irons – Missoura style! Enegren Brewing’s Daniel Irons Oatmeal Stout with a splash of coffee, topped with whipped cream and another dash of rich stout.
Delicate aroma with hints of vanilla, robust cocoa and a touch of coffee.
This message was approved by Chris Enegren.
Now the question that awaits us all – where do we go first in the new year?
I’m off to Colorado for eleven days of breweries, beer, brewery tours, family, Christmas, beer and breweries! Keep up with my Twitter, Facebook and blog for updates throughout the upcoming week!
I haven’t given Custom Melt the full post it deserves yet – mainly because I end up devouring my sammich before I remember that I should be taking pictures. Last Sunday, they began serving breakfast. I was happy to be the first in line.
Beckers wantin’ brekkers!
I’ll admit that I was extremely tempted to get a Crispy Chicken sammich (my current go-to/obsession) but was talked out of it by my dining companion.
A view of the counter where the magic happens. And take my word, this place creates magic!
We started out with the necessities. Coffee…
And breakfast chips! Delicate fried tortillas sprinkled with cinnamon sugar!
Commander Matt got the Breakfast Brioche. Choose ham, bacon or sausage? CHOOSE? No, I made him get all three.
Instructions: Crush sammich with fist and slice in half. Not quite as pretty-looking but this is, without a doubt, the BEST breakfast sammich either of us has ever consumed. The lemon aioli adds a tangy, glorious twist to your not-so-traditional breafkast sammich, slicing through the rich cheeses and creamy egg yolk. More, please.
I went for one of my all-time favorite breakfast dishes and got the pastrami hash topped with two over-easy eggs. Perfectly seasoned soft potatoes laced with hints of pepper and studded with thick chunks of pastrami. Absolutely wonderful, but I’m still hooked on that freaking sammich. Dang, now I want another one…
After breakfast, we realized that plain and simple coffee Just. Wouldn’t. Do it.
Oh yes. Coffee + Daniel Irons Oatmeal Stout + whipped cream + a little more Daniel Irons = THIS. Out of this world goodness! And it has oatmeal in it, so it’s officially a breakfast beer!
WHEN you go into Custom Melt, ask for a Daniel Irons – Missoura Style. If Thomas and Phil give you a blank look, tell them you want the coffee/stout thing that Matt and Becki are obsessed with. That oughta do it.