My parentals moved to Colorado in April. I got the chance to visit them in May, and last weekend they came out to San Diego to attend the wedding of their best friends’ daughter! I moseyed on down to visit with them and attend the wedding as well.
My mumsie and I went out for a nice lazy breakfast on our first morning. We visited The Cottage in La Jolla – a cute little house with a large patio and white picket fence. The most important meal of the day – COFFEE. My mumsie ordered the chicken hash over warm corn tortillas. I went for my typical greasy diner/breakfast out meal – Eggs Benedict! Nothing too special about this one… Except for the perfectly poached egg and fresh avocado slices. It’s quite a feat to poach an egg just right. It’s the little things in life that matter. It definitely made it a lot harder to squeeze into that dress for the wedding, but totally worth it! I also purchased my very first pair of flats ever. I hate shopping. This was a big deal for me. My beautiful parental unit. Parents of the bride. Such a beautiful, happy couple! Now time for celebrating! Champagne mojito? Yes, please! And the feasting and dancing begins. Steak, shrimp and mac ‘n cheese! Best wedding food I’ve eaten to date. Build your own dessert. Father-daughter dance being beautifully interrupted by grandpa.
It was an absolutely perfect wedding. The recap of the rest of the trip coming soon!
I had an interview in San Diego yesterday and it was getting to be around lunchtime. I figured that I should probably enter this interview with a full stomach to level my head. Enter: Stone Brewing. Again! I can never get enough of either this place, or San Diego in general! My pops ordered the Oaked Arrogant Bastard. He graciously let me steal a few sips. I love how the oak chips slightly mellow out the bitter bite of hops without really diminishing the wonderful, mouth-puckering IBUs. Both the beer list and the food menu were quite slim because they’re in the midst of an expansion. A new building will be going up behind the current one, and all the bottling/production will go in there so that more fermentors can fit into the current building. Luckily, we were able to find a few things to consume, small menu aside. The prime rib melt – so far the best thing I’ve eaten at Stone. Mushroom pillows – so far my least favorite thing from Stone. The mushrooms had released all the water while cooking and made for a sloppy mess. I like mushrooms at times… This was not one of them. My mumsie got the duck tacos – sweet barbecued duck topped with fresh tomatoes, onions and sprouts, served alongside spiced rice, beans and corn salsa. For dessert we split the orange chiffon cheesecake. This was like eating delicious air! Incredibly light, creamy, not too sweet with a perfectly crumbly crust. After fooding, I had the interview and we cruised down to San Diego for the William Fitzsimmons concert in Little Italy. A few pictures of that will come later! First, we had to stop by my favorite bar in town: Craft & Commerce. Both Michael Skubic from Hess Brewing and Jeremy Moynier from Stone Brewing recommended the Up In Smoke. I had to try it. This is a very, very smoky/scotchy drink! I’ve always been afraid of bastardizing beer, but I’m glad I got this! The sweetness and carbonation of Allagash Curieux along with the tang of the lime juice balance the smoky scotch, with big cubes of ice to mellow the blunt alcohol. This baby is a slow sipper! The real question now is what beer cocktail to try next? After Craft & Commerce, we sallied over to Anthology and spent the night being lulled into mellow, happy oblivion by William Fitzsimmons.
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?
Yesterday I headed down to San Diego with Commander Matt from Enegren Brewing to pick up a keg washer from Premier and visit a few breweries. Unfortunately, the majority of them are closed on Tuesdays. Fortunately, since I was with the owner of a brewery, we had an in to ALL of them. Our first stop after Premier was Hess Brewing where we met up with Michael Skubic – tasting room manager and beer wrangler. Hess is located in an industrial complex in a quaint and cozy space. I love the touch of the hanging candle lanterns! I’ll have to come back in the evening sometime soon. These guys work on a 1.5 bbl system. It looks like a gigantic homebrew system and they brew on it pretty often to keep up with demand. I first tried the Magna Cucerbita Pumpkin Stout. The pumpkin spice aroma in this beer was perfectly balanced – definitely noticeable but not overwhelming like many pumpkin ales I’ve tried. I wanted another taster of this, but decided that trying some others would be a good idea… My options were extremely limited. There weren’t too many to choose from… *insert sarcasm here* Up next: Grazias Vienna Cream Ale. I have absolutely nothing to compare this to since I’ve never had a cream ale before. All I can really say, without a doubt, is that I liked it. Very smooth, slightly sweet, easy drinkability with a hint of vanilla (maybe?) in the aroma. My favorite of all the beers I tried (and I tried and adored every one) was the Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat. This one reminded me exactly of Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA thanks to the aroma of the chamomile, coriander and orange blossom honey. The honey flavor is apparent in the first sip and accompanied by a wonderful floral sweetness, yet not perfumey at all. The hops are nice and quiet on this making it a VERY easy drinker that would suit either a warm summer day or a rainy autumn evening with a blanket and a book. Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat would be the perfect substitute for chamomile tea on that chilly evening. There really is no lack of choices here. If you’re ever in the San Diego area and want to visit a gem, head over to Hess Brewing at 7955 Silverton Ave, Ste 1201. I’ll be going back soon for a mid-holiday visit!
Part two of the San Diego brewery trip (Stone, Iron Fist, Ballast Point) coming soon – too many amazing breweries to clump into a single post. They all deserve their own recognition.
Aside from my Starbucks visits while on the road to another show, and my very, VERY rare desire for a McFlurry during long road trip vacations, I tend to stay as far away as possible from fast food. This past weekend, however, I found the new meaning of fast food, and I am in love. Yelp brought this hole-in-the-wall to my attention. The previous day, I’d discovered Indian Tandoor sitting in a strip mall, and was greeted with the most amazing Chicken Tikka Masala I’d ever had in my entire life – all served on styrofoam within five minutes of ordering. Punjabi Tandoor was the next day. We placed our order and a few minutes later, had fresh samosas placed before us. These were piping hot and stuffed to the brim with savory saffron-scented potatoes, pearl onions, peas and carrots, and served with a spicy-sweet red sauce that tasted like warmed honey studded with dried red chilies. I inhaled mine and held myself back from licking the crumbs of the styrofoam plate it was served on. Seconds after I’d finished the samosa, our Chicken Tikka Masala and Baingan Bharta came rolling out. The chicken was delicious, but nothing compared to Indian Tandoor. The eggplant on the other hand… the absolute BEST Baingan Bharta I’ve come across in my entire Indian food-consuming career, and I’ve tried a LOT! It was perfectly cooked with a sweet charred scent, and spicy enough that you’d need tissues, but not so spicy that you couldn’t finish. The freshly baked garlic naan that came alongside burned my fingers because I couldn’t wait for it to cool before using it to sop up the delicious sauces.
The next day, I needed to try more of this non-chain fast-food that is speckled throughout San Diego. Enter Drift Sushi. Okay, technically they’re a catering service, not fast food, but I watched them make my spicy tuna roll and serve it to me in two minutes, so I think it counts. This is, by far (prepare to roll your eyes), the BEST spicy tuna roll I’ve ever had. Am I getting monotonous? This roll was my breakfast, and I ordered it again for dinner. They generously stuffed it with creamy avocado and fresh cucumber, and even drizzled on eel sauce at my request. I wish I could tell you which booth served these, but I just followed my nose. I ordered the garlic fries from the unknown booth and watched as they flash fried them and then tossed them in a sauce made of fresh minced garlic and dried parsley. You KNOW fries are good if they bag they’re served in becomes transparent! I ate the top layer and then shared the love with other artists around the show. And here’s the ONE solitary food disappointment of the trip. My first food truck. Witty names, organic ingredients… If only their food lived up to the board. I got the chicken pesto wrap with speckled lettuce and dry chicken. So glad I shelled out $9 for the experience. Ora got the Mother Trucker vegan burger which she said was also dry. I was simply mesmerized by the neon pink beet sauce.
I’ve tried one beer from Green Flash Brewing Co. prior to tonight – the Barleywine. I wasn’t a big fan, seeing that I’d never had barleywine before and had no idea what to expect. Since I’m working down in San Diego this weekend, and since the brewery recently moved to a new place mere minutes from my hotel, I decided to check it out. It was such a gorgeous day out, I decided to walk to the brewery. The building is HUGE! I walked into this ginormous cavern that was jammed with people and beautiful beer. They recently made the move to this building, so there are huge tanks and fermenters that are essentially empty. These casks and the fridge are all that contain beer here so far. They had 15 beers on tap here. I waited in a loooong line, got my ID checked (really? ME?) and ordered four tasters. San Diego Saison – A REALLY good saison (and I’m a great judge of those, seeing that I’ve only had one before…). It had a very nutmeg-y essence and reminded me of pumpkin ale – no wonder I liked! Le Freak - A Belgian-style IPA. VERY hoppy, but finishes with a sweet malt. It made for a happy Becki. Hop Head Red – This clocks in at only 45 IBU… Not sure why they’d call it Hop Head. Still, not bad, but not what I was hoping for after reading the name. Double Stout – A rich, smooth, toasty stout. I finished with this one which allowed it to come closer to room temperature, and really warmed up the aromatics. Stouts aren’t my favorite, but this one was luscious! Respect the lacing. I hung out at the bar and took creeper pictures of people and the tanks behind them. There’s still a lot of work to be done here, construction-wise, but their beers need for nothing! I can’t believe I’ve never experienced Green Flash before, but I’m so glad I was able to experience it straight from the mothership. Then I wandered to the strip mall across the street and had Indian fast food. Frightening? Yes, but so worth it. Dare I say the best chicken tikka masala I’ve ever had? BEST CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA I’VE EVER HAD! This arrived at my table sizzling hot, rich and full of creamy, smoky tomato flavor, tender bites of chicken and a zesty spice that made my nose run. Indian Tandoor – unassuming, kinda nervewracking to order from, and delicious. C’mon, live dangerously! It’s worth the risk.
I spent last weekend down in San Diego working at the ArtWalk, and while I only got one chance to blog, I got PLENTY of chances to eat. Mainly, they were all here: Craft & Commerce: The most amazing gastropub I’ve ever been to. This little place has exposed brick, literary genius written all over the walls, and when you use their bathroom, you’re treated to MORE literary genius via books on tape. I happened to stop in whilst Pride and Prejudice was being read by some lovely British voice-over. Also, this place is kind of popular. It was JAM PACKED the entire time we were working the booth across the street. Girls come to flirt, boys show up to pretend that they’re more mature than they really are… “I’m twenty-sssss….. thirty-eight…” (and yes, I actually witnessed a boy attempting that one while he was chatting up a cougar), and superheroes come to box, like the man in red and blue above. They serve incredibly unique food, such as the pickled cucumber slices, watermelon and jicama. I do not like jicama yet, but I only have twelve more tries until I do, according to scientific research. (Scientific research WAS conducted! I recall reading it, I just can’t find where I read it. You’ll have to trust me on this one…) The mixologists (Do NOT call them bartenders! They are trained professionals! Also, EXCELLENT at what they do!) all wear suspenders, and thick books rest upon each table. My genius friend Kim, who recently got accepted into UCLA for her graduate program (Congrats, Khimniney!) partook in the true enjoyment of Craft & Commerce, suspenders included. I also partook with my AleSmith Speedway Stout – (which was DELICIOUS and INTENSE!). We’re smart like that. That’s such a lie. We’re actually complete fools when we hang out. I adore her precisely for that reason. Some history: Kim and I were in the TAG (talented and gifted) group in middle school together. We rode my bike to the high school for our super-genius-awesome-girl-algebra class in eighth grade. I peddled, she balanced on the seat. We coasted down a steep hill every Wednesday and Thursday, praying that the garbage trucks had already crossed our intersections – there were a few close calls since I couldn’t control the brakes… I recall plenty of screaming from both of us… After Kim left, I decided to order dinner before I headed back to the booth. Pickles = good. Fried stuff = good. Fried pickles = ???? From this place, they equal “meh”. I had fried pickles ONCE before, and they were AMAZING! Unfortunately, these did not live up to par.
The GOOD news is that I will be having said AMAZING fried pickles later this month – in Colorado! We’re taking a family trip to visit my bro and his wife (The Vegans), have fried pickles and drink good beers. I suppose I’ll find a way to suffer through…
Off to Vegas this weekend! For work, thank you very much, but it will be the first time I gamble. Legally… Gotta try it once! Legally… My first time gambling… I won. I cashed out. I fled.
I’m in San Diego for the weekend for the ArtWalk. It’s been a really, REALLY long day. Ora and I arrived here around 10:30pm last night, ravenous, exhausted and hungry. Wait, what? Yeah, THAT’S how tired I am. We ordered a few appetizers to split, and got a table full of edibles. Chicken strips, guacamole and salsa, red pepper hummus and some other kind of hummus. Oh yes, and a Stone IPA for me. I ordered Ora a Lost Abbey Hefeweizen, which I am totally not drinking as I type this. At least, I think that’s what it was a Hefeweizen… I Googled all over and couldn’t find out what I am totally not drinking now. Also, I’m way too lazy to go ask the bartender what it is that I’m totally not drinking now…
A 5am wake-up call was ordered. It did not come at 5am. It actually arrived at 4:30am. I was totally not pissed. I totally did not consider demanding free beer for my mental suffering. I totally did not follow up on said demands… Also, I totally did not watch a gorgeous sunset on the patio of my hotel room whilst totally not sipping a Lost Abbey beer. Yeah, totally didn’t do any of that…