Monthly Archives: July 2011

Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA

Yes, this beer deserves its own post.
Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA actually glows from within.
It tastes even better because it’s made right across the water in Seattle. All those little tents in the lower left of the picture? That’s where I’m working this weekend.
This IPA is extremely low on the IBU – 40, so it’s on the lowest end of what an IPA can be (not really what I’d prefer in an IPA), but it is definitely an amazing herb/spice beer! I got it on tap at Chantanee Thai tonight – the food was good, but the beer! OH THE BEER! The rich head retained for the entire glass and left a beautifully intricate lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is an elegant floral jasmine which overwhelms any hop essence. The sweet jasmine flavor is very prominent in this beer, followed by warm malt and a lasting bitterness that translates back to a soft kiss of jasmine on the back of the tongue. It’s not a beer I would order regularly, but paired with Thai or Chinese food, pour me a pint!
With the beautiful views…
…and the hundreds of rare craft brews that line the shelves of the local grocery stores, I think I’m starting to love this place.
PLUS, I got this letter and I’m going to get rich from helping this woman “carry out her charity wish in which I will help her carry out her charity project as her wish” in exchange for three million dollars! MAN, this town is lucky!

Maybe I should move here once I’ve helped her carry our her charity wish and get the three million dollars she’s offered me…


Filed under beer

Tap House Grill

You know what’s irritating? When the name of a restaurant is written in all caps with no clear spaces so you don’t know if it’s Taphouse Grill or Tap House Grill or TAPHOUSEGRILL. You know what’s irritating after choosing a sample platter from their 160 beers they have on tap?

We went to the Tap House Grill (I triple checked it with Google) for a late dinner after the show closed. I almost had a happy panic attack when I saw the extensive list of their beers.
Seriously, how does one decide which beers to try?

Lucky for me, they had a Northwest Sampler. They chose four local beers from different styles for me, and all I had to do was sit back and sip!
They brought out four six-ounce tasters full of glorious malty, hoppy liquid joy.
First up was the Emerald City Dotties Lager. Um, lager? Is that now a specification? I’m fairly certain that any beer fermented with lager yeast is called a lager… Turns out this qualifies as an American Amber/Red Lager. The SRM seemed a little too light for me to agree with this, but I’ll trust the experts. It tasted more like a pilsner to me – no hops on the nose, but a sharp bite on the first sip that combines a very faint malty note and fades into nothingness at the back end. I wasn’t a big fan, so I finished it quickly. Can’t waste a craft beer!

The Leavenworth Dunkel Weizen was next (or it was after I changed the order of the sampler – they switched the porter and the dunkel. I feel SMRT for realizing this on my own). This started with a very sweet, biscuity malt and a smooth finish with no noticeable hoppiness. Sweeter than I prefer my beer, and with a lower IBU than I prefer, but not bad for the dark hefeweizens I’ve tried up to this point.
Deschutes Black Butte Porter came next – a truly lovely porter, but I was disappointed because I’ve already tried this one before. Beautiful intense coffee on the nose, full body and mouthfeel, chocolate and coffee deliciousness with every sip. Loved it. Been there, done that, but with love.

The Snoqualmie Falls IPA finished the tasting. It had warmed to room temperature by this point, and I was surprised to find that I liked it better a little warmer than it was served. Very potent citrus hops on the nose and a pleasant, well-rounded bitterness throughout. I do love my IPAs! We’ll be back Sunday night after breakdown. Please peruse the beer menu and send me any recommendations for Sunday! Must. Try. More!
On a random note – here was my day in a nutshell. Had Ted Danson for breakfast/lunch with a side of pesto pasta and apple spice cake from Pasta & Co. Ted Danson was gooooood!

Another side note – you’ll have to pardon my Twitter updates from today, and possibly from this entire upcoming weekend. When the show gets quiet, I get bored. I did win an award for my awesome tweet about long jeans!
It was a very, very quiet day at the show. So quiet that I went to MAC and got a makeover. I had that little to do.
It looks like my eye caught on fire and from my eyelids to my eyebrows are stained with smoke. Sexy.

Tomorrow I’ll be spending my day Yelping for restaurants or brewpubs around Bellevue. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! Time to pass out. Bon nuit!


Filed under beer, beer sampler, beer tasting

Island Brewing Company

I’ve featured Island Brewing Company a few times on my blog, and even used their growlers to bottle condition my very first brew – Dos Beckis. Today, for the very first time, I got a tour of the facilities on a brew day!
Of course, first we had to get a flight of a few of their brews to get in the spirit of Island Brewing.
Well, we had to get a few tasters and then a full pint of their Island Pale Ale
Okay, fine! We had to get a flight, a Island Pale Ale, a Jubilee and a Blackbird Porter! Happy now?
Brewer Shaun was kind enough to give us a full tour and suffer through some blurry pictures as well.
This little brewery is tucked away on a side street next to the train tracks. Seriously, RIGHT ON the tracks! If you’re not an avid craft beer drinker and don’t know how to use Google correctly, you’d probably pass right by this gem.
They keep about 8-10 different beers on their menu, with the majority of their beers being served year round. The Belgian Ambre, Anniversary Ale and Tropical Lager are the only ones I haven’t seen before.
Beautiful copper mash tun. They were brewing the Island Pale Ale today and had just finished cleaning out.
Well, almost. Ryan was in there double checking…
Island Brewing Company gives their spent grain to local farmers, and also to Carpinteria High School for their organic garden which was recently featured on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. How’s that for community interaction?
The beautiful, golden extract travels from the mash tun…
to the boil kettle.
The IPA at a rolling boil. I can never get over how WONDERFUL breweries smell on brew days! I need to bottle the smell of the mash and use it as perfume. Drool.
They have ten fermentation tanks that are full of malty, hoppy deliciousness.
And the chiller is stocked with kegs and boxes of bottled beers. Prior to today, they hadn’t brewed in eleven days. I find this to be completely understandable since they spent all day yesterday bottling 720 bottles of beer!
On a random note, I was working a show in Indio *shudder* back in January, proudly wearing my Island Brewing Company sweatshirt. The photographer for the local newspaper came up to me to tell me she liked my sweatshirt.
“Are you an Island fan, too?” I asked.
Turns out Lani is the daughter of the OWNER of Island Brewing Company, Paul Wright. It’s a small world!
She took some cleverly located photos to document the occasion.
A big thanks to Shaun and Ryan for letting me saunter around the brewery and soak up the delicious aromas and beer, and to Alma for serving up said delicious beer! I can’t wait to come back… again.. for the 27th time…


Filed under brewery

My 7 Links

Amanda a la Two Boos Who Eat tagged me in the “My 7 Links” project that’s going around the blog community. Basically, it’s a chance for me to go through my dear, sweet blog (whose one year anniversary I missed way back on May 27th) and pull up some of my favorite posts, which most of my new readers haven’t seen.

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.
3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.
4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
5) And so it goes on!
6) We’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links


Most Beautiful Post:
This one is recent, but possibly one of my favorites: Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark. I absolutely adore abandoned places, and trespassing just lights up my life. Others may not find this beautiful, but I think it’s the devastation and emptiness that makes this place so gorgeous.

Most Popular:
By far, LazyChiveFace! The days I was featured on The Chive, my viewership shot up to ridiculous heights, and I’ve been graced with mass amounts of regular readers since then. Thank you all for sticking around!
Here’s an outtake that wasn’t shown on my blog, or The Chive. Buddy gets his drink on!

Most Controversial:
Surf Brewery. I visited, I tasted, I was not impressed. Perhaps I was too harsh and outspoken with my judging, but I was incredibly disappointed and unimpressed. Quite a few people (I’m guessing employees or friends of the owners) left comments on how wonderful the beers are, and while I’m not willing to spend my money, if someone wants to demonstrate to me how good the beers are and I don’t have to waste my hard-earned cash, I’m willing to go back and give it one more shot! Perhaps they’ve improved the quality? Maybe?

Most Helpful:
Welcome to Indio. I like to think that I spared possibly DOZENS of people from contracting deadly diseases, or getting stabbed to death by posting and warning them all to avoid this “hotel”.
Blood splatter from the previous occupant.

Post Whose Success Surprised You:
My Pet Hanger, Stan, and How I Lost My Brain. This was back when the only people reading were my mom, dad, and a few friends, but they seemed to appreciate it! I even gained a few new readers who thought I was actually losing it and wanted to enjoy the show as I slowly descended into madness.
Don’t even ask. You HAVE to read this one!

Post You Feel Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved:
Magical Bread Pudding. I really think that anyone who doesn’t make this recipe is missing out! ANY of my bread pudding recipes, or pancake recipes (except for the Green Monsta Pancakes, those sucked) deserve to be discovered and adored by others!

Post You Are Most Proud Of:
I’m proudest of Brewing My First Beer. Prior to this post, I really had no idea what the process of making beer involved. Looking back to only six and a half months ago, when I had no idea what wort was, how enzymes turned fermentable sugars into alcohol, how to read original gravity and compare it to the final gravity to calculate the alcohol… I can’t believe how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve fallen in love with every aspect of beer: the science, the taste, the community, EVERYTHING. I honestly can’t believe that standing next to that stove with my brother would open up an entire new world and career for me. I’m completely blown away!
Chris and Janna, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Now I have to find bloggers who haven’t been nominated, but almost everyone I follow has! AUGH! Okey, here we go…

1. Mimi of Gingersnaps. I love her eloquence and beautiful style of writing!
2. Sophia of Burp and Slurp. Beautiful photography, perfect grammar. She loves Spam, but I’ll forgive her for that.
3. Danielle of All Things Yummy. She makes insane amounts of recipes a la Food Network stars, and tortures me with pictures of layer cakes and pastas!

Thanks for the nomination, Amanda! I actually wasn’t going to do this at first, but I’m so glad I did! I’m taking you out for a gluten-free beer at Yard House very, very soon!


Filed under My 7 Links

Enegren Brewing Company

Tonight my friend from Ladies at Ladyface, Janelle, called me up so we could find some amazing brews. We Googled. We succeeded.
Oh man, did we succeed. Enter: Enegren Brewing Company.
Enegren Brewing Company consists of brothers Chris and Matt Enegren, and brew chief Joe Nascenzi.
Craft beer girls, eat your hearts out.
Since they’re not officially open yet (Grand opening is July 30th and 31st! BE THERE!), we had a chance to check out the space while they brewed in preparation for the grand opening.
Their Imperial IPA, Protector, clocks in at 120 IBU and 7.2% ABV. Great floral hoppiness on the nose, but a surprising sweet maltiness on each sip. Lovely medium-high carbonation and a rusty burnt orange with beautiful lacing. Janelle, who’s a fan of Belgian brews, loved it. I, being an IPA lover, absolutely melted. Not quite sure what I was expecting, but this beer exceeded all expectations! We were both incredibly impressed.
Apparently others were impressed as well. Well deserved!

We got a chance to taste their other brew, Valkyrie – a California Alt, right out of the fermentor. It still has a few days left, but today was so perfectly smooth, it almost seemed nitro-pushed. I forsee growlers of each in my future. I forsee those in my IMMEDIATE future…
This is their setup from college days. Impressive, yes?
Here’s their current setup. They have two 6 barrel fermentors, Alice and Joanna. Yes, they name their fermentors. That ups them in the awesome category by quite a few points.
In order to fill one fermentor, they have to do two brews since their mash tun only makes 3 barrels. When we arrived, they were in the middle of a boil, and had been brewing since 7am this morning. The place smelled heavenly!
Chris Enegren created the command center of the brewery. This system is a touch screen where they can control flow, temperature, timers, etc.
DUDE. Seriously. These guys have success in the making – Chris is an engineering major, Matt is a financing major and Joe is a marketing major. Success personified!
They already have a leg up after being featured in the Brew Your Own magazine in 2009, and the All About Beer magazine back in 2010.
THEY’VE BEEN APPROVED! Just in case you didn’t know!

Enegren Brewing Company
680 Flinn Avenue #31
Moorpark, California
GRAND OPENING JULY 30th: 11am-8pm
and July 31st: noon-5pm

Be there! And for all you ladies out there, in case my raving about the beer hasn’t convinced you, here’s one more gratuitous picture:
Thanks to Joe, Matt and Chris for letting us come by! We’ll be back soon. Too soon.


Filed under beer, brewery

Owling at Owl City

If you follow me on Twitter, or like me on Facebook, you already got a preview last night.
Owling. Because Planking is way too mainstream. Plus, we were at an Owl City concert at Club Nokia. How could we not?
Allie Owling.
We even got Amanda and Amie to Owl. Epicness ensued.
We prepared for this epicness at Yard House. I got a “shorty” – 10 ounces of Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous. It was amazing! Thick head that lasted the entire beer, extremely floral hop aroma. Medium-high carbonation, but still seemed smooth. Quiet malt at the end of each sip. Adoration.
We were quite pleased with Yard House. Now onto epicness!

They apparently had allowed the first 300 people in with VIP access. They cut the line right in front of us. Seriously, RIGHT in front of us. We ended up being the very first people to go through the general access metal detectors. Once inside we grabbed another drink, did a little Owling and stood at our little ledge until we noticed someone walking around with wristbands. I slowly squatted down as he came by and when he asked, “You girls doing all right here?” I smoothly said, “Well, I can’t really see cuz I’m short…” VIP access, baby! We blazed through into the dead center up front. Oh yeah.
Breanne Duren (who is ridiculously adorable) started us off with new singles from her album. When Allie and I arrived in LA around 1pm earlier that day, I jokingly said that we should stalk the band since we had so much time. We turned the corner and there Breanne was, getting out of the car, suitcase in hand. Mission accomplished.

Mat Kearney opened the show, jumped off-stage at the end of his set and came around the pit, giving us all high fives. I got a little arm grope in. As I’ve said before, epicness.
Think what you want about Owl City, this guy puts on an AMAZING show! I’ve been to two concerts in my entire life. Both have been his. The way he gets so into his songs, rocking out around the stage, making you believe that every word that comes out of his mouth makes everything in life right and balanced and joyous… He’s THAT good.

Thank you, Adam Young, for your epicness.
He played a few songs from his new CD, but mixed it up with a ton from his first album – I was happy about that because none of his new songs really make sense… (Unless you’re watching him sing them on stage, then they make PERFECT sense. See above for explanation). They’re just pretty words compiled together, with the exception of “Galaxies”. Which he threw every fiber of his being into. Slight adoration on my part, if you haven’t noticed.
We were dancing like crazy in our little area, amidst all of the people of LA who were standing still, bobbing their heads or tapping their feet.
When the song “Alligator Sky” (which also makes no sense) came on, I got a group of people who were around us to do the dance I invented in the car on the drive down. There was a big cluster around us making their arms into alligator jaws. I was proud.
They played two encores. Epicness times two. Afterwards, we sought out the parking lot where we’d gotten $5 parking and headed home through the curtains of marine layer that coated Los Angeles.


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Filed under Owl City

Ladies at Ladyface: 3

Our third meeting of Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables & Comestibles Education & Tippling Society was last night on the patio of Ladyface. It was a really warm day, so by the time we all arrived at 6pm, the temperature outside was mid-seventies and perfect!
We had a bottle share where everyone brought in a bottle of their favorite beer, or homebrew, and we also talked about the differences in glassware for each individual beer.
We started out with a Saison, courtesy of my mumsie. Cyrena, the owner of Ladyface, picture above, brought out all of the different glass styles and educated everyone on the reason for each shape: tulip, weizen, pint, etc. There is a reason to pour beer into the glasses – it releases the aroma and shows the beautiful color and head. PLEASE stop drinking out of bottles! You’re not fully enjoying a beer that way! Okay, griping over.
I’m trying to remember exactly what we tried last night… There were about ten bottles on the table.
We had a Saison, In Mem’ry of Bacon (I only have two bottles left from the entire batch – sadness), a homebrewed dunkel, Ommegang, The Reverend by Avery, St. Bernardus Abt 12, Lucifer, Oude Kriek… I think that’s it…
We did a tasting of the quadrupels side by side: The Reverend and St. Bernardus. I’m not as big of a fan of sweeter beers, so I prefered the St. Bernardus, which ends with more of a dry finish. To be fair, The Reverend was served at a higher temperature which drew off some of the carbonation and made it feel a little flat. I’m thinking of getting a bottle that I can pour and taste straight from the fridge to get the full experience.
We tried the Oude Kriek from the Ladyface cellar. I’ve never had a kriek that wasn’t sweet before! This was extremely potent with cherries on the nose, and a very dry, tart sip. I was expecting some residual sweetness at the end, but that didn’t happen. It’s definitely a sipping beer, and you can’t have more than one, but it would round out a chocolate tarte perfectly! Me likey!
We spent about three hours tasting, talking about homebrews, brewing, styles and local breweries. I can’t think of anything else that would have improved the night!
That’s a total lie. A center cut of the Ladyface bread pudding and a Chesebro IPA? Yeah, the night got even better!


Filed under beer, beer tasting

Pliny and Friends

I’m freaking exhausted. Ora and I broke a new record for breaking down the booth today. An hour and thirty-two minutes! The first time I ever did this – 7 months and 12,800 miles ago, it took us four hours. So for this random post, mainly full of random pictures from the last week of things that make me  happy, I blame 12,800 miles of driving for my job in the span of 7 months, the two flautas stuffed with guacamole and the margarita (and a half) that I had tonight.

Last Wednesday:
Hanging out with this blurry yet hot chica, eating massive amounts of sandwiches at a kitschy little coffee shop and talking until our throats were sore. There aren’t many girls that I can put up with – Sofia is one of a handful. Besides her being so awesome, she eats massive amounts of food like I do. For that (and her awesome personality I guess…), I adore her.

Last Thursday:
Amazing elementary school workbook. Is Fred a Hooker, or is Frank a Hooker? Oh, my terrible, immature mind.

Last Friday:
MOCHA CHAI! I had one in Monterey on my 21st birthday and never forgot. This one wasn’t quite as good, but I’ll eventually seek out that little coffee shop and relive the experience!

Moustache Man! This epic mustache that stretched from each end of the jaw to the other made my day. I wish I’d gotten a full view, but I was being pretty obvious with my camera phone as it is…

Last night:
Lagunitas IPA at Grayson’s place. I drank it out of the bottle since I’d had it before and didn’t want to be a pain in the ass and make him wash a glass. I’m accommodating like that…
My first Pliny the Elder. JOY! I saw this on the menu at the pub we went to and flipped out. The nose on this is full of spicy hops and happiness. The first sip was sweeter than I was expecting, which was actually a nice change from most of the IPAs I’ve had lately. It’s nice to get some body and malt along with the bitterness of the hops. LOVE in a glass.
The largest of Grayson’s dogs. Queenie? Maybe that’s her name? Gray, if you had fewer than four dogs I’d know, but seven is just TOO MANY!
Two of my best friends and me. Caption: Grayson ponders the true meaning of the artsy photographs that Joelle (my roommate from college and LA) is perusing. I jump in wearing what looks like a piece of gigantic paper, but in reality is a cute off-the-shoulder shirt that has an unfortunately lame saying on it. I blame the Pliny. I blame the Pliny for that sentence, and for the shirt. I just blame the Pliny.
Food in a cup.

That is all.


Filed under beer, FOOD

Belgian Flight Night

We had another beer night at Wades Wines! This week’s tasting featured Belgian style ales.
Four five-ounce tasters for $5! I still can’t get over how ridiculously cheap this is!
First up was Lost Abbey’s Witch’s Wit. Pleasantly cloudy with heavy banana and clove on the nose. There was also a little Saison-style funk to this. An easy summer drink, but not something I’d go out of my way to order.
Alesmith’s Lil Devil. I honestly don’t really recall what this tasted like… Obviously it wasn’t standing out in the name of flavor, so let’s just leave it at that, yes?
The Bruery’s Tradewinds Tripel. I’m not a fan of tripels. I find them far too sweet – something I don’t like unless it’s combined with a sour like a Flemish Red. HOWEVER, for a tripel, this wasn’t completely overpowering. Just slightly… I gave half of my taster to my fellow tasters. They didn’t seem to mind.
Midnight Sun Mayhem IIPA. Yes, there are TWO “I”s in that. This baby was delicious! Extremely hoppy on the nose, rounded out with a slightly sweet roasty malt flavor and finished with a bite of citrus hops. Happy hoppy!
After the tasting, we decided to try some beers that were on the board. This is a Biere de Garde by Jolly Pumpkin. Never heard of it before, but I know I love Derailleur from Ladyface, so we gave it a try. DELICIOUS! Full of notes of orange with a warm boozy end. This glass was potent and pricey, but well worth it!
We ended by splitting a Coronado Idiot IPA between the three of us. Again, besides it being hoppy, this one kind of got buzzed into no-woman’s-land. Can’t remember anything except I liked it.
I was bummed that the tasting was over, but then we had an AMAZING idea!
Brownie Pizookie at BJ’s!

And the day was complete.


Filed under beer, beer tasting

Azu Ojai

I bought this Living Social deal MONTHS ago. For $20, you get $40 worth of food from Azu in Ojai. I love Ojai and I love cheap food. Win-win-win!
Azu is nestled in between a frozen yogurt shop and a bakery on the main street. Once you enter, you’re greeted by dark woods, craft beers on tap and a surprising extension of the restaurant that stretches all the way to the back.
For noon, it was relatively quiet. Two other tables by the windows were occupied.
Since I had a massive amount of money to spend (I don’t think I’ve personally spent more than $12 on food…) I did something I never do – got an appetizer. The honey baked brie took about twenty minutes to bake. The wait was well worth it. It came out sizzling hot, the local sage honey caramelized and crusty around the edges, and the candied walnuts toasty with a slight crunch of sugary coating. We DEMOLISHED this plate!
For the main course, I ordered the vegetable panini. I’m kind of on a portobello mushroom kick since I found out that I’m not totally disgusted by them two weeks ago. Marinated and grilled portobello mushrooms, bell peppers and onions set atop soft, pillowy foccacia bread, and slathered with pesto and goat cheese. The skinny fries on the side were sprinkled with sea salt and served with a homemade ketchup. Another plate, demolished.
We decided to get two desserts and split them. Azu’s dessert of the day was strawberry shortcake served in a cream puff and overflowing with homemade whipped cream and balsamic macerated strawberries. I had a few bites of that one, but I was really waiting on the edge of my seat for MY choice.
Crème brûlée!!!! I’ve been dreaming about this since I had it at Ladyface last week. This one was a clean and simple crème brûlée – studded with vanilla beans and topped with a thin sugary crust that cracked easily with the tap of a spoon. They drizzled homemade caramel around the plate which I may or may not have licked clean. I’m classy like that.
Azu made for a ridiculously content Becki. It also makes her talk in the third person… Immediately after, I lapsed into a food coma and had to be bribed out of my seat with the promise of a visit to the Ojai Beverage Company.
Oh yeah, I went there.


Filed under restaurant