Saturday, August 11, 2018

Paninis at Pirolo's Panino (Fairfax, Los Angeles)

by @discovering_LA

August is National Panini Month. Because I like to take time to find a unique way to celebrate food holidays, I recently visited Pirolo’s Panino. They are located on Melrose Ave in the Fairfax region of LA. Pirolo’s Panino has only been open for 3 months. Michael Pirolo is behind the line of Italian panini sandwiches. Pirolo was born in Queens, but was raised in Italy. He is a Torino culinary school grad and has worked in New York, Philadelphia and most recently at Macchialina in Miami’s South Beach.

Restaurant Hospitality recently named Pirolo’s Italian Dip the “Best Beef Sandwich” in America. After eating it, I can see why.

The toasted ciabatta is from artisan baker Clark Street Bread. The beef is tender, not fatty, and sliced super thin. The salsa verde and caramelized onions nicely compliment the beef. An au jus dipping sauce is included. This sandwich alone is worth a return trip.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Guinness Storehouse Tour and Lunch at 1837 Bar & Brasseries (Dublin, Ireland)

A visit to the Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular things to do in Dublin, whether or not you're Guinness lovers. Growing up in Indonesia, I only remember two imported beers that were sold nationwide: Heineken and Guinness.
The Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate is originally the fermentation plant of the brewery, built in 1902. It was closed in 1988 and they decided to reopen it as a visitor center. It opened in 2000.

First, though, I had lunch at 1837 Bar & Brasserie, one of the dining options in side the Guinness Storehouse.
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I had local oysters with Guinness. If you think this is an unusual pairing, it isn't in Ireland! Oysters and stout was a popular pairing in the 19th century, the maltiness and creaminess of the stout complements the brininess. In fact, the restaurant's name 1837 is taken from the year that the pairing first made headlines.
Guinness Storehouse

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Winery Tour and Tasting at Clos du Val (Napa Valley, CA)

Napa Valley is famous for their Cabernet Sauvignon wines, and in large part that is due to the grapes grown in the Stags Leap District. This area gets the heat that comes down from Calistoga and he breeze from San Pablo Bay, creating a micro climate that is apparently perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Clos du Val is one of the early wineries to open in Stags Leap District. Stags Leap District is the first (and smallest) appellation in Napa Valley and it is best known for the Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, there are now 107 appellations (known as American Viticultural Area, or AVA).
Clos du Val
Initially after opening the winery, Clos du Val was making 90,000 cases of wines that are easy on the wallet, but about 40 years ago, the winery decided to return to their roots and make the best Cabernet Sauvignon they can make. They cut down production to 30,000 cases to focus on making high quality estate wines.

For our tour and tasting, we started in the old tasting room with a taste of the 2017 Estate Pinot Noir Rosé from Carneros.

Clos du Val rose
Photo: @foodiesnapstagram

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Heritage Distilling's Brown Sugar Bourbon (Review + Cocktail Recipes!)

Bourbon is always a good intro to whiskey drinking, thanks to its sweeter flavor profile. I recently tasted Brown Sugar Bourbon from Heritage Distilling, a distillery in Gig-Harbor, Washington.

The Brown Sugar Bourbon, or BSB, is an award-winning spirit in the Flavored Whiskey category, having received the gold medal from American Distilling Institute and World Whiskies Awards.
The whiskey is a corn, rye, and malted barley mash aged for less than 2 years in new American oak barrels. After aging, natural brown sugar and cinnamon flavors are added.

It's rich and sweet on the palate, naturally with plenty of cinnamon flavors. I imagine drinking this neat by the fireplace in the winter. Or on the rocks by a campfire, either way. This flavored whiskey had enough going for itself that you really don't need to mix this with anything, but just enjoy it on the rocks. It's easy enough drinking on its own!

I got this around July 4, though, and I had a BBQ with friends in my "backyard" (it's basically a parking lot but whatever). I decided to make a cocktail for my friends using a grilled ingredient!
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