Showing posts with label beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer. Show all posts

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seafood and Drinks at The Hourly Oyster House (Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)

Grafton Group, which has a good hold on Harvard Square with restaurants like Russell House Tavern and Grafton Street, opened another spot last year.
The Hourly
The Hourly is a seafood-focused restaurant. It was named after the horse-drawn carriages that used to transport people from Cambridge to Boston on the hour back in the day - in 1826. The cozy patio features a painting that shows one of the "hourly'.

I recently attended a blogger tasting at The Hourly and tried some of their most popular offerings.

We started with some raw East Coast oysters served with fennel mignonette. Among the oysters we tried were from Cuttyhunk - an island off of Martha's Vineyard, Island Creek oysters from Duxbury, Mookie Blues from Maine, and Warren's Cove from Plymouth, MA.
The Hourly
The oysters were paired with some Tuck Bekstoffer Hogwash Rose of Grenache from Napa. This was just one of the fun wines that they offer at The Hourly.
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Next we had some New England clam chowder paired with Barrel House Z's Sunny and 79' Pilsner (MA)
The Hourly
We had a small cup of the chowder to taste, but of course, the regular order is a full bowl. The Hourly also makes their own saltine crackers for the chowder, which was filled with chunks of clams. The beer is quite a unique one. It is a ginned pilsner made using juniper berries and it was aged in used tequila barrel. They paired this with the chowder because tequila works well with seafood.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Street Art and Brews in Miami's Wynwood Art District

Just a few years ago, Miami's Wynwood was a warehouse district that no one ventures out to. Now, it is one of the hottest destinations in Miami filled with street art and some of the city's best breweries and restaurants.
Wynwood
Conceived by community revitalizer, the late Tony Goldman, in 2009, the idea is to bring great street art onto the walls of Wynwood's windowless warehouse buildings, and then develop the surrounding area. Today, Wynwood Walls is a colorful place that pedestrians, both locals and tourists, all enjoy.
Wynwood
I heard about Wynwood from the bartender at The Abbey (the only brewpub in Miami Beach), who told me Wynwood has a good concentration of Miami's craft breweries. If you are a beer lover, skip the beach and head to Wynwood.
I hopped on an Uber there, but stopping off first to get a different kind of brew at Panther Coffee, one of the best-known coffee shops in the city (and probably the best, as well).
Wynwood
Panther roasts their own coffee on site in small batches. Panther has two blends for the espresso, East Coast and West Coast espresso. I opted for the East Coast espresso since the tasting notes were "very creamy, round chocolate .. notes of sweet black cherry". Those all sounded good to me and resulted in a delicious cappuccino.
Wynwood
From there, I walked to J. Wakefield Brewing. I fell in love with it as soon as I got to the parking lot. Darth Vader wall!
Wynwood

Friday, January 20, 2017

City Tap House Opens in Boston's Fort Point with 60 Beers on Tap

Boston's Fort Point neighborhood just got another new spot for beer lovers. City Tap House is now open for dinner and brunch (weekday lunches start next week!) with sixty beers on tap.
City Tap
The beer list was divided by styles and they carry a lot of great beers, both local and beyond. Among the beers I tried during the opening party were Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose and Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero,
City Tap
If 60 beers aren't enough options for you, they also have bottled/canned beers as well as a selection of cocktails.
City Tap

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Brook Kitchen and Tap Brings Good Food and Beers to Holbrook, MA

When I got invited to try out the new The Brook Kitchen and Tap in Boston's South Shore (Holbrook, MA), I have to say I wasn't sure what to expect since I hadn't explored the South Shore much, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got there! The Brook Kitchen and Tap offers some great food at a value and a nice craft beer list to boot.

Among the things to get here are the Mango Habanero dry wings - they have a number of wet and dry sauces/rubs for the wings, but these were the ones the chef recommended for us.
The Brook Kitchen Tap
We were pretty obsessed with these wings. The mango habanero rub was superb! It packed some heat, and the sweetness and tartness added a really nice layer of flavors. We would definitely return for these!

In general the food at The Brook was not only good, but a great value as well given the price and the large portions. Take, for example, this appetizer of Crispy brussel sprouts with sriracha ranch ($8)
The Brook Kitchen Tap
Not only were the they crispy and delicious, this is perhaps the largest portion I've seen for $8!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Nickel Mine, West LA's New Neighborhood Social House

by @btsunoda

The Nickel Mine is a brand new bar located in West LA. I hesitate to call it a bar because it is so much more than that. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd and there is no sign on the building. I guessed I was in the right place because from the outside, I saw a few big screens with the Dodgers playing. Due to the large picture windows, the interior of The Nickel Mine is full of indirect light. The walls are lined with aged brick. Bar height tables and chairs line the center. Regular height seating is available along the windows. On the west side of the bar, they have comfortable couches and chairs. With the bookshelf along the wall, it mimics the appearance of someone’s reading room. I like the fact that they have games (e.g., Connect 4, Zenga) available throughout the bar. Their menu is quite extensive. It’s broken down into grub, brunch, wine, beer, cocktails, whiskey, scotch, bourbon, tequila, mezcal, gin, and rum. Ten draft beers are available. I was surprised to see the Chicken and Waffles were made with a Belgian waffle on the brunch menu.

The Garlic Knots are served with a spicy marinara sauce on the side.
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Knowing that I was going to try a few different offerings, I promised myself that I would only eat one. Wrong. There was something about these piping hot garlic knots combined with the marinara sauce that made it so addicting to eat.

IMG_1640The Chicken Caesar Salad was topped with large slices of chicken breast, shaved parmesan and crunchy croutons.

What made the salad surprising was the fact that the romaine lettuce was extremely fresh and crisp. An assortment of wings was served next: Buffalo, Teriyaki and Lemon Garlic. Despite my strong inclination to prefer something other than Buffalo wings, I’d have to say it was my favorite among the three.

Coincidentally, it was National Beer Day. To celebrate, I had samplers of some of their draft beers.
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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Global Day of Discovery at The Renaissance Long Beach

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda

On Thursday, June 16 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., The Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach will play host to its 5th annual Global Day of Discovery, a signature event that all Renaissance Hotel locations participate in during the month of June. During Global Day of Discovery, guests and the local community are invited to come together to experience hot spots for food, beverages, nightlife and entertainment. I was recently invited to a pre-event tasting for the Long Beach location.

The event for their Global Day of Discovery is called Taps + Tastes, and The Renaissance Hotel has assembled an impressive collection of craft beers from 6 local breweries. Delicious food to pair with the craft beer will be prepared by Top Chef Janine Falvo. In addition a DJ will be on-site spinning tunes and self-parking that day will be free! Tickets are only $20 each and a portion of the event proceeds will be donated to Washington Middle School in Long Beach.

Before getting on with the beer tastings, we had one of signature drinks that SIP Bar and Lounge offers each night. For the tasting, we were served the Shandy: Sam Adams lager, fresh orange juice, Perrier sparkling water and bitters over ice.
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Crispy Pig Ears - These were delightfully crispy and if no one told me what they were, I would not have know that they were pig ears. They were delicious with or without the salsa verde dipping sauce.
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Lobster Jalapeno Poppers - Curry tempura was applied to the exterior to give these poppers a unique crunch. The top was drizzled with a cilantro mint chutney.
The Dudes’ Steamed Clams - The Surfrider Pale Ale from The Dudes’ Brewery is used to make these clams. Smoked pieces of garlic significantly enhanced the sauce.
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Street Corn - A small section of a corn on the cob is rolled in fresh cilantro and smashed Cool Ranch Doritos. Everyone universally agreed that this item was worth trying to make at home.

“R” Mac and Cheese - Falvo gives her mac & cheese some additional depth by adding diced tomatoes and bits of pecanwood smoked bacon.
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Two beer samplers were provided with each offering. Depending on your taste, you could either veer towards the lighter beer or the amber or IPA style. Beers included: Firestone Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Strand Brewing Atticus, Firestone 805, and Peach Berliner Weisse from The Dudes’ Brewery.

Duck Dog - I’ve never seen pretzel rolls this small and that was a great idea to pair with the housemade duck dog.
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Duck Confit Steamed Buns - Duck is combined with salt, fresh rosemary and duck fat sous vide style for approximately 8 hours. This results in a crisp duck with intense flavor.
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The Dudes’ Blood Orange Ice Cream Float - This arrived to the table steaming away as they had prepared it with liquid nitrogen. 
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Falvo likes using liquid nitrogen because the ice cream freezes faster and avoids any crunchiness. This reminded me of an adult creamsicle.

At only $20 this is an incredible value. Don’t hesitate because this event will sell out. You can purchase the ticket using this link.


Renaissance Hotel
Long Beach, CA
http://renaissance-hotels.marriott.com/events

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Anaheim's Carolina's Italian Restaurant Boasts 400 Beers

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda

When I first learned of Carolina’s Italian Restaurant, I discovered that they have over 400 beers available, arguably the largest beer list in the area. That being said, I set the bar low for food and I wasn’t expecting much.
Carolina’s Italian Restaurant originally opened over 35 years ago and has been a strong foothold in Orange County. They recently opened up another restaurant in Anaheim, just down the street from Disneyland. My wife and I recently dined there for dinner.

My wife ordered the Alley Cat Amber beer from Left Coast Brewery. This beer had a nice color and was medium bodied. My house sangria was cold, fruity and refreshing. This established a nice tone for our evening.
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Instead of being served with something like cold sourdough bread, diners are presented with Carolina’s Cheesy Bread. Pizza dough is rolled and topped with a generous amount of fresh mozzarella cheese, pasta sauce and a mix of Italian herbs. This is baked in their pizza oven and delivered to the table while it’s still hot.
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I was impressed that they use fresh herbs in their dishes and later discovered that many of the vegetable and herbs are grown in their garden in the rear of the property. In fact, our server helps to take care of the garden.

Polly-O-Caprese is named after the Polly-O brand of mozzarella cheese.
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This is made with a thick slice of mozzarella cheese and placed over fresh tomatoes, basil, capers, red onions and served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The addition of capers worked very well with the basil and the red onions.

Their Bruschetta consists of crisp crostini topped with fresh roma tomatoes, basil and romano cheese. 
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Other appetizers on the menu include calamari, fried mozzarella sticks, fried zucchini sticks and buffalo wings.

Frutti di Mare is a popular seafood dish comprised of shrimp, mussels, scallops and fresh clams. 
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It is served over fettuccine with tomatoes, onions and basil mixed with a small amount of marinara sauce. Because they don’t drown it in sauce, I was able to taste the flavors of each shellfish.

The “Tour of Italy” consists of smaller portions of three of their Spaghetti and Meatballs, Shrimp Alfredo and Penne Pesto
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Both my wife and I thought that their Penne Pesto was the best of the three offerings. It was filled with a generous amount of chunks of grilled chicken. Unlike many pesto dishes, this was creamy and not oily.

For dessert, we tried their tiramisu and their chocolate cake.
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Both items were moist, full of chocolate and delicious. They also have strawberry or Oreo cheesecake, spumoni, mousse cake and ice cream available.

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While we were there, we noticed a nice mix of people dining: young adults, families and senior citizens. Comfort seems to be one of the intents of the owners with quite a number of leather booths available.

Even if you aren’t in the mood for pasta, they have a number of other offerings such as soups, salads, sandwiches and pizza. The next time we visit Disneyland, we will definitely consider eating at Carolina’s Italian Restaurant.

Carolina’s Italian Restaurant
945 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fritzi DTLA: A Game Changer in the Arts District

One of the newer restaurants I was excited to try was Neal Fraser's new Fritzi in DTLA's arts district. I've been seeing a lot of instagrams of their rotisserie chicken, and most importantly, waffle tots, aka potato waffles.
Fritzi
Yes, waffled tater tots. Get it with cheese, always.

The potato waffles can be ordered as a side, or you can get them with an order of the rotisserie chicken
Fritzi
You can order the rotisserie chicken as 1/4 chicken for $15 or 1/2 chicken for $19, and it comes with your choice of fries, tots, or potato waffles, and a choice of vegetables of the day. You can also order one of their dipping sauces starting from $0.50 and includes options like green harissa, black garlic aioli, Louisiana aioli, or Vermont beer-cheddar (I love the harissa).
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I typically don't order chicken, especially chicken breast, but that's because many times restaurants make them too dry. That won't happen with Fritzi's rotisserie chicken, though, with its perfectly tender and juicy meat.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Oktoberfest Burger at Hard Rock Cafe

For the month of October, Hard Rock Cafe will be serving a special burger, the Samuel Adams Octoberfest Schnitzel Burger. This is two pieces of breaded pork schnitzel with a beer cheese sauce made with Sam Adams Octoberfest beer, smoked bacon, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard, arugula, on a Pretzel bun. The burger with a side of fries is $16.95.

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Of course, this burger is going to be paired with the Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Drinking in a Barrel at Idle Hour (North Hollywood, CA)

I love Los Angeles, but mostly they don't keep a lot of their heritage and cool historic buildings around too much. Thanks to 1933 Group, LA will at least keep one of their awesome barrel-shaped bars, as they have renovated Idle Hour in North Hollywood. The building was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and 1933 Group purchased it in an auction.

Idle Hour
The old Idle Hour was a taproom built in 1941, and 1933 Group has kept that concept, with plenty of beers on tap inside the barrel-shaped main building.
Idle Hour
They also have a great outdoor dining area in the back that's perfect for day drinking in the summer.
Idle Hour
Behind that area is a replica of the Bulldog Cafe. The original Bulldog Cafe was built in 1925, selling tamales and ice cream (I wish we have something like that now), and they built a replica for the Petersen Automotive Museum in 1991. The adorable Bulldog Cafe is also open for private events, and it's also open to the public when there's no event going on.
Idle Hour

Monday, May 4, 2015

Southern Fare at Kendall Square's State Park (Cambridge, MA)

I'm pretty lucky to live within walking distance to Hungry Mother and its sister restaurant, State Park. State Park has more of a sports bar vibe with more casual food and beers, but you can still look for great Southern food here from the James Beard Award winning chef Barry Maiden. Instead of the refined dishes at Hungry Mother, think sandwiches, fried chicken, and the likes.

Try the Snappy's Famous Pork Chop Sandwich (chili, cole slaw, tomato, mustard, $12)

State Park

For those who are not familiar, this refers to Snappy Lunch in Mt Airy, North Carolina. The diner is famous for their pork chop sandwich where the boneless pork chop is covered in a sweet milk batter - yes, very much reminiscent of french toast. Think french toast stuffed with pork chop, then made into a sandwich with chili and cole slaw... The pork chop itself is ridiculously tender! A wondrously messy sandwich worth digging into.

Another surprise for me was the Memphis BBQ Spaghetti (pork shoulder, sarvecchio cheese, garlic bread, $12)
State Park

Who knew spaghetti would work so well with BBQ sauce? It's just a bit saltier than bolognese, with a subtle kick. Bold and sweet, served with fluffy, buttery garlic bread. This has become another favorite of mine.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Vegan Beer and Food Festival Even Omnivores Would Love

Yes, not all beers are vegan. Beers and wines are sometimes processed using gelatin or other animal products, thus making it not vegan. However, that doesn’t mean vegans can’t drink beer or wine. Thanks to the “purity law”, most German beers are vegan and these days you can find many craft breweries producing vegan beers. But how do you know which ones? Well, fret not, because the LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival has vetted more than a hundred beers from 40 breweries for you, so you don’t have to worry as you eat and imbibe.

The festival has grown so much that for its 6th year, they will be taking over The Rose Bowl in Pasadena (3 years ago they only had 50 beers line up. See my post from 2012). It will feature beers from big-name breweries such as New Belgium, Anchor, Ballast Point, Firestone Walker, along with smaller and newer establishments including Three Weavers, King Harbor, Ohana, and many more. Your $50 admission includes a souvenir glass and unlimited pours of beer and entry to the festival which will also host live music featuring Jamestown Revival, The White Buffalo, etc. VIP admission will give you early admission and access to a VIP lounge as well as some exclusive pours.

Food is sold separately by the more than 40 vendors that will be there, and even if you’re not vegan, you’ll drool over the lineup. You’ll find pizza from 800 Degrees Pizzeria, macrobiotic vegan cuisine from Shojin and M CafĂ©, donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, and whatever your heart may desire (as long as it’s vegan). Look out for popular restaurants and food trucks such as Mudhern Tavern, Mohawk Bend, Sage Vegan Bistro, Real Food Daily, and the Grilled Cheese Truck.


LA Vegan Beer & Food Festival will be at The Rose Bowl on May 16. Tickets can be purchased using this link

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Public School 818 (Sherman Oaks, CA)

by guest blogger @iam_robot

Every now and then we get nostalgic about school days – the carefree phase in our life, the days we found best friends for life, the naught and nonsense we committed to gain notoriety, and the many times we got caught staring our secret crushes’ (no matter how swift we were). I was lucky to be in the same school from kindergarten through high school, I always thought school was my second home.
Exterior
And this is what Bob Spivak, President & CEO of Daily Grill, had in mind when he opened the first Public School a few years ago – to relive some of the best days of our life and make Public School your home away from home. 
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Whether it’s the menu designed as a composition book, cocktail napkins that look like lined college-rule notebook paper, the desk lamps on dining tables, or the cosine wall mural - Public School definitely elicits that nostalgic memory of a classroom.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of checking out the latest Public School chain in Sherman Oaks. Taking over the former Sisley Italian Kitchen spot at Sepulveda and Ventura, Public School 818 will be a full service restaurant/ bar that delivers “An Education in the Art of Food and Beer”. 
PS Cocktail Yellow
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The menu is diversely American with its international influences, seasonal offerings, local flare and current trends. Naturally, drinks selection is pretty eclectic, including 20 – 30 taps of craft beers along with modern cocktails served up with house-made syrups and fresh squeezed juices. For pre-dinner cocktails, I had the Duck Thunder (watermelon, St. Germaine, Aylesbury Duck vodka) and Yellow Smoke (Fresh Pineapple Juice, serrano agave, El Silencio mezcal). Both were refreshing without being overly fruity or sweet.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tasting Through Umami Burger's Core Menu

Umami Burger may have a new burger each season like the vegetarian caprese burger last year, but at the heart of it are their core burger menu. To bring back the focus on this core menu, Umami Burger on Broadway in downtown recently invited bloggers for a tasting menu of the core burgers, paired with a variety of drinks (remember, the Broadway location has a full bar since it used to be Umamicatessen). Nine courses, all paired with a beverage.

To start with were the sweet potato fries and onion rings, along with the "secret menu item", cheesy tots. The tots are made with potatoes rolled in parmesan and cheddar, then covered with panko crust.

Umami Burger
The appetizers were paired real sugar Mountain Dew to balance out the salt. The cheesy tots, as you can imagine, were everyone's favorites and were gone in seconds.

Course 2: Truffle Burger (housemade truffle fondue, truffle glaze, truffle salt, truffle aioli)
Umami Burger
So much truffle needs to be paired with a big, robust beer, and Umami chose the Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout. It's been a while since I had Umami Burger and they still had that nicely cooked patty - pink in the middle - and the iconic griddled Portugese-style bun. Yep, still good.

Course 3: Manly Burger (bacon lardons, beer cheddar fondue, smoked salt onion strings, umami ketchup, mustard spread)
Manly Burger

A messy burger, but definitely worth getting your hands dirty! I love the cocktail that this was paired with as well:  Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (bacon-washed Evan Williams, maple syrup, orange bitters, garnished with house-made candied bacon). Because bacon.
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