• 22Oct

    beerologyBeerology is like a great  friend who holds you by the hand and leads you into the grown up world of beer. The author, Mirella Amato is a Master Cicerone, a beer version of a sommelier (there are less than 10 people holding the same title in the world). She knows her beers inside and out, and shares her knowledge in a very personable way. Amato guides you through different styles of beer, breaking down flavor profiles and even what to pair your beer with.

    The book is easy to read, informative while being fun. Without getting mired in the details, this book explains how each variety is made and includes a short explanation of how the beer in question ends up with it’s particular flavor profile. This can really help you identify what you enjoy or dislike about particular styles so that you can seek out beers that you are more likely to enjoy. Your experience with beer might have been limited to one or two varieties or even a single brand, but after reading this book you may dare to try something new and might discover that you love something very different from your go-to beer.

    There is great value in this book for the beer connoisseur as well, as it provides suggestions for brands and pairings that you may not have tried (or even heard of), and also vocabulary to describe what you are drinking. As a beer connoisseur and home-brewer, I found the food pairing ideas to be revelatory. I had never thought about beer in the same way as I had wine, as something to be enjoyed with food, and it was a great way to re-frame how I think about beer.

    Some other takeaways:

    The book helped me to understand why I love Belgians, Stouts and Porters, Sour Beers, Saisons, and why I dislike IPAs. Prior to reading this book, I believed that I disliked IPAs only because of how hoppy and bitter they tend to be. Belgians, Stouts, and Porters have more malt characteristics in them and fewer hops compared to IPAs.The book provided enlightenment for why the hops in my favorite beers did not bother me . I discovered through Amato’s  explanation the difference between old world and new world hops. Old world hops are softer, less bitter and more about aromatics, my favorites being ones that taste like citrus and floral notes . New world hops are more aggressive and can be very bitter and are used for flavoring the beer.  IPAS that are made with old world hops are ones that I  may actually enjoy, rather  than the new world style hop infused IPAs. Before reading this book, I did not know much about how beers age . There are some good suggestions for what beers to age and how to age them.  Beers, like wine change with age, and some are designed to be able to be aged. The IPA I find overly hoppy today might taste really good to me in a year or two, because according to Amato, the hop notes fade with time and the malt flavors get intensified. After reading this book, I’m going to have to have to try some old world style IPAs and give them a shot.

    Beerology is a fantastic read, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking to expand their beer horizons. It is also great for someone who is trying to help a less experienced beer drinker explore the world of beer.

    -JHC (Jennifer)

    Permalink Filed under: Books, Drinks Tags: , 1 Comment
  • 10Aug

    DC Food Blogger Happy Hour Wednesday was hosted by Wendy Brannen of USApples and myself at Roofers Union in Adams Morgan (in the former space of The Reef). We sampled a variety of Executive Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley‘s delicious apple themed dishes and a great cocktail Bartender Frank Mills created. Frank named the cocktail “How Do You Like Dem Apples” and provided us with the below recipe (for an individual cocktail):

    -JAY

    Roofers Union on Urbanspoon

  • 22Jul

    homegrown teaI recently scored a review copy of Cassie Liversidge’s Homegrown Tea. She illustrates how to plan, harvest, and blend teas and tisanes. I’m happy to hear her calling herbal teas tisanes since they is no tea in herbal tea. I like that Cassie explains how to grow, treat, and prepare tea, and even includes step-by-step pictures of how to prepare various ingredients common to tisanes. I previously did not even know what some of these ingredients looked like. She even mentions medicinal benefits.

    I definitely recommend this book for people who want to grow tea or tisane ingredients (and/or are tea geeks since the book is quite interesting).

    -JAY

    —————————–

    Disclosure: From time to time, we are given free items, meals, or entry to events.

  • 11Jul

    August DCFBHHAugust’s DC Food Bloggers Happy Hour will be at Roofers Union, which was just selected by Nation’s Restaurant News as one of the 50 restaurants trending nationally!

    Co-hosted by Jason Foodgeek (DCFBHH) and Wendy Brannen (USApple).

    Please RSVP here and keep your RSVPs updated so we have a good count for the restaurant.

    -JAY

  • 24Jun
    Photo courtesy of Protein Bar.

    Photo courtesy of Protein Bar.

    On June 25th, Protein Bar will open its doors to its newest location on 925 17th Street, NW at K Street in downtown DC conveniently located between the Farragut North and Farragut West metro stations. Active Washingtonians, this Chicago-based restaurant offers not only a healthier food alternative but protein packed menu items to help you kick-start your day with breakfast and keep your engine going with lunch and dinner.

    The food:

    spinachpestoWith the rise of food sensitivities, Protein Bar does a stellar job of listing their ingredients and catering to those with gluten allergies. The majority of their menu has gluten-free options with the exception of their bar-ritos. Each dish lists nutrition facts and is made fresh to order.   The thing that really got me was you can taste the freshness in everything that they prepared.

    One of my favorite food menu items was the Guac & Roll Bar-rito because I’m a sucker for guacamole (but then again who isn’t?) and they were definitely not skimpy on the guacamole. Among the group of samplers, the Buffalo Bar-rito seemed to be the crowd pleaser.

    However, my favorite item on the menu was their Spinach & Pesto Bowl as it was light but flavorful. Each of their bowls are mixed with organic quinoa and mixed in with different fresh ingredients. The Healthy Parm Bowl is another favorite; it is a little heartier and served warm.

    Their salads are not your typical salads. Their dressings are made fresh daily and are delicious. My favorite dressing of theirs is their cilantro lime which has a nice citrus punch to it; blended in with their Super 6 Salad Mix it gives your salad even more flavor without being overpowering. My two favorites salads were the Baja Salad and the Superfood Vegan.

    The drinks:

    greenberryI am not a fan of veggies in my drinks. I would prefer not to drink my vegetables. But their Greenberry raw juice kicked my butt into gear. With a mixture of kale, apple, strawberry, and cilantro; you could taste the healthiness in the cup while still enjoying drinking it as a refreshing cup of juice. The favorite among the samplers was the HI-5 which was described by someone as “…health in a cup and better tasting than wheatgrass.”

    For something a little heavier, their blended protein drinks offer a section from something fruity to a heavier indulgence with peanut butter and chocolate to a drink with a pick me up, the Millennium Perk which contains espresso.

    Join them for their grand opening on Wednesday, June 25th at 11am and you may be one of the first 100 lucky people in line to receive a $100 gift certificate.

    -ADT (Angie)

    The Protein Bar on Urbanspoon

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks Tags: 1 Comment
  • 10Jun

    Reasons for Mad Fox Madness:

    1. All their craft beers are brewed on-site in their 15-barrel Premier Stainless brewing system.
    2. Food products are locally-sourced as much as possible (local farms, local butchers, and the Falls Church Farmers Market).
    3. Beer flights! Sample 4 different types of beers in 4 oz. glasses.
    4. Rightfully awarded “Best Brewery,” “Best Brewpub,” and “Best Craft Brews” from Northern Virginia Magazine.
    5. All of their beers are created by Bill Madden, the CEO and Executive Brewer.
    6. The “Mad” comes from Bill Madden and “Fox” from his wife’s maiden name. Cuteness overload.

    I had the privilege to attend Mad Fox Brewing Company’s new seasonal menu items tasting event created by Executive Chef Brian Wilson, the newest member to join the brewery’s talented team. Upon my arrival each guest was served a beer flight.

    My favorites:

    • The Kölsch: a signature brew of Mad Fox is light and crisp with “restrained hop bitterness” that creates a “subtle fresh piney or spicy note,” as described on their menu.
    • The Maneuver IPA: although an IPA, this is considerably light. The refreshingly clean and hoppy flavors bounced around without any bitterness, and I noted some malty tones. This was my personal favorite from the beer flights.
    • Big Chimney’s Porter: smooth with an aromatic and coffee-like finish. For a porter, it is not heavy, and the black chocolate malts are blended just right to not overpower the consumption experience.

    My favorites from the 7 new seasonal menu items that were served:

    Cucumber-Melon Gazpacho

    This unique gazpacho was refreshingly delightful on my taste buds. The coolness of the cucumber and subtle sweetness from the melon are an ingenious concoction. Additionally, the saffron yogurt added some tang while the paprika oil smoothed everything out and the garlic croutons provided a nice crunch. And that basil leaf on top? It’s fried. And I loved it.

    FYI: I asked if the gazpacho is served to customers in this glass cup (photo) and Bill Madden said it is served in a bowl. I commented on the fun presentation of the gazpacho in the glass cup versus a traditional bowl, so you know who to thank if they change their minds on presentation.

    Arugula Salad

    A light arugula salad complimented by roasted corn, blackberries, avocado, and almonds. The lemon poppy seed dressing, the star of the salad, is not cream-based, but an emulsion that ties all of the components seamlessly together. It is a great salad for the summer season.

    Rustic Pork Pate

    Majority ruling amongst the event’s guests on the pork and chicken liver house grain mustard: it was flavorfully strong! Although the mustard was potent, it blended well with the slightly bland pate and toasted slices of bread. And the pickled vegetables delivered a much-needed tangy kick (and color) to the dish. This is a great choice for sharing as an appetizer or to nibble on with a glass of wine.

    Carrot Linguine

    I was pleasantly surprised to find this was a vegetarian entree. The noodles are made entirely from carrot puree and have a slightly sticky texture. The crumble of goat cheese added some tartness to the creamy lemon butter, and the pistachios provided a nutty crunch factor. Although I am not a fan of creamy entrees, this was a delectable dish. I’m not sure if I could finish the regular dinner portion myself but I wouldn’t mind splitting it with someone.

    I would like to again thank Bill Madden, Chef Brian Wilson, and our wonderful server for the evening, Brian, for a splendid tasting event experience.

    I went back to Mad Fox the same week and enjoyed sipping on a few Maneuvers while munching on some mussels. The PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels are doused in a creamy house ale sauce with bits of pancetta, shallots, and garlic. A small bed of thyme rests on top and adds beautifully to the aroma and presentation.

    Their Happy Hour runs daily from 3pm to 7pm, with $2 off all their beers. I will be coming back again very soon. Cheers!

    -EHY (Elina)

    Mad Fox Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

  • 24May

    Last week, I was (for the 2nd time) a judge at the Lamb Jam competition at Eastern Market. Above are some pictures, and below are the winners. In an interesting decision, the winner of Best Shoulder (who later on won People’s Choice), was not the shoulder dish that one Best in Show. So, Occidental Grill moves on in the competition to the next show.

    Best in Shank: Chef Erik Bruner-Yang from Maketto with cumin lamb shank chow fun

    Best in Leg: Chef Victor Albisu from Del Campo with lamb empanadas

    Best in Ground: Chef Wes Morton from Art and Soul with curried lamb sausage

    Best in Shoulder: Chef Dimitri Moshovitis from Cava Mezze Grill with lamb Benedict

    People’s Choice: Chef Dimitri Moshovitis from Cava Mezze Grill with lamb Benedict

    Best in Show: Chef Matt Baker & Rodney Scruggs from Occidental Grill with a lamb “Dagwood” sandwich

    -JAY

    Maketto on Urbanspoon

    Del Campo on Urbanspoon

    Art and Soul on Urbanspoon

    Cava Mezze Grill on Urbanspoon

    Occidental Grill & Seafood on Urbanspoon

  • 16May

    I attended Savor (the huge beer show) in Washington, DC  last night. I sampled some great beer at the show, and will show you some of the highlights. Let’s start with the oysters, which of course are great with beer.

    The Choptank Oyster Company was shucking their Choptank Sweets (Chesepeake Bay oysters), and serving them with lemon or one of three great sauces (ok, one was really a Champagne gelée so if more of a condiment) . The oysters were tasty, and my favorite of the three sauces was the Szechuan Chilli Mignonette, but the shucker’s favorite is Agave Kaffir Sauce.

    I attended a Salon (class) at the show: The Art of Pairing Craft Beer and Jerky. The presenters were Justin “Duke” Havlick (Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats), Mike Lawinski (FATE Brewing Company), and Jason Oliver (Devils Backbone Brewing Company).  Salon description: “Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats teams up with Devils Backbone Brewing Company and FATE Brewing Company to show attendees that smoked meats and jerky make for a quick, easy, versatile and most importantly, tasty partner for craft beer. Four beers will be perfectly paired with smoked meats and jerky from small batch producer Duke’s.” (Yes, they were good pairings.)

    I was new to FATE’s products, but they have only been in business a but over a year. FATE and Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats are both based in Boulder, CO.  Devils Backbone is local favorite for me since it is brewed in Virginia (and is excellent).

    Green Flash & Pork Belly

    I like Green Flash, this beer, and Pork Belly Brioche, but IMHO this was an unsuccessful pairing; the beer overpowered the food.

    My favorite of the 4 jerky’s was the Island Teriyaki Beef Jerky because I loved the chewy (but not tough) texture; it was paired with Devil’s Backbone’s Schwartz Bier, a German Style Black Lager. I very much enjoyed FATE Brewing Company’s Moirai IPA (with it’s grapefruit reminiscent scent and flavor); It paired well with the Sweet Bar-B-Q Braised Pork Strips. The Spicy Bar-B-Q Beef Brisket Strips are nice because they are from a different cut of beef and is spicy; they were paired with FATE’s Barrel Aged Baltic Porter. The Traditional Dry Rub Beef Jerky is for the traditionalists; as someone who didn’t grow up eating jerky, it’s a tough chew for me since you have to gnaw on it. The Traditional Jerky (smoked with hickory and hops) was paired with Devils Backbone’s Striped Bass Pale Ale. BTW, Duke’s Shorty is delicious as well, although it was not part of the salon tasting.

    Most of the beer pairings were spot on, especially the ones paired with dessert. Below are some of the highlights. Yes, wild/sour beers and dessert pairing were common themes this year.

    -JAY

     

     

  • 29Apr

    Savor-Crowd-577x1024For beer lovers who won’t be attending Savor, the huge (sold out) American craft brew event is May 9th and 10th or the 2014 RAMMY Awards, you can still attend some great (and related) beer events.

    Many of the breweries that will be in town for Savor are planning events the week of the show. Click here for the official list of these events. The City Tap House events are not listed individually on Savor’s website (but are all listed under one entry for the 8th), so rather than miss them on the calendar, check them here. Three of the four Jack Rose Dining Saloon events are not on the Savor calendar, but you can find them here.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00: Leading up to the always-sold-out SAVOR American Craft Beer + Food Experience (May 9-10), The Fainting Goat will pair four savory and sweet spring dishes with craft Atlas brews – one being an exclusive Fainting Goat cask ale created just for the event – while guests can meet and chat with Atlas head brewer Will Durgin. You can obtain ($45) tickets here.

    Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is planning the following Savor related events:

    – Tap invasion event at Rustico Arlington on 5/8 with Cigar City

    – Tap invasion at Bier Baron 5/9 with Green Flash and Funkwerks

    – Tap invasion at Meridian Pint on 5/10 with Firestone, Funkwerks, and Elysian.

    2014 RAMMYS Beer Program of the Year finalists are holding these in-house promotions Thursday, May 8:

    RFD SavorStarting at 6pm, Birch & Barley & ChurchKey will feature drafts and casks from Surly Brewing Company at The Surly Brewing Company Draft & Cask Takeover. With no fewer than 10 rare and elusive Surly drafts and casks on tap, don’t miss the opportunity to taste amazing ales otherwise unavailable in Washington, DC.

    Brasserie Beck will keep the RAMMYS celebration going throughout the day with an all-day $10 Antigoon Beer and Brats Special. Opened by Chef Robert Wiedmaier in 2007, Beck’s stunning and spacious bar boasts the city’s most comprehensive Belgian beer list outside Belgium with nine draught beers and over 100 offered by the bottle.

    Granville Moore’s will have special promotions that evening, but they have not yet been specified.

    Lyon Hall’s spacious patio will feature a fabulous Pig Roast/BBQ May 8th. Executive Chef Matt Hill will roast two whole pigs and serve it up with his gourmet side dishes and desserts made by Executive Pastry Chef Bridie McCulla. Beer Director David McGregor will be holding court outside, pouring special draft offerings from house favorite breweries and hosting a special tasting session of “Barrel-Aged” Beers that have been cellared at Lyon Hall.

    Mad Fox Brewing Company Executive Brewer and CEO Bill Madden will host brewery tours at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm, where guests will learn all about the brewing process and even have the chance to sample the freshest beers straight from the fermenting vessels of Mad Fox’s state of the art brewing facility. After the tour, congregate at the massive 63 foot bar and enjoy over 18 drafts on tap among a variety of other products like the 2011 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal award winning Kellerbier Kölsch.

    -JAY

    Editor’s Note: It turns out that Goose Island is hosting DC beer events this week (4/29-5/3).

  • 11Mar

    Ever wondered what it would be like to walk into a hidden basement bar where their sign is subtlety displayed so not to attract too much attention, making you feel like you are part of an exclusive underground bar society cult?

    How intriguing would it be to know that their hand drawn cocktail menu changes quite frequently and their hours of operation and telephone number are nowhere to be found on-site and online?

    As the cocktail creator of D.C.’s Proof and Estadio, Adam Bernbach is the Bar Director of 2 Birds 1 Stone, D.C.’s modern day speakeasy located near the corner of S and 14st NW.  Yes, basic information you’d expect to easily find about a D.C. bar does not apply to 2 Birds 1 Stone. Go to their website for their location and email address but that’s all you’ll find. I was lucky enough to have my best friend who is a bigger D.C. foodie than myself to introduce me to this hidden gem.  Apparently, you never know when they open or close so you just gotta take a chance and go inside.  And wait lines are common on weekends so that’s why we went on a Thursday night and walked in with ease.

    The interior décor of the speakeasy bar is clean—whitewashed concrete walls with a minimalist chic kind of clean. As I entered, a cute portrait of two birds on the wall caught my attention. Upon sitting at the bar, I noticed several figurines of coupled birds scattered along the walls and shelves. I’m a sucker for small details that has obviously been given a lot of thought so bravo, 2 Birds 1 Stone, bravo.

    But most importantly, let’s get to the drinks. A nicely decorated bar providing a hipster’ish ambiance is nothing without great cocktail concoctions.

    I only had one drink because we were trying to kill time waiting for a dinner reservation at Barcelona a few blocks away (review on this will be coming up shortly), but that one drink was remarkably delicious. It was strong on the booze and flavors, just how I like it. If you appreciate the zing of ginger, cinnamon, gin, coriander, and mint leaves, order the Pimms Cup. It’s packed with natural flavors that kick your taste buds without leaving a sugary aftertaste.

    As for my friend’s whiskey cocktail, I can’t recall the name but I remember it was thoroughly enjoyed. If anyone reading knows the name of the cocktail to the right in the photo, please let me know. This was during the week of February 21, 2014.

    Could I drink the Pimms Cup all night? No way. But it was the perfect drink to sip on to kill time. Would I go back? Absolutely. I’m intrigued by their Southeast Asian bar food menu I didn’t have the chance to indulge in.

     -EHY (Elina)

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