All Posts Tagged “beer”

The Meat I Eat #28

Friday was Stephanie’s last official day workin’ at UW. She’d stayed on as a post-doc for her graduate advisor after gettin’ her PhD last August, but she’s taking the summer off until she starts her new position at NIST in Boulder, CO in October. To celebrate, we went out and got drinks/snacks at Naked City Brewing up in Greenwood. Naked City has some pretty fancy food… we split an order of french fries with black truffle sea salt, a cup of ginger-carrot soup, and a beet burger. The food was very good, but the portions were small. I also had a Spiced Peaches & Cream Hefeweizen from Laht Neppur Brewing Co. It tasted like peach cobbler. I enjoyed it a lot.

A few of our friends ended up joining us and we hopped over to the bar next door (Bill’s on Greenwood) to catch the end of the hockey game. The food at Bill’s was much more unassuming (and much greasier); I was still hungry, so I ordered their buffalo chicken flat bread pizza (with bacon!). Although it was only eight bucks, it was huge and came with A TON of delicious, salty, tangy, high-quality Roquefort. I was happily surprised. The food+drinks+friends+hockey combined to make for a lovely celebration evening. Hooray!

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Miles run in 2014: 152.0
Books read in 2014: 39

Portland Vacation 2014: Day Two

To start our Saturday, we went and got breakfast at Sweetpea Baking Company (a vegan bakery) which is in the Buckman neighborhood of Portland. I got an iced Americano and a delicious almond ring pastry. This place is really good; we always visit whenever we’re in town.

Andrew_SweetpeaEnjoying my coffee while watching some puppies wrestlin’ outside the window.

The main activity that we had planned today (and really, this is the thing helped us decide to come down to Portland on this particular weekend) was attending the Portland Fruit Beer Festival hosted by the Burnside Brewing Company. We wanted to get there fairly early before the crowds got too nuts-o (the festival started at 11 am), so we headed over after we finished our coffee. Luckily, the brewery is only about ten blocks away from the bakery, which meant we could just walk up.

We got there at the perfect time. There were enough folks milling around so that the environment felt festive, but not so many that you had to wait in line to get beer. As part of admission, each person got a commemorative pint glass and 12 tickets good for samplin’. Most of the samples “cost” one ticket for a 3 oz. taste, but some of the fancier/rarer/higher ABV stuff was two or three tickets. The majority of the pourers were ~sticklers about not giving you more than 3 oz., but a few of the guys were pretty generous and filled your glass halfway. Woo! There were more than 45 kinds of beers and ciders from ~30 different breweries available for tasting.

glass and guide Portland beer festStephanie Portland Beer FestFestival guide (left) and Stephanie enjoying Ecliptic Brewing’s Lacerta Frambuesa (right).

Between the two of us, Stephanie and I tried 18 different varieties. While we were sippin’ on our beverages, we split an order of pretzel knots and a bucket of truffle fries. My favorite drinks on the day were the Peach Slap by Deschutes Brewery (a semi-sour ale with strong peach, peppercorn, and juniper berry flavors – absolutely my favorite drink today), the Sweet Triple Hot ¡Tepache! by Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (pineapple juice fermented with habenero, aji, and ghost peppers – sweet with a pretty good kick; pineapple pairs so well spicy), and The Tiger Cub by Stone Brewing (a very sour saison with a strong cherry flavor – mouth-puckeringly delicious). Stephanie’s favorite (which I also enjoyed a lot) was a Belgian Framboise infused with cocoa nibs and raspberries. By the time we left (around 2 pm), the place was packed. We had to stand in line for ~10 minutes to get our last sample. I’m glad that we got there as early as we did.

beer notes PortlandHastily scribbled notes about some of the different beers we sampled.

Once we left the brewery, we mosied over to downtown Portland and made our obligatory visit to Powell’s. We also walked through the Saturday market and did a fair amount of window shoppin’. It was really nice out, so it was pleasant to just wander around ~aimlessly.

For dinner, we went to Sushi Ahi. It was okay (not great). Sushi is definitely one of my favorite warm-weather foods because it’s so light and fresh and easy to eat. Unfortunately, the menu they had in the restaurant was significantly different than the one on their website (way fewer veggie sushi rolls), so we ended up mostly ordering a bunch of veggie appetizers/starters. They did have one vegetarian roll (the SUPER VEGGIE), which we did get. It had a whole lot goin’ on, but it was good. We also split an avocado+tofu caprese salad, some deep fried tofu wrapped in daikon, some broiled taro potatoes in miso paste, and some edamame.

Ahi sushiSuper Veggie: cucumber, avocado, oshinko, gobo, kaiware, inari, and asparagus wrapped in soy paper. Oh my!

After dinner, we went out for a drink at Hereafter (the sister bar to The Bye and Bye). It was still really nice out, so we sat out on their back patio. I ordered a tart n’ tasty black currant cider and Stephanie had a glass of red wine. Once we finished our drinks, we went back to the hotel and watched a few episodes of Chopped. Another successful day in Portland!

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Miles run in 2014: 145.5
Books read in 2014: 37

The Meat I Eat #26

Instead of going and playing Ultimate Frisbee today (like we would’ve done had we won on Tuesday), a few of us decided to go over to Fremont Brewing Company for some sunny, almost-summertime drinks on the patio. It was warm and festive and we had a lovely time.

Danni+Andrew+Fremont BrewingCheers! With a black bean burger and a saison.

They don’t actually serve food at Fremont Brewing, but they do allow/encourage folks to bring in anything they wanna eat. With this in mind, Stephanie and I stopped at Paseo, which is a happenin’ Caribbean sandwich spot just a few blocks north of the bar. Stephanie got a tasty lookin’ tofu sandwich, but I opted to go for their most popular sandwich: the Caribbean Roast. This sandwich comes on a lightly toasted baguette and has slow-roasted/marinated pork shoulder in addition to fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, crisp romaine lettuce, caramelized onions, and a garlic aoili sauce. It was delicious.

Andrew+sandwich Fremont BrewingBailey at Fremont Brewing

SANDWICH! (left) and lil’ pup Bailey, whose presence necessitated going to a bar with a patio (right).

I probably would’ve rather been playing some Frisbee, but hanging out and eating/drinking in the sun with a bunch of friends is certainly a great way to spend an evening.

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Miles run in 2014: 142.3
Books read in 2014: 34

Southwest Vacation: Day Four

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In case you were worried, I did remember to wear green and avoided receiving any pinches. However, I did not spot any leprechauns.

Today we went and hiked around Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Once again, we were accompanied by Stephanie’s parents. The drive out to the reserve from downtown only took about half an hour, so we were able to get most of our hiking in before it got too too hot.

Torrey Pines Landscape 2The iconic conifers that give Torrey Pines its name. These trees are only found in two places in the world.

The park is situated right on the Pacific Ocean, just north of the beautiful/historic Torrey Pines golf course. Most of the reserve sits up on top of some cliffs/bluffs and provides a really scenic view of the water/waves below. There are several short trails; we managed to walk along most of them.

Torrey Pines mapWe hiked the Guy Fleming, Yucca Point, Beach, Broken Hill, and North Fork Trails.

While we were hiking around, we also stopped at several of the viewpoints. Both of Stephanie’s parents are enthusiastic shutterbugs, so we generally wouldn’t go more than 100 feet without someone stopping to snap a picture (or twenty). On some hikes I might find this slow/deliberate pace to be a little bothersome, but it was actually perfectly suited for today. The light breeze and the sound of the waves and the clear sunlight all combined to create a very calming, mellow, moderately contemplative mood. There were several other people walking around the park, but it really almost felt like you were out there by yourself. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re ever in/around San Diego.

Torrey Pines LookoutTorrey Pines Flat Rock
Looking out at the Pacific (left) and considering how to get to the Flat Rock sea stack (right).

In our party, I was the only one who hiked all the way down to the beach – I’m of the opinion that you can’t go to the ocean and not at least stick your hand/foot in the water! The tide was more than halfway in and the surf was relatively rough (we’d read that waves were expected to be 7 to 10 feet and there were some surf advisories) so I got splashed a little bit as I walked out to the point. I always get a little wobbly when I’m standing right in front of the ocean (especially with a fairly large/sheer cliff face looming up behind me) because it’s so big and heavy and loud and everywhere. It’s a weird feeling, but one that I enjoy (in small doses).

Torrey Pines Landscape 1The park provides panoramic views that are rich in starkly contrasting natural beauty.

While we were walking around, we also saw a TON of birds. I counted at least 16 members in a squadron of brown pelicans that was flying up and down the coast and there was a Cooper’s hawk that alternated between circling above our heads and perching on the top of a big ol’ lightning-struck pine tree. There were also countless other smaller birds as well that were more difficult to identify… I feel like a birdwatcher would be deliriously happy at Torrey Pines. As for furry critters, we saw several ground squirrels who were unafraid enough to make me suspect that someone hadn’t been following the “Don’t Feed the Wildlife” signs… As great as this vacation has been so far, I think that visiting Torrey Pines might have been my favorite thing that we’ve done.

On the way back in to town we stopped at a little Mexican restaurant for lunch. I got the “South of the Border” plate which included a cheese enchilada, a chicken taco (meat #15!), and a chile relleno. Chile rellenos are my favorite dish at Mexican restaurants. I like to get them whenever I go some place new; they’re pretty much my metric for determining how tasty a Mexican restaurant is. Unfortunately, lunch turned out to be fairly mediocre. Their verde sauce was pretty tasty, though. Also, they had one of those fancy Coca-Cola Freestyle machines that dispenses 125+ types of soda pop. I got lime-flavored Coke because it was green(ish) and St. Pat’s.

After lunch, we decided to head over to Coronado Island and check out the Coronado Brewing Co. brew pub. It was a pretty neat place and their beer was generally very tasty. Also, it’s great when you go out with three other people, because it’s so much easier to sample a greater variety of beer! Their Orange Avenue Wit was quite good (a lot like Blue Moon but with a slightly sweeter citrus flavor) and their Blue Bridge Coffee Stout was maybe the best coffee stout I’ve ever had. I combined a mild smokiness with a really strong coffee flavor to produce a beer that I thought was superb. Stephanie really liked it, too.

For dinner, we went to a small Italian restaurant a few blocks away from our hotel in Little Italy. (Stephanie and I only stayed at the Embassy Suites for the first two nights – after that, we’d reserved a room at the Urban Boutique Hotel. It was a lot smaller, but a lot cuter.) I tried to order a glass of the house chianti with my dinner, but the waiter told me that it was “a little harsh” and that he’d bring me a “nice” glass of wine instead. I have no idea what I ended up with (or how much it cost…), but it was fairly fruity and I enjoyed it. I was pretty full from the late lunch and the beer at Coronado, so I had a light(ish) dinner of soup (minestrone) and salad (vegetarian tritata – the dressing was super tangy, but in a good way). Stephanie got the gnocchi, which had a particularly tasty cream sauce. Overall, I thought that dinner was good but not great.

We’ll be leaving San Diego tomorrow morning and driving to Tucson with Stephanie’s mom and dad. Although we were only here for three and a half days, we really managed to do A LOT. I had a very nice time and would certainly consider coming back again.

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Miles run in 2014: 96.4
Books read in 2014: 21

Southwest Vacation: Day One

Today we flew down to San Diego to attend the wedding of one of Stephanie’s cousins (the wedding is tomorrow). We’ll be hanging out in Southern California until Tuesday (3/18) at which point we’ll drive to Tucson with Stephanie’s parents. Then we get six more days of vacation (so much sun!) before heading back up to Seattle on March 25th. I’m excited!

We woke up early this morning (~6 am) and hopped a bus and then a train to get to the airport for our 10:20 am flight. The light rail in Seattle actually makes it super easy to get the airport via public transit, which is much better than paying the ~$40 cab/shuttle fare. We had a 2.5 hour layover in scenic Sacramento along the way. While we were waiting in the airport, I had the biggest, cheesiest, greasiest quesadilla of my life. It was good in that it was stuffed with green chile and came with a heaping serving of guacamole, but bad in that it had lots of onions and likely clogged several of my arteries. We also hung out at a bar in the airport and watched some of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament (Ohio State beat Nebraska). It was probably ~the most pleasant two hours a person could spend in Sacramento.

Sacramento Airport DrinksLemonade and Monkey Knife Fight (American Pale Ale) from Sacramento-based Rubicon Brewing.

We got in to San Diego a little before 4 pm. It was warm (71 F!) and sunny and sooo different from the weather we’d left behind in Seattle. Stephanie’s parents picked us up and drove us to our hotel. We’re staying at the Embassy Suites which was a little old but HUGE. It probably has ~400 rooms. We get to stay on the top (twelfth) floor, which provides a pretty nice view of the surrounding city.

For dinner, we went to the Liberty Station location of Stone Brewery. This place was incredible. The architecture and the landscaping were amazing. Inside there were vaulted ceilings and interesting light fixtures and miles of exposed beams and outside there were winding waterways crossed by bridges and Adirondack chairs constructed out of old whiskey barrels. There were also a couple of complimentary bocce courts. It was a pretty magical place; the food/drink could’ve been terrible and it still would’ve been worth the trip… fortunately, everything we ate and drank was very good, too. They had 40 beers on tap, which made choosing what to drink quite difficult, but I ended up getting a cup of Matt’s Burning Rosids Imperial Cherrywood-Smoked Saison and a pint of Smoked Porter with Toasted Hazelnuts (a cask beer). Both were good, but the saison was particularly tasty.

Stone Brewery Bar40! tap bar.

The Meat I Eat #12: They didn’t have many veggie options, so I ended up ordering their poke tacos for dinner (spicy yellowfin tuna, sesame-soy vinaigrette, wakame, and smashed avocado). These were VERY good. I also tried a few quail knots (fried quail quarters with a Sriracha-honey glaze – almost like a spicy quail version of a chicken wing) and some of their baby back ribs. Normally when we go out, it’s just Stephanie and me, so there aren’t other people offering to let me try their meaty dishes. As such, while we’re in San Diego, I anticipate indulging in meat a bit more often than I would otherwise…

After dinner, we went and grabbed a couple more drinks with the wedding party. They’re staying in a moderately swanky hotel down in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. We hung out in the rooftop bar and enjoyed the warm weather and the stars. Cities are definitely prettiest once the sun goes down. I got to meet some more of Stephanie’s family and everyone seemed genuinely nice and friendly. All in all, today was a lovely way to start my vacation. Woo!

Note: Although I’ll be writing/finishing most/all of these posts after I’m back in Seattle, I think I’ll pre-date these to the date on which things actually occurred.

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Miles run in 2014: 96.4
Books read in 2014: 21