Monday, August 23, 2010

ballast point - brewery tour

immediately following our stop at urge gastopub in rancho bernardo, our bus pulled into ballast point, a san diego brewery and purveyors of yellowtail pale ale & sculpin IPA. ballast point has been in operation since 1996, when owner/co-founder jack white - not the white stripes lead singer - teamed up with brewer extraordinaire yuseff cherney in their joint love for beer (and fishing).

in addition to a hefty discount on everything they had on tap (including tasters, pints & take home growlers), we were lucky enough to score a tour of the facilities. i've been to a handful of tours in my day - notably stone, anchor steam and pizza port - so chalk up another to the short list. but none included nifty safety goggles in the event of a sudsy mishap...

sadly, we departed ballast point close to 7pm and made the journey back home. this cat immediately went into full-on snooze mode for the better part of the trip, only to wake in between sips of a growler that was being passed around...

stone - 14th anniversary celebration & beer festival

made the pilgrimage to stone brewing co's 14th anniversary celebration in san marcos, CA on saturday. this was the 4th time i've been - i've been to their 8th, 10th and 12th - so i kept my bi-annual streak alive. courtesy of the library alehouse, who chartered a party bus to/from santa monica, newbies vim, sara & olivia joined me on the excursion to sunny san diego county.

a ticket to the 3-hour session grants you admission, a commemorative glass and 10 pours of delicious craft brews from over 50 world class breweries, including bear republic, mikkeller (denmark), the bruery, russian river, and a host more. trying to remember my selections, but here goes:

1. stone double-dry hopped 14th anniversary ale
2. bear republic mach 10
3. speakeasy midnight run india black ale
4. stone vertical epic 07.07.07 aged in red wine barrels
5. repeat (it was that good)
6. russian river supplication
7. lost abbey TEA (traditional experimental ale)
8. great divide espresso oak-aged yeti
9. maredsous 6 blond
10. stone smoked porter w/vanilla beans

after the session A came to a close, we 'hopped' (sorry) aboard the bus to a new gastropub called urge (not a gay nightclub), where more beer and food awaited us! chose this opportunity to try brewdog's tokyo, an imperial stout brewed w/jasmine & cranberries that clocks in at a very unladylike 18.2%.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

eats - animal

finally got the chance to hit up animal, a uniquely meat-centric joint located on fairfax ave. outside of three salads (i counted) on their ever-changing daily menu, this place is a carnivore's dream. call it stop #2 on my birthday dinner tour of 2010.

consisting of 15 appetizers, 5 entree-size plates and 2 amuse bouches, the food here is meant to be shared, as prefaced by our waiter when also describing the fluctuating cooking times for each of the dishes. we opted for 4 of the smaller plate varieties, as seen below:

starting from the top left clockwise, we feasted on:

1. quail fry, grits, chard, slab bacon & maple jus - the jus is out of this world
2. hamachi tostada, herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette, peanut - clean, simple, delectable
3. poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar - the slow-cooked braised oxtail was fall-off-the-bone tender
4. barbecue pork belly sandwiches, slaw - quite simply, one of the best things i've eaten in all of southern california

of course, i can't breathe much now, typing this up between short inhales and deep exhales. but it was well worth the wait. now if you excuse me, i'll be dreaming of the pork belly sandwiches...

435 n. fairfax ave.

los angeles, CA 90036

Friday, August 13, 2010

'eat pray love' - musings

today marks the opening of the filmed adaptation of the popular bestseller written by elizabeth gilbert. while this would typically give dusting-the-audio/video-cables-behind-your-TV a run for the money in terms of excitement level, in this case i cannot proclaim for this to be true...

i got sucked into reading the novel a few months back and was surprised to enjoy it as much as i did. even though gilbert didn't conceive of the material with my demographic (um, MALE) in mind, i curiously found myself embracing her inner self and drawing an abundance of inspiration in her quest for self-empowerment. i actually started tabbing certain pages that sang out to me as i tore thru her journey to italy, india and indonesia and can admit that i'm looking forward to the movie. but shhh... you didn't hear it from me...