Girls on Food

Elizabeth

In 2012 I moved to LA with no job and no plan other than that I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. So naturally, the first thing I did was get a job at a liquor store. Thus began my love affair with wine and craft beer. I have always been a foodie, even as a child (thanks Mom and Dad!), so it only made sense to start playing with wine and beer pairings and checking out the kind of food the wineries and breweries are serving up to go along side their libations. I love traveling, drinking local, and finding the newest and most unique beers and wines on the market. My partner Brad also works in the wine and beer industry, and we have a cat who apparently loves wine as much as we do because we often catch her batting corks around the house or chewing on the tops of bottles on our wine rack. I look forward to sharing with you all my favorite drinks, bars, breweries, and tasting experiences! Follow my adventures on Instagram @thelovelyliz.

Craft Beer, Cocktails, and More at the Artisanal LA Spring Market

What better way to spend a beautiful spring Sunday in Downtown Los Angeles than sipping on a craft beer and browsing dozens of local vendors and crafts? Up on the 13th floor of the California Market Center, you can do just that at the Artisanal LA Spring Market! I honestly wasn’t quite sure what the event was going to be like, but I can’t wait for them to host another.The highlight for me, as always, is the booze. They featured three craft breweries as well as two craft spirit producers and a cocktail mixer and not a single one disappointed. Breweries featured Sunday were Brouwerji West, Cellardor Ales, and Three Weavers Brewing. Each was unique in what they brought to the table and the folks representing them were so knowledgeable and friendly. Brouwerji West was tasting their saison, which is naturally fermented in the can (!!!) and oh so tasty. They’ve also jumped in on the haze craze and had a fantastic experimental hazy pale ale. Cellador Ales had two different wine barrel aged beers, which were unique and extremely well done. Their focus on barrel aged beers is a breath of fresh air in what can feel like a market sometimes crowded by typical styles and trends, and they do these beer extremely well. 
Three Weavers brought their fan favorite Expatriate IPA which I had somehow never tried but loved. They also had their beer from the Pink Boots Society’s Big Boots Brew, which is an annual brewing done at breweries across the world to celebrate women in the beer industry. It was a wonderful sampling of different beers that are from right here in Southern California, and really drove home the fact LA has a fantastic beer community.
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Verdugo West Brewing Co. Brings Craft Beer to the Heart of Burbank

Most craft beer lovers know California to be a hub in the industry, but residents of Los Angeles have often been left scratching their heads wondering where their local breweries were. (Los Angeles has about 50 vs. San Diego which has well over 100!) But, thankfully, more and more are opening in our neck of the woods, and Verdugo West Brewing Co. is one I can’t wait to see more from! Located in Burbank just 10 minutes from downtown, it brings great beer and a fun atmosphere to what can sometimes feel like a sleepy suburb. The folks at Verdugo West Brewing Co. were good enough to invite me to their Grand Opening, and frankly, I can’t wait to go back!

Verdugo West Brewing Co. 
156 West Verdugo Ave, 
Burbank, California

http://www.verdugowestbrewing.com/

The whole staff lines up to prepare to cut the ribbonThe brewery is owned and run by a local restaurant group which is responsible for other spots like Market City Caffe- which is good news because they’ll bring you delicious burritos over from their restaurant for you to enjoy with your beer! Head brewer Chris Walowski has previously worked at both Ohana Brewing and Smog City Brewing, and with a resume like that you know you’re in for a treat. Chris was an absolute delight to chat with as well and shared some stories about the installation of the brewing equipment and his process. Talking with him makes it clear this is truly a labor of love, and it shows in the final product.

Inside the tasting roomFor a brand new brewery, they are already brewing some exciting and complex beers. My absolute favorite at the Grand Opening was the Quarterly IPA, which was just bursting with fresh hop flavor. They also had variants of their What Plane? (oatmeal stout) and Wax Wing (blonde lager). The What Plane? brewed with coffee was perfect on a chilly LA evening and the Wax Wing brewed with ginger was spicy and incredibly food friendly. They also had a few beers that were to be released soon that I can’t wait to try, including two different sours brewed with fruit and a double IPA.

Enjoying my pint of the Quarterly IPAVerdugo West Brewing Co. is a brewery I’ll be keeping my eye on. With Chris at the helm making such fantastic beer and strong leadership, I’ve no doubt we can expect great things from Verdugo West Brewing Co. I’m looking forward to visiting again and craft beer lovers in LA should add it to their list of places to visit.

Brewnola: A Snack That’ll Keep You Hoppy!

For those not in the know, the craft beer movement is really into sustainability. Lots of breweries are experimenting with water recycling, repurposing old equipment, spoiled beer, and finding creative uses for the spent grain from the brewing process. Most will just give it to cattle farmers for feed or compost it, but some people are looking for uses a little more off the beaten path.

brewnola

Enter Brewnola. They are taking the barley left over from the brewing process and making it into savory, tasty snacks that go perfectly with your favorite brew. Not only do they have tasty treats, but they have a pretty badass mission statement that includes paying all their employees a living wage and employing people who are often overlooked, like disabled veterans and the formerly incarcerated. That sounds like a pretty cool mission to me.

 

They have three barley snack flavors – barbecue, chili-lime, and sriracha – all of which taste great. They’re an excellent alternative to the bland crackers or pretzels you find on most bar counters.  The company was good enough to send me some samples, so I sat down with one of my favorite beers and gave them a try.

The first flavor I tried was barbecue. I see what they mean when they suggest pairing this with a robust smoked porter or stout! The smokiness of the BBQ and the hint of spiciness would pair well with a dry Irish stout or a porter with a low malt character. This one is a little on the chewy side, but still has some nice crunch to it.

The chili-lime flavor was up next. This one paired perfectly with the beer I was drinking – a crisp saison! It had a nice spiciness with a little of that sweet lime flavor. I can see this going well with everything from a lager to a nice hoppy IPA. A bit crunchier, and more my jam (since I’m a sucker for that chili-lime combo). You can really taste the flavor of the grain too, which I really liked.

Up last was Sriracha. The Sriracha-obsessed crowd will like this one. It has all the flavors you find in the favorite hot sauce – garlic, chili powder, soy sauce, and then an intense heat in the finish. Beautifully crispy and very flavorful! The spicy factor makes me think this would go great with an IPA as well, but why not go traditional and do a lager from Thailand or Japan?

My roommates got in on the action as well, and Brewnola received an endorsement from each of them. So to me, the folks making Brewnola know what’s up! Yummy bite size snacks perfect for pairing with a nice cold one? Sign me up. They are still fully launching their business, but I’m really looking forward to being able to pick up a bag of the chili-lime Brewnola to bring along to my weekly movie nights or a party. Plus, even Lilith the Beer Cat was a fan, and that’s all the endorsement I need.

Lilith

Deep Ellum Brewing Company in Dallas, TX

I may be “living the dream” in Los Angeles, but I’m a Texan at heart and when I visited the greatest state in the union this spring, I knew I was going to have to check out some local beer. A week before my trip I heard a interview with the head brewer of Deep Ellum Brewing Company on The Business of Beer Podcast and immediately added them to my list of places to visit while I was in Dallas.IMG_0723

 

Deep Ellum Brewing Company
2823 St Louis Street, Dallas, TX 75226
http://www.deepellumbrewing.com

Maybe it’s just because I was out of the beer scene when I lived in Texas, but my memory of beer was pretty much Bud and Coors- Lone Star or Shiner were for when you were feeling fancy. But the craft beer scene in Dallas has absolutely exploded, and they are turning out some amazing beers. Deep Ellum Brewing is definitely leading the pack, with a commitment to quality beer and a great beer community. They are located in the heart of Deep Ellum, right on a strip full of great bars and restaurants. It’s an ideal spot to stop in for a few pints after dinner.

IMG_0720The tasting room itself has a great atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. They’ve done a great job of embracing the industrial feel of the area, but making it a really interesting and dynamic space. For those of you from out of the state- be aware that Texas has strict ABC laws, which caught me off guard. Six packs of beer are only for on premise consumption and they don’t do tasting flights at certain times. But it is 100% worth your time to come by and grab a few pints.

IMG_0719I was head over heels in love with the Dreamcrusher Double IPA. Coming from the west coast, I’m used to super hoppy IPAs, and I’ve had a million of them. So finding a fantastic IPA brewed in Texas was a such an unexpected surprise. The also have a brown ale brewed with coffee from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, which filled me with nostalgia since I worked in that neighborhood for several summers in college. I was also a huge fan of both the Rye Pilsner and the Praline Porter. The rye gave a nice kick to the pilsner, which was crisp and refreshing. The Praline Porter was basically everything I wish for in a porter- robust, but with a wonderful malty sweetness. That was only a smattering of what I got to try though- they have a really solid list of year round beers plus some wonderful specialty and seasonal beers. Being a Dallas native, it was wonderful seeing such a great brewery innovating and making such great beer. If you are ever in the Big D, make sure you give these guys a visit.

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Summer sipping at Whole Foods: The Eight Bar in DTLA

Whole Foods/The Eight Bar
788 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/downtownlosangeles

Did you know the Whole Foods in Downtown Los Angeles has an excellent bar and restaurant called The Eight Bar? I certainly didn’t, but they were kind enough to invite me signto come by and check them out. I didn’t think I’d like a bar in a grocery store so much, but I was impressed all around with my experience. The staff was very kind and knowledgeable, and I was very excited with both their wine and beer lists. They have various food specials throughout the week, but Mondays they feature oysters so I got treated to a summer wine flights paired with oysters served two ways.

With summer right around the corner, I was thrilled to do a flight of my two favorite warm weather (and day drinking!) wines- rosé and sparkling wine. All of the wines can be purchased at your local Whole Foods, so if you’re into bright, tasty rosés or some superb bubbly, I recommend any of these bottles.

wineThe tasting list included (left to right), Presto Prosecco (in adorable single serve cans!),  the Summer Water Rosé (Santa Barbara County), Domaine de la Solitude Rose (Côtes du Rhone), Col Veterra Prosecco, and the Gaston Chiquet Brut Champagne. I honestly don’t think I could pick a favorite out of the lineup as they were all super tasty. The Domaine de la Solitude rosé was right up my alley with some great berry flavors and a subtle dry minerality. The champagne was also excellent, and a great alternative to Veuve Clicquot or Möet. Plus how cute is that can of prosecco? Perfect for a day at the beach, camping, poolside, or anytime you want just one glass of the bubbly (instead of the whole bottle).

oystersIn addition to some great wines, the folks at The Eight Bar were kind enough to let my try their oysters prepared two ways, which was the perfect compliment to these refreshing summer wines. All their oysters are steamed in a beer bath and then prepared in several ways. The first were more traditional oysters, complete with house-made cocktail sauce. The others were cooked with St. Germaine and dry white vermouth and a cream sauce. I had never had fresh oysters prepared in a such a rich and decadent way before, so the latter was definitely a treat!

myfaceI’d had never thought there’d be such a neat bar at a Whole Foods, but The Eight Bar in Downtown LA is a delightful hidden gem. The food and wine were both great, but more importantly, the staff was knowledgeable and friendly, which, in my opinion, really elevates a bar from good to great. So make sure you pay these guys a visit if you’re in the area, and if not, don’t fret – you can always grab a bottle of rosé for your lazy afternoons at your local Whole Foods.

Eagle Rock Brewing’s Women’s Beer Forum is Where All the Cool Ladies Are

Every craft beer loving girl out there can relate – you’re at a bar, and you spot a delicious IPA on their tap list. You excitedly approach the bar, ready to order your delicious beverage of choice. You tell the bartender your order, and he looks at you and goes, “Are you sure? That’s a really hoppy beer.”

Eagle Rock Brewery 
3056 Roswell Street, Los Angeles, CA 90065
http://eaglerockbrewery.com

eaglerock

Sadly, this is a familiar scene to those of us ladies who like our beer. But never fear, we are banding together to create girl power beer clubs. The folks at Eagle Rock Brewing have been hosting the Women’s Beer Forum for four years. Each month they host a ladies’ only event that spotlights different local breweries, women in the industry, and spectacular beer and food pairings.

I visited their Women’s Beer Forum while they were hosting Arts District Brewing and it was such a fun night! Arts District Brewing is a brand new LA based brewery putting out some fantastic beers, and their head brewer is a lady brewer to boot! We got to try some brand new experimental beers, as well as, some tried and true favorites. Plus, stick around after for a tasting flight of Eagle Rock Brewing’s very own beers, you won’t be disappointed!

brewer
The head brewer from Arts District Brewing pouring some beer!

Overall, I was very impressed with all five of the Arts District Brewing beers we tried that night, The Traction IPA and Puerto Rico Porter were both fantastic beers, and we also got to try several new brews. Their head brewer clearly knows what she’s doing.  She has worked with Pizza Port Brewing among others and has several awards under her belt. We stuck around afterwards and tried a few of Eagle Rock Brewing’s beers, which were also fantastic.

It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by such amazing women who both loved beer but were also working so hard in the craft beer industry. There is much to be learned and lots of wonderful women to meet at the beer forum. So if you want to hang out with your fellow beer loving ladies, make sure you get on their mailing list so you can visit.
Eagle Rock Brewery Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Geeking Out at Intergalactic Brewing Company in San Diego

Do you love beer? Are you a fan of Sci-Fi? Then next time you’re in San Diego, make sure you visit Intergalactic Brewing Company.

Intergalactic Brewing Company
http://www.intergalacticbrew.com
9835 Carroll Centre Rd
San Diego, CA 92126

My boIMG_2438yfriend and I ended up in San Diego at the tail end of San Diego Beer week recently and dropped by Intergalactic Brewing on a whim. They were in the area we were in, they had positively geeky beers, and they had great Yelp reviews- why not, right? They exceeded our expectations and more, and are worth a visit next time you’re in the area!



IMG_2439What convinced us to visit these guys (as we were surveying a couple of different options in the area) was that they have a Brown Coat Ale. Since we are both huge Firefly fans, we knew this was our next brewery stop, but fear not if Firefly isn’t your thing they also have the That’s No Moon triple IPA, The Cake is a Lie cream ale, and variation beers they call their “Red Shirts.” Their whole tasting room is decked out in Sci-Fi decor, including an X-Files poster and life-size Chewbacca. Even their staff is both beer savvy and nerd savvy the guy working the taps spent some time showing off his Star Wars tattoos to us while we tried some different brews!

The beer at Intergalactic does not disappoint either. They had what they were calling their “Cake vs. Coconut” line up from San Diego Beer week, which included five variants on their The Cake is a Lie Cream Ale and Space Oasis Coconut Porter. All the variations (which included pumpkin, macadamia nut, and horchata) were fantastic, and the side by side variations of the beers made for a fun tasting. They also had some other specialty beers, including two sours, the Rebel Alliance stout with chocolate, coconut, and vanilla, IMG_2440and Red Shirt #38 white IPA. While some breweries undoubtedly excel and particular styles, everything we had from Intergalactic delivered.

The tasting room itself is pretty typical for many of the small rooms in San Diego a little warehouse style room with a roll up door in a strip mall. But it is cozy and inviting with extremely friendly staff. Plus since the weather in San Diego is always amazing, you can enjoy and a beautiful breeze with your beer.

Next time you’re in San Diego (Comic-Con, anyone?) make sure you pay these guys a visit. They may not be as big as a lot of other breweries in the area, but they are just as great. Grab a beer with some friends while you discuss The Force Awakens- I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Adventures in Homebrewing with Elizabeth

beerkit
Your kit comes full prepared!

So it you love beer (like I do) it’s really only a matter of time before you try and make your own. If this is something you’ve thought of, I say go for it! It’s fun to drink a beer you made and brag to all your friends about all the time you spent simmering the wort. Most people think making beer requires a big start up commitment, but it doesn’t. Thanks to a number of starter kits on the market, it is easy to start making you own beer at home. This is one food blogger’s account in adventures in homebrewing.

Fermenting the beer!
Fermenting the beer!

It basically all started on a whim. My boyfriend and I had been wanting to try for a while, but didn’t want to drop a ton of money on equipment we might only use ones. Enter Craft a Brew. They make high quality homebrewing kits that are an amazing way to dip your toes in the homebrewing waters without spending a ton of money.

A start kit ranged from about $40-$50 a kit. (Ingredient refills range

Siphoning all that beer into bottles!
Siphoning all that beer into bottles!

from $15-$20 a kit as well!) This includes all the ingredients and equipment you need aside from a few cheap and readily available items. The only thing we ended up buying outside of the kit was ice, distilled water, and bottles (for those we just bought 4 pack of Grolsch flip tops, drank all the beer in them, and then used the bottles). Not too bad!

I particularly love the Craft a Brew kits because the beer they make is good quality. Other kits on the market make Budweiser type beers, while the Craft a Brew kits are more like craft beer (and in fact, some recipes are even designed by reputable craft breweries.) Thus far we have made the dry Irish stout, the Oktoberfest marzen, and the Imperial IPA, and all were delicious and well received by our friends. There are a few things to expect when you start your own homebrewing adventure though.

It takes some time. Most brews take about a month- two weeks of fermentations and then two weeks of bottle conditioning. This (thankfully) isn’t a terribly long time, but it can feel like an eternity when you’re excited to try your beer!

It’s a lot like chemistry class. Beer making is very precise. The wort (one of the beginning components of beer) needs to be just the right temperature or simmer for a certain amount of time, otherwise you have less than desirable beer. In fact, adding yeast too early can kill it and result in no fermentation at all! Thankfully these kits come with very clear instructions, but sometimes waiting for things to come together can be tough! If you hate baking- another form of culinary chemistry- you might hate making beer too. But thankfully these kits make it easy- just add the ingredients to your pot when they recipe book tells you too.

Beer making is simple, and yet very complex. Making a beer is truly and art form. There are so many unique thing you can add to it, but it all stems for the same basic ingredients- water, yeast, hops, grains, and malts. Craft a Brew’s kits let you experiments with different, unique ingredients. Their recipe kits include items such as lactose (for a milk stout), oak chips (for an oaked beer), and a variety of different hops! It’s fun if you want to experiments but don’t want to do any of the guess work!

Final product- so tasty!
Final product- so tasty!

In the end, these kits really only require maybe three hours of actual labor and four weeks of waiting to have your very own beer. We have loved making beer with them so much we will probably upgrade to a bigger system soon so we can make more than a gallon as a time. But if you want to try a fun new hobby that is going to impress you friends, give beer making a shot! It’s lots of fun and you get to drink at the end!

Rhone Wines Shine at Zaca Mesa Winery in Los Olivos, CA

IMG_2259It’s no secret I love the wine on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in Santa Barbara County.  There are so many hidden gems on the trail, and while Zaca Mesa is certainly more widely distributed than many other wineries in the area, it has some unique wines you can only find in their tasting room.

Zaca Mesa Winery
6905 Foxen Canyon Rd.
Los Olivos, CA 93441
http://www.zacamesa.com

For starters, Zaca Mesa is located on some beautiful grounds out in the Santa Maria countryside. There’s even a hiking path through some of their vineyards you can take a walk through, as well as an oversized chess set that I’m sure is super fuIMG_1121 (1)n after a few glasses (not that I would know!). The outdoor area is stunning, and since the weather on the central coast is always fantastic, it’s the perfect place to sip some wine and enjoy a sunny day.

Head inside for your wine and you’ll be greeted by the very friendly staff. Zaca Mesa grows a lot of what you expect to find on the central coast- Chardonnay and some excellent GSM blends. But for the adventurous wine taster, they have some exciting and unique choices. Both their Marsanne and their Roussanne are fantastic whites. I was a little surprised when they recommended the Roussanne serves at cellar temperature instead of chilled, but it has so much body that it works beautifully. If you are into a classic Viognier, their’s is one of the best I’ve had from the region.

IMG_1119 (1)And if you’re a Rhone fan like me, you must try their Z Cuvee and Syrah. They have some special limited Syrah’s too that are just fantastic if you can get your hands on them. And if you fancy something a bit lighter, their Grenache is the bomb dot com. The best part about Zaca Mesa is they are by far one of the most affordable wineries on the trail. Tastings are $10 a person and most of the wine is under $40 a bottle (with many much cheaper options!)

If you are looking for a fun, laid back tasting on the central coast, make sure you visit Zaca Mesa! Leave the pretension at home and have some great wine with some fun people.

Beers and Brats at Vegan Oktoberfest in DTLA

The good folks at Venice Duck Brewing pouring some beer
The good folks at Venice Duck Brewing pouring some beer

When asked if I wanted to attend Vegan Okobterfest in Downtown LA, I jumped at the chance. The event was all around fun with great food, beer and music. For an event only in its second year, everything was extremely well organized. There were plenty of people, but I never felt crowded and there were plenty of tables and shaded areas for people to congregate in and enjoy their beer. And boy did this festival deliver on the beer and food front! A $45 ticket gets you unlimited tastes, three full pours, and access to all the food vendors- a great deal when you consider the event is from 1pm-5pm (so you can drink a lot of beer!). The festival boasts over 50 different beers on tap and 30 different food vendors, and there’s a spectacular variety so there’s a little something for everyone!

Representing to Figueroa Mountain Brewing
Representing to Figueroa Mountain Brewing

As a disclaimer, none of my friends who came with me nor myself are vegan. That being said I love good vegan food and this festival delivered. I tried the Green Truck’s Mother Trucker Vegan Burger and it was delicious. The house made hot pink sauce they top it with really sold me on it- make sure you track these guys down! My boyfriend went ahead and tried Southern Fried Vegan’s brat on a pretzel bun with collard greens and loved it as well. It was also a pleasure to see the folks who craft my favorite Vegan Cheese, Nary Dairy, at the festival. They had a cheese made with Golden Road’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA and it was perfect for snacking on in line with pretzels.

Cheers!
Prost! Just sipping on some Imperial Pils from Lagunitas.

So the food was great, but let’s be honest, if you’re going to Oktoberfest you plan on drinking lots and lots of beer- and that we did. There we tons of different breweries, from old favorites like Lagunitas to small ones I had never heard of like Bravery Brewing. They also had quite a few tasty cider options for the gluten free among us, including Ace Cider and Anthem Cider– both which I highly recommend. I tried so much good beer there it would be hard to say what was the best, but there were for sure some standouts in the bunch. Solarc Brewing caught my attention with their gruit beers, aka beers brewed with other herbs and spices in place of hops. Both their Belgian style and Saison were delicious and great if you to see what beer was like before hops entered the recipe. Coronado Island Brewing was there with their Senor Saison, brewed with jalapenos and agave- you have to trust me on this one, just try it.

The guys at Solarc serving up their gruit.
The guys at Solarc serving up their gruit.

One of the stand out breweries we found there was Venice Duck. The agave blonde was so refreshing on a hot day and the hemp brown was possible the best hemp ale I’ve ever had. I’m looking forward to discovering more of their beers very soon! Figueroa Mountain Brewing was there as well, and has been a favorite of mine since I moved to the area in 2011 (only about a year after they opened). The festival did a great job letting me revisit my old favorites (looking at you Modern Times) while exploring tons of new beers. There was also a live polka band that did covers of various rock songs, which kept the atmosphere fun. There was definitely some dancing on my part by the end of the festival after a few beers had been consumed!

Overall, we had a blast at Vegan Oktoberfest. The best part is proceeds also go towards Expand Animal Rights Now so you can feel good about all those beers and vegan brats you’re about to consume. But make sure you add this to your list of beer festival to visit in LA- you won’t be disappointed!

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Polka band complete with lederhosen

Taco Tuesday and Craft Cocktails at Harlowe in West Hollywood

My friends and I are bar quiz junkies, so when a new quiz set up shop at Harlowe Bar in West Hollywood that coincided with their Taco Tuesdays, I knew we had to go. And, as it turns out, Harlowe has both delicious tacos AND great drinks. Score!

Harlowe Bar
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
http://www.harlowebar.com

harlowe3Tacos are $3 a piece, and while they are more like h’orderve tacos (the shrimp taco has exactly one fried shrimp on it) they are DELICIOUS. They are the perfect snacks for later in the evening and at $3, they are well worth it. Choices include chicken, beef, and a killer ceviche and each has delicious sauces and vegetables to top your tiny taco. All the ingredients are top quality and each taco packs a bunch of flavor into a small package.  If you’re seeking something a little heartier than a couple tacos, they have a full menu that is also delicious and wroth investigating- but come on, it’s Taco Tuesday!

harlowe2But you don’t just come for the tacos- oh no! Taco Tuesday includes a margarita special as well as a special on a horchata porter than is not to be missed (think the Blue Moon Horchata beer, but richer, chocolatier, and just generally better). But if you feel like going from something off the beaten path (or an old classic with an upgrade) take a look at their draught and specialty cocktails. I have yet to meet a Harlowe cocktail I don’t like. My very favorite drink on the menu might just be the Barrio Sour, which mixes mezcal AND tequila (so you can really get your Taco Tuesday on). However the Slow Dance (St. Germain, sparkling wine, and some other tasty liqueurs) and the Swipe Right (yup) are both winners too. Plus, they have fantastic makeovers of classic cocktails. The updated Aperol Spritz is oh so refreshing and the Sazarac is just fantastics. All their drinks use top shelf ingredients too, so you know you’re getting good quality for your money (or you can play quiz and win them for free!)

harlowe4The bar itself is also just super cool- the whole place is decked out with vintage portraits and has an old fashioned antique vibe. There’s a beautiful porch you can sit on out back and enjoy the nice weather while you feast on your tacos. While Harlowe might not be your typical Taco Tuesday place, it’s work visiting if you want to try something different and get some killer drinks while you snack on some unique tacos.
Harlowe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Modern Times Brewery: Hybrid Brews for Today’s Beer Nerds

Modern Times has quickly become one of my very favorite breweries. I’ve yet to try anything from them that isn’t super tasty, and for such a young brewery (they just celebrated 2 years) they are already putting out a ton of awesome specialty releases and barrel aged goodies.

A couple beer savvy friends recommended my partner and I give them a visit on a recent trip to San Diego, and I am really glad we did! And by the look of their website, they’ve made some improvements (aka more taps) since our visit!

Modern Times Brewery
Lomaland Tasting Room and Fermentorium
3725 Greenwood St.
San Diego, CA 92110
http://www.moderntimesbeer.com

IMG_1511As a disclaimer, this place has a pretty strong hipster vibe. That may not be your scene, but you need to trust me on this one because the beer is stellar (and if you are a hipster- this stuff is way better than PBR so you’re welcome). The room is decorated in string lights and wooden pallets and your tasting flights come in old cigar boxes. There’s a doodle wall with drawing by patrons by the bathrooms and I’m pretty sure one of those weird horse head masks somewhere on the premise. It’s a unique combination of found objects, and they’ve managed to make what is essentially their warehouse feel homey and welcoming.

IMG_1510The main attraction is the beer (obviously) and it’s good stuff. They specialize in hybrid brews and taking classic recipes and enhancing them. All their flagship beers are excellent standbys- the Lomaland Saison is my all time favorite year round farmhouse ale and the Black House Coffee Stout on Nitro will make all your dreams come true. But be sure to explore some of their limited releases and experimental beers. When I was there their seasonal City of the Dead Stout was on tap both in its original incarnation and one where it was brewed with vanilla bean. Current offerings include their Universal Friend (saison with pinot grigio grape must) and taproom exclusives like the Dancing Plague with Peaches.

Credit to the Modern Times website for this photo.All that beer got you feeling a little sleepy? Don’t sweat it- Modern Times also roasts their own coffee beans and makes their own cold pressed coffee! You can buy the coffee beans, get a cup to go, or even sign up for their monthly coffee subscription. And while the brewery doesn’t serve food, they are tons of restaurants in the area that you can pick up food or even have it delivered to you while you sip some beer!

So let’s review: cool tasting room, awesome beer, and artisan coffee- check, check, and check. What’s not to love?

Modern Times Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato