Bar Boulud NYC

One of the restaurants I was most excited to visit on our trip to New York was Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud.  I have had Daniel Boulud’s food before on a previous trip to New York and didn’t question for a second that the food at Bar Boulud would live up to his standard of excellence.  What really had me excited for the visit to Bar Boulud was the opportunity to meet their Head Sommelier, Michael Madrigale.

Bar Boulud NYC

IMG_3181 (640x469)

A few months before our trip to New York I was at work polishing glasses and listening to a Guild of Sommeliers podcast that had Geoff Kruth talking with Michael Madrigale about the wines of Alsace.  I had never been interested in the wines of Alsace before, which tend to be white wines made from the grapes of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat.  After listening to that podcast and hearing Michael talk so passionately about the wines coming from Alsace I decided to try some, and now have come to really enjoy Alsatian wines, especially the dry, crisp Riesling’s with brazing acidity that are so amazing with food.

IMG_3182 (640x478)

Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie Platter

We met one of Whisk’s friend’s at Bar Boulud on a busy Friday evening, although the place was packed I noticed that it still had a very intimate and cozy feeling to it.  We were not forced to raise our voices to talk to each other, and had plenty of space to enjoy our drinks and food.

Domaine Kientzler, Riesling Grand Cru, Osterberg, Alsace 2010

Domaine Kientzler, Riesling Grand Cru, Osterberg, Alsace 2010

Tartar De Boeuf Parisien- black angus beef tartar, gaufrette potato chips, capers, romaine

Tartar De Boeuf Parisien- black angus beef tartar, gaufrette potato chips, capers, romaine.

We started our meal off with a charcuterie platter and decided to order a bottle Alsatian Riesling to go with it.  I was excited to see that when the bottle was brought over to our table it was presented by Michael.  Whisk asked him to tell us about the bottle, and without missing a beat he started explaining the wine and region to us with the same enthusiasm and passion that he had on that podcast that I had listened to months before.  It was great.

After we finished our bottle of Riesling we ordered our main courses as well as another round of drinks.  Michael features a nightly big bottle by the glass pour, meaning that he will have wine in a large bottle format such as a magnum or larger and pour by the glass out of that bottle.  On the night we were there he had a 2004 Barolo, so I had to go with that, and it was fantastic with my Frenchie burger.

Michael’s passion for wine has paid off as he was Wine Enthusiast’s 2012 Sommelier of the Year and one of Food & Wine’s 2012 Sommeliers of the Year.

Escargots Persillade- wild Burgundy snails with garlic, almond parsley, potato croquettes

Escargots Persillade- wild Burgundy snails with garlic, almond parsley, potato croquettes.

Frenchie Burger- black angus beef, pork belly confit, red wine braised short rib, roasted tomato, raclette cheese, arugula, black pepper bun, and french fries

Frenchie Burger- black angus beef, pork belly confit, red wine braised short rib, roasted tomato, raclette cheese, arugula, black pepper bun, and french fries.

Besides the great experience with Michael, everything at Bar Boulud was great.  Our server was well versed with the wine list and menu and had good recommendations.  Even though the restaurant was so busy the staff was calm, professional, helpful, and very friendly.

Le Flottante- steamed meringue, brisee bites, orange, grapefruit, citrus anglaise.

Le Flottante- steamed meringue, brisee bites, orange, grapefruit, citrus anglaise.

1900 Broadway (at 64th Street), New York, NY  10023 (212) 595-0303 www.barboulud.com

1900 Broadway (at 64th Street)                      New York, NY 10023
(212) 595-0303
www.barboulud.com

Bar Boulud is a must visit for New Yorker’s, wine and food enthusiasts, and visitors of all kinds wanting a great dining experience.  The next time we are in New York we will definitely be back at Bar Boulud.

 

WD-50

This February Whisk and I took a week-long trip to New York to celebrate her birthday and to visit friends.  Before our trip began we made a list of restaurants that we wanted to visit and have been wanting to eat at for quite sometime.  WD-50 was one of the first restaurants to make it onto our list.

wd-50 bar

If you do not want to try the whole tasting menu, you have the option of sitting at the bar and ordering select dishes from either of the two tasting menus.

Head chef and owner, Wylie Dufresne, cooks new American food in his lower East side restaurant.  Dufresne is also the recipient of the 2013 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef of New York City.

wd-50 dining room

Whisk and I went to WD-50 on a Thursday night, it was not completely full but reservations are definitely recommended.  Inside of WD-50 is clean and comfortable with no signs of pretentiousness.

wd-50 amuse bouche

Dinner started out with a tasty little amuse bouche.

WD-50  offers two different tasting menus.  The first option is a 13 course tasting menu for $155, the second, from the vault tasting they call it, is a 6 course tasting menu for $90.  Both come with the option to add a wine pairing to each course for an additional fee.

Hanger Tartare, Pickled Asian Pear, Amaro, Bearnaise Ice Cream

Hanger Tartare, Pickled Asian Pear, Amaro, Bearnaise Ice Cream

Our server for the evening was great in explaining the different tasting menus as well as going through the wine list with us.  We decided to go with the from the vault tasting menu.

Malted Chestnut Soup, Salmon Threads, Celery Root

Malted Chestnut Soup, Salmon Threads, Celery Root

Throughout the tasting menu Dufresne and his team employ a wide range of cooking techniques that create truly interesting dishes that bring different flavors together in fun ways.

Cod, Salsify, Coffee-Saffron, Smoked Bulghur

Cod, Salsify, Coffee-Saffron, Smoked Bulghur

Our server recommended the Pinyolet Seleccion to go with our lamb loin.  It is from Spain and a blend of Grenache and Carinena grapes.  It was a delicious wine and went perfectly with the lamb.

Our server recommended the Pinyolet Seleccion to go with our lamb loin. It is from Spain and is a blend of Grenache and Carinena grapes. It was a delicious wine full of fruit and spice that went perfect with our lamb.

Lamb Loin, Hibiscus-Date, Barley, Aged Goat Cheese

Lamb Loin, Hibiscus-Date, Barley, Aged Goat Cheese

A special dessert brought out for Whisk's birthday.

A special dessert brought out for Whisk’s birthday.

Whisk and I both enjoyed WD-50 very much, everything from the service, atmosphere, and incredible food.  We would definitely go back and would recommend it to anyone celebrating a special occasion or just wanting to experience a unique dining experience.

Toasted Coconut Cake, Smoked Cashew, Carob, Brown Butter Sorbet

Toasted Coconut Cake, Smoked Cashew, Carob, Brown Butter Sorbet

wd-50 address

50 Clinton St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-2900
www.wd-50.com

The next time Whisk and I are New York we would like to visit Alder, a joint venture of Wylie Dufresne and Stephen Daniel’s.  Alder is a modern interpretation of a public house, or pub.  If you live in New York or will be visiting I would recommend trying Alder if you want to eat Dufresne’s food but may not be up for doing a whole tasting menu.  Whether you end up eating at WD-50 or Alder you can be sure to have a great experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut 2004

For anyone looking to do some last minute Christmas shopping or even looking for a special bottle of sparkling wine to pop on New Year’s Eve, I would like to recommend the Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut 2004.

If you live out here on the Central Coast of California you can pick up a bottle for about $40 at Bin 2860 which is located in Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn in Los Olivos.  I was also able to find this wine on the K&L wine merchants website.

Roederer Estate 2004 L'Ermitage Brut

This would be the perfect sparkling wine to drink while bringing in the New Year.

The 2004 L’Ermitage Brut earned 97 points from Wine Enthusiast and was  ranked their number one wine of the year.  Below is the Wine Enthusiast review:

This is an exquisite sparkling wine made from 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir, concocted into a special blend and aged for almost six years in oak cask. After disgorgement it was given another five months to sit in bottle before release. It has such freshness on the palate, such enviable acidity, that it’s hard to believe the grapes were picked so long ago. Crisp apple dominates, with just a trace of yeastiness on the nose and palate. This is a delicious wine.
~ Wine Enthusiast
This would be the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life. Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Shell Beach Brewhouse

A colleague of mine recently told me of a new restaurant that opened up in Shell Beach that she really enjoyed and thought Whisk and I would as well, the Shell Beach Brewhouse.

Shell Beach Brewhouse

The Shell Beach Brewhouse has only been open for about a month but has already become a popular spot to get good food and drinks.  Whisk and I recently tried it out on a Sunday night after work.

When we entered the restaurant we were quickly greeted with a smile from the hostess as she took our name to put on the wait list.  It was a busy night but the wait for a table was not long.  You also have the option to grab a drink from the bar and watch the game on one of their many flat screen TV’s while you wait for a table as well.

Lagunitas IPA and North Coast Le Merle Belgian Farmhouse Ale

I had the Lagunitas IPA while Whisk went with the North Coast Le Merle Belgian Farmhouse Ale.

When Whisk and I sat down to our table and started looking over the wine and beer list we were very happy to see that they focused on craft breweries such as Ballast Point, Green Flash, North Coast Brewing, Firestone, Figueroa Mountain, Lagunitas, and many more.  They offer 30 beers on tap plus more by the bottle.

The wines on their list focus on local wineries from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties with many by the glass options.  If you are not in the mood for wine or beer then check out their extensive specialty cocktail menu.

The Shell Beach Brewhouse local fried oyster po'boy

Local Fried Oyster Po’Boy: Southern fried oysters, crisp shredded lettuce, tomato, garlic caper aioli, French baguette

The menu at Shell Beach Brewhouse also had many delicious dishes to choose from.  They have options from street tacos, oyster shooters, and carmelized Wisconsin cheese curds to lobster bisque, burgers, and a sandwich they call the pit beef frat boy, which I will be ordering next time.

Trio of Street Tacos:  Spicy Korean beef, crispy pork carnitas, citrus grilled chicken.

Trio of Street Tacos: Spicy Korean beef, crispy pork carnitas, citrus grilled chicken.

Whisk and I enjoyed our first experience at Shell Beach Brewhouse and will definitely be coming back soon.  The staff was friendly, our server was attentive and timely, and our food and drinks were delicious.  This is a place definitely worth checking out.

1527 Shell Beach Rd. Pismo Beach, CA  93449 805-295-6328 www.shellbeachbrewhouse.com

1527 Shell Beach Rd.
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
805-295-6328
www.shellbeachbrewhouse.com

Shop Amazon – Top Holiday Deals

Penne with Asparagus, Proscuitto, and Peppers

When I first met Whisk I was in the process of studying to become a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers program.  As our relationship grew and became more serious my studies took a back seat.  Now that we have been married for a couple of years and are more settled I have decided to go back to studying for the certified sommelier program.

Roasting bell peppers

I roasted the peppers on the stove-top instead of under the broiler, but either way works just fine.

Part of becoming a sommelier is being able to blind taste wines.  Blind tasting consists of being able to identify a wine by grape varietal, vintage, and the wine region it is from by nothing more than looking at the wine, smelling the wine, and tasting the wine.  To be completely honest, I am horrible at blind tasting wines right now, and that brings me to tonight’s wine and recipe.

IMG_2571 (640x442)

While I am studying for the certified sommelier exam I will have to open a lot of wines to taste and become familiar with.  Whisk had the idea that since we will be opening more wines, we should pair some with our dinner and blog about the pairing.  Good idea Whisk!

IMG_2572 (640x470)

I got the recipe for penne with asparagus, proscuitto, and peppers from a great book called Daring Parings written by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein.  The recipes in this book are accumulated from 36 different highly acclaimed chefs and paired with some of your more unconventional grapes like Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Marsanne, Gamay, Tannat, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, and many more.

IMG_2574 (640x424)

 

We had just recently picked up a Chinon, which is a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France, from a great little wine bar and wine shop called Les Marchands located in Santa Barbara.  Since Cabernet Franc was one of the grape varietals featured in Daring Parings we thought we would try the pairing out.

 

 

IMG_2575 (640x478)

 

The pairing worked out good, we both like the wine, the food, and the two together.  The penne recipe would also be great on its own if you didn’t feel like having a drink with your dinner.  We plan on using this recipe again for when we have guests over.

Chinon, Loire Valley, France

This Cabernet Franc is from Chinon, a region within France’s Loire Valley.

Keep an eye for more food and wine pairings coming in the near future.  We would also love to hear your feedback on this recipe and what wine you paired it with.  Enjoy!

Penne with Asparagus, Proscuitto, and Peppers
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ¾ pound penne
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the red and yellow peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, and place under the broiler. Broil, using tongs to turn the peppers as needed, until blistered and charred on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover, and let cool for about 10 minutes. The peppers will steam as they cool, which helps loosen the skins. Using your fingers, peel away the charred skin. Then, split each pepper open, remove and discard the stem and seeds, and dice the flesh. Set aside.
  2. Cut or snap off the tough end from each asparagus spear. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly peel the skin from each spear to within about 2 inches of the tip. Cut the spears crosswise on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths.
  3. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the diced peppers and garlic and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook until not quite al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta.
  5. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the drained pasta and thyme, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the prosciutto, ⅓ cup of the cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and the salt and pepper, mixing well.
  6. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining ⅓ cup cheese and serve immediately.
  7. Recipe by Michael Romano from the book Daring Pairings by Evan Goldstein

 

Fess Parker Winery SummerFess Fesstival

This coming Saturday on August 17th, Fork and Whisk will be at the Fess Parker Winery taking part in the wineries first ever SummerFess Fesstival.  The event will take place on the beautiful Fess Parker lawn and will go from 11am to 3pm.

The Fesstival will be setup like a mini farmer’s market.  Local vendors from around the Santa Ynez Valley will be sampling and selling their products.  Lunch will also be available to purchase from local food truck, Georgia’s Smokehouse, specializing in Southern barbecue.

Georgia's Smokehouse

While enjoying your lunch and Fess Parker wine, local Country Americana rock band, Spun Honey will be playing live music throughout the Fesstival.  This Central Coast favorite covers songs from Hank Williams to No Doubt as well creating their own original music.

This is a family friendly event and free for everyone to attend, so come on by and say hello to Whisk as she samples and sells her famous carrot cake, cookies, and pies.

fw_logotext_web_standard_square2013 SummerFess Participating Vendors

Georgias Smokehouse- Gourmet food truck specializing in Southern comfort food.

Clairmont Lavender Farm- Organic lavender products.

Cookie Lee Jewelry- Providing on-trend fashionable accessories at affordable prices.

Dey Dey’s Best Beef Ever- Producers of local grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken and eggs.

Fork and Whisk- Simple, handmade, and delicious pastries.

Rancho Olivos- Artisan estate extra virgin olive oil.

San Marcos Farms- Local honey, bee pollen, and beeswax candles.

Stafford’s Famous Chocolates- Handmade gourmet chocolate truffles.

Location:

Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard:

6200 Foxen Canyon Road

Los Olivos, CA 93441

805-688-1545

www.fessparkerwines.com

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies

Solvang Brewing Company

Since I have been working at a winery here in the Santa Ynez Valley over the past 8 years, I have often been asked the question by visitors from out of town, “What is there to do out here once the sun goes down?”  It is true that we don’t have the nightlife of bigger cities like Los Angeles, but there are still some great options to get a tasty meal, enjoy a drink, and listen to some good live music, one of these options is Solvang Brewing Company.

Solvang Brewing Company

We decided to go to Solvang Brew on a Wednesday night because we found out that the Molly Ringwald Project would be playing.  They are an 80′s cover band that a friend of ours had told us about.  Along with listening to some live music, we could have dinner and enjoy a few beers while we were there as well.

IMG_2170 (640x472)

When we got inside we decided that we would take a seat at the bar while we waited for the music to begin.  My first impression of the place was good; it was clean, spacious, and the bartenders were very friendly.  They promptly greeted us, got us a drink and a menu to look at.

Brewers Soft Pretzels

Brewers Soft Pretzels: Large European style braided soft baked pretzel, served with pale ale fondue and stout mustard.  Delicious!

Solvang Brewery has a wide selection of in house brewed beers.  I had a couple of IPA’s that were delicious while Whisk enjoyed the Danske Amber Ale then the Odin Stout.

Solvang Brewery Burgers

Black and Blue Bacon Burger: Cajun seasoned Angus patty, crumbled blue cheese, pepper bacon, tomato, butter leaf lettuce and onions.

The food at Solvang Brewery was also delicious.  A must try is the brewers soft pretzel, we could have kept eating that all night long.

Solvang Brewery live music

The Molly Ringwald Project got us up and dancing after dinner performing covers of hits from the 80′s.

After dinner and a few drinks we were ready to dance.  The Molly Ringwald Project was great, we loved hearing all those old songs from the 80′s.  On one of our first dates together we went to a pub, had dinner and drinks, and danced to some live music.  Whisk said this reminded her of that, it was a lot of fun and I look forward to coming back.

If you want to check out the Molly Ringwald Project here is a YouTube link to get a little taste of what they do:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45vbQV3yshE.

Enjoy!

www.solvangbrewingcompany.com 805-688-2337 1547 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA  93463

www.solvangbrewingcompany.com
805-688-2337
1547 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463

 

 

 

 

Haven Gastropub

 Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a gastropub as:  A pub, bar, or tavern that offers meals of high quality.  Gastropub’s have become some of mine and Whisk’s favorite places to eat.  You can dress casually, enjoy a great meal in a relaxed atmosphere, and most gastropub’s will have a great selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.

Inside of haven gastropub in old town Orange.

Whisk and I had to be in the Orange area a couple of weeks ago for a one day class and I wanted to take her to Haven Gastropub since we would be close.  I first ate at Haven back in 2009 not long after it opened.  I had a friend who worked there at the time and told me I should come and check it out.  I was impressed by the ambiance as well as the food and what the menu had to offer and had been wanting to come back.

Bar at Haven gastropub.

Whisk and I arrived to Haven on a Wednesday night at about 10:30.  We decided to sit at the bar and were promptly greeted by a friendly bartender.  What a relief, up until that point we had been having a day full of odd customer service experiences (lunch, our hotel, and a group of seniors that talked and loudly chomped on popcorn throughout a whole movie).

Starting off with a couple of beers.

 

Inside of Haven is spacious with dim lighting and a dark wood interior.  You could come in with a group for a celebration, or with a friend and find a private place to sit.  Taking a seat at the bar is always great as well if you want to watch the game on one of their TV’s.  Haven also has outside dining if you prefer to do a little people watching while you enjoy your drink.

Spring Mix Salad:  Assortment of Seasonal Greens, Easter Egg Radishes, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumber, Pedro Ximenez Vinaigrette.

Spring Mix Salad: Assortment of Seasonal Greens, Easter Egg Radishes, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumber, Pedro Ximenez Vinaigrette.

Aside from the friendly staff and comfortable setting, the real reason to go to Haven is for the food and drink.  Haven carries a great selection of international and domestic wines, unique cocktails, as well as hard to find beers.

Haven gastropub charcuterie plate.

Charcuterie Plate: Assorted Salumi, Pate Maison, House Pickle, Artisan Bread.

The menu at Haven can accommodate you whether you want a full meal or a snack.  You can start off with pork rillettes or fried pig ears with kaffir lime salt, serrano powder, and savino mayo, you can even be a little adventurous and have the porcheta di testa which is a roulade of hog’s head.  If you want something a bit heartier the black truffle mac & cheese or lamb neck poutine are both delicious and sure to fill you up.  Haven also offers up flatbread pizza’s, burger’s, as well as section on the menu titled “Meat” where you can order an olive oil poached rabbit or grass-fed NY strip steak.

Haven Gastropub Lamb Neck Poutine.

Lamb Neck Poutine: Braised Lamb Neck, Dijon Lamb Gravy, Cheddar Cheese Curds, Pommes frites.

Chef Greg Daniels and the rest of his team are doing  fun and unique things at Haven.  If you are in the Orange area this is a place you should definitely stop at.  They also now have a Pasadena location which Whisk and I will have to try out in the near feature.

Enjoy!

190 South Glassell Street Old Towne Orange, CA  92866 714-221-0680 www.havengastropub.com

190 South Glassell Street
Old Towne Orange, CA 92866
714-221-0680
www.havengastropub.com

 

 

 

Russian River Brewery

Last week Whisk and I traveled up to Northern California for my work.  I had a class to take on Saturday so we thought it was a good opportunity to go up a little earlier and have some fun.  Even though my class was in St. Helena, the closest room we could find was in Santa Rosa, lucky for us the hotel was only about 2 miles away from Russian River Brewery.

The first time I ever tasted a beer from Russian River Brewery was back in 2009 at Hollingshead’s Deli in Orange, CA.  One of my good friends took me there and introduced me to Pliny the Elder.  I was hooked after the first taste.  So when Whisk told me that we would just be up the street from the brewery, I knew we had to go.

IMG_1988 (640x478)

List of Russian River Brewery beers on tap. Pliny the Elder on the bottom left is my favorite.

We arrived to the brewery on a busy Thursday night.  When you walk into the brewery the first thing you notice is the long bar and the big chalk board behind the bar with all the current beer offerings.  They also have plenty of tables for seating if you prefer a seat away from the bar to enjoy your beer and food.  Russian River Brewery is also family friendly if you have children with you to sit at tables away from the bar.

The bar at Russian River Brewing

Whisk and I got a spot at the bar for our beer tasting and dinner.

Whisk and I found a spot at the bar and decided to take a seat there.  We each ordered a pint of Pliny the Elder to start off with.  This beer got its name from Pliny the Elder, who lived from 23 AD to 79 AD.  He was a Roman author, naturalist, philosopher, and is believed to have discovered hops.  This beer is one of my all-time favorites, it is a double IPA that has an incredible balance of alcohol, hops, and citrus.  The brewery recommends enjoying this beer young and fresh.

We each started with a pint of Pliny the Elder.

We each started with a pint of Pliny the Elder.

Whisk and I split a salad and a pizza while enjoying our beer.

Whisk and I split a salad and a pizza while enjoying our beer.

While enjoying our beer we decided to have some dinner.  The brewery offers up a variety of appetizers, chicken wings, salads, sandwiches, calzones, and pizza’s.  We decided to split a salad and a pizza.

Russian river brewery pizza.

The “Mikey”: Mozzarella, marinara, pepperoni, sausage, and caramelized onions. Delicious!

Along with dinner we ordered up a beer sampler.  A friend of ours from my work who had visited the brewery in the past recommended that we share a sampler, I am glad that we listened to her.  For $15 we got a sample of 16 different beers that they currently offered.

The Russian River Brewery beer sampler.

The Russian River Brewery beer sampler.

Russian River Brewery makes a wide variety of beers focusing on Belgian inspired ales, IPA’s, as well as barrel aged beers.  There were also three sour beers on the sampler.  Whisk and I tend to gravitate towards the Belgian style beers, IPA’s, and Stouts, but for those of you who like sour beers this would be a great place to tryout.

The Russian River Beer Sampler.

We decided to split the 16 beer sampler.

After finishing our sampler we both agreed that our favorites were Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig, both are IPA’s.  Individual bottles are available for purchase to take home with you, which is great because it is hard to find these beers here on the Central Coast.

Russian River Brewery Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig

Whisk and I both agreed that are two favorites in the tasting were Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig.  We ended up taking 3 of each home with us.

If you’re a beer lover and find yourself in the Santa Rosa area then Russian River Brewery is a must visit.  Also keep an eye out at restaurants and bars, you never know when it could be your lucky day and Pliny the Elder will show up on the menu.

Enjoy!

Russian River Brewery Santa Rosa, CA  95404 707-545-BEER www.russianriverbrewing.com

Russian River Brewery
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-545-BEER
www.russianriverbrewing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day In Milwaukee

This past February Whisk and I flew out to Chicago for a week to visit with family and to catch up with some friends.  On this trip we also wanted to have a little alone time together and take a quick overnight trip out of Chicago.  We decided that we would spend a day in Milwaukee since it is only about a 90 minute drive from Chicago.

Whisk had been to Milwaukee before and thought it was a city that I would enjoy.  She also has a cousin that lives near the Milwaukee area and thought it would be nice to visit with him and his wife.  Whisk called her cousin and he suggested that we meet them at a coffee shop called Alterra.

Alterra at the Lake 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. Milwaukee, Wi  53202 414-223-4551 www.alterracoffee.com

Alterra at the Lake
1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Milwaukee, Wi 53202
414-223-4551
www.alterracoffee.com

Alterra coffee was started by 3 friends back in 1994, they now have coffee shop cafe’s throughout the metro-Milwaukee area.  We met up with Whisk’s cousin and wife at Alterra at the Lake.  This was a cool place, the building was built in 1888 and was originally home to the historic Milwaukee River Flushing Station.

IMG_1413 (640x476)

 

Alterra Coffee Milwaukee River Flushing Station

Inside the cafe there is a lot of history from when it was the Milwaukee river flushing station and even some pieces of equipment that they decided to keep in the building to preserve some of its history.

Alterra Coffee Water flushing pump

Alterra serves much more than coffee; soups, salads, sandwiches, fresh baked goods made from scratch, espresso, and tea can be enjoyed in the cafe with its ample seating or for you to take with you if you don’t have the time to sit down.

Alterra Coffee Cafe and Deli

Alterra coffee

Alterra carries a wide variety of coffee, you are sure to find one just right for you.

Alterra at the Lake had a lot of seating.

Plenty of seating to enjoy a quick meal or to enjoy a cup of coffee with some friends.

Whisk’s cousin made a very generous gesture and let us pick out a bag of coffee of our choice to take back home with us.  On the back of each bag of Alterra coffee they have a flavor profile scale that helps you pick out the coffee best suited for you.  Whisk picked out the Colombia Paso Fino blend, on the scale it was a medium-light roast, medium bodied with a bright acidity.  It was delicious, we just finished off the bag last week.  Lucky for us and for everyone who lives outside of Milwaukee you can order any of the delicious Alterra coffee blends off of their website at www.alterracoffee.com.

Alterra Coffee Colombia

Whisk’s Cousin and wife bought us a pound of coffee as a gift, we picked the Colombia blend. Definitely going to be ordering more for home.

After coffee and goodbye’s had been said, Whisk and I headed over to our next stop, Lakefront Brewery.  Whisk found out about Lakefront Brewery online while researching our trip.  It seems like we would be missing out on an important part of Milwaukee if we didn’t stop by at least one brewery.

Lakefront Brewery

Lakefront Brewery
1872 N. Commerce St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 372-8800
www.lakefrontbrewery.com

Lakefront Brewery was started in 1987 by Jim and Russ Klisch and today the brewery is located right on the Milwaukee river.  From its modest beginnings of producing under a 100 barrels the brewery now produces over 33,000 barrels per year

Lakefront Brewery micro craft beers

A tasty line-up of some of their craft beers.

Lakefront Brewery offers a wide variety of beers including seasonal beers, organic and gluten free beers, limited release beers, and beers that they carry all throughout the year.  Whisk and I both picked the Fixed Gear American Red Ale as our favorite beer from the lineup we tasted.

IMG_1427 (476x640)

We also decided to take a tour of the brewery which they offer several times throughout the day.  If you are going to visit Lakefront Brewery then a tour is a must, what a good deal.  For $7.00 you get a great tour full of history of the brewery and family, four 6 ounce pours of beer, and a souvenir pint glass.  You also get a coupon for a free beer at a participating local bar to use before 6pm that same day.

IMG_1432 (640x478)

 

We had a great time at Lakefront Brewery, now time for a little rest at the hotel before we head into the town for the night.

Downtown Milwaukee at dusk.

Downtown Milwaukee at dusk.

While Whisk was getting ready for dinner back at the hotel I decided to take a little walk around town.  Downtown Milwaukee is a beautiful city, beautiful buildings, and the river going right through town.

IMG_1442 (640x470)

 

For dinner we headed over to a restaurant called Honeypie.  Whisk discovered them online and really like their menu and approach to food.

honeypie cafe milwaukee, wi

Honeypie Cafe
2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 489-7437
www.honeypiecafe.com

The first thing that struck me about Honeypie was their list of Wisconsin Farms and purveyors that they support.  This is great to see, they use local grass fed beef in their burgers, as well as local dairy, poultry, produce, ice-cream, and coffee.  They also had a great list of beers to choose from.

Honeypie cafe:  local farms and purveyors

Honeypie supports local farms and suppliers by using local meats and produce.

honeypie cafe powergreens house salad

House Green Salad- Growing Power greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots

Honeypie roasted corn clam chowder with a housemade corn muffin.

Roasted corn clam chowder with a housemade corn muffin.

The cuisine at Honeypie is comfort food prepared in an elevated state.  Almost everything is made from scratch and done very well.  Everything I ate I liked, especially the roast chicken, that hit the spot on a cold Milwaukee Winter night.

Honeypie burger

Burger- Wisconsin raised grass-fed beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, special sauce, a sunny side egg on an egg-glazed bun.

Roasted Farm Chicken-  fine herb spaetzle, wild mushrooms, wilted spinach, shallot butter, and parsley pistou.

Roasted Farm Chicken- fine herb spaetzle, wild mushrooms, wilted spinach, shallot butter, and parsley pistou.

After a great dinner at Honeypie we decided it was still early enough to take a walk over to Blackbird bar and have a night cap.

Blackbird bar Milwaukee, WI

Blackbird
3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 486-1344
Follow on Facebook or twitter @blackbird_bar

The review I read about Blackbird online was “all the qualities of a dive bar without the dirtiness”, this described Blackbird perfectly.

IMG_1464 (640x471)

It was a quiet night at Blackbird when we arrived.  We took a seat at the bar and asked to see a list of beers.  The bartender was very friendly and knew a lot about the local beers they offered on the list.  We each ordered a beer and decided we would go into the other room to sit in one of their booths.

IMG_1467 (640x475)

Aside from having a great jukebox, Blackbird also has pin ball machines, video games, a photo booth, and board games.  This was a great stop to end our night with a nice relaxing drink.

IMG_1469 (470x640)

We both really enjoyed our day in Milwaukee.  I know it was only a small sampling of what the city has to offer.  I would love to go back and catch a baseball game, as well as check out some more breweries and restaurants.  If you find yourself in the Mid-West and you are near the Milwaukee area, it is definitely worth your time to stop over and enjoy what the city has to offer.