Category Archives: beer

Three quick things: rain boots, beer, magazines

Three quick things.

(1) Hunter Rain Boots
A friend emailed saying she was on the lookout for a pair in orange or green. (And after all this rain, DC, aren’t we all?) PS: I kinda like the red ones for myself.

(2)  Punkin Ale
Our suitcases are hardly unpacked, and we still don’t have much food in the fridge, but you can find Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale in the house. With its hints of pumpkin and brown sugar, I say: Hello, Fall.

(3) S&C Reading Material: The New Yorker
I just finished the September 20, 2010, issue of The New Yorker, and it is jam-packed with awesomeness. There’s an article about Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (did you know he’s a huge fan of The West Wing?). The article on Mickey Drexler, J. Crew’s CEO, is pretty interesting (I love and hate that he uses an intercom). There’s a feature on a very cool fourteen year-old fashion (and very successful) blogger, Tavi Gevinson. And finally, there’s a short, funny segment on Pavement tickets (funny because, I, too, bought Pavement tickets many, many months ago, but smartly opted for Will Call).

posted by Ms. S&C

Blood, sweat, and beers

A little over a year ago, Ms. S&C ran her first 5K. Since then, she’s run in ten 5Ks and one 5-miler. Her 11th race was this past weekend, when she ran the Crystal City Twilighter. It was sweltering, it was tough, but it was also so freakin’ gratifying. I don’t know if it was because of the cheering crowd, because other friends ran in the race, or because it was one of the hottest days of the year — this race was memorable.

What shoes was Ms. S&C wearing? A new pair of Brooks. What was Ms. S&C drinking? Well, a hell of a lot of water before and after the race. But, a little after 9 pm, she opened a beer — a Bud Light — and no beer has ever tasted better.

There was at least sweat and beers as Ms. S&C ran her 11th race on
one of the hottest days of the year.

Continuing with the S&C music momentum, Ms. S&C thought she’d share her current running playlist. While she doesn’t listen to music during races (she tries to make it on pure adrenaline), her iPod is a necessity for everyday runs.

The S&C running mix includes:

  • Bruises — Chairlift (the song made popular by the iPod Nano commercials)
  • Hey Ya! — Outkast
  • MMMBop — Hanson (a little embarrassing, but whatevs, it is fun)
  • Rill Rill — Sleigh Bells (love that it samples Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That”)
  • Drunk Girls — LCD Soundsystem
  • Party in the U.S.A — Miley Cyrus
  • Empire State of Mind — Jay-Z (and the Jay-Z song was on)
  • You Know I’m No Good — Amy Winehouse (remix, featuring Ghostface Killah)
  • Crazy — Gnarls Barkley
  • Here Comes Your Man — Pixies
  • My Place — The Adverts
  • No Woman, No Cry — The Fugees
  • Time to Pretend — MGMT
  • Cold War — The Morning Benders

And finally, our public service announcement: go for a run. Go for a walk. Get outside. Then, drink to your health!

posted by Ms. S&C

Summer picnic: Top Chef DC style

This week’s episode of Top Chef DC had the cheftestants baking pies and grilling picnic food for Capital Hill interns, while they played badminton, croquet, and lounged on George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. (I want to picnic and play lawn games at Mt. Vernon! Right now. It’s gorgeous outside!)

I also want to see more of pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, who was guest judge for the Quickfire Pie-Baking Challenge. Not sure I was all that excited about the upcoming Top Chef: Just Desserts until this dark haired, tattooed chef (who has a book titled “Dessert Fourplay”) came into my life. Um, yeah, he is super hot. He was also a good judge. I particularly appreciated his comment to Amanda when she said she was not a pastry chef. He responded, “I think it’s kind of a cop-out to say you’re not a pastry chef. My grandmother’s not a pastry chef either, and she can make a pie.” (In the end, it was Kenny who finally came through with a win with his bananas foster pie. I like Kenny.)

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs prepared picnic food. It was interesting that most of their menus did not go in the direction of the Great American Picnic. A lot of the dishes were heavily Asian-influenced. And, the winning dish was Arnold‘s Lebanese-inspired lamb with lemongrass.

Arnold’s winning dish: Sesame Lamb Meatball, Tabouli Salad, Gazpacho

For the Top Chef Drink Pairing: given the picnic-y setting, lawn games and warm climate, it is hard to choose something other than beer. (Except that the distillery at Mount Vernon is now making a Rye Whiskey!) Considering the Mediterranean flavors of Arnold’s dish, Goldstar Beer from Israel could be an option (remember this funny advertisement?). Or, you could have the Great American Lager to go with the Great-but-not-so-American-Picnic.

posted by Ms. S&C

Beer float

It is a pretty simple formula: Beer + Ice Cream = My new favorite dessert.

Ms. S&C isn’t a fan of root beer, but given the amount of craft beer consumed in her household, she can’t believe she hasn’t tried this dessert cocktail before. Her stout beers of choice for this heady concoction include: Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout and Williamsburg Alewerk’s Coffeehouse Stout. Both beers are strong with roasted malt and well-suited for coffee flavored ice cream (or gelato!).

Stout & Ice Cream Float

  • Split a bottle of stout beer among two glasses
  • Add 1/2 cup coffee ice cream to each glass

Want another variation on the traditional root beer float? Try Bobby Flay’s adult version with bourbon.

posted  by Ms. S&C

Live with Top Chef–or–Nigella Says

We’re skipping our usual Top Chef recap/drink pairing, and blogging about this week’s show in real time.

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I’ll start with the obvious — this has to be Robin’s week to go, right?

For the Quickfire Challenge — it is breakfast in bed with Padma and Nigella Lawson. Eli describes Nigella as a “modern, updated, less French version of Julia Child.” Kevin tells us that Gordon Ramsey named a turkey after her, so she is legit. I’ve always had a thing for Nigella — I think she is totally girl-crush-worthy.

Nigella calls Eli’s reuben benedict a “great hangover breakfast.”

Jennifer makes cream chipped beef. Interesting choice.

Least favorite dishes: Bryan — Nigella couldn’t cope with vanilla and king crab in the same dish. Robin — she was a little too “one note.”

Favorite dishes: Kevin’s steak and eggs and Eli’s reuben benedict. Eil wins. There’s no immunity, but he gets a nod in the next Top Chef cookbook.

For the Elimination Challenge — Padma says they will celebrate the “crown jewels” of Las Vegas – the Strip. It goes something like this:

  • Bryan Voltaggio: Mandalay Bay
  • Eli: Circus Circus
  • Michael Voltaggio: New York, New York
  • Kevin: Mirage
  • Jennifer: Excalibur
  • Robin: Bellagio

Michael Voltaggio says he will pay tribute to firefighters in his dish. Jennifer visits the “Tournament of Kings,” and says she has no clue what to do. Bryan Voltaggio visits the Shark Reef for inspiration, and buys his son a shark plush toy. I predict he is either going to rock it or go home this week.

I’m ignoring Robin. Kevin says a bunch of thoughtful sh*t about his take on food. Sounds like tropical oasis will be the focus of his dish. I love Kevin. Eli visits Circus Circus and appears to be confused. And, he’s kinda scaring me with his peanut, apple, popcorn soup.

Jennifer’s “sword and the stone” dish is not well received by Nigella. She says she is ready to be in “winch mode.” Yikes.

Judge’s like Kevin’s salmon, compressed vegetables and tomato water.

I don’t know why Robin even bothers to show her unusable sugar stained glass.

Micheal cooks a boneless chicken confit with a blue cheese dressing. Not sure about his firefighter connection, but the judge’s like it.

Bryan’s halibut has “fantastic balance” says Nigella.

Toby says that Eli, like most people who come to Vegas, “has gambled and lost.” It sounds like Jennifer may be safe.

At the judge’s table — Kevin, Michael and Bryan are the top three. Michael wins with his fancy take on the buffalo chicken wing.

TC-chickenwing

Michael Voltaggio’s Boneless Chicken Wing Confit
with Curry and Blue Cheese Disc

That leaves Jennifer, Robin and Eli on the bottom. Nigella says: Every part of Jennifer’s dish was disappointing;  panna cotta is “child’s play,” and Robin should have known how to make it; and finally, she would rather eat sawdust than Eli’s dish. I think I’m renaming this post “Nigella Says.” I could listen to her all night.

Wow. Robin does go. While I think she deserved to get the boot weeks ago, I’m not sure how Eli survived this round.

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For the drink pairing — since Michael’s inspiration was New York, sobrooklynlager is ours. Brooklyn Brewery is one of our favorite beer makers. They have a great range of beers for you to fill your glass. Core brands include the brown ale, pilsner, pale ale, among others. Seasonal beers include their potent monster ale, black chocolate stout, oktoberfest, and more. Brooklyn Lager is their award-winning flagship beer. As with most lagers, it is versatile with food, and the fine balance of malt (for sweetness) and hops (for bitterness) make it a refreshing match for spicy chicken.

Author’s note: Blog post updated with pictures and links after the show. Also corrected a few grammatical errors.

posted by Ms. S&C

Top Chef keywords

During last week’s Top Chef episode, the cheftestants played a slot machine to choose three keywords, which they used as inspiration for a dish. The keywords were words like –> Stressed, Hot N’ Spicy, Asian. Those happen to be the ones Kevin selected for his winning Quickfire dish. Here’s another keyword for you –> Unbearable. And, that happens to be Mike Isabella.

After the slot-machine-keyword challenge, the chefs partnered up for a family-style-dinner-party challenge. Their dinner party guests were members of Macy’s Culinary Council: Tyler Florence (also guest judge), Tom Douglas, Nancy Silverton, Govind Armstrong, and Takashi Yagihashi. –> Strategic Marketing

Here’s how it went down:

  • Mike Isabella was partnered with Robin.  –> Sweet retribution
  • Micheal Voltaggio was almost sent home because he overcooked halibut.  –> Whew
  • Ash compared Michael V to Picasso, and said he’d be willing to wash his brushes. –> Embarassing and Uncomfortable
  • Ashley undercooked precious prawns and had a role in oversalted gnocchi. –> Eliminated
  • Jennifer and Kevin served the best dish of the night: Korean style barbeque, and Jennifer was crowned the overall winner. –> Dream Team

TC-kobe-beefJennifer and Kevin’s BBQ Kobe Beef with Cardamom, Tomato
and Ginger Broth

When I’m dining on Asian food, I usually drink a lager style beer or hitachino-alewhite wine. I’m afraid to experiment, as I don’t want anything to conflict with the flavors in my often-spicy food. When considering the drink pairing for Jennifer and Kevin’s dish, I checked out Takashi Yagihashi’s drink menu at his Chicago restaurant, and ran across the Hitachino Nest White Ale. Hitachino, from a Japanese brewery (Shuzou), is a white ale, similar to many Belgian whites, with hints of coriander, nutmeg, and orange peel. Jennifer and Kevin’s dish includes flavors and ingredients such as: orange zest, ginger, fennel, and I think the Hitachino would compliment nicely. Not to mention –> Refreshing.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What keywords would you use to describe the Top Chef contestants and their dishes?

posted by Ms. S&C

Roughing it

Cactus, camping, and cowboys — that’s what last week’s Top Chef episode brought us. The chefs left the Vegas strip and headed to the desert. Tim Love, whose website describes him as a chef of urban Western cuisine, was guest judge.

The Quickfire challenged the chefs to cook with cactus, and Mike Isabella won. In addition to knowing that risotto is a way of cooking, he apparently knows how to make cactus less slimy. Good for him. For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs went camping and prepared an outdoor lunch for cowboys. I’m sure the desert heat was brutal, but I felt the chefs were a little too whiny about this challenge (Eli and Michael Voltaggio included). I don’t think it’s too much to ask professional chefs to cook something on a grill, which is why I was so baffled that two people prepared ceviche, (Mattin was sent home as a result), and no one cooked steak.

BV-pork loinBryan Voltaggio’s Roasted Pork Loin with Corn Polenta,
Dandelion Greens, and Glazed Rutabega

The Voltaggio brothers found themselves in their usual spot at judge’s table — at the top. For a second time in a row, Bryan won. His Roasted Pork Loin with Corn Polenta, Dandelion Greens, and Glazed Rutabega captured the spirit of the challenge. In addition to being a talented chef (obviously), he appears to be incredibly organized. If that isn’t enough, he’s totally likable.anchor_bottle

For the drink pairing – when you’re outdoors, in the heat, and grilling — you want a cold beer. You’re not going to bother with simple syrups, crushing ice, and garnishes. And lord knows, you don’t want that coconut mojito that Ron made. Anchor Steam, the flagship beer of the Anchor Brewing Company, is my choice for Bryan’s pork loin and polenta. Steam beer, also referred to as California Common Beer, is an unique beer. The brewing technique is a combination of ale and lager methods (brewing lager yeasts at ale fermentation temperatures). This technique gives the beer the easy-drinking quality of a lager, but it has the noticeable hop flavor and amber color of an ale.

posted by Ms. S&C