Category Archives: beer

Halloween part II–pumpkins galore

Your Halloween drinks continue with beer, and specifically Pumpkin Ales!

We like pumpkin beers over here at S&C.  It’s like the fall season in a bottle.  They are typically mild, with an equal balance of bitterness and malt.  Some are made with actual pumpkins and some are made with flavors and spices akin to a pumpkin pie, such as nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, all spice.  The Beer Advocate says despite the incredible time consumption, the best ales use real pumpkin.  And, the folks over at Drink Craft Beer have rated their top ten faves.  S&C has had a few on the list, and we don’t think you can go wrong with the ones mentioned below.

So, if you don’t have time to whip up the Autumn Spiced Punch or the Corpse Reviver, No. 2, before the trick-or-treaters arrive, pick up a six pack!

  • Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale – Coors Brewing Company
    Medium body with hints pumpkin.  Easy to drink. Good choice for those that don’t typically drink “dark” beers.
  • Post Road Pumpkin Ale – Brooklyn Brewery
    Malt, hops, pumpkin, spices – it has it all.  This brewery does no wrong.

Not pictured, but also a very good beer — Punkin’ Ale, from our friends over at Dogfish Head.  It is a good beer when you’re heading into a cooler season.

Seven good years

Mr. and Ms. S&C have been married seven years now.  It has become a tradition to celebrate the occasion with a super fancy dinner – one of those dinners you can only afford once a year.  After year one, we went to Marcels, and we’re still talking about the duck confit and chesnut soup we had.  Last year, we visited the tasting room at Restaurant Eve, and it was a marathon of 12 courses.  On Saturday night, we headed to CityZen, at the Mandarin Oriental, with high expectations.

We opted for the amazing six course tasting menu and the sommelier’s wine pairing.  Before I get to the food and wine, let me say that they do everything right over at CityZen.  They anticipate your every need, and no detail is too small.

The gentleman started the evening off with a Chivas and soda.  He appreciated that the soda was served on the side, so you can add as much, or as little, as you want.  The lady began with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, the Peachy Keen, made with a peach-ginger flavored vodka, iced tea, and peach puree.  It tasted like peach iced tea and was a little too sweet for my liking.  That’s okay, she knew she had six rounds ahead of her.

The complete tasting menu and sommelier’s pairing is below.  The first course of tuna was paired with an excellent, light Reisling that wasn’t too sweet.  The sweet Semillon, however, was a perfect match for the rich foie gras.  The branzino may have been my favorite course, and it was paired with one of my favorite types of wine, Pinot Noir.  An earthy Grenache/Mourvedre accompanied the succulent veal shortribs.  A trio of micro-brewed beers was a surprise pairing for the plentiful cheese cart that was wheeled over.  And lastly, Port was served with dessert, which was probably my least favorite course.  While a fun idea, I just didn’t love the warm peanut butter and jelly concoction.

CityZen’s Tasting Menu and Pairing

CONFIT OF BLUEFIN TUNA AND TORO SASHIMI WITH HEIRLOOM POTATO SALAD AND PEPPER AOLI
2005 Schloss Gobelsburg, Urgestein
Reisling
Kremstal, Austria

SAUTEED MOULARD DUCK FOIE GRAS WITH MISSION FIGS AND CELERY BRANCH
2005 Margan Family
Botrytis Semillon
Hunter Valley, Australia

CRISPY SKIN FILET OF MEDITERRANEAN BRANZINO WITH ROAST GARLIC CAVATELLI, DRIED SAUSAGE, ITALIAN PARSLEY AND BOTTARGA DE MULLET
1999 Lignier-Michelot
Pinot Noir
Chambolle-Musigny, France

BRAISED MARCHO FARMS VEAL SHORTRIBS WITH SAVOY CABBAGE, CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS AND BEURRE COLBERT
2005 Domaine de Font Sane, Terrasses des Dentelles
Grenache/Mourvedre
Gigondas, France

ASSORTED ARTISANAL CHEESES
Trio of Micro Brews
Hofbrau Munche Hefe Weizen
Brooklyn Brown Ale
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

PEANUT BUTTER AND VALRHONA CHOCOLATE CHIBOUST WITH TERRAPIN STATION CONCORD GRAPE SAUCE
1995 Smith Woodhouse Late Bottle Vintage
Touriga Nacional/Tinta Cao
Duoro, Portugal

Assorted artisanal cheeses paired with a trio of micro-brewed beers at CityZen

All in all, I can’t imagine a better dining experience, or a better way to spend my last seven years.

posted by Ms. S&C

Tour de force–part II

The New York City bar hop continues…

Temple Bar was our next stop.  This place was less intimate and a bit swankier than PDT, and probably geared to someone with deeper pockets than moi.  But, I definitely appreciated the friendly service and being able to get a table, as we had three others join us.  A good variety of cocktails on the menu.  Here’s what I sampled:

44 North
I positively adore anything with pomegranate juice.  I love the tartness.  Unfortunately this drink tasted a bit chalky?
Ingredients:
Served over ice in a highball glass

The Arbitrator
I, now, officially prefer gin as my spirit of choice.
Ingredients:
Strained in served in a martini glass

  • Plymouth Gin
  • Sage
  • Peach Puree

Next, we swung by 124 Old Rabbit Club in Greenwich Village.  This was my second favorite place of the night.  It is very unassuming, dark (think basement), hip and cool, and to me, it has New York City written all over it.  It is easy to miss, so look for the black door at the bottom of a few steps.  I think there were mailbox-style letters at the top, but who knows what I saw at this point of the night.  They only serve beer and wine, so I had an Orval.  Correction: they only serve good beer and wine.

Photo by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

Photo of Old Rabbit Club by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

I probably should have called it a night after the Old Rabbit Club.  But, we hopped in a cab and soldiered on to The Back Room.  I vaguely recall the bouncer out front and the longer-than-you-think-walk to the entrance.  I do remember the place being gorgeous, with an old-school glamorous décor.  Drinks are served in teacups, as a throw-back to the speakeasy-style environment.  Word on the street is to try the place during the week, because it was c-r-o-w-d-e-d on Saturday night.  I ordered a lame vodka tonic, which I hardly touched.  It was time to head home.

Ein bier, bitte

What do you get when you combine bratwurst, sauerkraut, spaetzle, perfect fall weather, and lots of beer?  Oktoberfest! The world’s largest festival, concluded this weekend in Munich, Germany.

Fortunately, the rest of the world also likes to celebrate the Bavarian way of life.  Not only do we enjoy dining on traditional German delicacies, we love German beer.  Many breweries now offer their own seasonal Oktoberfest beer to commemorate the arrival of fall.  This rich malty lager, amber in color, usually has hints of caramel and toffee.  Hops are added for bitterness, and to balance the sweetness of the barley.  This style of beer is often referred to as Marzen,” because the beer is brewed in March, stored cold through the summer, and ready to drink at the arrival in autumn.

Oktoberfest originated with the marriage of a Bavarian prince in October 1810.  Citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities to celebrate the royal event.  Horse races marked the close of the event, and gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.  Subsequent years added an Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture.  Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands, which grew to beer tents and halls.  Today, the Oktoberfest attracts over six million visitors from around the world.

S&C Oktoberfest Favorites: Brooklyn Brewery, Spaten, and Sam Adams

And, what shoes are appropriate for this occasion? Many German designers seem to follow the same philosophy — premium quality, best workmanship, and comfort. That’s what you’ll find in Birkenstock and Josef Seibel’s collections.

Prost!

posted by Ms. S&C

Fragments of a rainy vacay

Rain, high winds, threats of coastal flooding – not exactly how Ms. S&C pictured her long weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  But, we made the most of it.  While there was little sunshine to enjoy, there were plenty of other fun beach-y activities: walking along the boardwalk, frisbee in the surf, putt-putt golf, live music and plenty of dining out.

Places of culinary interest included:

Drink of the trip: Beer

Maybe it was a slight case of seasonal affective disorder, but I was in no mood for the typical fruity cocktails.  No rum punch, no daiquiris, nothing resembling a tropical drink was consumed.  Wine usually accompanied dinner, but otherwise it was all about beer: Pumpkin ale and IPAs from DFH, Paulaner Hefeweizen, beers from Anchor Brewing Company, and my light beer of choice–Amstel Light.