Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hawker Fare

I am eating at Hawker Fare in Oakland tonight! Very excited. My last meal there was the bomb. I can only have one drink due to driving but hopefully they will have some Faction on like last time.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hot Sac Nights

I had such a fun Sac weekend. I saw the Mr. Burns play at Cap Stage on Friday - I recommend it. There is maybe a week left in the run. It's about a post-apocalyptic society (stay with me here), in which the Simpsons becomes social currency (stay with me her) and the entire third act is musical (you still with me?) I found it to be surprisingly poignant. The play is critically acclaimed but has been very divisive for audiences. I fell on the "love" side instead of the "hate" side.

Saturday I went to Empress and ended up there for over 4 hours, till well past close. I spent too much and drank to much but it was SO FUN and the food was all the bomb. Nuts. I split the prime rib, which was juicy and had a piquant horseradish sauce. Am I using piquant right? I don't know, it's just a blog, lighten up. I have to go back soon for the insane beef cheek stroganoff. And the beer list - off the chain. Prairie, Logsdon, all the best. And gin and tonics made with tonic from Zeal?! It's too much.

Then I closed down the Distillery with a karaoke krew Despite it being Monday I will hold onto that fun to cheer me up. That's right, with my current position I really do hate Mondays.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

the brews they are a'changin'

Some changes have been going on in the craft beer world, with a wave of corporate buyouts. Not too shocking - the latest one was Golden Road being bought by InBev. Golden Road is kind of a middle-of-the-road, corporate-ish brewery so not too suprising. Smiller thought the Lagunitas one was the most surprising. But an insider type pointed out the me that being bought out by Heineken is at least a little different in the sense that it's family-owned and that they only make two other beers: Heineken and (augh) Heineken light. I guess the Lagunitas deal was a half a billion dollars. The president of Golden Road was quoted as saying "this wasn't a sellout deal for me". It's nice you can just declare that.

As I mentioned, there was 10 Barrel at TBD because of the InBev connection. That meant I had access to a good IPA, but it also maybe meant that local breweries got shut out. InBev is all about profit, it's not like they are nice guys who want to help the industry in general. I work with a guy who worked for Budweiser in the past and he was like "well, there's another beer I'll never drink".

Monday, September 21, 2015

TBD lowdown

So I did the full TBD this time. I made the same mistake as last time where I came early to see a friend's band and got heatstroke and had to leave (on Saturday, to see Dusty Brown, who were rad). But this time instead of just going home I went to see Black Mass and came back. Black Mass is obviously a terrible name for this movie because every single person I've mentioned it to does not know what I'm talking about until I say it's the Johnny Depp gangster movie. That name just does not stick in anyone's mind. It's pretty good - Johnny Depp is very creepy. But Bulger is not that compelling of a gangster.
I realized that the whole deal with a festival is the different levels of VIP. That's because festivals are really not a great place to see music, but they are excellent for hanging out with friends and people watching (aka butt watching as there were sooooo many exposed butts to see). And drinking. So in order to do that, it's nice to be able to get to the shade that VIP has more of. And then there's the penultimate (yes I am using it right) level of VIP that has free beer and wine. I got in there a couple of times. The ultimate is the artist's lounge, which I never got to glimpse. There is also a viewing deck over the main stage which I could not access (I didn't try that hard). It was in full sun though so that didn't seem that great.
Highlights included the chef's demo with Thiemann and Matt Masera and the Hapa Ramen guy who was at the center of the huge food world scandal. Drinking lots of red heather kombucha from Zeal to stay hydrated. Ty Dolla Sign turning up. Death Grips. Riding the ferris wheel the first night while Tyler the Creator played. Butts.
The food was not as good this year. I ate Lowbrau sauages twice, but there wasn't a lot else that was appealing. The beer situation was weird because I'm assuming they had a contract with Anheiser Busch, who bought 10 Barrel Brewing from Bend, so that was the only craft beer. Well, that and Sudwerk Pilsner. It was rad to be able to get Bike Dog and Track 7 last year. I hope that comes back.
At various times, mostly because of the temperature or because none of my friends were there yet, I would feel like I was in hell, and other times I would feel like I was having the best time. So, TBD: kind of like life. With butts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Enjoyably savage

This review is pretty savage - and well written! An enjoyable diss.  I myself had a great time in my one visit (ever) to Paragary's in July, but I decidedly did not have my critic hat on and also had my meal paid for as a present. Also, I got the quail as my entrĂ©e, which was her favorite thing, so maybe I just got lucky.
The burger stuff was also fun to read. That's cool that Pangaea won best burger. I don't eat a lot of burgers, but I like theirs. I agree with their assessment that it shouldn't be too damned big. I will try the Magpie one and South ones soon, I swear by all that is holy! It's funny that barely being able to move around because of my broken toe (ok, at this point, 2 weeks on, I am using it as an excuse) has not caused me to gain any weight. I think when I exercise I just eat more.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Best Fest

Jeez, epic weekend, starting on Thursday. All because of the Cali Craft Beer Summit and all the brewers being in town. Thursday the peeps from Russian River, Firestone Walker and Karl Strauss were at Pangaea, and it was Scott's bday, so we went there, and then ended up at Lowbrau because people from Faction were there and the tap list was off the hook. The Faction 2 Hop is delicious. Pangaea had Taras Boulba on, which was also a standout amid the brew-haze of the night.

Friday Empress had a crazy taplist, including the Sante Adairus Saison Bernice. The Sante people were in town and loving Empress. And so was I! It's that rare place where just about everything on the menu sounds good and is good. I had a French dip that was heavy on the horseradish and I loved it. EC was loving her beef cheek stroganoff and I had a bite. Wow.

Then on Saturday was the actual fest, with like 130-something California brewers. It started at 4 and I definitely was not feeling it, but once I had my first few pours I was raging (babbling) all over the fest. I definitely did not eat enough food or drink enough water. The lineup of breweries was totally nuts. One of the best ever definitely. As far as whether it was a business success, I know the Summit board was psyched on the events and if the tasting event was small this year, I'm sure it will be much bigger next year. I wonder what Beer Advocate chatter is like? It's a fest that people are going to be driving in for or maybe even flying in by year 2 and 3.

I fuzzily ended the night at Bottle and Barlow drinking a Bike Dog beer with ancho chilies in it - the spiciness of the beer luckily slowed my pace a bit. I kept focusing on this spotted weinerdog, the poor thing probably just wanted me to leave it alone.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fruit to root? Augh!

OK, OK, so I like The Weeknd! What, I have a vagina, what do you expect? He's kind of like R. Kelly lite. I wish that a vocal coach would work with him and FKA Twigs (or a songwriter) and tell them that you can't just do the same, plaintive whispery thing over and over with your voice and have it keep working. You have to change it up! But still, I can't help but like both of them. Her more for the dancing. I've been listening to radio lately in my new car. Pop music is in a good phase right now.
It's smiller's birthday today! So far I have given him two of his presents. One was this picture book by Sam Knee about the British pop scene of like, the Pastels and TVPs and Primal Scream. I saw it at MK and DK's house. I also got him a tennis racket that electrocutes bugs, which I saw at MD's house. His pathological hatred of fruit flies made it seem perfect. They love to buzz around a glass of brew.
Man, do you ya ever feel like if you read another article about the Center For Land Based Learning that you will be qualified to run the damn place yourself? No? Then you must not read local food-related content. It's a great place, don't get me wrong. Just....the Farm to Fork issue??? Really?!?! Snoresville man. I'm proud of what we tried to do at Edible when I was there, and I really always tried to tamp down the farm coverage. Farms are wonderful and (obviously) necessary, but not exciting to read about. It's hard to find a new take there. They have either been in the family for generations (those tend to be more interesting to read about) or started by some young idealistic person who usually made money first at something else and then decided to go into farming. And you know what, the new Edible does not have a good track record of paying people. There, I said it.

Friday, September 04, 2015

have a good weekend!

This management training I am doing doesn't have that many funny stock photos but look at these cretins! No one likes getting assignments, it's true.

I am off to go see Diary of  Teenage Girl. My neck is hurting from my car accident poor me. Bananas are playing Awesomefest tomorrow! I can't seem to find the lineup for it (damn crusties!) so I don't know who else is playing but I'm sure they will rock it.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

cautiously optimistic

It's been a long day without you my friend, and I'll tell you all about it when I see you again. If you know that cheesy Wiz Khalifa song it will now be stuck in your head. Do I love the song? Do I hate it? The answer is yes.

Since I last posted I got a promotion and life has been pretty meh on the whole. For one thing instead of my tucked away office that no one even knew the location of I'm now in a fish bowl type arrangement where everyone who is walking past can see my giant monitor. Which has not been a problem because for two solid months I have not checked a website for amusement at work. Ocasionally, (is that the hardest word to spell in the English language? I just tried 5 times) I will have a half hour on a Friday where I am done with everything but basically it's been a whole new world as far as how busy I am at work. The screen capture is from a training on meeting etiquette that I will be taking today, so maybe I can post more funny ones.

I am cautiously optimistic and seem to finally be settling in. I don't feel like I can say too much since this is public so I will just keep it positive. I just took on my first writing assignment in months (deadline in early November - Smiller can expect to hear whining about it soon) so that makes me feel good. The thing with this promotion is that the hiring process also took like 4 months, so basically the last half year has been consumed with it.

Went to the friends and family thing at Empress last night. What a monumental accomplishment! It's beautiful inside. I loved my gin cocktail, which was very savory (made with fennel soda) just like I like. The beer list is next level nutz. The dizzying array of food was overwhelming and I had foolishly worn a jumpsuit that I can barely breathe in, but everything was delicious and the bigtime standout was the rotisserie chicken on top of Texas toast with a shmear of pate. The chicken had chimichurri and the toast mopped up all the sauce and juice. Great steak tartare, too, which erased the memory of the oddly tasteless tartare I had at Brasserie Capitale recently. I look forward to many wonderful nights there.