Category Archives: boozeworthy

Zeitgeist-San Francisco

The of Zeitgeist, in San Francisco

If you are from Chicago, picture dive bars like Cal’s and Kuma’s coming together with the biker motif of Twisted Spoke, and room for a sprawling beer garden in back and you have the Mission’s Zeitgeist. At least that was my impression after an hour visit. An insider-y friend exposed the awesome bar to me during my last visit to San Francisco, and I was intially obsessed with the place based on the door logo alone (the rest of the joint FAR too dark for a decent photo). But inside the loud, raucous bar adorned with port-o-potties and a tamale lady (much like our very own tamale guy), I discovered a new favorite beer! I craved something wheaty and citrusy and was given Great White Beer from Lost Coast brewery in Eureka, Calif. The brew managed to be both malty and citrus-y, but also had a crisp mouthfeel and smooth drinkability. It reminded me of other favorites, Hitachino White Ale, Blue Moon and Hoegaarden, but fresher, and of course, rocked an awesome label. Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia, San Francisco

Leave a comment

Filed under boozeworthy, eliz-a-trip

Num Pang, Abraço and more…

Just when you thought I was settled back in the Chi, the eliz-a-tripping continues. This was actually my first visit to NYC since starting the blog a year and half ago, so there was plenty of highly anticipated “research” to be done. My laundry lists of places to visit (from fine dining to street-food eats), was long, and 48 hours does not a proper eating-tour of NYC make, but I did my best, getting my fill of Momofuku, Abraço coffee and more..foodie photo essay part 1…

IMG_0501

Duroc pork sandwich with blood orange lemonade

Get off plane and head straight to Num Pang, Chef Ratha Chau’s semi-new Cambodian sandwich shop in Greenwich Village near NYU. I spoke with Ratha (also of Kampuchea) while working on the Southeast Asian issue of Plate, and knew I had to check his new place out the next time I was in NYC. It’s tiny. You order outside at the window and then squeeze yourself on low benches in a wee upstairs room to munch on peppercorn catfish with sweet soy sauce or delicious pulled Doruc pork with spiced honey on fresh-baked bread from local Italian bakery Parisi. Juices drip, the pork melts in your mouth, the long slices of cucumber, tangle of pickled carrots, cilantro and spicy chili mayo add crunch, tang, spice and heat all at the same time, and the soft baguette keeps it all together. You may be with a friend, but won’t open your mouth to say much, well maybe for sips of blood orange lemonade. 21 E. 12th Street.
IMG_0505

Abraço


Abraço for coffee. This place was a bit of a hike on a rather chilly afternoon, but I’ll schlep pretty damn far for a great cup of coffee. I fell in love with Abraço’s Web site first, and then with the robust, smooth, creamy latte I waited almost 10 minutes for. Half the size of Num Pang (Chicagoans are SO spoiled by square-footage), Abraça’s hip crowd was literally spilling out of its tiny front area while a single barista carefully crafted each espresso, latte and macchiato. I honestly don’t know the secret, but this was hands down the best latte I had ever had, complete with the espresso leaf design in the foam and the classic NYC coffee cups. The only thing that would’ve made it better was a ricotta pain perdu on the side, but alas, they were out for the day. Abraço, 86 E. 7th Street.
IMG_0507

Latte from Abraço


And a few more foodie shots along the way..
IMG_0504

McSorley's Old Ale House, post Yankee win

Ah McSorley’s. Most people know about the iconic bar where the beer flows dark or light and sawdust covers the floor. On Yankee-parade day, a rather boisterous, baseball-jersey clad line awaited outside. 15 E. 7th Street.
IMG_0509

Rather pretty sushi signs..


There seems to be a sushi restaurant on every corner in NYC, but the presentation of these menus particularly stood out. Each looked like a hand-written work of art, and of course made me crave maki and miso. More to come!

2 Comments

Filed under boozeworthy, eliz-a-trip

Lei lounge

Lei lounge in San Diego

Lei lounge in San Diego

More LA posts to come, but had to add a few posts from my San Diego adventures this week. The outdoor tiki-torch lit Lei lounge had heated lamps, but barely needed them last night as we dined on lobster mac and cheese and Cuban chicken with sticky rice. Besides Lei being a year-round outdoor bar, I actually loved it more for the exotic Tom Collins-inspired cocktails. I love a good Tom Collins, and rarely see it being tinkered with on the mixology front. Lei’s offered a slew of vodka versions in traditional tall glasses like the Lemongrass Collins; vodka, lemongrass, lemon juice, simple syrup and 7-Up, an Aloe Vera Collins with vodka, aloe vera juice, lemon, simple syrup and 7-Up, and a Strawberry version with fresh strawberry purée, vodka, simple syrup, and lemon juice with echinecea of all things. Random but sort of genius for cold season. 4622 Park Blvd, San Diego, 619.813.2272

Leave a comment

Filed under boozeworthy, eliz-a-trip

Bar Tartine

Sunny, honey

Sunny, honey


Just when I finish gushing about how much I adore Chicago in October, I’ll actually be spending a few weeks of the month in California for work-related events. I was in San Francisco this weekend (LA and San Diego next) and finally got to check out Bar Tartine, after an amazing experience at Tartine Bakery last fall. I’ll write more posts later this week about Tartine’s awesome bread, sardine and citrus-beet appetizer and ridiculously good cod dish we had, but the Sunny, Honey cocktail deserves a post of its own. The name intrigued me at first, followed by the simple ingredients, Sonoma-based Sutton Cellars dry vermouth (made with a variety of botanicals and herbs) shaken with ruby grapefruit and star thistle honey. Like all the best pre-dinner cocktails, it’s simple yet complex, and not too sweet, with hints of herb, citrus, and sweet that subtly take turns on your palate rather than ruining it before dinner.

Leave a comment

Filed under boozeworthy

New brews take 2

Rader blonde

Rader blonde


Last spring I did a post on Blanche de Bruxelles and Goose Island Pere Jacques, two new brews that had recently captured my palate and became my favorite food-pairing selections. This week, I’ve discovered two more to add to the list, Radermacher blonde (experienced at The Bluebird and Rootstock in the same weekend!) and an amazingly random and delicious brew called Coney Island Albino python. Spotted at Rodan, the name caught my eye first, followed by the description which included white ale lager with spices of orange, ginger and fennel, and six different types of malt. If that wasn’t intriguing enough, the menu also said that a portion of the profits go towards restoring Coney Island..cool but creepy? When our waitress informed us there was only one 22 Oz. bottle left, we had to have it. Where had it been all my life? The beer had all the light-yet-robust notes of a Belgian white ale, with a spicy finish and easy drinkability (although it poured on the foamy side). After the initial sip and a rest on your palate, the spices and herb flavors are subtle and slightly fragrant. Right along with it was the Radermacher blonde from one of Belgium’s oldest distilleries (founded 1836). With hints of gin (from the juniper berries) and lemon and a slightly tart and an almost effervescent mouthfeel, this would be amazing with spicy or greasy foods. Or, as I indulged, all on its own.
Coney Island Albino Python

Coney Island Albino Python

Leave a comment

Filed under boozeworthy

Juicy Pug Chug

"Pugsley" upstairs at Juicy

"Pugsley" upstairs at Juicy


I realized that it’s been ages since I offered up any report from the local hot dog front, so I felt it only necessary to indulge in not one, but a record-breaking three hot dogs this weekend (oy), and attend a doggie-themed charity event to boot. I was so excited for Juicy Wine Co.’s first annual Pug Chug benefitting the Northern Illinois Pug Rescue and Adoption organization, not only to get to play with pugs, but for the hot dogs, hand-dipped corn dogs and summer-friendly wines selected by host Alpana Singh. When I got there, I discovered only one resident pooch, Pugsley, roaming around, and lots and lots of corn dogs for the taking. I’d been craving a sweet, cornmeal-crusted dog on a stick for what seems like years or at least since I’ve repeatedly seen them served up next to the elephant ears and funnel cakes at those colorfully headache-inducing street fair food stands. These were actually good, and spotted next to a Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir and a Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc.
Hand-dipped corn dogs on the patio at Juicy

Hand-dipped corn dogs on the patio at Juicy


And the wines, 16 to try and 1 sake. I love crisp, cool, apple-y Rieslings and couldn’t sip enough of the Charles Smith Kungfu Girl Riesling (and got a bottle for myself on the way out). The Sofia Riesling won out for prettiest bottle, but was bit too sweet. For reds, I also enjoyed La Posta Malbec, dry yet bursting with lush dark fruit flavors and slight bitterness. But the Murphy’s Law rosé was my favorite, light and fruity, a great wine for sipping on a sunny Saturday.
Rieslings ready to pour

Rieslings ready to pour


Murphy's Law rosé and Tozia Junmai Living Jewel sake

Murphy's Law rosé and Tozia Junmai Living Jewel sake


After the corn dogs, Juicy owner Rodney Alex fired up the panini press for a few rounds of hot dogs, which paired surprisingly well with the Kungfu Girl.
Panini-pressed dogs

Panini-pressed dogs


All in all I left full of great vino, delicious hot dogs, my corn dog craving sated for at least another year, and my desire for an actual (non-hot) dog greater than ever. Juicy Wine Co., 694 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312.492.6620

2 Comments

Filed under boozeworthy, hot dog hunt

On the table: Juicy Wine Bar

Love going here to see what fab vino Rodney Alex has up his sleeve. Head there Aug. 22 from noon-3PM for the Pug Chug charity event hosted by Alpana Singh

Love dropping in to see what fab vino Rodney Alex has up his sleeve. Head over on Aug. 22 from noon-3PM for the Pug Chug charity event hosted by Alpana Singh

Single votive (lit). Juicy Wine Bar, 694 N. Milwaukee, 312.492.6620

Leave a comment

Filed under boozeworthy, cheap, tasty brunch, great for date, on the table