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We’re Alive, We Swear!

14 Dec

So some big things have been happening here at NWF which would explain our period of non-activity/silence. First, lil ole me (Nerf 1) got married to The Dude in October. Nerf 2 was my maid of honor (she was an AMAZING MoH) and Nerf 3 (Darlene) and Friend of Nerf (Jennifer) were my bridesmaids. I had 2 (count ’em, TWO) ceremonies and receptions, which drove me kind of crazy. It’s tough enough to plan one wedding, but it’s a whole ‘nother monster to plan two. We had a ceremony and reception in San Diego for a little over 100 people and then a tea ceremony and reception up in LA for about 250 people. Fun times, but I would not recommend this for the faint of heart and the short of patience.

Wedding cake from Extraordinary Desserts

Wedding cake from Extraordinary Desserts

Wedding pie from Julian Pie Company

Wedding pie from Julian Pie Company

Immediately after the two parties, The Dude and I hit up Fiji for our honeymoon! It was our first trip to Fiji and my first time out of the country (Rosarito back in college didn’t count since everyone spoke English and took American dollars). I had an amazing time and experienced a week in a world so different from the one I grew up in. We took a lot of pictures, so that post will be coming soon! I would highly recommend everyone to go to Fiji. It’s only a little more than Hawaii budget-wise, but worth the extra mile.

The sunrise from our villa's balcony

The sunrise from our villa’s balcony

While we were on our honeymoon, Nerf 3 (Darlene) moved with her Paul to Chicago. 😦  I have to admit, I was really sad that she was leaving since she’s my main cooking buddy. The good news is that she will continue to contribute to the NWF blog and tell us of her amazing adventures in the Windy City. Chicago is definitely a cool place to be if you like food. I’m looking forward to her posts on deep dish pizza, Chicago dogs, and the crazy weather there.

Thanksgiving came up quick, then I went with The Dude on his business trip to Seattle, WA. While The Dude was busy in meetings all day, I got to explore a lot of the city (in the rain) and what a great place it is! The air there is so crisp and it smells like winter and Christmas. I’ll have to admit, I kind of liked the rain. But I don’t know if I’d like it so much if it rained everyday for weeks and weeks. Once you’re in the city, it’s quite easy to get around and a lot of fun to explore. I went a bit Facebook Check-In crazy (sorry FB friends of mine) and that should help me retrace my steps and put words to my pictures.

At the Chihuly museum right under the Space Needle

At the Chihuly museum right under the Space Needle

So…keep an eye out for our new posts and thanks for still tuning in!

A Most Interesting Night…

17 Jul

San Diego was alive and bumpin’ last Thursday night with the first night of Comic-Con officially in full swing.  My partner in crime, Pablano and I didn’t make our way to the Gaslamp but to the Marina 5 Penthouse in Little Italy. There we took the elevator to the top floor of the building where we were greeted by masked hostesses in a swanky penthouse with a beautiful view of the San Diego skyline. Why were we there? We were representing this very blog, Nerds with Food, at a culinary event sponsored by Dos ImageEquis (yes the beer).  Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Academy” teamed up with chef Craig Thornton, who operates the covert operation known as the Wolvesden up in Los Angeles, to bring some lucky San Diegans and visitors from all walks of life a true culinary experience. Wolvesden is an underground supper club where Thornton and his team cook for a small invite-only group at a private residence, which is exactly what happened Thursday night here in San Diego.  But, why here in SD? Why now? I had the amazing opportunity to ask Thornton himself, in which he responded: “What I want to do here in San Diego was bring this retreat from the craziness and chaos of Comic-Con. We had two meals today, the first attended by Comic-Con visitors and the second by artists working at the event. I want to give them something so completely different from con food [such as pretzels, corndogs, nachos, etc.] and give them something completely unexpected.” Thornton clearly accomplished what he set out to do when I heard one of my fellow eaters proclaim, “This is the most un-Comic-Con thing I’ve ever done in San Diego.”Image

Now for the good stuff—the food! For our first course we had a pimento cheese sauce, with a cheese fritter, and spring onion all under a piece of grilled savory steak. We were off with a bang. The second course, which was a personal favorite, was a light and flavorful corn chowder. The warm corn chowder was sprinkled with chunks of fresh cold crab; the two contrasting temperatures were so great. Seared halibut with polenta made up the third course. Now, the next half of the meal was truly amazing. For the fourth course we had a mélange of beans, haricots verdes and yellow beans, and fruit such as golden beet and peach with a crispy potato skin. Now here’s the kicker: this mélange was brought together with cool and tangy horseradish sprinkled with cocoa-coffee “soil.” A-MA-ZING!!! This was Paul’s favorite dish of the night, and was one of the most memorable dishes I have ever eaten. ImageWhen I asked Thornton how he chose his dishes for the evening, it was this dish that he really focused on. “This dish is farmer’s market on a plate, I went to the farmer’s market and bought so much—they were really happy with me! I wanted to put the best of the farmer’s market and contrast it with the soil. We make the soil by mixing the cocoa and coffee and making almost a cookie, then we ground it up. I wanted this dish to serve as a bridge from the halibut, which is somewhat Italian, to the Mexican al pastor dish.”  Mission accomplished; this was one great dish that refreshed the palate and lead to another fantastic dish: the al pastor dish. This was incredible! It consisted of a delicate pork belly that Imagedid not over power the accompanying ingredients of caramelized pineapple, radish slices, a slice of creamy avocado and a scrumptious fried tortilla ball all tied together with a sinfully tasty al pastor sauce. As if that was not enough of a treat, dessert threw me back to my childhood days. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the concentrated strawberries over crumbled short cake topped with whipped crème fraiche with a hint of lime juice, but it was definitely the incorporation of pop rocks in the dessert that took me back. What a fantastic way to elevate a dish that much higher, giving it a tangible layer that brought a smile to every person at our table. Truly memorable! This is a meal I will never forget. Image

I want to thank everyone at the event for an interesting and memorable meal, because atmosphere is also included in the meal experience. First, I’d like to thank Dos Equis for sponsoring the event. I’d like to thank Bjorn for being so nice and hospitable, all of the artists working the Comic-Con event for the lively conversation, the masked hostesses and bartender for never letting me or anyone else end up with an empty beer bottle in our hands, and of course to Craig Thornton and his hard working team for filling our bellies with some of the best food I’ve ever had.

‘Tis the Saison to be Jolly…

22 Dec

Well maybe not the consumption season but traditionally it is the brewing season for my favorite types of brew: the Saison. I remember my first rendezvous with a saison well. Like a bored housewife I was lured by the intrigue and excitement of this unfamiliar style…you, you’re new, and I’ve never had this taste in the past…

Ok, so I’m exaggerating a bit. My co-worker and I wanted to get smashed during our lunch hour; and where can we successfully get smashed and call it “lunch?”…Karl Strauss to the rescue!  Their special brew for that month was their saison and I was intrigued by the description of “floral tones” and what not (or whatever, as stated I got pretty inebriated so I can’t remember). However, what I drank that afternoon was nothing short of spectacular; I instantly fell in love with this brew.

This event happened maybe about two and a half years ago and ever since then, if I ever see a saison on draft at a bar (like tapping out the keg at Hamilton’s and getting the glass for free, score!), I must get it. What I have found is that a saison differs greatly from brewer to brewer but I still find it delicious. For the most part saisons are not very hoppy, have floral and fruity components as well as some spice and they are always very refreshing.

So for our blog I decided to hit up BevMo and choose two bottled saisons, the only requirement for choosing a specific brewery was that the beer had to be cheap. This type of brew was, after all, made on farms to give to farmhands in the hot hot heat of the summer.

Pablano and I got our hands dirty. First up was Hermitage’s 1 Door Saison Style Ale, which was very cheap (I think less than $3!). The color was an orange-brown and very clear (usually saisons are unfiltered since they are/used to be brewed in such a rustic manner on farms. The flavor was not very strong– it was pretty spicy and a little floral.

 

Next up was Odonata’s Saison Ale. At around $6 for a bottle it was a tad pricier however, this saison was a bit more fun. First off, the color was more golden and it was most definitely unfiltered. Because I had not thought of it at the moment, I wasn’t careful about pouring and lots of sediment was in my glass. But I let the sediment settle as I polished off my previous glass of 1 Door saison. Another thing that was different about this pour was that there was a lot more head compared to the former. The flavor was definitely stronger than the former, with some spice, a little bit of sweetness and some citrus fruit flavors (I think I remember reading that it had some pineapple in it). Very refreshing!! This was exactly what farmers wanted to do: brew a cheap refreshing beer.

But who am I kidding…I am not a beer sommelier or connoisseur I just love any excuse to drink lots of beer, especially saisons!

**Authors note: I think I still like Karl Strauss’s saison more. I will most definitely have to try Green Flash’s saison next. Beer run anyone?

Facebook? Indeed we do!

6 Oct

Nerf #1 here just letting you all know that I am still alive and well! I of course decided to start our blog right around the time work was getting cuh-razy. Major thanks to Nerfs #2 and #3 for holdin’ the fort!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we’ve got a facebook group if you’d like to join: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nerds-With-Food/189752131079864. If we can get 25 fans, I think facebook considers us pretty legit.

1st Post in the Booze Corner: Bar * Food

4 Sep

This is the first post to the new section in Nerds With Food from a good friend that has hobbies that include drinking around town. Here in Booze Corner, we will feature spots in LA that serves good drinks and great bar food. Thanks Jennifer for writing this piece for us.

Bar Food: By Jennifer (friend of Nerfs)

Recently, I have bought a Groupon for Bar Food in Los Angeles.   The restaurant does not open until 5pm when happy hour starts.  My sister and I have decided to go during happy hour just to enjoy cheaper beer and appetizers before we order our main entrees.  (I know, I know, beer is my kryptonite.) We have gone on a Thursday, and the place is not crowded at all.

Happy hour price for beer is limited to their house blends only.  Their house beers are $3.50; Bar Honey Blonde, Bar Amber, and Bar Pale Ale.  I have never been to happy hour in a long time that has such great price on beer.  I have told myself that I would not drink so much because the Groupon does not cover happy hour prices, but it’s hard to resist.  The honey blonde tastes so good it leaves a nice honey flavor that lingers on your taste buds.  (Yes Allison, it would taste better if there was a honey blonde with a six pack abs.)For appetizers, we ordered sweet frites (sweet potato fries with spicy aioli sauce) to go with the honey blonde.  The sweet frites was not too fried, and the aioli sauce is alright, probably just stick with ketchup.  FYI, if you go to Bar Food for happy hour and do not want to get any entrees, they give out free hot dogs, 1 per person.

So for the main course, I ordered the Da’s Fish and Chips (15.50).  3 lightly battered cod fish and a tower of potatoes with black pepper seasoning.To pair off my fish and chips, I had the pale ale.  It wasn’t anything special, but it did pair well with the fish.  The amber may had pair it just as well, but the reasoning, light drinks goes well with light food.  I must say, the last time I had such a great fish and chips was at Lucky’s, but Bar Food had moved up the ladder for me.

Now, for one of the most delicious food they have is the Shepherd’s Pie.

The last time I had a shepherds pie (14.50), it was at Stone Brewery, but hands down, Bar Food won me over.  Grounded lamb, chunks of carrots, peas, and mash potatoes on top.  My sister ordered the amber to go with this dish, and it definitely paired really well.  I was stuffed on my fish and chips, but I saved enough room to finish the rest of the pie.  I even ordered my own amber to get that nice crisp taste.

Dining experience, 9/10, food 8/10, and drinks 7/10.  Would I come back to this restaurant?  Yes.

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