Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Restaurant Review - Flipping Out Crepes & Coffee

Have you ever had a Crepe?  "Like the ones at Denny's"?  You ask.  Kind of, but not really.  I am talking about the real thing, like the ones you get on a streetside cart in Paris.  "How in the hell would I know what those are like?"  you exclaim,  "I've never been to Paris, unless you mean Paris, Texas in which case yes, I had crepes at the Denny's".  No Bubba, you really should try the real thing and I am going to tell you where you can get an pseudo-authentic crepe right here in DFW.  Why pseudo-authentic?  Let me 'splain, Lucy.

A crepe (pronounced 'krep' if you must know) is a pancake and before you ask, not like the ones at Denny's or even IHOP.  They originated in Brittany (which is part of France, not England) and are very thin and made of buckwheat.  If you get chance to watch them make one you will notice that they pour the very thin batter on a grill and shape it with a spatula instead of dumped from a bucket into a frying pan like the ones we are used to eating.  The crepes themselves are quite authentic and quite delicious.  Now here is where the pseudo comes in, the fillings are quite un-French, which should please the France bashers out there to death.

Scott Hoffner, the chef and owner of the establishment, graduated from Johnson and Wales University and was a chef at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and is now the personal chef for Dallas Maverick Tyson Chandler.  Scott is also a bit of a panderer, which can be a little annoying, but is truly a nice fellow that loves to chat, he also has created some dandy crepes for you to enjoy.

The restaurant itself is in Addison is a tiny building in a parking lot on Beltline that has been a hotdog shack, a cell phone store, a flower shop and only god knows what else.  Finally the little shack has found someone who can make it something other than a home of broken dreams.  It is so tiny in fact that you will notice as you walk in, the there is nowhere for you to sit your weary bones down and enjoy your new favorite treat.  In fact, if there are more than 3 people inside you will be able to touch strangers inappropriately and then be able to convince them that it was truly an accident, you pervert.  They do have several tables set up outside behind the store for you to use at your leisure.

Flipping Out offers you breakfast crepes (no, not like Denny's, let it go) like the Mile High Club which is Danish Ham, smoked bacon, egg, bell peppers, onions and swiss cheese smothered with a bacon mushroom cream sauce all tucked nicely into the crepe.  The crepe is folded into a cone so that you can eat it like a sandwhich. 

You can get Savory crepes like the Tyson Chandler (hmmm, now where have I heard that name before) which is roasted chicken, spinach and mushroooms smothered with a creamy bacon cheese sauce, again tucked into a crepe.  Or my favorite Lemon Chicken, herb crusted and served with asparagus, parmesian and lemon cream sauce. 

Or go for a desert crepe like the Nutella served with the hazelnut chocolate, strawberries and bananas.

This little restaurant that could serves up crepes which will be familiar, yet unfamiliar to those who know crepes and an exotic delight for those who only know those served by you know who.  Give it a try and thank Scott for taking the risk, you will be happy you did.  Oh, and try the coffee, it's dandy.

Flipping Out Crepes and Coffee
4021 Beltline
Addison, TX

Monday, December 26, 2011

Beer Review - Lump of Coal Stout

Ridgeway Brewing Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout - 8% ABV

I love Christmas ales.  I love winter stouts.  I love holiday porters.  Most breweries give a merry nod to the holidays by producing one or two of the aformentioned lovlies, all for me.  That's correct, they are all made specifically for me, but as that I am a really nice guy, I am willing to share. 

Have you ever heard of Ridgeway Brewing? No? Probably because it is relatively new, founded a only a few years ago in South Stoke in southwest of England by Peter Scholey. Now Peter, you see, was once the head brewer of a magnificent brewery named the Brakspear Brewery in Henley-on-Thames which had been producing famous ales since 1779, but the owners sold it off in 2002 to make way for a hotel. Poor misguided bastards.

Ridgeway brewing goes about the holiday brews a little differently, as far as I can find, they only produce winter ales.  Santa's Butt Porter, Bad Elf IPA, Seriously Bad Elf Ale and this beauty, the Lump of Coal Stout.

This stout pours dark, not so dark as its namesake, but every bit as dark as a stout should be with a bit of ruby red coloring at the edges.  You may be fooled by the lack of nose that the beer will be light and flavorless, but you, my friend, would be wrong.  But don't expect a heavy, thick stout either, this one is lightly textured and lightly carbonated.  You will taste coffee, chocolate and a bit of dark fruit.  The hops are present, but only expose themselves as you swallow it down.
It is not a great beer, but not a bad beer either and with all of that alcohol you can sit by the fire playing with your new iPad amid the debris of present wrappings from toymaggedon and not feel the pain as you contemplate how to pay for all of this.

Ridgeway Brewing
6 Chapel Close
South Stoke RG8 0JW
Telephone: +44 (0) 1491 873474

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beer Review - Good Gourd

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale - 8.5% ABV

So earlier in the year we took a trip to Tampa, Florida to taste the offerings brewed by the Cigar City Brewing Company.  I have to say that at that time we were a bit less than impressed, but that may be because we were short on time and tried to taste as many beers as we could.  Which beers did we try?  Why their best selling mass market beers of course, and as with any brewery, for some reason, their best selling beers are typically the most underflavored because as we all know, the best selling beer in America is Bud Light.  And we wouldn't want to shock the tastebuds of those who guzzle buckets of that swill, would we?

So our old friend Travis Kruger, their marketing and sales guru, challenged us to try some of their specialty beers.  So off we went to Tampa to give them a second chance and I am forced to admit that I may have been hasty in my earlier judgement. 
The Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a delightful seasonal that I so much wish was available in Texas.  I may be ... no, strike that ... it is definitely the finest seasonal ale that I tried this fall.  The beer pours a cloudy orange-gold with a fluffy white head.  The smell is of malts, pumpkin, nutmeg and gingerbread.  Mmmmm .... yummy.  The flavor?  Thanksgiving in a bottle that tastes every bit as good as it smells.  The malts, pumpkin and nutmeg are all there, vanilla, caramel and sweet bread make it a liquid dessert.  Balanced, complex and magnificent.  Bravo gentlemen.

I will suggest to you that later this winter, when you are tired of freezing your buns off, take a trip to the Florida sunshine and stop in Cigar City and have a few .... dozen ..... beers.

Cigar City Brewing
3924 W Spruce Street, Suite A
Tampa, Florida 33607

Beer Review - Sierra Nevada Harvest

Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Pale Ale - 6.7% ABV

One of the last of the fall season ales for this year and a beautiful addition it is.  Sierra Nevada is on of the original craft brewers in America.  In a time when Michelobe was considered a premium beer, these guys burst our of Chico, California in 1980ish with beer with FLAVOR.  "Flavor"? we asked, "Who ever heard of a beer with flavor"?  So then we tried it and were floored.  "Holy Shit!  We LOVE flavor"! we exclaimed, "Give us more"!  And so the craft beer movement began and has steamrolled in to the giant that it is today.

Created in 1996, Harvest Ale features Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. These hops are harvested and shipped as “wet” un-dried hops—the same day they are picked—to the brewery in Chico where they are dumped immediately in to the brewing kettles.  Those fresh oils and resins are what give the Harvest Ale the wonderfully fresh flavor, 110 pound of the stuff per batch in fact.  You smell the hops, you taste the hops and you love the beer, that is how it works.

You will be hard pressed to find a fresher, cleaner tasting beer.  This on comes in limited quantities so grab some while you can.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 East 20th Street
Chico, CA 95928

Beer Review - Nefarious 10 Pin

Ska Brewing Company Nefarious 10 Pin Porter - 8% ABV

Soon, very soon, we will start bitching about the cold weather.  We will grouch about having Christmas shoved down our throats for 2 months.  We will complain about the inches we are adding to our waists over celebrating the aforementioned holiday.  But not me, no sir, because I know that the winter beers are arriving, and I so dearly love those massive doses flavors.  Blues killers are what they are.  The winter porters, the Christmas ales, the spiced lagers ... ah, I can almost taste them now.  But WAIT!  I can taste them now! 

Ska Brewing Company was founded in 1995ish by a couple of underage stoners in Durango, Colorado who loved to drink beer and listen to ska music.  Hey, if you can't buy beer legally you may as well brew your own, right?  Their culture of loud music, strong beers and good times is something with which I can find little fault.  I also can find few faults with their beers.

The 10 Pin Porter is not just a porter .... no, no, no mon ... it is an Imperial porter.  What does that mean exactly?  It means that you are going to get a face full of flavor.  Originally, imperial stouts were beers brewed in Enland intended for the Imperial Russian Court and generally meant that the beer was going to be a top of the line luxury beer.  In American brewing circles it generally means big and bold.  And this beer is just that with BIG malts and BIG hops.

The color is just what you expect of a porter, dark brown/black color and lightly carbonated . Huge nose of roasted malts, chocolate and the burn of alcohol.  The flavor is wonderfully balanced with malts, yeasts, coffee, dark fruits, chocolate and caramel sweetness.  To be sure the hops are there, but not overpowering.  Dandy, dandy beer.

Ska Brewing Company
225 Girard Street
Durango, Colorado

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beer Review - Ommegang Rare Vos

Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale - 6.5% ABV


Do you know what that was?  That was a beergasm.  A beergasm caused by a delightful, superb, magnificent amber ale created by the evil geniuses at Ommegang.  The ale is named after a cool little bar in Brussels that  is the starting point for bicycle and pigeon races and if you drink enough you may try one of their horse steaks.  No, I don't think that the bicyclists race the pigeons, but that may be fun to watch after drinking several of these beers.

This nectar of the gods is called a Brabant style ale by Ommegang which is an ancient method of brewing using top fermentation and wild yeasts which usually cause the beers to have a sour note.  Sorry, but I didn't get that much.  The color is a slightly cloudy coppery gold with a head that persists for quite a while.  The smell is of malt, bread, yeast and a hint of the spices used in the brewing process.  Oh, so smooth, with enough carbonation to keep your tongue interested.  Lovely, lovely flavor with the malts in the front, bananas and apricots right behind.  Hints of the cloves and spices rule the background along with a bit of citrus bite.  It is not at all sweet meaning that you could drink several (if you first rob a bank or are a trust fund brat) without ruining your palate.  Fantastic beer and if you were to look in my refridgerator right now, you will find several lurking about (no to your left, right behind the milk).

The judges at the GABF were right to award this dandy brew a bronze medal, but you be your own judge and try it, you may find a new favorite beer here.  Now excuse me while I go clean up this mess.

Brewery Ommegang
656 County Highway 33
Cooperstown NY 13326-9248

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beer Review - Rahr Octoberfest

Rahr and Sons Octoberfest - 7.5% ABV

I have been accused recently of having a bias against Texas beers.  The accuser went on to say that most of the Texas beers that I have rated as poor were perfectly fine beers and that I was just being an ass.  Allrightythen.  Let me defend myself for a second.  Every person that enjoys drinking beer has one label that he/she prefers.  It it simply a matter of personal taste.  My personal taste is that I like balanced beers with full flavor and my confronter apparently likes watery, overcarbonated brews.  Neither is correct or incorrect, it just is.

So in order to mollify Bubba, let me tell you about a Texas produced beer that I do enjoy drinking.  Rahr and Sons Octoberfest is described by Rahr as "a traditional Marzen-style Oktobefest lager - dark amber in color, super smooth, medium body with a sweet malty finish. True to tradition, this is a classic Oktoberfest Lager."  For the life of me I did not get Marzen at all from the taste.  A bit sweet, a bit malty, a bit hoppy, but Marzen?  Not really. 

The color, taste and texture all say brown ale to me.  Dark mahogany colored, malty nose, full flavor and a bit too carbonated.  All in all a great session beer that I am happy to drink on any given day and in my opinion, the best beer that they brew.

Rahr and Sons Brewing Company
701 Galveston Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76104

Monday, October 24, 2011

Restaurant Review - Baboush

Baboush Restaurant - Market - Bar

I have been visiting this restaurant in uptown for several weeks now, reveling in it's light and delightful offerings and meaning to do a nice write-up.  Imaging my consternation to see reviews published this week in both the Observer AND the Dallas Morning News.  Ego aside, my goal has always been to entice you to try new restaurants and hooray for Baboush that the two aforementioned publications agree with me on something.

Sweet Tomato
The gang has visited Medina, another eatery by the same owners in Victory Park, and quite enjoyed their offerings.  While the dishes there have been somewhat Americanized, the foods are still exotic enough to challenge the palate of a person who has never experience Moroccan cuisine.  Baboush treads this same fine line, but instead of Americanizing their Moroccan dishes, they Moraccanized traditional Mediterranean fare.  "Do what now?" you ask.  Please, let me 'splain Lucy.  Moroccan cuisine is quite unlike any other cuisine.  The flavors that they create are made from incredibly complex spice blends, with no one spice or flavor dominating a dish.  They may use 12 spices to create a flavor, but their goal is to blend the spices so perfectly that you cannot identify one over the others.  I hate to use this phrase, but the experience is sublime, the simple pure flavors of Mediterranean cuisine with the spice blends and pickled condiments of Morocco.

The restaurant fronts the construction site along Blackburn at Central.  You may have difficulty finding the non-descript front, and it may help you to know that it is located right next door to Grimaldi's.  The interior is tastefully done is a pseudo north african motif.  The staff is ...  ah ... still learning, unable to describe the dishes or even name the chef.  Let's hope that they improve considerably in the near future.  The owners describe the menu as being inspired by Moroccan street food.  If that is what street food tastes like in Morocco then I am out of here.  "The airfare is how much?"  Darn, it looks like this is as close as I will get in the near future.

The Hummus, found under the Spreads and Olives section of the menu, is a typical Lebanese blend of chickpeas, fresh garlic and using tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds) instead of olive oil.  Not bad, but a bit too much tahini for my tastes.  Instead I heartily recommend the Moroccan Sweet Tomato.  Sweetened tomato, cinnamon, garlic, orange water, sesame seeds and almonds, served with pita.  Jiminy Cricket, this is a flavorful treat.  Next time I am just going to order a glass of it instead of the delicious mint tea.

Chiclen Shawerma
I dearly love Chicken Shawerma.  But the shawerma made by Baboush has made a simple adoration an addiction that I must address at least once a week.  "Pickled cucumber?  But what is the red stuff?  Pickled turnips you say?"  Mother Goose what a wonderful melange of flavors.  I cannot even tell you if there was really chicken in it.  French Fries on the side?  Yes, but again unique with Moroccan spices and lemon zest.  Lemon zest on fries .... I'll be damned.  I never would have thought of that but am sorry as hell that I never have tried it before.

Falafel?  Why yes, I will have some.  Fava beans and chickpeas, mashed together and formed into small patties and then fried to be crispy on the outside and warm and wonderful on the inside, served wrapped in a thin pita.  A lovely version of Fatoosh (tomato and cucumber salad) is seved on the side.

I happily visit Babouch at least once a week and will continue to do so as long as they are open.  I fear that the food is a bit too sophisticated for the $30k millionaires living in the area and hope for the best.

Baboush Restaurant - Market - Bar
3636 Mckinney Ave, Suite 160
Dallas, Texas 75204
(Baboush is located on City Place Blvd)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Road Trip Dining - Food and Wine Festival

I dearly love festivals based on eating and drinking.  There is one particular festival that Mrs. Snob and I have enjoyed time and time again, but I hesitate to tell you where.  Why you ask?  Because you're gonna laugh.  Not with me, but at me.  OK, here it goes .... we love to go to ..... Disney World.  I hope you didn't choke on your beer there, sorry.

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is located at the World Showcase part of Epcot (you know, the part that replicates highlights from several countried around the lake) and runs from the first of October  into mid November.  It features traditional dishes from around 25 nations and/or regions in managable tapas sized servings.  Yeah, I know, when you think of fine dining you don't typically think of an amusment park, but try not to think of the mouse shaped pancakes that you get for breakfast, think of chefs from many nations proudly creating for you dishes that you will find when you visit their homelands.  They also will serve you wines or beers that are produced in their native lands in hopes of tempting you into buying some when you return home.

Our strategy is to circle the lake, gorging ourselves on the offerings.  It takes a few hours as that ever so often we have to sit and allow our digestion catch up.  This year we were oh so lucky to get to hear Taylor Dayne as we sat and forced down another funnel cake.  Lucky, lucky us.  THEN after reaching our original starting point, we reverse direction and pummel our livers with the alcoholic offerings from the same countries.  Pure debauchery.  But the time we have completed our second circumnavigation of the lake around which the World Showcase is located, we are obliterated.  We stagger back to our room and pass out, dreaming of being chased by dwarves wearing cupcake costumes.

This is the really a great time of year to visit Disney World as that the kids are in school so the crowds are not so aggravating, the weather is magnificent and the food is, as always, magical.

Epcot Park at Disney World
Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beer Review - Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale

Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V. Dutch Brown Ale - 5% ABV

Inside the Abbey of Koningshoeven in the tiny village of Tilburg in the Netherlands, near the Belgium border, lies a dandy brewery producing some dandy beers.  Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven produces the La Trappe line of trappist beers along with the Dutch Brown Ale and a few other liquid delights. 

The Dutch Brown is top fermented ale using an "ancient old recipe" that produces a delicious medium bodied brown ale that is sure to be more popular to the American palate.  The color is dark brown and pours with a thick head that hangs around long enough to be interesting.  The smell is quite subtle with hints of malt and bread.  The beer is quite smooth and the flavors are astounding.  Malts, earth, figs, nuts and a bit of sweetness.  You will find that it is not a sweet as many brown ales and finishes a bit dry and a bit bitter, but not overpowering.  I would happily drink many of these without tiring of it's interesting taste.

Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V.
Eindhovenseweg 3
Berkel-Enschot, 5056 RP

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beer Review - Black Bavarian

Sprecher Brewing Company Black Bavarian - 6% ABV

So you did not take my word for it that the Guinness Black Lager is abysmal and you went and tried it anyway, didn't you?  It sucked, didn't it?  What?  What do you mean you don't know if it sucked?  You don't know how it is supposed to taste?  Damn, I didn't consider that.  Maybe I should describe for you how a black lager, or schwarzbier is supposed to taste?

Schwarzbier is one of the, if not the oldest European beer styles for which we have scientific evidence.  Amphora were found in graves in Kulmbach, Germany dating from 800 b.c. with the residue from the brewing process intact.  This style of lager is still is brewed at Köstritzer Brewery and has been since 1543 and you should think of it as being similar to a stout or a porter but using lager processes.  Simply put a schwarzbier is to a lager as a stout is to an ale.

The Sprecher Black Bavarian is as black as a moonless night with very little light passing through, and like most schwarzbiers, has very little nose, but you should be able to get a hint of the malts, baked bread and perhaps a bit of coffee.  The thick, tan head is lasting and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. 

As you take your first drink you expect the brew to be thick and heavy, but you would be wrong because this is, after all, a lager.  The Black Bavarian is light and smooooooth as it dances across your tongue.  You will notice the very complex toasted malts as the flavor maker and though you expect it to be sweet, it is not at all.  You will also notice cocoa, toasted bread, carmel and coffee and then the big finish is a wonderful dry finish provided by the hops.

This, my friends, is what a black lager, or a schwarzbier is supposed to taste like and I highly recommend searching to find this delight.

The beer is not available in Texas (big surprise there, eh?) but is easily located as you travel to the north and east or better yet, go to the brewery in Wisconsin and hang out in their beer garden and drink yourself goofy. 
Sprecher Brewing Company
701 W. Glendale Avenue
Glendale, Wisconsin 53209

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heart Attack of the Month - September 2011

Babe's Chicken House - Cedar Hill

So we were sitting around one night having a spirited discussion on who makes the best Chicken Fried Steak in the area and before you ask, yes, we actually fuss about food.... and beer.  The central subjuct came down to not who has the best CFS, but whether or not there is actually a superior CFS in DFW and while a few of us were on the side of there not being a superior offering one Snob was quite adamant that there is indeed a superior offering and it can be found at Babe's.  So, off I went to try it out and what I found was quite a revelation.  Not because I found a great Chicken Fried Steak, but because I stumbled across what may the singularly most unhealthy meal that I have ever had.

First though, let me give a quick synopsis of the Chicken Fried Steak.  The meat was fine quality indeed, tender, with no surpises ... no lumps of fat, gristle or connective tissue to be found.  The breading was crisp and firmly attached, but with the taste of the grease overpowering the unseasoned meat.  Pretty good, but not great.

I was astounded at the quantity of food served ... and this was at lunch.  It must be just this side of heaven for the rotund overeaters who are really only interested in quantity.  The meal starts with the server bringing you some freshly made biscuits and a salad.  The biscuits were strangely 2 dimensional and I know what you are going to point out,  yes, there was a salad and it has the potential to be healthy.  However it was iceberg lettuce (no nutritional value whatsoever) drowned in a super sweet, sugared vinaigrette.  Then comes the parade of vegetables.  "Wait what?  You said vegetables, those are healthy you nob!"  Yes, or rather, no.  Mashed potatoes (not so healthy you must admit), sweet corn (again, no nutritional value at all) sweetened with additional sugar, green beans ("Aha!" you say) that were cooked in bacon fat ("Aha!"  I say back) and all with buckets of gravy and as many free refills as you can stuff in your fat face.

So go ahead and visit Babe's Chicken House and leave pleasantly full, or queasy from the greasy.  I guess it depends on your perspective.

Babe's Chicken House, Cedar Hill
200 South Main St.
Cedar Hill, Texas 75104

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beer Review - Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA

Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA  - 9.2% ABV

Once again we have stumbled across a beer that is a collaboration beer and is a true gem.  With this one you can try a limited edition beer that is absolutely unique and a joy to drink AND do something that will help people in need, which helps your karma.

Bryan Baird, brewmaster & founder of Numazu, Japan’s Baird Brewing and Toshi Ishii, former Stone brewer & founder of Guam’s Ishii Brewing Co., joined Stone Head Brewer Mitch Steele in producing this truly superb beer with the proceedes going to the Japanese Red Cross relief fund for the Japanese tsunami victims.  Outstanding.

I wish to start by telling you that this is one of the most complex beers that I have ever had, starting at the nose.  At the first sniff, which I took while the beer was still in the bottle, the smell I registered was that of Arizona Green Tea.  You know, that over sweet crappy tea flavored sugar water that is sold at your local quickie mart.  "Oh no"  I though, "This is gonna suck".  So I poured my beer and sat for a moment contemplating whether or not I would even take a drink, and then decided to smell it again.  I was amazed.  It was like I was smelling a completely different beer.  The tea scent was there sure enough, but in the background.  Hops, resin, citrus and herbs made the top of the list.  It has a hazy medium golden amber color with a thick head that persists for quite a while.

As that the Stone Brewery was involved you can bet your bottom dollar that the beer will be hoppy and you would have won your bet.  But oh my goodness the hops that they used ... American Warrior hops (for the bittering), Crystal hops and New Zealand Pacifica hops (for the flavoring).  THEN they dry hopped with "new hop variety from the Alsace region of France called Aramis".  THEN they second dry hopped with the rare Sorachi Ace hop from Japan.  All of these wonderful, flavorful hops and then with the underlying presence of the green tea makes for one uber complex brew.  Mother Goose.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Event - Brew at the Zoo

Brew at the Zoo - September, 2011

It sounded really cool, drinking beers, walking around looking at the animals .... chilling.  That, however, was a misconception, a silly dream.  Instead all of the beer related events where jammed up at the entrance to the zoo with all access inward locked up tight so that the drunken animals didn't disturb the real animals.  Probably a good idea.  However, it made the event so generic that it could have been held in any empty parking lot in Dallas.

There was indeed a huge selection of beer to be tasted ... 3 oz. at a time.  Several of my very favorite breweries, Ommegang, Duvel, Stone, Breckenridge, Unibrou were represented and I will admit to imbibing a bit more than I should.  There were those who imbibed quite a bit more than they should but for the most part they were a jovial bunch.  Still, with all of those dandy beers to sample, I was stunned to observe that the lines to taste Budweiser, Stella Artois and Dos Equis were the longest at the event.  Why would you pay $30 to drink that swill?  I am at a loss to understand, but oh well.

I will also have to say the I really enjoyed the Rebirth Jazz Band from New Orleans, but after the 5th or 6th song the songs all began to sound the same.  The Spazmatics?  No comment.

If there is Brew at the Zoo 2 will you see me there?  Probably not.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beer Review - Guinness Black Lager

Guinness Black Lager - 4.5% ABV

I do like Guinness Stout.  Regardless of what the uneducated masses think, it is not "thick" and will not "fill you up".  In other words, it is not overpowering in any way.  So I thought that the new Black Lager may be something interesting and exciting.  So here is my review:


Overcarbonated, underflavored swill.  No better than the Budweiser it is sitting next to at your local grocery, just blacker.

Guinness Brewing Company
St James's Gate
Dublin 8, Ireland

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beer Review - Schneider Aventinus Eisbock

Schneider Aventinus Eisbock - 12% ABV

So the story is that in the 1940's a load of Schneider Aventinus (which in my opinion is the finest wheat beer in the world) was being shipped in a container with no temperature controls during winter.  The beer partially froze which caused a separation between the elements of the beer and the water, concentrating the beer flavors from the water which remained frozen in the bottle.  60 years later Hans Peter Drexler, the head brewer from Schneider, decided to replicate the sensational brew from history.

Typically the Aventinus in recommended as an Autumn brew but this fatty may be more suited for wintertime imbibing.  The smell is of dark fruits, cloves and bananas from the yeasts, sugar and the ethers of the considerable alcolhol content.  Not much in the way of carbonation and the color is a dark brown.  You will taste lots of malts and I was pleasantly surprised to get some hop dryness as well.  Cloves, bananas, fig, caramel and the alcohol burn make for quite a complex flavor.  Dandy brew indeed.

 If you are visiting the Munich area try one of their brauhauses.

The "Weisses Bräuhaus" in Munich, Tal:
The "Weisses Bräuhaus" in Munich, Tal is the founding place of our brewery. It is the place where the founder of the company, Georg Schneider I., brewed his first Schneider Weisse Original in 1872. Now as before, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful and traditional beerhaus in this region.

Weisses Bräuhaus in Munich, Laim:
You are looking for a romantic beer garden in Munich? Then you should drop in at the Weisses Bräuhaus in ‚Berg am Laim'. The refreshing beer specialities and the Bavarian traditional dishes have been the reasons for many a visitor to become a regular guest.

Weisses Bräuhaus Kelheim:
Here you are very close to the "source of Schneider Weisse": The Weisses Bräuhaus Kelheim is located on the premises of our brewery. Many bicycle tourists and lots of locals come to its cosy rooms and the romantic beer garden to relax and enjoy life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beer Review - Woodchuck Pumpkin Hard Cider

Woodchuck Pumpkin Hard Cider - 6.9% ABV

I guess the first question would be "is cider a beer"?  I don't kn ..... well ...... maybe ...... why are you even asking me that?  It is served from a tap and that is good enough for me.  But is it really good enough for me? 

Mrs. Snob is a big fan of ciders, but I have to admit to not being so much of a fan.  Why would I think that I would like this when I don't care for any of the others?  Beats the hell out of me.

The color is a pleasant golden-red and like most ciders it has almost no carbonation.  Pumpkin?  I don't taste no stinking pumpkin!  It tastes like a spiced apple cider...  a sweet, very sweet, cider.  It is not really my cup of tea but if you are out with a wine drinking, beer hater this one may be a good choice for them.

The Woodchuck Cidery
153 Pond Lane
Middlebury, VT 05753

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Restaurant Week 2011 - EllerbeFine Foods

Ellerbe Fine Foods

As I was saying, restaurants participating in KRLD Restaurant Week take very different approaches to serving the sweating, grunting masses of common folk invading their demesne for this massive charity event.  There are those like Stephen Pyle's who prepared a meal that could easily replicated by Denny's and then there are those who prepare fine dining in hopes of attracting new patrons.

We almost declined to make our reservation at Ellerbe when they demanded that we leave a credit card number informing us that if we 'no showed' we would be charged for the meal anyway.  But having heard great things about Chef Molly McCook’s kitchen talents we decided to push on.  Upon arriving we were ushered to a back room that was completely filled, which struck us as odd since the front room was completely empty.  We were presented with the RW menu and while the offerings sounded dandy we asked to see the regular menu out of curiosity at which point we were told that if we ordered from the regular menu, we both had to order from the regular menu and that we would be re-seated in the front room.  Odder and odder.  We came )( that close to walking but we looked around saw the other customers shoving the RW fare into their faces with great gusto.  So we stayed.

From this point on the experience made a 180 degree turn towards superb.  The staff was amazingly accomodating and our server, Alyssa was a doll. Friendly, competent and engaging.  The complimentary bread (we can forgive the fact that they sourced it from California) was served with fresh butter and Hawiian red salt.  Cool.
Our first course consisted of a Summer Zuchini and Basil soup containing Grana Padano, lemon zest and olive oil.  One of the finest soups that I have tasted all summer, delightful.  The Scott Farm Assorted Melon Salad was interesting enough to be an entree salad at most restaurants.  Arugula, with balsamic reduction, crumbled Valbreso feta, kalmata olives and nuts kept my taste buds dancing a jig. 

There was an option to purchase an order of Boudin balls which I jumped on as that we know that Chef McCook is from New Orleans and learned her secrets in her grandmother's kitchen on Ellerbe Street.  Light, subtlely flavored inside, crispy non-greasy crust on the outside left us debating if we should order a second round, luckily, the entrees arrived.

Corn Meal Crusted Redfish with Carter Farm Green Tomato Relish was what we both chose.  The fish was perfectly prepared and served on a bed of B&G Gardens Black-Eyed Pea sautee and Chiffonade Cabbage.  Oh.  My.  God.  Did we add the offered lump crab meat for $5?  You bet your ascot we did.  An astounding dish.

We finished with Maw Maw's Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce and Pralined Pecans.  You know how when you get a freshly made cinnamon roll and it has that crusty, crunchy, yummy crust?  And then the warm fluffy, bready inside?  Yeah, that's what this was, but it was bread pudding.  Not overly sweet with REAL whisky sauce.  Mother Goose.

You can be assured that we will return to Ellerbe Fine Foods, soon .... maybe tonight.

Ellerbe Fine Foods
1501 W Magnolia Avenue
Ft Worth, Texas 76104