Seattle Beerventure Pt. 6.2/3 – SoDo again!

The Plan

We still had breweries to hit in SoDo!  Because whatever, FINE, brewery hours, you’re making life difficult.  Luckily, we found a Tuesday night that worked!  Called up the Spees, and Toby was able to join after work.
Let me say folks, work up an appetite.  Ghostfish has a completely gluten free vegan food group that will deliver food, and their beer-battered avocado tacos apparently are amazing.  We were saving our appetites for Epic, so we decided to wait, but we weren’t disappointed by what we waited for.  Still…really want to try those tacos…

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

1.9 miles/37 minutes/4 breweries/21 beers/6 badges

Georgetown Brewing Co
Ghostfish Brewing Company
Epic Ales
(Bonus! Seapine Brewing)

Georgetown Brewing Company

What the fudge does Jesus have to do with vacuums?

Beers I Tried:

1. Bob’s Brown Ale
2. Johnny Utah Citra Pale Ale

This is more of a growler filling/brewery tour type tasting room.  No pints, no tasting samples, so I just awkwardly sidled up to the bar and asked for my stamp and the opportunity to try a couple beers they had.  No pictures, just some quick shots of beer and a look around the gift shop.
Georgetown is a Seattle staple on taps all over the city, most commonly Manny’s Pale Ale.  It’s become a staple for a reason; it IS darn tasty beer.  However, I am Manny’s/Lucille/Chopper ‘d out.  It’s good, but I personally have never found anything notable about what they’re doing.  I tried two beers that I have never seen on taps and was pleased with my choices, as both the Citra Pale and the Brown were exactly what I expected them to be.  Reliable beers that are darn tasty.

Ghostfish Brewing Company

Beers I Tried:

3. Elderflower White Saison
4. Shrouded Summit Wit
5. Experimental Grapefruit IPA
6. Vanishing Point Pale
7. Watchstander Stout

The space for this was awesome.  Lots of wood, lots of room, right in the heart of SoDo.  Food is provided by a nearby vegan gluten free food truck kitchen which, like I said above, I’ll definitely be hitting up when I bring Ariana back here next time she visits!  Seriously, beer battered avocado tacos?  I gotta eat me some of those!
But beerwise…I just…you guys.  I get it, I do.  But every time I tried a beer, my response was my general GF statement of “It’s good for gluten free…”.  They are doing hella good, hella impressive work, and I definitely acknowledge and admire that.  I appreciate that they are taking a market of people, a lot of whom probably used to be beer lovers only to have their beloved beverage taken away, and are giving it back to them in a form their bodies can process.  But if I were to try these beers in a line-up of non-GF beers, I wouldn’t particularly care for them.  However, I definitely would rank them higher than Omission and MUCH HIGHER than New Planet (<–SO GROSS).  If you’re GF or have GF friends & family, definitely check this place out; if you’re a craft beer nerd, it’s worth checking out to see what’s happening in the GF beer world.  Watchstander was my favorite, the grapefruit IPA was skippable (though experimental when we were there, so maybe they’ve made it better a month later?).  Everything else was good and worth trying.

Epic Ales

Beers I Tried:

8. Mojito Pale Ale
9. Fleur de Ble Hefeweizen
10. Rosy Cheeks Pale
11. Horchata Saison
12. Ale Iain Cream Ale
13. The Wildest Mild Rauchbier
14. Hope Farmhouse Saison
15. Solar Trans Amplifier Witbier
16. Party Time!!! Ale
17. Single Barrel Sour #1
18. Sea-Oak 500

Guysguysguys.  This was on Toby’s list of “Meh” breweries, only for him to have his mind completely changed.  We ended up at Epic on the night they were auditioning a new chef, so we got to try some amazing food.  The mashed potato dumplings with chicken “gravy” sauce were so yum, but I couldn’t believe how mind-blowing the (above) squid crudo with a quail egg was.  GAAAH SO GOOD.  Don’t know if he got the job, but especially since it’s right down the street from Toby’s office, I know we’ll be back.
$3-5/taster
Because the Spees joined us, we were able to justify trying every single one of their beers they had on the list that day.  HOLINESS!  I gotta rave about the Mojito Pale, the Fleur de Ble, and the Rosy Cheeks; they were right up my alley with lightness and sweetness.  I even enjoyed the Hope Farmhouse Saison, and that’s a leap for me.  Party Time was a great sour, couldn’t handle the Sea-Oak 500 (we passed that along to the boys…so much barrel-y goodness for them).  The Horchata Saison was good, but honestly, mixing those great rice milk cinnamon flavors with those of the saison didn’t mix for me.  I’d stick with a pint of the Mojito Pale, no question.  Check it out!

Seapine Brewing

Beers I Tried:

19. Sea Witch Milk Stout
20. IPA
21. French “C” Saison

We had to hit Seapine on a different day due to weird hours for those of us in the service industry.  A small tasting room with four taps in a warehouse/office building.  Adam was pouring and was just the nicest guy; tips on how to enjoy Washington Brewers Fest, beer chat, etc.
$5/4 tasters
Dang, that milk stout!  If the hours ever open up a bit more, I would definitely go back just for that.  I liked the Saison and the IPA a lot, and want to check out the Pale Ale they were out of when we were there.  Even Toby, the hardcore IPA drinker, preferred the Saison!  Worth a trip, and walking distance to Costco if you need that.  🙂

Beet “Crostinis” with a Goat Cheese Sweet Potato Pureé

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted a real recipe!! That wasn’t supposed to be posted back at Christmas time…whoops. 😉

So I have these friends named Pam and Mike. Some pretty cool kids who sometimes do this eating local thing.

I went to their housewarming party, and Mike made these BOMB beet rounds with baked mashed potato-gorgonzola balls, and he topped it off with some apple butter. Seriously. I love beets (obviously) and I was obsessed. Kenneth, Michelle, and I were a little stumped as to what to make for the opening day LST picnic, and decided to do the beet rounds with our own twist! (We also included some zucchini because we know some people hate beets/are allergic.)

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Beet “Crostinis”

Yields: 3 dozen beet rounds

4 beets
1 large sweet potato
1-2 containers of goat cheese crumbles…we wanted a lot of goat cheese flavor, so we used 2
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, heads cut off and stalks finely chopped
Green onions

Peel and slice the beets about 1/2″ thick.  Boil in water until just soft.  Cut the sweet potato up into chunks and boil in a separate pot (I think it’s easier to boil them and then remove the skins, but it’s a personal preference thing).
Blend the sweet potato, goat cheese, cilantro, and the finely chopped asparagus stalks until pureéd.  Refrigerate.

Pan fry the beets and asparagus heads in a little olive oil until crispy.  Top each beet with 2ish tbs of the sweet potato mixture, and top with an asparagus head and some green onions.  We ran out of asparagus heads, but the mixture was fine without.

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They turned out really pretty.  People who were brave enough to try them loved them.  If beets aren’t your thing, the mixture also worked on some pan-fried zucchini.  Great vegetarian option for a party!

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Candy Cane Meringues with Mint Truffle Kisses – 25 Days of Christmas: Day 4

What is a plate of Christmas cookies with meringues?  A great gluten free options that even your gluten-loving friends will devour, meringues have always been a staple in my holiday baking.  This year I decided to make them candy cane-licious and add one of my all-time favorite holiday candies, the Mint Truffle Kisses.

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Dark chocolate with a mint truffle center?  TO DIE FOR.  And super great in these cookies.

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Candy Cane Meringues with Mint Truffle Kisses

3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
5-6 small candy canes, smashed
Mint Truffle Kisses (or any flavor kisses really)

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

Whip the egg whites on high until foamy.  I use my Kitchenaid and just let it go to town for about 5-7 minutes.  Add the cream of tartar and the salt, and watch for soft peaks beginning to form.

Slowly add the sugar and continue whipping until it is glossy and has started becoming stiff.  Turn it down to low and add the vanilla and candy canes.  When it’s totally mixed, cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Here’s my thing about meringues: you can go to the effort of making them pretty with a frosting bag, piping out pretty circles.  But I personally do not have the patience.  And they taste the same regardless of how they look.

Spoon small dollops onto the parchment.

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Push the kisses down into the dollops of meringue.  I used the kisses to kind of clean up any rogue tips.

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Add another spoonful on top, just enough to completely cover the kisses.

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Bake for about 45 minutes.  Go in at about the 20 minute mark and rotate/rearrange so you get even baking.  Once it’s done, turn the oven off and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Trust me guys, these are some of the easiest cookies to make, especially if you have a Kitchenaid mixer to do the mixing for you.  As long as you take the time to whip the egg whites to a frothy peakiness, and you are patient while they cook, these really add some variety to your Christmas cookie baking list.  🙂

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25 Days of Christmas Bonus!

A short review of Pyramid Brewery’s Winter Variety Pack

So the variety pack includes 4 different kinds of beers: The standard Pyramid Hefewezuin, their Snow Cap winter beer, and two specialty seasonal ones, an Oatmeal Stout and a Chai Wheat.  I bought the variety pack because of the Chai Wheat (I really wish breweries would release their specialty seasonals in bombers or 6-packs…I hate spending $13-18 on a 12 pack just to get three of the one I want).
I like their hefe and their Snow Cap, both of which I had had before, but neither is really anything to write home about.  I was actually really pleased with the Chai Wheat!  The chai  was not overpowering, just a subtle spiciness, which I really liked.  Christmas-y without being in your face.  The Oatmeal Stout was underwhelming.  I wouldn’t have guessed oatmeal was the ultimate goal if I hadn’t read it on the box.  :-\  Not bad, but definitely not a standout.
Overall, I decent variety if you’re headed to a party.  If it’s on sale and you like their other beers, definitely give the Chai Wheat a try.  But otherwise it’s not something I’d say you absolutely have to try this season.
Any other seasonal beers/breweries I should check out this Christmas?  Or even any wine/wineries?  I’m all about trying new beverages!

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Gluten Free Week

There’s a lot of information being thrown around the blogsphere and in health news about gluten free. There are a lot of people with an intolerance to gluten that are coming out of the woodwork because it’s a relatively newly recognized intolerance. It’s also being hailed by some as a healthier lifestyle.

I do not have a gluten intolerance (thank goodness!!), but I decided to give it a try for a week. I had tried enough products, and found enough recipes, that I thought it would be doable.

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Day One: Taco Salad with Rice Chips, and a Lamb Burger with Zucchini, Roasted Red Peppers, Feta.

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Day Two: A mahi-mahi burger, and an attempt at Ari’s “Fettucine” Alfredo (I hardcore overcooked the squash, but the sauce was bomb!)

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Day Three: A Tuna-Cado (avocado stuffed with tuna salad and baked), and Indian Food Happy Hour (essentially a pita-less gyro).

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Day Four: Bunless Burger, and my take on the Autumn Salad from Iowa Girl Eats…I used TJ’s Pear Gorgonzola Champagne dressing, I subbed out low-fat gouda for the feta, and subbed pistachios for the peanuts. I’m. Obsessed.

Day Five was a lot of leftovers, so I didn’t photo journal. :-\

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Day Six: Broadway Grill Date with Jasmin! I had a bunless burger, sweet potato fries, and then we ended it with Fro-Yo! 🙂

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Day Seven: I worked all day, and Jasmin had given me some GF pizza crust to try that she recommended. I made two of my fav pizzas on them. Top: Red Sauce, Pepperoni, Pineapple, Olives, and Gorgonzola. Bottom: White Sauce, Spinach, Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Bacon, Fresh Garlic. This was the one GF product I really couldn’t get behind. The crust was mealy both times, even cooking it longer the second time. It didn’t really *taste* bad, but the texture really didn’t sit well with me.

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My two favorite GF products. I absolutely have been buying these since my GF week. I love them. Get to Whole Foods and buy some. I used the lime flavor chips in my taco salad, and would really like to play with crumbing them up and using them to make chicken nuggets or to top off GF pasta dishes.

I also tried (later on) TJ’s Brown Rice Fusilli, and I have to say, I really like it. The first time I used it, I definitely almost went over the over-cooked line (a little gummy), but the second time, I followed the bag directions to a T, and I COULDN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE. It really is a great substitute and really inexpensive. $1.99 for a bag! I’m looking forward to trying the other shapes they have, and using it in a butternut squash mac & cheese I’m going to try next week!

20121115-135611.jpgI also gave Annie’s GF Shells & White Cheddar a try…I must say, I didn’t notice anything different about the noodle texture. The sauce was kind of weak, but I think I remember that the last time I tried the regular S&WC from Annie’s (also, my milk had gone bad, so I just used a tbs of margarine, but that’s how I’ve always made boxed pasta anyway, I didn’t grow up adding milk…weird, I know). Pastaroni S&WC, unfortunately, is where it’s at. Also, from what I’ve compared, there is no caloric difference between rice noodles in general and regular noodles. But I figure I may as well sub out where I can, and I really don’t eat boxed M&C much anymore anyway.

So the deal: This experiment forced me to cut out something I love (and eat too much of), and I was able to find quite a few delicious substitutes and ways around it. I’m absolutely going to work on incorporating more GF options in my life.  While I didn’t really lose weight, I FELT lighter; I never felt like I had eaten a super heavy meal like I do a lot of times with pasta & bread dishes.  Of course, I was also being a more conscious eater.  I definitely understand why GF is an option many non-GI folks look into, and I think it’s totally do-able in this day and age of better and more attainable GF products.  While completely excluding it from my diet is not something I choose to do, I will be making more GF and low-gluten choices in the future.  (And as a server, this absolutely helped me to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat at work, which has actually come in handy!!)

And there you have the official W&S opinion on going GF when you’re not GI. I encourage you to give it a try!!!

Gluten Free PB Cookies, and GF/LF Chocolate Cookies

I’m in a show right now, and we have a kid who’s gluten AND lactose intolerant.  LAME SAUCE.  But, I pinned a GF cookie recipe a while back and figured I should give it a try.  Major success!!  The chocolate cookies turned out bomb-tastic, and the peanut butter cookies were delicious (a little weird to make, just super slimy…prepare to wash your hands lots).  Even if you don’t have to eat GF or LF, these cookies are amazing.  Especially the chocolate ones.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter, and Gluten Free/Lactose Free Chocolate Cookies

Both these recipes come from Divine Baking.  Check her out!!  The only adaptation I did was lactose free chocolate chips in the chocolate cookies…turned out great!!