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Entries in Beer (4)

Tuesday
Jul312012

Kinetic Brewing Company, Lancaster

Lancaster, California. I know next to nothing about Lancaster, except that my father preceded me here about a dozen times over a ten year period. He never mentioned Kinetic.

 

I’m always on the hunt for local brew and a pub style meal; Kinetic fit the bill. I started with a pub classic, Scotch egg. I think Scotch egg could be the absolutely perfect drunk and/or hangover food. While I haven’t eaten too many Scotch eggs in my life, my gut says, while spicy, this one was good, just not outstanding. A few misgivings...there was this dark ring around the edge of the white on the egg that leads me to believe the sausage on the outside was cooked a little too long. Additionally, they used a hard-boiled egg, rather than a soft-boiled one. The use of a soft-boiled egg could have really elevated this dish. Truth is, with a hard-boiled egg, they could have fried the sausage separately in a form and placed the cut Scotch egg in it. I thought Scotch eggs were supposed to be served un-cut to show the expertise of the chef?

Alright, enough criticism, the egg was fine, just not great and yes I ate it all.

Burger and home-made chips. No critique of the burger or the chips, they were awesome. The burger patty was cooked medium-rare as requested. The brioche bun was oh so wonderful and stayed completely intact from the first bite until the last. Caramelized onions and cheese help keep everything moist and delicious. Absolutely wonderful burger.

 

The chips were also a cut above. Without exception, every chip was crisp. Every chip. Seasoned simply with salt, these chips were as good as the Hop Yard Ale House in Pleasanton I had a couple weeks back.

Good overall experience at Kinetic and the IPA is good too.

Kinetic Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Tuesday
Jan312012

Father's Office, Santa Monica

It’s hip, it’s happening, it’s loud, it’s chaotic, and it’s totally packed dude, like bodasciously mega-packed. I’ve heard about Father’s Office when I was living in LA. “Go for the burger dude.” Thanks Johnny Utah for the advice. 

I was talking with another foodie, James Collier, who was down in LA for a food bloggers conference and the Father’s Office Burger came up. I recall hearing that it was good, but not earthshattering good.

With all these recommendations, it took simply the suggestion from a former analyst and friend of mine, Monica to get me to go. I trusted her as an analyst; so why not trust her foodie senses?

As we walked in, I get carded. Really. This automatically makes me think we’re going to a bar that serves food, rather than a restaurant that serves drinks. All seating is first come, first serve, like a bar. All orders and drinks are taken at the bar. There are no waiters, only expeditors and bussers. The place is a 1200 square foot space with a narrow space in between tables.

The food was above average across the board, but unbalanced. To their credit, our food came out fast, hot, and generally well prepared.

We started with a smoked eel, slivered onions, and coddled egg. The four pieces of smoked eel was outstanding and delicate. I wish I could have had 4 more pieces of eel. However, the softball sized amount of slivered red onion that accompanied the eel was way too much. Talk about onion breath! The coddled egg, while wonderfully cooked, served almost no purpose since there wasn’t a starch on the plate or the table to mop up all that yolky goodness.

We also ordered the sobresada. It was good, but not over the top. The bread was crispy around the edges and not uniformly crispy, which bugged me. I know, I’m being picky. I think I used some of the bread to sop up the egg yolk from the eel dish and the egg, bread, and meat combo worked for me.

As I mentioned, Father’s Office is known for its burgers and the burger didn’t disappoint. I don’t think it was the best burger I’ve ever had, but it was well seasoned and prepared. I ate the burger through our entire meal. Lots of arugula, caramelized onions with balsamic, and medium rare beef all good. I think I might have even dipped my burger into the egg yolk from the eel dish as well. I can’t let quality egg yolk go to waste; I needed bread damn it.

One outstanding, yet simple item were the sautéed mushrooms. I loved these. In fact, I was using my fork and burger to scoop up the mushrooms and sauce (read butter) just so I wouldn’t waste anything. Probably the least technical item of the night, but the simplicity spoke to me.

Lastly, the sweet potato fries were good, but the ubiquitous alternative menu item to the humble,  regular potato fries, I’m tired of. I think I was tired of them 3 years ago. There’s nothing more healthy about a deep fried sweet potato than a regular spud. They’re Deep Fried. And ranch is less healthy than ketchup.

I’d say Father’s Office is an experience. The food is good. The beer is good. A busy crowd is good. As someone who has eaten many a meal alone because of work, I wouldn’t come here alone. I wouldn’t make this my regular stop if I were local either. It’s not an alone type of place. It’s a social place to be quickly served, well fed, and well imbibed. I still believe that it’s a bar, that happens to serve good food. Just not a bar I’d go to alone for a quiet drink and a burger.

Father's Office (Santa Monica) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday
Jan102012

The Public House, Temecula

The Public House in Temecula has a serious Reuben Sandwich.

 

Restaurants on the West Coast that I consider Reuben sandwich standard bearers are Veritable Quandry and Kenny and Zukes both in Portland. I like eating fat, greasy burgers and well-dressed sandwiches with my hands. But the Public House Reuben is over the top.

The downside to the Public House Reuben? The bread gets soggy. I have to be critical here. The meat, kraut, 2000 Island Dressing (their name, not mine) all comes together wonderfully, every bite is absolute flavor and sheer bliss. Until you pick up the other half of your sandwich and find the underside of your sandwich wet and falling apart. NOOOOO! Perfection nearly achieved and a true rival to the VQ, but Public House falls short because of soggy bread in the second half. 

 

However, my story of the Ultimate Reuben wasn’t over. I needed a plan. I needed to think ahead.

I stopped eating after discovering soggy bread; satisfied, but slightly disappointed (truth be told, I was friggin' stuffed the sandwich was so huge). The first half of the sandwich was brilliant. Soggy bread or not, the second half of this brilliant Reuben needs to be eaten. So I asked for a to-go box and summarily stashed the second half of my Reuben in the hotel mini-frig. I figured there was enough fat and cheese to congeal overnight and somehow “reattach” my bread. 

At 7:00am the next morning, I opened up my planned-over Reuben, said a small prayer, and opened to find that my Jedi senses proved correct. The mass of meat, cheese, kraut, dressing, and soggy bread congealed into a sandwich again, albeit a cold one. If cold pizza is acceptable, why not a cold reuben?

I can say without a doubt that the Public House in Temecula has the best Left-Over Reuben Sandwich I’ve ever eaten. If Public House would just fix the soggy bread problem, it will become the Best Reuben I’ve Ever Eaten.

Public House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday
Jan042012

The Yard House, Fresno

We are The Yard House, Fresno

…you will be assimilated 

Coors Light is irrelevant. Budweiser is irrelevant. Blue Moon is irrelevant....

Drink Racer 5 IPA. Drink Lagunitas Brewery. Drink seasonal brew. Drink Craft Beer.

Change is coming to Fresno. Choice. Selection. Rotation. CRAFT. Guess what Fresno? I love the Yard House and the beer it brings to Fresno (I’m still not in love with the food). 

Buy local all you want. It’s ok to have a little love affair with Eureka Burger’s “cute” little beer wall or the local pub’s feel good “support” of Tioga Sequoia Brewery (which I like), or the eclectic pub The Body in the Bog. Here’s the reality of situation.  It takes a big regional or national player like Yard House to open the Fresno market to products this town would NEVER see without big help and regular bulk buyers. Period. Now, Racer 5 from Healdsburg has the possibility of showing up around town because a local distributor is carrying it. Amen.

(While my foodie colleague Fresno Bites, has similar things to say about Yard House, I'm more of an IPA fan. Luckily, we can both be happy drinking here. EATING here may prove difficult for both of us.)

As for a commentary on The Yard House? It’s nothing more than TGI Friday’s on steroids.

I could care less about the Yard House in any community. It’s not my thing. I’m not a fan of corporate restaurants, franchises, and homogenous menus of structured crap and cliché’s (yes, even I’m nostalgic sometimes and eat McDonalds). The played food menu of staples such as ahi poke, coconut shrimp, spinach cheese dip, Southwestern Burgers, Pizza and penne with chicken are all there. 80’s music hits blaring overhead, quasi-Vegas-upscale closed circuit microphone security, wristbands for 21-and-over, well-researched atmospheric design features such as sculptured fire on an outside patio (distracting fire good, concrete parking lot in multiplex mall bad) all make for corporate restaurant hell and homogenous food menus. Even The Dreaded Yard O’Beer is a staple. Maybe they could serve my wine in a medieval goblet to complete my over indulgence. 

Despite my foodie arrogance, if the Yard House can wean Fresno off crappy dish-water beer, like Coors Light and Budweiser, I’m a supporter of the Borg-like assimilation of the Fresno market. Even if the Yard House doesn’t make it, the Fresno beer market will change.

Besides, studies show craft beer is a gateway drug to finer things, like boutique wine and specialty spirits. How many places in Fresno make a barrel aged Manhattan or Negroni or offer high-end wine from the tap? Answer…none. But Fresno will get there someday. So just say “Yes” to better beer. Next thing you know you’ll be a Amaro junkie.

 “Resistance is futile”. Go to The Yard House. Drink better Beer. I can care less if you eat there.