This Friday: Brunch @ Toronado w/ Pizza Port Solana Beach and Heart & Trotter

Toronado & Pizza Port brunch
Umm, yes please.

Toronado is partnering up with Pizza Port Solana Beach and Heart & Trotter to throw a prix fixe brunch on Friday morning.

With 7 (seven!!) pairings, $55 per person is an absolute steal. Goat cheese pate? Grilled lamb belly with naan? Pork sirloin ramen? PLEASE. Someone be my sugar daddy (or mommy!) and take me to this!

And that’s not even mentioning the Pizza Port beer paired with all that drool-worthy food! Head Brewer Devon Randall is providing specialty beers for the occasion. I would LOVE to get my lips around the Pizza Port/Automatic Brewing collab Beer Hunter, brewed for Michael Jackson’s (the beer hunter) birthday. This batch has been barrel-aged with cherries.

Heart & Trotter successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign last October to provide monthly packages of hormone-free, antibiotic-free meat to customers. Working with local ranchers, the duo who founded the company want to open a location right in San Diego. They’ve done butchering demonstrations, most notably at Alchemy in South Park, taking down a beef hindquarter in front of diners.

Knotty Barrel in East Village

Andrew took me to Knotty Barrel in East Village. (Check out their Yelp page here.) Knotty Barrel is a craft beer establishment serving appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees costing about $9-20, sandwiches and salads being on the lower and entrees being on the higher end.

They have great big chalk boards on the wall listing the bottled beer and wine selection, and the draft beer selection listed handily on a paper menu on the table, along with some pencils. More info on that later.

After taking a gander at the menu for a bit, we started off with the truffle and parmesan fries:

Knotty Barrel beer and food menus

Knotty Barrel truffle and parmesan fries with ketchup

I ordered myself a flight. The flights are $7 for four 4oz. tasters. But I want to note: Blind Lady has the same exact taster glasses and we tout them to be 5oz. Still, $7 for a 16oz flight (or 20oz…) is not bad! That’s the price you get for indecision. ;)

To order a flight, you take a copy of the draft beer menu and one of the provided pencils at your table, and mark off which four beers you want to drink. SIMPLE! And the menu has a description of the beer and alcohol content listed, so you don’t have to guess randomly if you don’t know anything about the beer. It’s a great, painless system.

I got Allagash White, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Alesmith Anvil ESB, and Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale. I’ve had all but the latter before, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. The beer tasted clean and not like they’d been sitting in crummy, uncleaned lines.

Knotty Barrel flight

And finally, my food came, a delicious ahi tuna salad. The salad was lightly dressed (which I prefer) in a sesame dressing. Very tasty. The only weird thing: the ahi was on the side on top of a tiny bit of seaweed salad. Huh? I mean, it was just a tiny mouthful of seaweed, which was tasty, for sure, but it seemed a little pointless. It also came with a couple of deep fried wontons. The first one I tried was empty, which I thought was weird. Then I had the second, which was filled with cream cheese. Ick.

Knotty Barrel ahi salad

Andrew got the grilled cheese sandwich, which used cheddar and tallegio, and included heirloom tomatoes and prosciutto to add some heartiness to it, a very good and cheesy sandwich. Andrew was raving about the chips that came with them.

All in all, a great gastropub. I would definitely eat there again. Their chicken piccata sandwich and bison burger are something I would like to try the next time.

Stone in South Park

Holy shit. So many things in the pipeline for Stone, including the new South Park location.

From the Stone blog:

The Stone Company Store—South Park will include (up to) a 14 tap growler & tasting station in the heart of one of San Diego’s core neighborhoods. It will also feature over 1,100 square feet of retail space filled with luxurious Stone merchandise (if you, like us, consider fine Stone glassware & wearables to be ‘luxurious’). This spot will give San Diegans the ability to refill their growlers with fresh Stone beer at a convenient, eco-friendly location in much closer proximity to downtown than our Escondido brewery.

Among a ton of other things. Stone is expanding a ton in the next few years. Phew! A hotel?! Jeez.

IRC Japan fundraiser at BLAH

Just got an e-mail from Blind Lady Ale House about a benefit they will be holding on April 25, 2011, from 6pm-11pm.  A bunch of local breweries and restaurants have donated for a beer and food tasting.  Tickets are $35 and only 150 will be sold.  You can buy them at Brown Paper Tickets.

Beer tasting will include 2 flights.  There are six 5-oz pours in each flight, IIRC, so that means 60 ounces of beer!  Lee Chase (Automatic) and Cy Henley (Alpine)’s collaboration beer will also be present at the benefit.  Plus there will be appetizers and other nibbles to eat while you drink.

Ticket and raffle sales will go straight to the International Rescue Committee‘s Japan fund.  I’ve posted about IRC a few times.  They are an amazing organization that does a lot of things around San Diego.

The BLAH International Rescue Committee Beer Tasting Benefit for Japan
April 25, 2011
6-11pm
$35

Blind Lady Ale House’s 2nd Anniversary!

Most of you guys know that I worked at Blind Lady. It was a really great experience where I gained two things: 1) a lot of knowledge about food and beer, and 2) a lot of weight!

Anyway, BLAH’s TWO-year anniversaty starts right NOW, today! And hoo boy, I’m so glad I’m not working this event, because it sounds like it’s going to be a madhouse! (It’s a good thing that they’ve expanded since their first year anniversary, too!)

Here are the events that are lined up:

  • TODAY, Wed 1/26: Open at 5pm. Russian River Consecration, Temptation, and Redemption on tap. And a sneak peek of the 2-year anniversary t-shirts! And Anniversary postcards.
  • Thurs 1/27: Open at 5pm. Official start of the anniversary week. Hangar 24 Flight! Plus, the first 155 people will receive a free BLAH/H24 Collaborative Anniversary Glass and will be able to get $2 fills of H24 Alt or Orange Wheat.
  • Fri 1/28: Open at 11:30am. Another 155-glass giveaway. You can also buy a glass for $5.
  • Sat 1/29: Open at 11:30am. Hangar 24 brewers and staff will be bringing a special cask in the morning. Then at 3pm, 200 BLAH Anniversary koozies will be given out with the sale of cans. (Several Avery, Maui, and Oscar Blues!)
  • Sun 1/30: Open at 11:30am. Automatic Brewing Release Party. Then at 3pm, there’ll be a Jolly Pumpkin Flight.

Blind Lady Ale House
@ 3416 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 255-2491

Seattle

I had a lot of fun in Seattle. I did some more brewery hopping, some more Couchsurfing, and geeked out at the EMP/SF Museum.

I went to The Pike Brewing and had a couple of beers and a delicious meat & cheese plate.
If I recall correctly, the cheeses and meats were made/cured locally in Seattle and surrounding areas:

I went brewery hopping with one of my Couchsurfing hosts, who was willing to drive around in the rain. However, I didn’t think to take pictures until we got to Georgetown Brewing. They gave us free tasters!
And they have an awesome, automated growler filler!

My favorite part about Seattle was seeing the Battlestar Galactica exhibit at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum. AMAAAZZZIING.

Glowing Cylon raider

The whole museum was awesome. Definitely a must-see. EMP allows you to play and record your own music, and you can take home a CD of yourself. There was also a great section with interviews with various entertainers about how entertainment and media has changed them and our society. My favorite interview was with Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek. It’s great hearing about the intersectionality of gender and race…

The SF part of the museum was also great. Here’s the weapons section… Can you spot the bat’leth?

Klingon weapons

And I will leave you with a picture of a bizarre creature:

The majestic geoduck

Portland

It may be needless-to-say, but Portland, Oregon has an amazing craft beer scene. I made it a point to go into several while I was up there. (I’m sad that I didn’t get to go into Hopworks though. That space looked mighty fine!)

Here is Lucky Labrador Beer Hall, which was near my hostel:

The beer hall was in an old warehouse

I also made it to Rogue:

I got hungry and had some yummy chili.

And Deschutes, right down the street from Powell’s Books. Beer and books is a great combination!

Deschutes kegs connected to taps

Portland is also known for other things, like their rose garden:

I also went to the Portland Central Library, which may be a bore to some of you, but I thought it was great. Here’s a picture of one of the steps leading up to the second floor. The whole staircase was like this:

And I got my first taste of fall foliage, something I never see in San Diego:

I flew into Portland from Chicago and hopped from hostel to random couches for a week and a half. It was quite an experience!

Chicago

I’ve been back in San Diego for about a week now and have been suffering from food poisoning.  (Damn you, plane food!)  Despite that nasty tidbit, it’s nice to be back to sunny and (relatively) warm weather, especially after dealing with Seattle weather! Brr.

But before I get into Seattle, I want to talk about the other cities I went to this past month and a half!

From October 4th through the 10th, I was in Chicago, visiting a high school friend.  He and I were both on the comedy improv team. He continued doing improv and comedy in general through college and now, and Chicago is apparently the place to do just that.  The first night I was there, he took me to a bar called Quencher’s, where he was performing improv.

Here’s the bar’s delightful bottled selection (I was also happy to see a bunch of San Diego breweries, including Green Flash on their list):

I need to say, I think everybody there, even the improv performers, were there more for the beer than the improv.

The next day I went to a Chicago staple, Hot Doug’s. The menu would have looked delicious if I weren’t hungover. Instead, I settled for the most normal hot dog I could. Here it is, next to two of my friend’s hot dogs:

So the normal hot dog came with tomatoes and a giant pickle, among other toppings. On any other day it would have been delicious, but not that day.

Alas, I never got a chance to return to Hot Doug’s NOT hungover. I think I would have loved the other ones.

P.S.
My friend Greg also does a sketch comedy variety show called The Telethon that was amazingly fun to go to. They happen on the 2nd Saturday of the month at The Playground Theatre.

(Portland and Seattle blog posts coming soon!)