Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Waffles and beer at The Iron Press in Orange County

A beer flight at The Iron Press

A beer flight at The Iron Press

The Iron Press in Costa Mesa is the food party lovechild of co-founders Jeremy Saenz (Lucky Habanero Salsa) and Leonard Chan (California Shabu Shabu). Tucked into the once furniture store-dominated shopping plaza South Coast Collection (SOCO) next to the 405 freeway, the restaurant specializes in waffle sandwiches and top quality, California-brewed craft beers. Whether you come for the beer or come for the waffles, you’ll stay for both.

Let’s start with the waffles.  Most items on the menu are waffle sandwiches. I was very tempted by the prosciutto and gruyere waffle sandwich and the country madame, but elected to order the country style buttermilk fried chicken. This actually wasn’t a sandwich at all, but rather fried chicken tenders topped with gravy, sitting on a freshly pressed Belgian waffle. Being the breakfast food fan that I am, I threw on extras of bacon and a fried egg on top. Traditionally, this comes served with a side of maple syrup (it did), but to kick it up a notch, I was also given jalapeño maple syrup to pour on my chicken and waffles dish. Even though there’s just a subtle difference, the spiced up version is definitely the way to go.

Country Style Chicken and Waffle

Country Style Chicken and Waffle

Though everything works together, if I had it all to do again, I would have elected to forego the gravy. It’s fine in and of itself — smooth and creamy — but I would have liked to let the crispy texture of the fried chicken get more appreciation. This was no fault of the dish; I can only blame my mind for adopting the attitude of “did somebody say gravy!?” The egg yolk didn’t run as much as I usually expect from fried eggs, but then again how much liquid does one want on his waffle?

On the side and begging to be shared were the Imperial IPA Irish Nachos. A beer lover’s take on one of the heaviest snacks ever, the Iron Press version actually tastes light and fresh. The cabbage, prosciutto and jalapeño are simmered in an imperial IPA before being placed on waffle fries and topped with lager cheddar sauce and sliced avocado. Between the sauce and the simmering, they actually manage to sneak almost a whole beer into these nachos. What makes the dish feel lighter are the crisp waffle fries that aren’t overly oily as their drive-thru counterparts usually are. The cheddar sauce is used sparingly so as to not make the fries soggy, and everything is fresher when you add avocados! Ketchup is provided on the side, but you won’t need it.

Imperial IPA Irish Nachos

Imperial IPA Irish Nachos

If you’ve conquered your waffle sandwich and skillfully shared your nachos, you’re ready to move on to dessert. There’s a Cap’n Crunch Berries-infused waffle and a S’mores waffle just ready to complete your ascension into food coma heaven. On this occasion, the Wookie called to me and I answered. Using the in-house cookie dough, a waffle-shaped chocolate cookie comes warm off the iron and is topped with ice cream. Again going the extra mile, I got mine topped with strawberries and bananas and drizzled with chocolate. Say what you want about me being fancy, I have no shame. This dessert can feed a bigger group than one might expect, though it gets a little tricky gathering your bites together on the plate. The cookie is crunchy rather than chewy, since it’s cooked thin on the waffle iron, so it’s brittle and breaks apart easy.

Wookie waffle

Wookie waffle

Opening in 2012, the place quickly became known for their events and evenings focused on breweries and craft beers. Every month, the bar hosts a Tap Takeover Tuesday with local brews, including many exclusive and limited varieties. In October, the bar featured Mother Earth beers from Vista, California. This is the night where the beer big boys bring their A game.

The Iron Press recently opened a newer location at the Anaheim Packing District, spreading its loaded waffle point of view across Orange County.

Note: This meal was hosted.


11 2014

Black Friday hangover cures: happy hour at The Backyard, afternoon tea at BLVD 16

Sausage, sauerkraut and mustards at the W Los Angeles' The Backyard

Sausage, sauerkraut and mustards at the W Los Angeles’ The Backyard

After all that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, consider kicking back with some brews and bites at W Los Angeles‘ new happy hour at The Backyard, or cocktails and afternoon tea at BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar.

Featuring beers from L.A.’s own Angel City Brewery and Bavarian-inspired comfort food from Executive Chef Dakota Weiss, The Backyard’s happy hour — offered Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. — is set poolside in a cozy, heated tent at the W hotel in Westwood, creating a winter beer garden for us Angelenos.

Waffle with short rib

Waffle with short rib

Here’s the menu:

*Beer nuts ($3)

*Potato pancakes with sour cream, chives and sweet mustard ($5)

–With Kobe hot dogs ($8)

*Waffle bites ‘n stout herbed gravy ($6)

–With duck confit ($7)

–With short rib ($8)

*Daily sausage with trio of mustards ($6)

*Housemade pickles ($3)

Everything is made in-house, including the mustards. Make sure to try the sausage special (the house made mustards are great), waffle with one of the tender meats, and potato pancakes with the Kobe beef hot dogs.

Potato pancakes with Kobe beef hot dogs

Potato pancakes with Kobe beef hot dogs

At BLVD 16, also in Westwood, take an afternoon break with some tea, mini sandwiches and sweets, available from 3 to 5 p.m. with 24 hour notice ($27 per person).

Afternoon tea at BLVD 16

Afternoon tea at BLVD 16

*Sweet & savory sandwiches

–Cucumber: cream cheese dill aioli, watercress salad, lemon vinaigrette

–Prosciutto: sliced red onion, avocado, fig aioli

–Peanut butter: house marmalade, banana

*Pastries and sweets

–House seasonal scones with clotted cream, fruit preserves

–Butter tea cookies with house marmalade

–Chocolate covered strawberries

*Selection of Mighty Leaf teas

*Choice of bubbly ($10)

The scones are nice with clotted cream, and the prosciutto sandwich offers a nice savory balance to the sweetness of the cookies and marmalade.

Afternoon tea snacks

Afternoon tea snacks

If you’re here on a Tuesday, check out the Trees on Tuesdays cocktail menu ($9 each) featuring Greenbar distillery spirits. For every drink sold off this menu, Greenbar will plant a tree.

*Sittin’ Pretty: Tru vodka, Fair goji berry liqueur, Marie Brizard triple sec, fresh lime juice

*Barbados Winter: Crusoe spiced rum, Velvet Falernum, Aperol, fresh lemon juice, pineapple juice, clove syrup

*Herbal Remedy: Tru gin, green Chartreuse, Bar Keep lavender bitters, lavender flowers, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup

Barbados Winter

Barbados Winter

Note: These tastings were hosted.


12 2013

Upstairs, downstairs: Simmzy’s offers upscale food in a comfy space

Simmzy's Long Beach

Simmzy’s Long Beach

Want to have a nice meal with good food and drink but don’t want to deal with having to dress up? Then Simmzy’s is your place.

Founded by brothers Mike Simms, who also owns Tin Roof Bistro and M.B. Post, and Chris Simms, owner of Lazy Dog Cafe, Simmzy’s is a casual pub with an upscale menu — a gastropub, if you will. Chef Anne Conness works it out with creative (but not too creative as to be off-putting) dishes, such as the Bacon & Date Mascarpone Pizza and the addictive Blue Cheese Haystack (shoestring fries smothered in blue cheese dressing, garlic and spicy sauce).

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07 2012

Venice Beach, now in alcohol form

Venice Beach Beer Company's June Gloom.

June Gloom. From Grubstreet Los Angeles.

You’ve spent many a day and night drinking beers at Venice beach — this much is a given. But have you ever thought that Venice should have its own brew? Well, longtime bar manager Tim Benedick and actor Kerr Smith, both Venice residents, recently launched Venice Beach Beer Company to fill this (seeming) void.

But how do you bottle the essence of Venice? Benedick and Smith have come up with two brews: Venice, an American amber ale with a blend of caramel and biscuit malts packed with five different hops, and June Gloom, a white Belgian beer combining the tastes of coriander and orange peel with a “cleaner” yeast than is usually used in this style.

“Venice is more than a laid-back beach town. It’s also a cutting-edge, artsy, in-your-face kind of town, too,” said Smith, perhaps best known for his stint as Jack McPhee on “Dawson’s Creek.” “That’s what we mean when we say Venice in a bottle: a blend of mellow malty flavor with aggressive hops. The two combine for sweet (beach-like) flavor with a hoppy (in-your-face, edgy) flavor.”

Venice Beach Beer Company plans to produce approximately 1,000 barrels in its first year. Find the brews at Venice Beach’s Hinano Cafe, Larry’s, Chaya Venice, Venice Beach Wines and Whole Foods on Lincoln Boulevard, among other places. A third brew, AWOL (Always West of Lincoln) IPA, will be available next year, and plans for a retail location are in the works.

Further reading:

Where to Find Venice Beach Beer Company’s First Two Brews by Grubstreet Los Angeles


07 2012

Bottoms Up at Mohawk Bend

Mohawk Bend, Echo Park’s new restaurant in a converted movie theater with an impressive 72 beer taps, is a great place for a drink and light meal. Appetizers and salads, as well as a nicely curated beer list, are the stars here, and the atmosphere is lively if a bit crowded. But where Mohawk Bend excels, it overreaches in other areas, especially when it comes to burgers and pizza.

Mohawk Bend

Dining room at Mohawk Bend

Mohawk Bend

...and behind the curtains, the back room

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09 2011

Happy hour report: Public School 612

PS 612

Recess happy hour at Public School 612

If you’ve been to the downtown L.A. Daily Grill lately, you may have noticed a separate bar space just past the host stand. That’s Public School 612 (AKA PS 612), a new gastropub concept from the owners of the Daily Grill restaurants. This is the first of what the owners hope will be many PS 612 locations.

The bar opens every day at 4:00 p.m. and features food and drink, including a nicely edited beer list. There’s also a Recess happy hour on weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a bar bites menu that tops out at $4. The drink specials don’t include the bar’s cocktails, but there’s a $4 handle of beer (that’s actually available all night long), a $5 Skinny Margarita and a $10 carafe of wine.

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08 2011

Favorites from the L.A. Street Food Fest

As I’ve previously written, this year’s L.A. Street Food Fest was held at the Rose Bowl, and it was a fun and flavorful event. I had a really great time. Unfortunately for the organizers, it was held over Carmageddon weekend when a portion of the 405 freeway was shut down, and that affected attendance. However, the lack of a big crowd and long lines probably contributed to my enjoyment, so it was a catch 22. I hope it all evens out next year!

Here were some of my favorite bites from this year’s event.

Baja Bites

Sea Urchin Tostada by Sabina Bandera of La Guerrerense

Sea Urchin Tostada by Sabina Bandera of La Guerrerense

Pacific Oyster Asada w/ chicharron short rib, serrano ponzu butter, lemongrass foam by Javier Plascencia of Mision 19

Pacific Oyster Asada w/ chicharron short rib, serrano ponzu butter, lemongrass foam by Javier Plascencia of Mision 19

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08 2011

All you can eat and drink special at Eva Restaurant

Eva's fried chicken

This Tuesday, June 22, Eva Restaurant is offering an all-you-can-eat-and-drink deal with Eureka North County pilsner and fried chicken for $25 per person. Actually, the special is being marketed as all-you-can-drink beer with “free” fried chicken, but we all know nothing is free. In any case, Eva’s fried chicken is pretty darn good, which I’ve said before, so this should be a great way to experience it. And it’s the only food that will be offered on this night, so hopefully you like it! And if the night is a success, then the restaurant may continue the special deal on a weekly basis.


06 2010

Happy hour report: Chaya Downtown’s Japanese beer garden

The downtown location of Chaya, a Japanese-French brasserie mini chain, has recently launched a weekly beer garden menu available on its patio every Monday night throughout the summer. This is a once-a-week special menu offered in addition to its everyday happy hour menu, both of which are available all night from 5:00 p.m. to close. Not too shabby!

The beer garden menu features yakitori skewers ($2 each) grilled on the patio on new hibachis and include chicken, short rib, beef tongue, shrimp and shiitake mushrooms. I was recently invited by the restaurant to try the new skewers, and I liked the chicken the best, which shows mastery in grilling skills, I’d say. All the others were good, too, though the shiitake were a bit dry for my taste. Maybe top them with some of that teriyaki or chimichurri sauce that come on the other skewers?

Yakitori, from top: shrimp, beef tongue, shiitake, short rib and chicken

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04 2010

Get all your vices in one place: LAMill Coffee

Eastside favorite LAMill just announced the addition of beer, wine and sake to its menu, including two new drinks. The Tea Champagne drink is made with Imperial Palace Brut Blanc de Blancs and LAMill’s Organic White Pomegranate or Holiday in the Cup tea. The Black & Black is half Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout and half iced organic LAMill house coffee. That one sounds way too heavy for my palate, but if you try it, let us know what you thought of it! Expect a variety of wines, sparkling wines, beers (especially the Japanese kind) and sakes.

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02 2010