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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Beer Life

I've been getting into the fancy beers here in Misery. Check out our new website for Columbia Beer Enthusiasts. Then you should all plan your visits around upcoming beer tastings.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Gluttonous in Seattle

We just returned from our travels to Seattle and have a lot of food-related news to share. We actually ate very well, despite this post's ominous title. Most of my gluttony took the form of beer of which R was unable to enjoy. Anyway, here's my report:

Thanks to our having locals to point us in the right direction and our own experiences in Seattle, we were able to enjoy what has to be the best bits of Seattle cuisine. From breakfast joints to sandwich shops to the best beer the Emerald City has to offer, we fully enjoyed our trip...gastronomically speaking.

Our two breakfasts out were dominated by interestingly eggy creations. Bainbridge Island's Streamliner Diner provided us our first taste of a Seattle breakfast. R enjoyed the pesto-infused green eggs (sans ham) while I enjoyed a fennel-heavy omelet with lots of sausage. However, the coffee was weak (and apparently not very plentiful) and the potatoes were terribly underdone.

Luckily, we opted for breakfast out on Saturday as well. We landed at the delicious Portage Bay Cafe in the U-District. It was a tough decision, but we both went with omelets. I stuck with my Italian sausage-in-omelet trend by ordering the omelet filled with andouille sausage, basil, asiago cheese, mushrooms, and tomatoes. R chose the salmon omelet which include a DV favorite, Manchego cheese.

We also enjoyed some sweets along the way. I slurped on a dark chocolate milkshake from Mora Iced Creamery. Although the ice cream was not as creamy as Jeni's, it's flavor was nearly as intense as Jeni's best. Then I had a bag of donuts from Daily Dozen Donuts of Pike Place Market fame. Usually, I order a half dozen donuts covered in cinnamon and sugar, but they were cleaning out the day's batch for $2 a bag. It was disappointing, but I will be back.

The highlight of the sweets had to have been at Theo Chocolates. We were unable to get in for a tour, but that was soon forgotten as we sampled several of the bars Theo had to offer. R picked up several of the 3400 Phinney bars and other Theo confections.

This vacay was also as close to a beer vacation as I have ever experienced. If there is a west coast IPA I haven't tried, I don't know what it is. I had more Stone Ruination IPA's than maybe ever. I had similar IPA's (and even doubles) from the likes of Elysian, Elliott Bay, McMenamins, Dogfish Head (not west coast), and some others I don't recall. Plus, I returned to one of my semi-regular haunts in the Elysian Brewery on Pike for a bartender's sampler that included a nice hefeweizen, odd pomegranate pale ale, a Guinness-like stout, a rich barley wine, and really bitter ESB.

The highlights of the beer portion of the trip were our visits to Bottleworks and its pub, Brouwer's Cafe. First of all, the pub was ridiculously well-stocked. There were something like 60 or 70 beers on tap, plus another 200-300 in the bottle. Need I say more? I had a Lagunitas Maximus IPA that was super hoppy and pleasantly bitter. There was even a good ginger beer for R that was surprisingly spicy and not sweet at all. I continued my support of Lagunitas by purchasing a bomber to take home along with a Laughing Buddha Mango Weizen. Additionally, I had to purchase more Stone Ruination for immediate consumption.

In order to drink beer, one must visit several bars. Besides the aforementioned bars at Elysian and Brouwer's, I was able to enjoy several local joints that probably are left out of the average travel guide or tourism brochure. There was the Viking Tavern in Ballard which featured a retro style that's been well-kept and a nice selection of local brews on tap. An old YMCA camping pal took me out to Capitol Hill's Linda's Tavern with it's hipster vibe and animal heads protruding from every wall. We also spent some time in West Seattle where West 5 is located. this cocktail lounge had that hipster, retro feel along with some kick-ass nachos and more IPA.

Maybe the best food we had on our entire trip was found at Salumi. You have not lived until you have a sandwich at Salumi. We arrived about 20 minutes before they opened at 11:00 AM to find ourselves at least ten people from the door. Once inside, we discovered a very narrow storefront with a counter of Italian ladies hastily slicing salami and piecing together sandwiches on olive-oil soaked breads. R opted for one of the various salami's on said bread with some moz. I went with the hot sandwich of chunked pork, onions, and peppers. It all smelled and looked so good that I nearly forgot to take a picture before taking a few bites.

Although we didn't have the greatest Thai food or took full advantage of all the fresh fish, we did consume quite a bit of what Seattle had to offer. It helped to have such knowledgeable and generous hosts in M and A. Now, I will fight off a cold and detox for a few days.

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