As the popularity of craft brews continues to soar, and with it an expanded fan base of beer drinkers who can better appreciate a seemingly endless selection of styles and flavors, so too does the rise of craft beer festivals.
The springtime Celebration of the Suds at the AC Convention Center is and likely always will be king of the beer fests in these parts, but it has given rise to a growing series of smaller events, two of which are taking place on the last weekend of September — one in the Marina District and one on the Boardwalk.
Returning for the third year is the two-day Golden Nugget Craft Beer Festival, which includes several components highlighted by a sensational sampling event Saturday night, Sept. 28, in the Grand Ballroom starting 8pm. Guests are given a “beer passport” and can check off a list of more than 100 varieties from 32 breweries (although completing the list is not recommended unless you want to be wheel-barrowed out of the Grand).
There is also a series of small-bite buffet spreads set up that pair well with the brews being sampled. General admission tickets are $49, or for $59 guests can gain entry an hour early (7pm) to avoid the longer lines and have an opportunity to meet with many of the brewmasters.
Also part of the Golden Nugget event is a preview beer sampling on The Deck from 8pm-midnight Friday. Admission is free and beer samplings and food pairings are pay-as-you-go.
Two other components include a four-course beer dinner at Vic Anthony’s steakhouse starting 7pm Friday, in which executive chef Norman Reola will pair four dishes with four styles of Ommegang beer (a craft brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y., that will have a representative on hand to help describe each pairing to diners), and a sushi-and-beer pairing at Lillie’s Asian Cuisine. Diners can pair five sushi rolls with five seasonal brews during Lillie’s regular business hours Friday (4pm-4am) and Saturday (noon-4am) at their leisure.
Seating is limited at the Vic Anthony’s event. The cost is $70 per person. Interested attendees should make reservations by calling 441-8355.
Coinciding with the recent launch of Landshark Bar Grill (a component of the Margaritaville complex named after Landshark Lager, a brew marketed by Jimmy Buffett), the Resorts Craft Beer Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 28, from 2-6pm, at Resorts’ Superstar Theater. The inaugural event will feature over 90 craft brews from around the country, from New Jersey’s Flying Fish to Escondido, California’s Stone Brewing and several in between.
“Resorts has been infused with a whole new energy, and continuing to add events like the Craft Beer Fest reinforces our commitment to bringing top-notch events to the property for all our guests and the public to enjoy,” says Resorts president and CEO Mark Giannantonio.
Guests will also be offered food pairings and the chance to win a variety of prizes for a fixed fee of $25. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at webtix.net. This, like the Golden Nugget beer fest, is open only to patrons age 21 and over.
Events like these would be given a dishonorable discharge from the label “beer fest” if they did not include live music. Resorts will feature the band Weird Science, which bills itself as the “Ultimate ’80s Experiment,” recreating the sounds, sights and flavor of that decade right down to the names of its members. The band includes co-lead vocalists Michael J Roxx and Myndi Lauper, keyboardist Willy Idol, drummer LL Cool K, lead guitarist CC DesKillz, and bass player Slinky.
Happy Friday, food truck followers! Start the weekend off right with specials such as pineapple-chipotle carnitas from La Tingeria, wild mushroom tartines with smoked salmon aboard Cirque Cuisine, and Italian subs at Corned Beef King.
Chinatown (Seventh and G sts., NW), where you’ll find Taste of Eastern Europe.
Farragut Square (17th and I sts., NW), where you’ll find Pepe, Peruvian Brothers, Pho Nation, Midnite Confections, DC Slices, Wassub, Woodland’s Vegan Bistro, Yellow Vendor, Yumpling, Tasty Kabob, Crab Cab, Far East Taco Grill, and DC Pollo; Red Hook Lobster, DC Ballers, and BBQ Bus (nearby at 20th and L).
Franklin Square (13th and K sts., NW), where you’ll find Cajunators, Captain Cookie, Far East Taco Grill, Feelin’ Crabby, Lemongrass Truck, Simple on Wheels, Meski Healthy, Tokyo in the City, and Sang on Wheels.
L’Enfant (Sixth St. and Maryland Ave., SW), where you’ll find Crepes Parfait, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Cathy’s Bistro, Amorini Panini, Tasty Kabob, DC Ballers, Stix, El Fuego, Lily Pad on the Run, Rolling Ficelle, Neat Meat, and Brown Bag.
Metro Center (12th and G sts., NW), where you’ll find Fire Rice, George’s Buffalo Wings, Carolina Q, Tokyo in the City, DC Greek Food, Fasika, Goode’s Mobile Kitchen, Kimchi BBQ Taco, Zesty Kabob, Wassub, and Tasty Kabob.
Northern Virginia, where you’ll find Rito Loco, Chef on Wheels (Reston), Kafta Mania, Latin American Flavors, Lemongrass Truck, Mama’s Donut Bites, District Taco (Rosslyn), Doug the Food Dude (Alexandria), District Taco (Clarendon), La Tingeria (Arlington Hall), Willie’s Po Boy, Seoul Food, Mediterranean Delight (Ballston), Urban Bumpkin (Court House), and Red Hook Lobster (Tysons).
On Monday, the Big Kiwi’s Gourmet Eats food truck brought us international cuisine on a whole new level.
Big Kiwi’s serves food with a heavy New Zealand influence along with a world of other flavors.
Jacki Jing shows us a sample of what Big Kiwi’s offers in the video above. For more, visit Big Kiwi’s Facebook page.
Dosas are rare in Portland proper. The crepelike Southern
Indian staple is mostly known locally through places like Southeast
Hawthorne’s Dwaraka and Hillsboro’s Chennai Masala, which serves nearly
30 different varieties. So the 4-month-old Tiffin Asha cart’s dosas are
quite welcome on Alberta Street—offerings are comparatively limited, but
are available closer to much of the city.
Golay’s cart was inspired by her partner, who is from the southeastern
Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, deep in the dosa heartland. Tiffin Asha
takes old family recipes and employs modern interpretations. The cart is
fittingly situated next to a yoga studio, the mellow music and bohemian
décor from each almost blending together as one establishment. Besides
some traffic noise, the makeshift patio seating is peaceful.
Thin pancakes made of
fermented lentil and rice, dosas are fluffy and crispy with a subtle
tart tang. Tiffin Asha serves them plain, finished with a brush of
clarified Indian butter and a side of sambar (spicy dal soup) for
dipping ($3); stuffed with fried egg and bacon for brunch ($7); or my
favorite, stuffed with pakora fried chicken drizzled with black
cardamom-infused honey, pickled greens and creamy yogurt cheese (Hot
Others fall short.
The Studly Spud’s ($6) spicy green chilies mixed with a sharp tomato
chutney proved overpowering, and since the dosa has an already
potatolike texture, it suffered from a lack of contrast. Idli ($5) was
also uninspiring—imagine a sour sponge cake. More satisfying were the
vada holes: savory dal doughnut holes sprinkled with coconut-chili fleur
de sel ($5). They’re doughnuts that taste more like a side dish than a
Most dishes come with
two-part “Gun Powders”: plastic bags filled with spice blends alongside
small cups of sesame oil, to which the spices can be added. There is
also a chutney bar with four housemade flavors—coconut, cilantro mint,
peanut and an Indian-style ketchup. They are strongly spicy and, for me,
unnecessary. I’ll take that pancake with fried chicken.
- Order this: Hot Chick ($7).
- I’ll pass: Idli ($5).
EAT: Tiffin Asha, 1313 NE Alberta St., 936-7663, tiffinasha.com. 11 am-6 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-8 pm Friday-Saturday.
Happy hump day, food truck followers! Keep truckin’ through the week with specials such as Cyprus burgers at Spitfire, organic quinoa salad at Latin American Flavors, and hummus veggie wraps at Mediterranean Delight.
Northern Virginia, where you’ll find Amorini Panini, District Taco, Pho-Bachi, Seoul Food, Big Cheese, Urban Bumpkin, (Rosslyn), Green Eggs and Burgers, Latin American Flavors, Mediterranean Delight, Pho Wheels (Arlington), Spitfire, and Tortuga Truck (Tysons).
Union Station (North Capitol St. and Massachusetts Ave., NE), where you’ll find Borinquen Lunchbox, Hungry Heart, Mayur Kabob House, Pars Kabob, Taste of Eastern Europe, Crab Cab, and Tokyo in the City.
Esbin’s eyes lit up when asked what makes Clawdaddy’s signature lobster roll so special. Midway through responding, while leaning on the truck that spits out his award-winning seafood, he was interrupted by a slight explosion. A full can of Coke blasted open from the truck’s front counter: a result of some strong Florida sunlight. Foerster rushed over and cleaned the wreckage, the second such soda casualty of the day’s warmth.
A high forecast of 95 degrees couldn’t keep hungry and curious patrons from the 44-truck event. From chocolate lasagna to burgers with fried eggs and pineapple sauce to plenty of soft serve, options abounded for all comers.
Liz Otts, president of Food Truck Crazy Inc. and organizer of the event, didn’t have an estimate for how many people ventured through, but from the looks of it, the day was a success.
“If you can’t even walk down the street, I think we’re doing pretty well,” she said.
The 44 trucks lined both sides of Avenue A.
What separated Saturday’s event from other monthly and regular food truck gatherings was the competition. At the end of the evening, five awards were handed out.
Clawdaddy’s won Best Casual Cuisine for its lobster quesadilla, and Sweet City Gelato won Delectable Dessert for its rum cake. Both of those awards were decided by a crew of four judges, including Clermont resident Jillian Hopke, who was featured in two episodes of the Food Network’s dessert competition show “Cupcake Wars” in 2012.
Hopke was the celebrity judge for the event.
“I’ve been surprised by how many people have come up and said, ‘I watched you on TV,’” she said. “I’m not used to that in my normal life.”
On Saturday, Hopke, an entertainment specialist at Legoland and owner of Jillycakes cupcakes, had a tough job in rating foods based on look, taste, portability and originality.
“It’s all about if the flavors are complementary, nothing overwhelming,” she said. “It’s hard. We’re trying to judge fish tacos versus lasagna.”
Clawdaddy’s also won the award for most sales.
Cowboy Jim’s won the People’s Choice award, which was based on voting cards turned in by visitors.
The Food Truck team picked the Mobile Culinary Kitchen as winner of the Spirit Award for contributing enthusiasm and fun to the event.
The sunset and brief rain that came at the end of the event capped off a long, warm and tasty day.
“The response from everyone has been all good, thank God,” laughed a sweating Ambrose Johnson of Treasure Island Treats.
“The guys are working really hard back there. It’s a death kitchen back there.”
[ Miles Parks can be reached at email@example.com or 863-802-7516. ]
The American Craft Beer Cookbook by John Holl is as much about beer pairing as cooking with beer; many of the recipes don’t actually contain beer, but nearly all offer suggestions for the best craft beers to drink with the dish. Holl, a beer journalist whose credits include the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, explains in his introduction that he believes beer pairs better with food than wine does.
“Beer is so varied, so complex, and offers such a cornucopia of flavors that it finds ways to complement, contrast with, and elevate all cuisine—from the lowly chip and dip to the most perfectly aged steak,” he writes. “There are so many different beer tastes that it’s actually more flexible than wine when it comes to creating the perfect pairing.”
Craft beer is currently experiencing a renaissance in the U.S., a fact that Holl discusses in the introduction and Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery and editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, brings up in his foreword. After describing the robust brewing scene that existed in this country at the turn of the 20th century, Oliver writes, “Over the twentieth century we turned cheese into plastic, bread into chemical sponge, and beer back into water. They called it ‘progress,’ but something was missing: flavor. . . . American beer became simple fizz, largely flavorless, another highly engineered modern food product, sparkling the most pallid yellow.” In the 1980s, however, interest in both beer and food began to increase again. “Today, the United States can boat the most vibrant beer culture in the world,” Oliver writes. “So the question is simple: we’ve got great beer and we’ve got great food—how do we put them together and have a good time doing it?”
The answer, of course (according to Oliver), is this cookbook. And you could certainly do worse: the book is beautifully photographed, the recipes are clearly explained and mostly fairly simple, and Holl’s brief descriptions of the featured breweries are well written and to the point. The recipes are from brewpubs, breweries, chefs, and “beer-centric restaurants” from all over the country, and cover a wide range of categories, including brunch, appetizers, sauces and spreads, salads, sandwiches and burgers, soups and stews, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. There’s a solid 300 pages of recipes, each featuring beer pairing suggestions and a paragraph about the brewery that created the dish, followed by several pages of suggested road trips and beer festivals.
The brewery descriptions, only a few sentences apiece, offer essential facts about each business and are fun to read. I had no idea, for example, that the von Trapp family (the one somewhat fictionalized in The Sound of Music) had ended up in Vermont, where the youngest child now runs the Trapp Family Lodge and brewery (the recipe in the cookbook is for “Maria’s Favorite Linzertorte”). Or that in 2000 the ACLU helped Flying Dog Brewery successfully sue the state of Colorado for the right to print the slogan “Good Beer. No Shit.” on its bottles.
There are several local breweries included—Half Acre, Haymarket, Piece, Two Brothers—and several others within a few hours of Chicago (Galena, Sun King, Black Swan, Bell’s, Dark Horse, New Holland, Lakefront, Sprecher). Chicago isn’t included in the suggested destinations for a road trip, sadly, but Milwaukee is—which seems only fair given its history as a brewing city.
Holl will be in town this weekend signing copies of his book; a list of events is below (only the first is a joint appearance), followed by one of the recipes from the book. I haven’t had a chance to try out any of the recipes yet, but I’m intrigued by several that involve spent grain, like the one below.
Beer Cheese Smackdown: Local beer expert Randy Mosher (Tasting Beer, Radical Brewing) will compete against John Hall to find the best beer and cheese pairing. Attendees can taste the results and vote on a winner; both Mosher and Hall will also sign their respective books. Fri 9/13, 5-7 PM, the Craft Beer Temple, 3185 N. Elston, 773-754-0907
Sat 9/14, 3 PM, Anderson’s Two Doors East, 123 W. Jefferson, Naperville, 630-355-2665
Sat 9/14, 6 PM, the Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 773-293-2665
Oatmeal Cranberry Spent-Grain Cookies
Excerpted from The American Craft Beer Cookbook (c) John Holl. Photography (c) Lara Ferroni. Used with permission of Storey Publishing
Obtaining spent grain is not difficult. Brewers are faced with an abundance of the nutrient-rich mash and are usually happy to help it find a second life. Just call your local brewery and ask. For this recipe, a caramel or a lighter wheat malt will work best. These versatile cookies are also vegan-friendly, high in fiber and healthy oils, and great pairings for a spiced beer, a pumpkin ale, or even an oatmeal stout.
- Lara Ferroni
- Oatmeal cranberry spent-grain cookies
1½ cups spent grain
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup crushed walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a large baking sheet.
2. Mix the spent grain, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the olive oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Add the oats, cranberries, and walnuts, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Roll walnut-size balls of the dough in your hand and place two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to three days.
Makes 2 dozen cookies
Beer pairing suggestions:
Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
New Holland The Poet
Portneuf Valley Midnight Satin
Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Julia Thiel writes about booze every Wednesday.
Editor- Portland Business Journal
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is more than 7,500 miles from Portland. It’s a 15-plus hour flight.
A food cart operator from that city will visit Portland this weekend for Saturday’s inaugural ROAM Mobile Food Conference. Organizers tout it as the world’s first conference dedicated solely to food carts.
The conference features a boot camp focused on starting and marketing a food cart business and an owner’s summit to share best practices.
The conference is the brainchild of Christie Blake — owner of Hillsboro-based Northwest Green Event Management — and Food Carts Portland, a website dedicated to the city’s food cart culture.
“There are all kinds of food service shows, but nothing for food cart owners,” Blake said.
Between 60 and 70 percent of the 120 registered participants hail from outside Portland. One is from Japan. Others are from Hawaii, New York City, Miami and Canada.
Blake said the conference was originally intended to be a three-day affair, but lower-than-expected registration pushed it to Saturday only. Future conferences may be held quarterly in different venues around the country.
Blake was motivated to launch the conference by her brother, a chef who trained at the local culinary institute. He had mentioned starting a food cart business, but had no idea how to do so.
Blake’s husband, Ben, talks about “opening a Hawaiian food cart” all the time, though Blake herself says she’ll stick with her event planning business. Her favorite food carts? The Dump Truck — which serves dumplings — and Koi Fusion, which serves Korean meats blended with Mexican flavors.
Roadside Eats, a new concept from the team behind Rush Street and City Tavern, is set to open inside the Arclight complex in Hollywood this Thursday. What looks like a fast casual concept among fast casual concepts (ShopHouse is across the street; Veggie Grill is next door) is being billed as a chef-driven eatery. This is because chef-partner Dave Northrup is behind the menu, which features a flavor-forward selection of Southern classics, done up street food-style.
In a release, Northrup says Roadside Eats is “is a spot I’ve been dreaming about for a long time. It’s the food that I grew up loving, but with cleaner and brighter flavors.” The menu reminds us of long drives through small towns in Arkansas and Louisiana, with pit stops at shacks and smokehouses. There’s pulled pork, sure, and brisket too. But also find Hickory-smoked Tri Tip, pecan fried chicken, and shrimp po’ boys. Fried green tomato BLTs, a recipe by City Tavern chef Jessica Christensen, sound like just the kind of thing we’d want to sneak into a movie.
Though the restaurant is casual, the team understands the importance of dessert. Cherry, peach, and apple fried pies are on offer here, as well as house-made vanilla soft-serve. This is the first location of what the group hopes will become a mini-chain. Get it while it’s hot: Roadside Eats opens this Thursday at 11 a.m.
Roadside Eats, 6374 D Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, roadsideeats.com.
Food Truck Fight Final Four
The four finals for the Richmond.com Food Truck Fight are Boka Truck, Gelati Celesti, Mrs. Yoder’s Donuts and Goatocado.
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:00 am
Updated: 8:06 am, Tue Sep 10, 2013.
Food Truck Fight: The Final Four
Find out the four finalists in Richmond.com’s Food Truck Fight.
It’s been a heated battle, but now it’s down to four trucks.
Boka Truck and Pizza Tonight were tied for much of the battle, but Boka knocked out Pizza Tonight by just a few votes.
The four finalists of Richmond.com’s Food Truck Fight are:
Mrs. Yoder’s Donuts
A few more words on the finalists:
Boka Truck: Arguably the truck that launched the food truck craze in Richmond. Richmonders crave Chef Patrick Harris’ fusion tacos served three ways: Asian, Mexican or American. Last week, Boka opened their new standalone storefront Boka Cantina in the West End. See photos here. Twitter: @BokaTruck
Gelati Celesti: Richmond’s own amazing (and Bestie award-winning) ice cream Gelati Celesti branched out to the mobile food truck front this past year and they’ve gotten a huge response. Their creamy, handmade ice cream has been known to make eyes roll across the city, it’s that good. And all locally made. Just Ask, Chocolate Decadence and Ukrop’s Rainbow Cookie are just a few of the favorite flavors. Gelati Celesti has two local storefronts, one in the West End, the other at Stony Point Shopping Center, and a production center on Dabney Road. Twitter: @GelatiCelesti
Goatocado: Healthy food never tasted this good. Amazingly delicious quinoa bowls and healthy salads topped with fresh avocado and innovative sauces. Goatocado’s fans go beyond the vegetarian and vegan. Frequently you’ll see people in line trying to flag other people down saying, “Have you had Goatocado before? Isn’t this good? This is so good!” At least, that’s what happened to us. Our favorites include the Mountain Tropp and Haberdash. All of their containers, bags and utensils are environmentally-friendly and most of their produce comes from local farmers. Twitter: @Goatocado
Mrs. Yoder’s Donuts: Richmonders line up every Saturday morning for Mrs. Yoder’s handmade sourdough donuts at the South of the James Farmer’s Market. Now so famous they have their own ice cream flavor at Bev’s Ice Cream. Mrs. Yoder’s also makes stops at Westbury Pharmacy and the Great Big Greenhouse. Check it out on their Twitter: @YodersDonuts
If you’re reading on a mobile device, go here to vote: http://richmond.upickem.net/upickem/registration/login.asp?contestid=95669
And a huge thank you to all the food trucks in Richmond! We want to thank you for all the delicious food you bring to our streets. You make living here fun. Go on, go out and eat local!
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:00 am.
Updated: 8:06 am.
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