Brouwerij West at San Pedro, Ca

Beer Enthusiasts Stop Here!

Brouwerij West, pronounced Brewery West, is an amazing destination for visitors to Los Angeles and Long Beach in particular. They are more than just a brewery, with their tasting room, daily food trucks, pop-up restaurants, historical building, and proximity to other local attractions, they are a perfect stop. Kids and dogs (leashed of course) are welcome and the parking is free. Add the beer itself, which is excellent, and Brouwerij West is a great lunch break location or evening outing.

Visitors from further away can take advantage of the Brouwerji West special with the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro, Beaches and Brews package. Then schedule a tour and tasting! The two-night travel package starts with two Brouwerij West beers when you arrive at the Hotel, transportation to a hosted tour of Brouwerij West; and a five beer tasting. Learn more about the process and how water, hops, barley, and other ingredients come together in the fine art and science of brewing.

Located in a converted U.S. Navy Port Warehouse that was built during World War II, the brewery gives the area a new life after the building sat abandoned. Visitors can come and get a look at soaring ceiling and brick walls initially intended to house ships, now home to beer barrels and brewing tanks. The tour was a real highlight of the visit for me as I knew very little about beer before.

Another aspect that deserves attention is that Brouwerij West is a green company running entirely off solar energy and 30% more efficient in their water usage than traditional breweries. This is possible with the use of a super fancy mash filter. Obviously when using terms like “super fancy” you can see I’m not an expert, so for true beer enthusiasts and home brewers here is an article from beerandbrewing.com about how the process really works. I did walk away from my tour far more knowledgable about the brewing process and ready to test some beers!

Brouwerji West has a sense of humor when it comes to their products. Some of the beers carry long and occasionally silly names like “Dog Ate My Homework” and “Smart for Never”, but you can make the intelligent choice and sit down at the bar, one of the indoor picnic tables, or the outdoor beer garden and sample a few of the craft brews. It helps to have a little something in your tummy too. Food for the non-drinkers in the family is another draw to Brouwerij West. There is always a selection of Food Trucks and Pop-up Restaurants like Shady Grove Foods to try. We enjoyed fresh fried chicken and their delicious thick cut bacon while enjoying our beers on a sunny SoCal afternoon.

The shiny tanks, wooden barrels, and time honored tradition come together and the results are refreshing and in a few cases surprising!



Coffee Tripel
– My favorite, and I confess it is the first
coffee beer I have ever had. I am not a coffee addict either and this Belgian style ale still came out on top. The smell is an added treat, rich with the aroma from the whole coffee beans used in the aging process.

Friend-o – Sweet and hoppy when it first hits the tongue. A great choice to get a feel for the beer. If this one is available grab it up and one for a friend-o.

Dog Ate My Homework – Blackberries! Just like the fruit themselves this beer has a tart dry flavor and a deep color. Not overly sweet or even overly fruity, the beer is a great balance between the additional blackberry and the beer flavors. The pretty color doesn’t hurt its appeal either!

Whether you are close by or traveling from afar, make the time to check out Brouwerij West. With nearby attractions like the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, and other stops in the Port of Los Angeles like the indoor craft fair aptly named Crafted right across from the brewery there is plenty to see besides just the beaches. Come for a drink and a meal, take a few cans or bottles back home with you!

Find out more about Brouwerij West on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter

Shady Grove Foods on Facebook, Instagram, and their site Shadygrovefoods.com

 

Food Harmonics in Ojai California

A Dream stop for Foodies!

Food Harmonics is so good they merit a trip to Ojai, not just a stop in if you are already in town. Located in Ojai California, a fun little city overlooking the beautiful mountains of Los Padres National Forest between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Food Harmonics is an absolute must.
Don’t be fooled by the quick order appearance when you first walk in, this place is quality food made fresh and worth sitting down to savor. There is great seating in the back or on the outdoor patio where you can look out and enjoy nature.

Don’t be intimidated by the menu board either. Take your time, ask questions, and know that everything we tasted blew us away. Homemade bread, soups, unexpected drinks both hot and cold are a mix of the familiar and items that might be foreign to you.

The entire menu is organic and gluten free. There are also amazing Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Paleo options. I know, very California Foodie but don’t roll your eyes until you have their Raw Vegan Pizza on your tongue and then it will be completely pleasure induced. Yes the Raw Vegan Pizza is my top pick!

Raw Vegan Pizza – Not the first thing you think to order, but it should be! Not exactly the gooey cheesiness we usually associate with the term, but I would eat this any and every day that it is offered. The crust has a surprising crisp texture, thick and hearty. The toppings are so fresh they make you feel good from the first bite. Pesto, cashew cheese, mushrooms, fresh tomato, and pickled onion give the pizza a unique taste. It couldn’t be better proof that healthy and tasty can go hand in hand especial when added to the long list of dehydrated goodness that make up the crust! Honestly one of the best things I have ever eaten.

Smashed Avocado Toast – The highlight of this item is the bread. Avocados are always delicious and with the optional egg and pesto you have a SoCal favorite. At Food Harmonics they raise it to the next level with their homemade bread. Thick and full of grains it takes a simple snack and makes it a meal.

 

Salad Bowls – Complete with Bison Burger and you have one killer salad meal. Greens, tomato, avocado, beets, cabbage, sauerkraut, pickled onion topped with pesto dressing and cashew cheese will have you feeling good and full before you know it. The plate is also pretty in pink since the sauerkraut was made using red cabbage. cashew cheese was a new experience for me, but I have since looked up recipes to start using it at home.

Hot Turmeric Matcha Latte – It took me a minute I confess. The drink has an interesting greenish color that takes a moment. The taste also has a distinct flavor that the more I drank the more I wanted. We were informed that patrons come in just to get their fix of the drink which is healthier than coffee and has the benefits of turmeric which is good for inflammation, healthier skin, and is a super strong antioxidant. There are a lot of interesting options, but add this one to your “To Try” list.

Water Kefir – Fermented in house this probiotic drink is a bit intense. Think kombucha but without the caffeine since this is water based. This is a great source of healthy bacteria and yeast.

Food Harmonics is a must for every eater, the fact that it is Organic and so healthy becomes secondary to the taste and quality of their meals. Spend the day, enjoy Ojai, then finish off your day on a harmonious note here.

Find out more about Food Harmonics on Facebook and Instagram

 

Surveying The Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene

In a city like Pittsburgh, there are endless options on where and what to eat. It’s a diverse city, populated with people of many different ethnic backgrounds. They come to the city with a particular background, find a space, stock a commercial refrigerator with the supplies of their trade, and head to the stove to create masterpieces. As you might expect, the resulting culinary offerings are almost endless.

In fact, there are so many good restaurants in Pittsburgh that any attempt to saturate the scene and visit all the best would be futile. It’s just more than anyone could bite off–literally and figuratively.

A better way to approach a food tour of a unique city like Pittsburgh is to break it down geographically. Each nationality represented in the city is heavily populated in one or more city neighborhoods, and the restaurants in those areas reflect that influence. So start with a map and finish with a fork as we review Pittsburgh’s culinary scene.

Oakland: Conflict Kitchen

The name may be puzzling at first, but hear us out. Conflict Kitchen seeks to provide a place not just for stimulating food but for stimulating conversation. Speakers and performers provide the context for conversation, and an Iran-influenced menu is served.

The response is overwhelmingly positive, constructive, and enjoyable. Somehow it’s a little easier to see things from another’s perspective when you sit down and break bread together.

Strip District: Smallman Gallery

What’s better than a restaurant with a constantly-renewed menu and the opportunity to support ambitious up-and-coming chefs? Serving as a sort of business incubator, Smallman Gallery grants promising chefs an 18-month tenure in the facility, which helps them hone their skills and build capital to strike out on their own.

The result is a crop of new restaurants gradually blooming throughout the city, all rooted at Smallman. And the upside for the diner is a menu that never gets old.

South Side: The Zenith

With so many influences of meat-based recipes, vegetarians may feel a little left out in Pittsburgh. Not to worry! The Zenith provides a menu loaded with traditional flavors with clever techniques for substituting away from meat.

But the restaurant is a little more than just a place to eat. It also includes an antique shop and art gallery for added flair.

Lawrenceville: The Church Brew Works

What good is all that food without something to wash it down? The German love of beer is carried out in Pittsburgh’s own offering at this striking location, a building that actually was previously a church.

Of course, it isn’t just a beer hall; the menu has a wide array of delicious and hearty items to stimulate your thirst, and  it certainly offers some great ways to quench it.

Shadyside: The Twisted Frenchman

There’s nothing twisted about great food. This authentic French eatery will give you a legitimate taste of Paris. Whether you order the scallops, venison, or duck, you’ll find a plate presented with the best French flavors in the city.

Experiencing a city is about more than simply checking off a list of sights and activities. It’s about discovering what and who the city is all about, and really getting to know its history. Food is a great way to do that, and the amazing array of restaurants in Pittsburgh make it easy–and delicious.

 

The Flavors of Louisiana in Virginia at Bayou Bakery

New Orleans native Chef David Gaus has won accolades from The Today Show, the Travel Channel, Food and Wine, Southern Living, Saveur and Bon Appetit for his Arlington, Virginia restaurant Bayou Bakery. There you can taste the authentic flavors of the Crescent City while in the suburbs of D.C./Northern Virginia.

When you walk in, you order your food choices at the counter, and then take a seat to wait for your items to be prepared. There are colorful Southern and New Orleans touches to the decor, but it’s not kitchy. Sofas and smaller tables make mingling and socializing easier, and there is wifi should you want to bring your laptop (which many people seemed to want to do).

new orleans

New Orleans was a port destination for coffee for centuries, and  Bayou Bakery has some unique and natural coffee infusion drinks, incorporating unexpected flavors like basil, honey, and ginger root. Or, if you are in the mood for something a little harder, did you know cocktails were invented in New Orleans? Their Bloody Mary takes a fresh twist with pickled veggies as garnish. It won’t sear your tongue, however, but rather, it has a tangy drinkability.

cocktails

Different seasoned and candied nuts, deviled eggs and a sizeable selection of house made biscuits will get things going. The South just wouldn’t be the same without BBQ, and here, you can get their chopped pork BBQ, lightly dressed with slightly sweet sauce on their famous biscuits.

BBQ biscuit

Bayou Bakery pays solid homage to Virginia, as well; world-famous peanuts, and cornmeal from George Washington’s grist mill down the road bring a sense of local pride to the menu.

What is the one thing you can’t leave New Orleans without trying? Beignets! Bayou Bakery’s have heartiness, yet (of course!) the crazy, silly sweetness from tons of powdered sugar. Just smile and wear casual clothes, because you are going to be covered in it.

Bayou Bakery is open from breakfast through Happy Hour.

Cream of Tartar, Recipes and More

If you ever bought a can labeled cream of tartar and got a powdery stuff inside, don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with either your eyesight, or the product. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Cream of tartar is an acidic substance that also goes by the names of potassium bitartrate and potassium hydrogen tartrate.

This powdery substance is actually, a by-product of the process of making wine. Who would have thought, right? Well, I wouldn’t be so keen on writing about cream of tartar and its many uses if it hadn’t been for an article I read the other day. It contains everything there is to know about cream of tartar, from culinary uses to those that go beyond the kitchen.

Prepare the Perfect Dessert with Cream of Tartar

When preparing a dessert like cakes, cookies and meringue pies. Because, let’s face it. Preparing a delicious meringue pie is not enough if it doesn’t look inviting. And to look inviting the topping should be fluffy. The answer to achieving this fluffiness lies in whipping the egg whites. More precisely, you should add a 1/8 teaspoon for each egg white while you are whipping. So if the recipe calls for 3 egg whites you add 1/8 teaspoon x 3. This will help the formation of air bubbles and you can rest assure your topping won’t be flat. What’s more, cream of tartar when added to eggs will increase their tolerance to high temperatures.

Say you need whipped cream to top your cupcakes with. A recipe as simple as this one will call for a pinch of cream of tartar to be added to a cup of heavy whipping cream, two tablespoons of powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Uses of Cream of Tartar Beyond Cooking

There are plenty of helpful uses cream of tartar can be the star of. They are all pretty much connected to the kitchen in that cream of tartar can help you clean your burner pans and give your old copper kitchenware its shine back. An even simpler mixture, that of water and cream of tartar will be a great aid in cleaning steel appliances and removing scratches from them.

If this is not enough, cream of tartar can be used in the bathroom as well. A teaspoon of cream of tartar and a cup of white vinegar will make the magical solution that will help you remove mildew and mold in your toilet.

This incredible powder can even help you save your stained clothes. Only a pinch of it mixed with some lemon juice will do wonders with stained clothes.

If you are flabbergasted by all these uses of cream of tartar too, then go ahead and buy a can next time you go grocery shopping. It will be handy at any time since you will only need a pinch, be it for recipes or other uses, and its shelf life is pretty long (of course, provided that you keep it in an airtight container in a cold and dark place).

Johnsonville’s Spark the Season #FirstBrats #ad

Warmer weather is on the way, get your grill ready! If you are like us, and on the older side of millennials- one of the over 80% of “mature millennials” – you might also rank grilling as one of your favorite summer activities.People who love to grill can’t wait to grill – and these extreme grillers may even do it when it’s not quite time yet.

Johnsonville’s Spark the Season is ready to come out of the “dark period” of winter and get grilling. Spring, and new chances to cook and eat outdoors, signifies Spring beginning just like flowers and warmer weather.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)

To kick off this new beginning, Johnsonville has partnered with former pro linebacker Brian Urlacher and is sponsoring the 2017 Chicago Polar Plunge, so shivering participants can warm up with our piping hot Johnsonville #FirstBrats of the season, fresh off the burners of the Big Taste Grill.  What could be better? Other then a warm beach somewhere, LOL.

The Big Taste Grill is a 20-foot tall, 65-foot long grill, which cooks 2,500 brats an hour or 750 bratwurst at a time on its 40 square feet of grilling surface.

The Plunge is hosted and benefits Special Olympics Chicago, which aligns directly with the charitable mission of the Big Taste Grill. If these extreme plungers are willing to jump in freezing water for a good cause, Johnsonville should be a part of it, as we don’t let weather get in the way of what we love – grilling brats.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)

Also, you can enter Johnsonville’s #FirstBrats contest, which begins March 8, 2017 and ends May 15, 2017.  Here is some info!

  • Contest Period: The Contest begins at 12:00 PM Eastern Time on March 8, 2017 and ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on May 15, 2017.
  • There are two (2) ways to enter:
    • Online: During the Contest Period, an entrant may visit www.FirstBratsContest.com, enter his/her email address, and follow the instructions to register by entering all information requested on the registration form. After an entrant has registered, he/she may follow the instructions to upload one (1) photo of his/her “first grill of the season”.
    • Social Media: During the Contest Period, an entrant may (a) log in to his/her Twitter or Instagram account, follow @Johnsonville on Twitter or @jvillesausage on Instagram (if he/she does not already), and post a Tweet/post that includes one (1) photo of his/her “first grill of the season” and the hashtag “#FirstBratsContest” or (b) log in to his/her Facebook account, visit Sponsor’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/johnsonville/, and post a comment responding to Sponsor’s Invitation Post that includes a photo of his/her “first grill of the season” and the hashtag “#FirstBratsContest.
  • One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive snow removal or lawn care for a year, a value of $1,500.
    • Following the Contest period, all eligible entries received during the Contest period will be judged by a panel of qualified judges selected by Johnsonville. The judges will score the entries according to the following weighted criteria: creativity, photo quality and relevance to the Contest theme (e.g., entry captures the passion for grilling even if the weather is not ideal for grilling).
  • Limit one (1) prize per person
  • There is a limit of one (1) entry per entry method per person per calendar day during the Contest period (i.e., an entrant may receive one entry each via www.FirstBratsContest.com, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) for a total of five (5) entries per day.
  • Official Contest rules can be found at www.FirstBratsContest.com.

Good luck! And enjoy Spring and all the upcoming grilling.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.

Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse

Disclosure- We received the items below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.  Because we prepare meals as a family, we hoped that the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs would be an flavorful addition to recipes.  We discovered that the herbs are easy to add and delicious.

Since watching cooking shows is wildly popular in our home, we were eager to try the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs.  We learn about ingredients and combinations of flavors while cheering on our favorite home cooks as they challenge chefs with years of training.  We watch as the chefs mince and chop herbs wondering if we could learn to chop with such finesse. As a result, we research recipes to prepare as a family.  Recipes often call for a pinch of fresh herbs but keeping fresh parsley, ginger, mint, or cilantro on hand to add to our favorite dishes is a challenge.  Because fresh herbs can be expensive, spoil quickly, and require a bit of knife skills, we often leave out these ingredients.  Also, dried herbs lack flavor and aroma.  Therefore, having Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs on hand makes it easy to prepare delicious family meals at home.

About Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs

Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are freeze-dried without preservatives. The herbs are gluten-free and made from non-GMO crops.  Since moisture in the fridge can rehydrate the herbs, it is best to keep opened jars in the cabinet with other spices.  Herbs are available as single ingredients

Dill

Garlic

Ginger

Oregano

Parsley

Red Onion

Spring Onion

Thyme

Sage

Mint

Basil

Chives

Cilanto

In addition, Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are available in flavorful blends:

Italian Herb Blend

Poultry Herb Blend

Salad Herb Blend

Guacamole Herb Blend

When a recipe calls for fresh parsley, reach for a jar and rehydrate the herbs on a one to one ratio – one tablespoon freeze-dried equals one tablespoon fresh.  Because the herbs are pre chopped, my junior chef can easily measure out the herbs and water and I don’t have to worry about sharp knives in tiny hands.  Because the herbs are freeze-dried, the rehydrated herbs have a robust aroma, intense flavor, and taste great!  It is easy to customize dishes for each family member based on their personal taste preferences.  If one family member likes the flavor of cilantro, onions, or sage, it’s easy to add a bit to their dish.  Adding fresh herbs to familiar recipes boosts up the flavor and elevates the everyday to extraordinary.

Eating better is a common resolution and “better” typically includes fresh, minimally processed ingredients.  Thanks to Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs, it is easy to add fresh flavor to each bite.

Where to find Litehouse Products

Litehouse products are available at a variety of grocery stores throughout the country.  Visit the Litehouse website to find a retailer in your community.  You can also sign up to receive monthly mailings which include special offers, recipes, and promotions.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular #GreenGiantXRockettes @GreenGiant

radio city

This past week, we went into New York City to see the The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It’s one of those things that you need to do at least once in your life, if not more often (if you are close enough that you are able).

radio city mucic hall

Running through Jan.2, 2017, you and your family and friends can go see one of NYC’s iconic show’s (and some of the world’s most iconic dancers) to really get the holiday season started. The Rockettes have been performing at Radio City since 1932, and during the Christmas season they preform 7 days a week. The Rockettes also perform every year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. They also lit the Empire State Building red and green for Christmas. Gotta love those hard-working ladies!
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