Category Archives: Beer

I Ran a Beer Mile!

Before I wound up with my current injury, I signed up for the NYC Brew Mile with a bunch of friends. We’re all runners who love beer, so we thought it would be a fun no-pressure event. Plus, doing a beer mile is something we have all talked about and wanted to try at least once… so this was the perfect opportunity! Even though I haven’t been running and decided to skip the fall marathons I originally signed up for, I figured I would still be able to complete a casual mile race (broken up into quarters). There were no timing chips (but there was an official race clock), no one checking to make sure your beers were completely done before you set off for the next quarter, and an overall fun and casual vibe. But if we’re being honest, the running wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was (trying to) chug a full can of beer after every quarter mile.

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Brew Mile was held at Aviator Sports & Events in Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park, Brooklyn, which meant it was a hike from Jersey City. But beer and running will get us to go a lot of places. The race itself was simple in theory: drink a can of beer (in this case Sixpoint Crisp) at the start, run a quarter of a mile, and repeat three more times. It was hot and I was thirsty before the race even started, so I was actually thrilled after the toast when they blew the air horn and told us to start drinking! My friends and I decided we’d all start together and try to stick together, but after that second chug we realized that some of us were stronger than others… so they took off, leaving three of us to burp and chug our way through the final half mile.

Go Team Jim & The Timeouts!

Go Team Jim & The Timeouts!

Like I said, the running wasn’t hard (aside from constantly burping)…. we were able to keep a respectable 7 minute pace during each quarter, and laughed as we passed people who would shout, “HOW ARE YOU STILL RUNNING?!” But each time we got to the drink station, the race got harder. Our splits for the beers increased by two minutes at every stop – 2 minutes after the first quarter, and a whopping 6 minutes before the last quarter. The carbonation and flavor of the Sixpoint was just too much by the end. Admittedly I thought it was going to be easier to chug the beers than it was; it’s hard to chug beer out of a can! Plus, I’m too old to be chugging beer out of a can… but if this event was a thing when I was in college, I would have crushed it.

Our splits courtesy of Miranda. You can tell which ones were running and which ones were "chugging"...

Our splits courtesy of Miranda. You can tell which ones were running and which ones were “chugging”…

The majority of us managed to keep all the beer in our stomachs and were able to sprint to the finish… because no matter how casual a race is, it’s still a race. The times in our group ranged from about 8 to 20 minutes, but we finished the entire mile and all the beers! We definitely want to try it again on our own; on a track, with beer that has less flavor (that’s the only time you’ll ever hear me say that), and not at 3pm in the middle of July. We’ll also need to get it on video so we can submit it as an official beer mile.

Since the race started at 3 in the afternoon, I was home and ready for bed by 9pm. My early bed time (and midnight chugging of water and eating a piece of bread) made it easy for me to get up on Sunday morning and head to a 60 minute Flywheel class… which was somewhat shocking.

Tell me…
Have you ever run a beer mile (or wanted to)?! 
What’s your favorite kind of beer?

5 Comments

Filed under Beer, Running

Sushi Salad and Beer

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

It’s no secret that I love beer… and especially trying new-to-me beers. I’ve even dabbled in the arts of brewing my own beer, which I need to get back to doing. So when the opportunity to try Kirin Ichiban beer presented itself, I jumped at the offer. I mean, what could be better than getting some Japanese beer and pairing it with some Japanese inspired food? Not much if you ask me!

I was sent both the Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light to sample, and really enjoyed them both. Kirin Ichiban is a 100% malt beer and only uses the first strain of malt liquid, which results in a crisp, clean, and refreshing taste. Kirin is one of the oldest breweries in Japan, and their mascot is the mythical Kirin beast (which is on their label), which is believed to bring serenity and prosperity. Since I’m currently in taper mode for my half marathon in two weeks, I’ll take all the serenity and prosperity I can get! I had the first beer pretty much as soon as the package arrived, but saved some to serve as inspiration (and as a pairing) for a light and delicious dinner.

Sushi Roll Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

My original plan was to make a noodle dish, but after receiving some goodies to help with sushi making (sushi rice, nori sheets, and some wasabi paste), I figured I could put them to good use with some veggie sushi rolls. As I was cooking the rice, though, I had another thought… what if I turned the sushi rolls into a salad?! Serving all of the sushi ingredients deconstructed over a bed of lettuce was genius; it really cut down on the labor (I’m not exactly skilled when it comes to rolling sushi), and was just as delicious. I really can’t believe I haven’t thought of making a sushi styled salad before – it was wonderful! I definitely plan on making this salad a lot more… and paired with a beer it was perfect.

Sushi Roll Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

Sushi Roll Salad
– Serves 2 –

Salad Ingredients:
1 cup cooked sushi rice
4 cups spring mix or chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 sheet nori, roughly chopped

Dressing Ingredients:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chili oil [or sesame oil if you don’t want any heat]
2 tsp wasabi paste

Directions:
1. Add all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk to combine.
2. In a large bowl, add the spring mix, carrots, avocado, cucumber, cooked rice, and shredded nori. Toss the salad with the dressing.

4 Comments

Filed under Beer, Food Blogging, Food Review, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

A Trip to Brussels: The Beer!

About halfway through my trip to Brussels, I realized it would be impossible for me to adequately talk about my food and drink experience in one blog post. So, I thought it was only natural to do a beer-specific post about everything I drank in Brussels because, well, it was amazing. If you love beer (at all) and especially if you enjoy trying new beers, you have to visit Brussels. They take their beer seriously – I mean each beer has a specific serving temperature and type of glass it should be served in – and even though I was there for a week (and had at least 3 beers everyday), I didn’t even crack the surface of the Brussels beer culture.

Belgian Beers | FoodosaurusRex.com

One of the very first things I was told when I asked for advice about visiting Brussels and where to go was to hit up Delirium Café. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with Delirium beer (it’s the bottles with the elephant on them), but this particular bar is so much more than that. The building is actually split into three separate bars known as Delirium Village – Delirium Café in the basement, Delirium Tap House on the main floor, and Delirium Hoppy Loft upstairs. There are also a few other Delirium locations nearby that offer a smaller selection. If you’ve heard anything about this particular place, though, Delirium Café is likely the location that was mentioned. So, what’s so great about this place, you may ask? Well, they offer over 2,000 beers to choose from! That’s right – on any given night (or day) you’re there, you can choose from over 2,000 beers… talk about overwhelming!

The ceiling in Delirium Cafe & their Guinness Book of World Records certificate!

The ceiling in Delirium Cafe & their Guinness Book of World Records certificate!

As I mentioned, I had A LOT of beer while I was in Brussels – one with pretty much every meal, and then another one or two each night when I went out. I found myself a little nervous when ordering since it can be a little nerve-wracking to order something you’ve never had before. Aside from one night where I hated pretty much everything I ordered, I think I was successful! So without further ado, here are the beers I had (and a little review of each)!

Saison Dupont | FoodosaurusRex.com

Saison Dupont – I absolutely love saisons, but they’re newer to me (just started trying them this past summer). They originated in Belgium, so when I saw this on the menu at Houtisplou I knew I had to order it. It was crisp and slightly fruity with just an ever-so-slight sour finish. I would have ordered this over and over again, but I knew I had to branch out and try as much as I could.

Delirium Nocturnum – I’ve had Delirium beers before, initially attracted to them because of the elephant on the bottle. I’m not ashamed to admit that I often gravitate towards different drinks (especially wines) based on their labels and names. What can I say? You get extra points from me if your label is cute and/or clever. And until this trip I haven’t made a bad choice based on the name/label (see below for my least favorite beers). I’ve had Delirium’s Tremmens before, and while I wanted to try new-to-me beers from breweries I hadn’t had before, I had to order a Delirium while I was at Delirium Cafe!

Kriek – I had a few different Krieks while I was in Brussels (one by Brouwerij Lindemans, another by Brasserie Cantillon), which are lambic beers fermented with cherries, and was shocked that I liked them. While you might think to yourself, “ew, fruit beers!” this is so much more than that. They have a slight hint of sweetness, but it’s mostly a tart and sour cherry flavor you taste, which I absolutely loved. Also, they’re pretty carbonated, which I’m a big fan of since I have a slight (okay, big) obsession with Seltzer. The bright reddish color makes it fun to drink, too.

Vedett, Cantillon Kriek, Achel 8 Trappist

Vedett, Cantillon Kriek, Achel 8 Trappist

Achel 8° Blond by Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis – This was my first official Trappist beer of the trip, and let me tell you, those Monks know how to make a good beer! This is a strong pale ale, and is full of flavor since it’s right in the middle of their number rating system in terms of strength (6, 8, or 10). I had this beer at Poechenellekelder, a bar right across from the Mannekin Pis. They have a phenomenal beer list and it’s a perfect place to stop in and enjoy a brew (or a few) after taking in the tourist attraction.

Zinnebir by Brasserie de la Senne – Another Belgian pale ale, another near perfect rating on my Untappd app. This beer is simultaneously hoppy, but also pretty light, fruity, and crisp. I ordered this beer as it was listed as a local special when I was having dinner one night, and it was a perfect light companion to my heavier dinner of stoemp.

Vendett Extra Blond by Duvel Moortgat – This pale lager went perfectly with the fare served at Bia Mara, and I loved the fun pictures and sayings on the back of the bottles (as seen above). It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was a good light beer… dare I say better than most light lagers found in my neck of the woods.

Moeder Lambic | FoodosaursRex.com

La Chouffe by Brasserie d’Achouffe  – This was a featured beer at Houtisplou on my last night in Brussels, and since I had luck with the Zinnebir, I figured I’d give it a shot. It’s an unfiltered blond that winds up being re-fermented in the bottle or keg, and it’s fruity and spicy (think coriander notes), and light on the hops.

Buffalo Bitter by Brouwerij Van Den Bossche – This was similar to the Dupont Saison, and I’d say is tied for first with my absolute favorite beer of the trip. The brew is actually a Belgian IPA, and I loved it. When I first started drinking beer for taste rather than to get drunk at keg parties in college, I didn’t know how to feel about IPA’s… I think there was actually too much flavor for me (since those college beers were always such high quality, ha), but I’ve since learned to actually love the complexity of a good IPA. And the Buffalo Bitter hits it right on the head.

And now for the three that I didn’t particularly like. I had such good luck the first few times I ordered beer, that I knew it was inevitable I’d happen upon a few that just weren’t my cup of tea. Unfortunately I wound up ordering them all on the same day! I also made the mistake of ordering them based on their names, which I know I said I’ve been successful with before, but these choices made me realize that isn’t necessarily a good way to order beer.

You win some, you lose some.

You win some, you lose some.

Open Mind by Birrificio Montegioco – This was the least offensive of the three that made it to my “yuck” category. It’s actually an Italian beer, but the bar I was at, Moeder Lambic, had a bunch of “visitors” so I decided to try one. It was okay (typical blond ale), but nothing to write home about.

Pink Killer by Brasserie de Silly – Yup, I ordered this because of the name. And when I saw it had a pink hue and came in a glass that had a cute little dog on it, I was pumped… until I took a sip. It reminded me of Mad Dog 20 20 that was mixed with cheap beer and cough syrup. Needless to say I didn’t finish it.

Barbar by Brasserie Lefebvre – Again with the name. But this time it wasn’t because of the actual name, but because it made me think of Babar, the cute little elephant that has adventures! As I type this out, I can’t help but shake my head (so you can too). This was better than Pink Killer, but barely. I’m not sure what it was about the beer, but I just didn’t like it. I managed to finish it, but only because I had ordered the Pink Killer when I was halfway through in hopes of it redeeming this beer, and since it was worse, this one didn’t taste so bad comparatively.

Needless to say I had a lot of beer on the trip. So much that I haven’t had one yet since I’ve been back (though that’ll change this weekend, I’m sure)! I was definitely spoiled by getting to try so many different beers, and on top of all the delicious food I was able to sample while there made it quite the trip. Now I need to figure out where to go next!

Tell me…
Are you a beer drinker? What’s your favorite? (I want to try it!)

2 Comments

Filed under Beer, Food Review, Travel

What I Drank Wednesday: Holiday Edition

Look at me, posting a WIDW two weeks in a row! This week’s theme is Holiday drinks, and includes beer, coffee, and tea. I’m a sucker for themed drinks, and like to try them all. A lot of times, though, I find that themed and overly marketed drinks are average at best. The ones below are the exception to my made up rule in that they are themed, and they’re good. We should probably start off with the good stuff (the beer) first, right?!

Harpoon’s Winter Warmer: I had this beer for the first time at the end of the season last year and loved it, so I knew that as soon as it became acceptable to talk about the Holidays, I had to get my hands on some. In simple terms, it tastes like the Holidays (cinnamon, nutmeg), but not in an overpowering way. It manages to be light, but also warm you up, as the name suggests. This is definitely the kind of beer you want to have on hand for Holiday get togethers! [Spiced Ale, 5.9% ABV]

Winter Warmer

This will warm you up!

Shiner’s Holiday Cheer: Despite having “Holiday” in the name, it’s far from what you would expect as a traditional Holiday beer (at least for me). When I think of Winter Holidays, I think of the spices found in the Winter Warmer. This brew, however, throws that logic out the window and instead you get the taste of peaches and pecans. It is so delightfully fruity and light, and reminds me a lot of Magic Hat’s #9. Despite the summery flavors, it definitely works as a Holiday beer, and I can just picture sipping it in Shiner, Texas (where it likely makes sense to have such a light and fruity beer for winter). [Dunkelweizen, 5.4% ABV]

Holiday Cheer

Peaches & pecans are needed in the snow

Southern Tier’s Creme Brûlée: Oh man. I should preface this by saying up until a few weeks ago, I was very much not a stout fan. I could drink a Guinness if it was given to me, but it was never my drink of choice. They were always just a little too heavy and bitter for me. But after finally trying Founder’s Breakfast Stout a few weeks ago while out after work, and really liking it, I decided it was about time to try more. So when Jenny suggested I give Southern Tier’s Creme Brûlée a try (with some dark chocolate), I made sure to pick it up when I went to the liquor store… and I got the last one! As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the vanilla and caramel; it smelled like dessert. I was nervous to give it a try because I had such high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was so good. Not only could I smell the vanilla and caramel, but I could taste it. It’s a perfect “dessert beer,” or a beer to have when you want something a little heavier and sweet, rather than a light sweet beer (such as the Holiday Cheer above). [Imperial Milk Stout, 9.5% ABV]

Creme Brulee

Slowly becoming a stout lover

Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee: No more beer! Starbucks puts out this blend every year, and it’s really good. I actually love all of their seasonal blends (Thanksgiving, Holiday, Christmas, etc.), but this may be my favorite. Made up of beans from a bunch of different regions (South America and Indonesia), I enjoy it every morning, but find it also pairs well with desserts. It’s a darker roast, but isn’t overpowering, and smells fabulous.

Starbucks Christmas Blend

Jingle jingle

Celestial Seasonings’ Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea: I had heard of this tea for a few years before actually trying it. I couldn’t  believe that there was actually a tea flavor that tasted like sugar cookies. When I finally tried it last year I was in shock; not only did it taste like sugar cookies, but it tastes like my favorite frosted cake-like sugar cookies (like the one pictured below)! Well, the people were right – it tastes like a sugar cookie. This is a perfect tea for when I’m craving something sweet but don’t have anything around. The smell is phenomenal, and I promise it tastes as good as it smells. It’s perfect for someone like me that will almost always choose coffee over tea, but actually wants tea every once in awhile.

Sugar cookie, sugar cookie tea. Both delicious.

Sugar cookie, sugar cookie tea. Both delicious.

I love taking advantage of different food and drink based on the season, and have been lucky enough to discover some really great ones.

Tell me…
Do you have any favorite Holiday themed drinks?
Any Holiday themed drinks I should try?

4 Comments

Filed under Beer, Food Blogging, Food Review

What I Drank Wednesday: Budweiser Project 12

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Budweiser. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Remember back when I did two “What I Drank Wednesday” posts and thought it would be great to continue doing them? Well obviously I failed at that part, but I’m back with my third installment today! This particular post is all about beer, and specifically, Budweiser’s Project 12 beers; Vanilla Bourbon Cask Batch 23185, North Pacific Lager Batch 94534, and Beechwood Bock Batch 43229.

What is Project 12, you may ask? Well, simply put it’s Budweiser’s innovation platform, where brewmasters have the opportunity to try new things and create new beers. Their Black Crown beer is actually a product of this project as well. These particular beers (mentioned above) are all named after the zip codes where they were brewed (Virginia, California, and Ohio)!

The beers!

The beers! Beechwood Bock, Vanilla Bourbon Cask, and North Pacific Lager

As mentioned above in the fun little FTC disclosure, I received these three beers to try at no cost to me on behalf of Millennial Central. I’ll be honest – I was really skeptical about new Budweiser beers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a beer loving gal, but these days I gravitate towards beers with more complex and varied flavor profiles and I wasn’t sure if Budweiser would be able to deliver. If you are my friend on Untappd, you know what kind of beers I like (and subsequently don’t like).

I brought the beers with me to my parent’s house for a fun little tasting since my sister and her boyfriend were there for Thanksgiving. My sister isn’t much of a beer drinker but her boyfriend is, so I knew I could count on some good thoughts and opinions on the beers from him. I also thought it would be fun to get my parents to try them! So, what did we think of the beers? I decided to give each beer a rating out of 5, based on not only taste, but also what the taster’s notes mentioned (i.e., could I actually taste a hint of the chocolate it was brewed with?).

North Pacific Lager Batch 94534: This was your most “typical” beer tasting beer. Lagers are the types of beers that most people are familiar with (at least around here), so it definitely gets that “yup, this is a beer” taste recognition. It’s light and crisp, and would pair well with just about any food; especially if you’re having a dish on the heavier side, since this beer is rather light. I gave this beer a 3.5.

Vanilla Bourbon Cask Batch 23185: I was the most excited to try this beer, but liked it the least. It’s aged on bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans, and you can definitely taste the vanilla. It’s a smooth amber lager, but left a bitter aftertaste, which was a little too much for me. My sister’s boyfriend, however, loved this beer. So obviously tastings are all relative! Obviously this beer would pair well with sweeter foods (bacon wrapped dates for my carnivore friends, perhaps). I gave this beer a 2.

Beechwood Bock Batch 43229: This was my favorite! Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts finished on beechwood chips, the beer had the most complex and palate friendly (for me) taste out of the three. In addition to sampling it with my parents, I also had it with a sweet potato chili earlier last week, and the pairing was spot-on. I actually think this would be a great beer to use in a chili! I gave this beer a 4.

Out of the three beers, as I mentioned, the Beechwood Bock was my favorite. I would definitely purchase it on my own and I’d also grab the North Pacific Lager for someone that likes a more traditional tasting beer. While the Vanilla Bourbon Cask was my least favorite, different beers appeal to different people, so I’m sure there are plenty of people that would really enjoy the flavors (my sister’s boyfriend included). I’ll definitely be on the lookout for these next time I head to the liquor store.

This was such a fun way to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving – sampling beers, noshing on appetizers, and just enjoying each other’s company (after an afternoon of shopping, of course)! The idea of doing a little “beer tasting” get together has really sparked my interest, and I’d love to do a beer & cheese night (think of wine and cheese, only in my opinion, better) with friends where everyone brings either their favorite, or a new beer to try. I definitely need to plan one of those for the future!

Tell me…
Are you a beer drinker? What’s your favorite? 

Again, the beer and promotional items were sent to me on behalf of Millennial Central, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Additionally, I feel the need to mention that everyone who tasted the beers was over 21, of course. 

3 Comments

Filed under Beer, Food Review

Sweet Sips

As a Tastemaker for Daily Buzz Food I get to opt-in for different products and cross my fingers I get chosen. So, when we were offered the chance to sample some Sweet’N Low, I signed right up. I’m not one to use “fake” ingredients which is probably your immediate thoughts when thinking about sweeteners, but I grew up with the pink (Sweet’N Low) and blue (Equal) packets littered in my parent’s coffee cabinet. Due to my dad’s health, he can’t have caffeine and also has to lay low on sugar, so I grew up knowing all about the boy and girl colored packets.

Typically, I abide by the “all in moderation” mantra, believing that if you use real ingredients (no matter how ‘bad’ they are for you), as long as you don’t gorge yourself, it’s okay. While this holds true for the most part, there are those instances where you either don’t want the real stuff or you can’t have it. That being said, I think it’s important to have options like Sweet’N Low available. The sugar substitute is made with saccharin, which they describe on their website is “the oldest of the approved low-calorie sweeteners available in the U.S. today.”

In their quest to make the world a little sweeter (something I can absolutely get behind), they have a slew of recipes where Sweet’N Low can be substituted in for regular sugar. So, I figured the logical place to start would be with drinks. While I don’t usually add sugar to my regular morning coffee (I drink it as-is because I’m hardcore, obviously), I’m more than okay with other sweet treats in liquid form. I’ve been all about tart cherry juice lately (thanks to winning a Cheribundi giveaway), so I wanted to somehow incorporate the juice into my concoction. Couple that with a bunch of mint laying around from my CSA box and we have ourselves a Cherry Mojito!

Now I’m far from a cocktail connoisseur, but this combination had just the right amount of sweet, tart, and of course alcohol flavors. It may rub some mojito purists the wrong way (do those exist?), but I think it’s a light and refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for the summer.

Cherry Mojito
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
4 oz. rum (I used Bacardi Superior)
6 oz. tart cherry juice (I used Cheribundi “skinny cherry”)
3 Sweet’N Low packets
10-15 mint leaves
Splash of seltzer water

Directions:
1. In martini or margarita glasses, place half of the mint in each glass.
2. In a shaker, combine the cherry juice, rum, and Sweet’N Low with some ice, and shake until mixed.
3. Pour the liquid over the mint, and top with a splash of seltzer. 

Disclaimer: The Sweet’N Low packets were sent to me as a member of the Daily Buzz Food Tastemaker Program. All opinions are my own. 

3 Comments

Filed under Beer, Recipe

Eurotrip 2012 Food: Berlin

The first stop on our 12-day European adventure was Berlin.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the trip there was off to a rough start, but we made it eventually. If we want to get technical, my first meal of the trip was a shared black bean Smash Burger before boarding the plane (for the first time – we had to deplane for a bit before finally taking off).

Since it was an evening/overnight flight, we were served dinner, and I opted for the vegetarian selection. I assumed it was either going to be a bunch of bland steamed vegetables or a variation of pasta primavera, but I’m happy to report I was pleasantly surprised; it included some chana masala, basmati rice, and palak paneer. While it wasn’t the prettiest of meals, it was much more than I expected for in-flight food – I’m used to just a bag of mixed nuts and my choice of soda. It was surprisingly flavorful, and despite it’s own questionable appearance, looked a lot better than the chicken or beef options.

Once we arrived in Berlin, (even though it was the middle of the night at home) we got down to business and set out on foot to do some sightseeing. We checked out the Berliner Dom, and just wandered around for a bit to try and get a baring of where we were. Our first meal in the city was at Maximilian’s, where we learned the hard way that you seat yourself in Germany. We walked into the restaurant and stood there like deer in headlights as waiters and waitresses walked past us as though we didn’t exist. After realizing we were supposed to seat ourselves, I cursed myself for not looking up dining etiquette prior to the trip. I quickly Googled the information (thanks to my husband buying a cheap data plan once we landed), and learned that in addition to seating yourself, ordering a glass of “still water” is frowned upon. I usually drink water with my meals, so this was a bit of a disappointment. I supplemented the water with a liter of weissbeir, as any logical person would.

Knowing a little bit about the food culture of each city prior to visiting, I knew right away what I was going to order – currywurst! It’s a big deal in Berlin, and they have little shops and street vendors selling it everywhere. I like curry, and I like wurst, so I had no doubt I’d enjoy the concoction. It was served with pomme frites, and I ate it like a true European – knife in my right hand and fork in my left! My husband ordered their version of meatloaf which is nothing like what your mother makes – it tasted more like a delicious ham steak to me, and he devoured every last bite.

For breakfast on our first full day, we went to Chipps at the recommendation of a friend who had visited Berlin a few months earlier. They have a lot of really delicious vegetarian and vegan options, which in a city that loves their meat is appreciated by someone like me. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but I eventually settled for some scrambled eggs with baked beans, veggie bacon, toast, and a mixed salad.

It was the perfect fuel for a day full of sightseeing, including an amazing walking tour that highlighted all the notables in the city. We actually got really lucky and had a tour guide that was a history Ph.D student at Humboldt University; I learned SO much, and the tour was completely free! As a side note to all the food, I would definitely recommend checking out these tours if you are thinking about traveling abroad. But back to the food…

While our dinner the second night was far from traditional (I wound up ordering a burger and my husband had sliders), it was enjoyed at a table that provided us our very own beer tap at The Pub. That’s right – Paulaner weissbeer was right at our fingertips; we had glasses, could fill them up on our own, and paid per liter. The even cooler part was that the ordering of food and getting the waiter/waitress’ attention was also done through the computer attached to the tap. I’m all for the “experience” of dining out, but sometimes it’s nice to not be asked how I’m doing right as I take a giant bite of food, or equally as annoying be unable to get the waiter or waitress’ attention when you need them.

The rest of our mornings were spent at Starbucks for a few reasons – there was one on every corner (no different from around here!) and they had free wi-fi, which allowed us to plot out our day’s plan of attack. While it isn’t a glamorous sidewalk café, one of those Starbucks does happen to be right across the street from the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby out a window, a mere stones throw away from the US and French embassies. Go figure.

For dinner on our last night, we headed to Jedermann where I enjoyed some super creamy and delicious spätzle while the hubs had weinerschnitzel; I figured it was necessary to end the trip with a more traditional dinner.

We had an evening flight from Berlin to Copenhagen, so we had a pretty full last day. I made sure to take a trip to Fassbender & Rausch for some much needed German chocolate, and some really delicious Indian food at Amrit. It was the perfect end to an awesome four days.

By the time we were ready to part ways with Berlin, I felt as though I was really getting a handle on the city. I was able to differentiate between East and West Germany, I could generally navigate to the larger landmarks, and I was getting the hang of pronouncing different things (like the ß letter is pronounced as a double S, so straße is strasse – the word for street!), and it felt like a city I could live in.

There is no way I could do any of the sights we saw justice in a recap – there is just SO much history in the city – it’s a pretty great place, so that’s why I decided to just stick to the food. You’ll have to go check it out for yourself to see all the amazing sites and learn the history!

Have you ever been to Berlin? 

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Filed under Beer, Restaurant, Travel

Sweet Potato Chipotle Beer Chili

This month’s Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger theme was slow cooking, specifically with a Crockpot. They actually sent me one in order to create my meal – how awesome! Having only just made my very first meal a la slow cooker last week (it was this), I was psyched to give a new recipe a try. I really love the idea of a slow cooker, since it gives you the opportunity to set up your meal, go about your day, and come home to something delicious. I will most definitely be putting some type of slow cooker meal into heavy rotation in our house this winter.

Because it’s fall and the weather is slowly getting cooler, I first knew I wanted to make chili, and as an ingredient have what I consider to be a classic fall food – sweet potatoes! From there, all the other ingredients kind of fell into place based on what I invision a good chili to include. And, of course I had to add beer – its such a great cooking ingredient. This also made enough for leftovers, which is always appreciated. While I don’t mind bringing frozen meals for lunch, I would much prefer a leftover, and I can’t justify eating out more than once a week (if even that).

So, after a long run and making a trip to the Halloween store in hopes of finding a costume for my husband, it was great to come home to this!

Sweet Potato Chipotle Beer Chili… with Turkey
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
1.25 lbs ground turkey (or leave this out, use ground beef, etc.)
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 8 oz. cans diced tomatoes with jalapeños
12 oz. Mexican beer (I used Corona)
2 chipotles in adobo, plus 2 Tbsp adobo sauce [or less depending on your spice preference]
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder 

Directions:
1.  Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker
2. Cook on the high setting for 2 hours
3. Serve with your favorite chili toppings (shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.) 

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Filed under Beer, Home Cooking, Recipe

Oven Workout

After the success of my lasanga “cupcakes,”  I decided to keep with the savory baking trend and give beer bread a try. I’ve had beer bread on my list of things to make for awhile but just haven’t gotten around to it. So, I took advantage of some extra time I had on Friday night to give my oven a nice workout (after completing my own, of course).

I’ve read here and there that for those who actually make bread themselves (meaning from scratch, adding the yeast, kneading it, etc.), it can be pretty tedious and a bit nerve wracking while you wait to let it rise. By using beer, though, you skip the requirement of kneading and setting. Since I’m pretty impatient, this worked out very well for me. While the house was filling with the sweet smells of fresh baked bread, my head started spinning with all the possibilities of flavor variations that I could do with such a simple recipe. Dark beer and chocolate? Yes. Summer beer and fruit? Oh yeah.

Quick ‘n Easy Beer Bread
– makes 1 loaf –

Ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp salt
3 Tbsp of sugar
12 oz. your favorite beer 

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients, and slowly mix in beer until fully incorporated
3. Spoon the mixture into a greased bread/loaf pan 
4. Bake for 1 hour 

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Filed under Baking, Beer, Recipe

Homemade Oven Fried Onion Rings

As soon as I saw this recipe on Baking Serendipity, I sent it over to my fiancé and we knew it needed to be recreated as soon as possible. I figured enjoying them with some Shipyard Pumpkin Head and watching the VMA’s on Sunday would be perfect. I got my fiancé in the kitchen to not only take pictures but also help me which was a nice treat!

The recipe calls for kettle cooked chips, so I grabbed a bag of Wegman’s jalapeno flavored chips for some extra kick, since you know, it’s never enough. Aside from having to crush up the saltines and chips, the recipe was pretty easy. I even somehow managed to get through slicing an entire yellow onion without crying!

They were super crunchy and actually really filling. While they aren’t the best for you, baking them in the oven in some olive oil is much better than deep frying them, and a nice homemade alternative! So make these next time you’re craving some bar food but would prefer to sip some beer in your sweatpants on your couch!

Oven Fried Onion Rings
recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:
1 yellow onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
dash chili powder
hearty pinch of ground black pepper
30 saltine crackers, crushed
3 cups kettle-cooked potato chips, crushed
extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Crush saltine crackers and kettle-cooked potato chips. Mix in a shallow bowl.
3. In a separate, shallow bowl. Combine egg and milk. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour and chili powder and black pepper. Place remaining 1/4 cup flour in a third shallow bowl.
4. Slice onion into 1/2″ slices. Separate the rings and discard any of the very small pieces.
5. At this point your oven should be preheated. Drizzle two baking sheets liberally with extra virgin olive oil and bake for about 8 minutes, or until just before the oil is smoking.
6. While the baking sheets are in the oven, dip onion in flour, then liquid, coating it well, and finally the crushed chips and crackers. Set aside. Repeat with each piece of onion.
7. Remove baking sheets from the oven and tip to coat evenly with oil. Place onions on baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, flipping halfway. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Beer, Recipe