Monday, February 22, 2010

IHOP Free Pancake Day 2010

Who doesn't love pancakes? Even better, who doesn't love FREE pancakes? Get your free short stack tomorrow (2/23/1010) at IHOP! It's National Pancake Day!
All that IHOP asks is that you make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Beers

I'm sure all of you will agree that Valentine’s Day is not your favorite holiday. You might be disgusted by how much of a commercialized, lame, hallmark holiday it truly is. If you have a special someone, you're expected to provide flowers, chocolates, gifts and dinner. You're supposed to be romantic. You're supposed to fight for a table at the fancy restaurant on its busiest night of the year. You're supposed to buy dozens of roses at outrageously inflated prices and mediocre chocolates in a heart-shaped box. All of this just to say, “I love you”. Wouldn't any of this be significantly more meaningful on any other day? Wouldn't that increase your message tenfold?

Anyway, I can't change the world in a paragraph. You still have to go through the motions (sorry). But, think outside the box of chocolates, try something new and exciting instead of the same old boring holiday traditions. I bet beer isn't the first thing on your list as a romantic drink to share with your significant other. You're probably thinking champagne or wine. But why not beer? Check out these beers that may be good for your date.

Lindemans Framboise (2.5% ABV)
This Belgian Lambic doesn’t even taste like beer. It’s light, fruity, and incredibly sweet. It’s highly carbonated and might remind you of champagne without the dry taste or even soda! I’ve had both the peach and raspberry varieties, and both were delicious. This low alcohol beer goes down real easy. Serve in a Flute.

Magic Hat Feast of Fools (7.5% ABV)Chocolate Raspberry Stout

The raspberry aroma hits you immediately - it smells amazing! But then the taste is slightly disappointing because it can’t live up to that great smell. The sweet raspberry taste is most noticeable, followed by roasted malts and a touch of dark chocolate. It’s very light for a stout with a somewhat thin feel, unlike that thick taste you might be accustomed to with a stout.

Southern Tier Crème Brulee Stout (10%)

This is dessert in a glass! The aroma is wonderful, and it tastes almost equally as good. It truly does taste like Crème Brulee with sweet vanilla and burnt sugar flavors. This beer is great for a dessert but you wouldn’t want to drink it all night. Serve in a snifter.

All of the above beers are sold in large bottles perfect for sharing.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Rant About Nachos

In 1937 in Guadalajara, Mexico, a steel mill worker named Carlos Nunez was enjoying his favorite afternoon snack: sliced Jack cheese. Meanwhile, his co-worker on the job, one Miguel Santos, was snacking on the baked tortilla crisps his wife had made for him that morning. As they carried on in conversation with their respective snacks behind them on their work station, the heat emanating off of the nearby smelting equipment caused the cheese to melt into a gooey pile, inspiring the two men to dip the tortillas into the cheese, creating the world’s first nacho.

Just kidding. Actually, I have no idea how nachos were invented. But I’m sure it’s way less interesting than that.

Nachos are one of the staples of the appetizer world, and of course, I love them dearly. But there’s a problem in the nacho world these days: Lazy, cost-cutting nacho manufacturing.

If you’ve ever made nachos at home, (and really, who hasn’t?) you know the key: layering the cheese. You lay down a layer of chips, you lay down a layer of cheese, olives, sour cream, salsa, whatever. Repeat as necessary. Not layering your nachos is a rookie mistake, and yet restaurants continue to do it all the time. This is a farce and needs to be dealt with via vigilante justice, or blogging.

As a result of this dastardly nacho manuever, you wind up with about a dozen nachos and 30 or so plain tortilla chips. Now, who needs that? That’s certainly not what you’re after when you place the order. But alas, it’s commonplace. In fact, I hesitate to order nachos in restaurants because of the near-inevitability of disappointment.

But, my friends, it’s not all bad. Here are some phenomenal nachos you can make at home:


1lb Thick Bacon
1lb Chicken (your choice of cut)
Mexican Seasoning
1 Bag Tortilla Chips
8oz Montery Jack Cheese (it'll taste better if you buy a block and shred it yourself)
8oz Sharp Chedder Cheese (above)

Choice of Toppings:

Pickled Jalepenos
Chopped Cilantro
Ranch Dressing
Sour Cream
(anything under the sun - be creative)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Fry the bacon in a pan, drain the greese, lay on paper towls to dry. Crumble when cool.
Chop the chicken into small pieces and fry in the same pan you used to cook the bacon. Add Mexican Seasoning (to taste). Cook until done.

Layer chips down in a large casserole dish. Cover with a layer of shredded cheese. Sprikle on some crumbled bacon and chicken. Continue until all of the base ingredients are used or until you have no room left in your dish.

Place in the oven and cook until all of the cheese has melted (about 15 minutes).

Cover with the rest of your chosen toppings. I definitely recommend a generous drizzle of ranch dressing and some fresh chopped cilantro.

As you might expect, this dish is best served with a cold beer. Just try to avoid the Corona.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

3 IPAs reviewed

India Pale Ales are my favorite style of beer. In the 1700's Britain had many soldiers and colonists living in India. These poor souls were left without any of their good homeland ale! Malts and other raw ingredients spoiled during their journey sailing around Africa and up to the spice land. As a result India Pale Ale was born. It was a slightly higher alcohol beer brewed with lots of hops to help it survive its voyage in oak barrels on rocky seas.

Modern American IPAs are generally copper in color and well hopped, in the medium-high alcohol range.

Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale (6.7% ABV)
All of the ingredients used to brew this beer were grown in Sierra Nevada's private estate. I really enjoyed this beer. It was well balanced and smooth. An easy drinking IPA without any overwhelming flavors and a faint aroma. It's one of the better Sierra IPA varieties but for over $10 a 24oz bottle it's a bit pricey for what it offers.

Ithaca Flower Power IPA (8% ABV)
You might remember me mentioning this in my favorite beers list - each sip just reaffirms that idea. You probably imagine someone with bare feet and hemp pants drinking this because of the name, but once you catch that hop smell you'll understand. Flower power is super dry-hopped with a very floral smelling hop variety. The hop blast is very present with a lingering bitterness and notes of citrusy grapefruit. All in all I find it to be it to be a very flavorful IPA.

Southern Tier Unearthly IPA (11%)
Bang! Pow! WHOMP! If a comic character were drinking this that would be the little bubbles popping out of his mouth. This delicious imperial IPA is loaded with hops from front to back. It has a wonderful citrus hop aroma, strong bitterness and a hint of sweet caramel. It's hard to tell that it is 11% ABV from the taste.