Sunday, December 11, 2011

Little Buddha

Stamford, CT

I must say that Little Buddha is one of my favorite places to eat out in Stamford. They serve up authentic Thai dishes that I simply can't get enough of. But on top of that they have every beer in the world available for consumption! You just have to go find it and bring it. Yes, that's right - It's a BYOB. For me, this is a huge plus. I'm sure that you've scoured the menus and bars of many Asian restaurant's in search of a tasty brew only to find Kiri Ichiban, Asahi, Bud Lite, and dragons. In my opinion, nothing accompanies spicy Thai cuisine better than nice bitter IPA, plus you can buy a 6-pack for only slightly more than most places will charge you for a single pint.

In the many times that I've visited Little Buddha I have never found a dish that I did not like. Go ahead, be adventurous. Among my favorites are the Pad Thai Noodles, Coriander Fish, Fish Choo Chee (lightly fried red snapper in a coconut curry). But what really keeps me coming back are the delicious curries! Praise Buddha these are tasty! I've had them all, but Green Curry is surely my favorite. It's outstanding and satisfies all of your taste buds with a rich coconut taste, cilantro, and lemony spices covering zucchini, broccoli, peppers, snow peas, onions, and the meat of your choice (if you choose). The Masaman Curry follows at a close second with a deeper spicier flavor, adding peanuts and potatoes to the mix while taking out some of the green vegetables.

The best part about Little Buddha is that if you ask for it extra spicy, you get it extra spicy. There's no pussy-footing around here - they set you up right the first time. My dish was spicier than all 5 of the spice girls! The heat was relentless but I persisted, and the victory went to me, my taste buds, and my stomach although another unmentioned body part later admitted defeat.

Little Buddha, sitting across the street from the Ridgeway shopping center has a New York City feel to it. It's very small inside with an ordering window, and it seems like they do most of their business as take out. I'd guess that the place seats no more than 20 people. You could show up and find it empty. Or you could end up waiting 20 minutes for a table. The latter can be mitigated with a simple phone call. They won't take a formal reservation, but they will hold a table for 15 minutes. So just give them a call before you leave.

Don't let the atmosphere and seating deter you. Little Buddha is truly a hidden gem serving up tremendous Thai food at very reasonable prices, especially when you add in the BYOB benefit! Bring a growler for the table, order up some extra spicy curry, and you'll be smiling wider than that pudgy little Buddha on the shelf.

Little Buddha on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Newport Storm Brewery

Newport, Rhode Island is a pretty sweet place to spend a weekend. For one, it’s home to a series of mansions so opulent that you experience a strange mix of being simultaneously amazed and pissed off when you see them. (Awenger?)

Secondly, someone told us that Newport has the highest number of bars per capita in the United States. Am I going to verify that before I post it? Hell no! This isn’t the Times, buddy! Even if it’s a slight overstatement, there really are a ton of different places to eat and drink. Which works for us, because this blog is called Food Plus Beer.

And thirdly, there’s a brewery there! What’s a visit to an idyllic, coastal New England town without a good brewery tour?

There's beer in those!

We arrived at the brewery around 2 pm, which isn’t an important detail in the least. Upon entering the brewery, you pay 7 bucks, get a Newport Storm glass (which you get to keep), and you’re handed a card with the names of the 4 beers on tap which gets checked off as you drink.

The first was Rhode Island Blueberry – a Kolsch brewed with real blueberries from a local farm. As cool as that is, this beer wasn’t really our style. A bit too light-bodied for our taste and while the smell and taste of blueberry was ever-present, it wasn’t particularly appealing.

Then came their flagship, Hurricane Amber Ale. Another style that Kyle and I don’t really gravitate to, but this was actually fairly impressive. A good hop/malt balance and quite drinkable…an ideal boat beer, let’s put it that way.

Next came their Oktoberfest, which was nice and malty, refreshing, and taught me how to speak German. It was a good Oktoberfest, but in all fairness I’ve been spoiled by the excellent Brooklyn Oktoberfest this year and I’ve found that all others pale in comparison. But the star of the Newport Storm show was the last beer – an unnamed, “Experimental” Belgian beer.

You see, one of the brewery’s cooler gimmicks is their Cyclone series beers, which are one-off, single-batch brews named using the same system as we name hurricanes (i.e. running down the alphabet, alternating genders. Adam, Barbara, Carl, Denise…you get the picture).

The experimental Belgian was just something they were kicking around as a possibility for their next Cyclone beer, which will be a female “S” name (Susan? Sally? Sandra? Sasha?) and it was very impressive. It seemed like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a different yeast strain than you’d expect from the style, which added a bit of sweetness and removed some of the esters and “Belgian-ness” that you typically come across Delicious. We’d certainly buy a 6er of it. One more thing of note about the brewery is that it’s also a distillery. Besides being the brewers of Newport Storm, they are the distillers of Thomas Tew rum. So, we got to learn a bit about the rum-making process alongside all the science of brewing that we already knew.

There's rum in these!

All in all, Newport Storm is a nice stop in a town that has plenty of nice stops. Check it out next time you’re in the area, and tell them Food Plus Beer sent you. They’ll have no idea what you’re talking about, but tell them anyway.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sierra Nevada Tasting @ Ginger Man SoNo - Oct 19

10 Sierra Nevada Drafts? No Reservations?  Sounds good to us!

Harvest Ale, Estate Home Grown Ale, Beer Camp's Earth Day EPA, Ovila, Life & Limb and more!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Greenwich and Port Chester Restaurant Week | 10/16 - 10/21/2011

Greenwich and Port Chester Restaurant Week starts today!  Cheers!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Simple Pulled Pork in the Oven

Pulled Pork is a super food. That's right I said it. Maybe not quite the same league as the avocado or acai berry, but super in many ways. Whether you have a large group of people, or a small group of large people, pulled pork is the easiest, most satisfying, and most economical way to feed them. It's salty. It's sweet. It's greasy and cheap. You can eat it on a bun or a plate. Who doesn't like pulled pork? It may seem like an intimidating (and intimating) hunk of meat, but I assure you that no special culinary skills or tools are required to make a delicious, melt in your mouth tray of pulled pork with as little as TWO ingredients.

[If details aren't your thing, skip to the bottom for the condensed instructions]


1. Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt (with a layer of fat on the bottom and bone in the middle)
2. BBQ Pork Rub (Buy one at the store or use the recipe below)
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      2 tbsp salt
      1 tbsp ground pepper
      1 tbsp ground cumin
      1 tbsp garlic powder
      1 tbsp cumin
      1 tbsp chili powder
      1 tbsp paprika

If you choose to make your own rub just mix all of those ingredients together. If you've bought a rub from the store, then empty it into a bowl because your hands are about to get way too messy to be fussing with the jar it came in.

You might not be aware, but a pigs life is tough. It's not easy preparing for the glorious afterlife transformation into bacon, pulled pork, and sausage. There's lots of groveling in the mud and eating out of troughs that can sure make a piggie's back sore. That's why you need to rub his shoulder real good. First, dry the skin with a paper towl and then massage that rub mixture in deep coating all of the exposed meat with a thick crunchy layer of BBQ goodness. Slide a knife in under the fatty skin layer (don't sever it completely) and stuff some of that seasoning in there too! Don't use it all though, you'll need a little more rub for later.

Set your oven to 225 degrees, plop your pork onto an aluminum tray with the fat side up and toss it in. Let this baby slow roast, with delicious fat dripping, and trickling through the meat from that fat on top for about 1.5 hours per lb. Quick math tells you that an 8lb pork shoulder is going to take 12 hours. Plan ahead. I like to put this in the oven before going to bed and checking on it in the morning. Reheating the meat for dinner isn't going to be a problem. You couldn't burn this thing if you tried (well you could, buy why would you?)

After the time has elapsed your pork is probably good to go. If you have a meat thermometer you can check the temp. You're shooting for about 200 degrees. A little bit less is OK. The hunk of meat should now be sitting in an inch of delicious juices. Let it sit for another hour or two to cool down to a more manageable temp.

When it's at a temperature that you can handle, remove the fat flap from the top and set aside. Pour the juices from the bottom of the tray into a bowl and reserve for later. Now grab two forks and have at it. Pull all of the meat apart into thin shreds, removing the large hunks of pure fat and putting them aside with the flap removed earlier.

The pork is just about ready to go. Remember that rub that you saved? Dump as much of that seasoning over the top of your pulled pork and mix until you get the taste you want. Also, add back a good portion of those juices that you set aside to make it extra moist and juicy.

There you have it! Heat that up whenever you want and enjoy mouthwatering pulled pork sandwiches. But wait? What do I do with all of that extra fat!? Ahh, we can't get that go to waste. If you want to go the extra mile, break up the fat pieces and toss them into the frying pan to crisp them up like bacon! Add the crispy peices back to your pulled pork for extra deliciousness.

Tasty note:  Pulled pork is perfect for a tail-gate!  Cover the tray with aluminum foil, reheat on the grill and you're good to go!



1. Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt (with a layer of fat on the bottom and bone in the middle)
2. BBQ Pork Rub (Buy one at the store or use the recipe below)
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      2 tbsp salt
      1 tbsp ground pepper
      1 tbsp ground cumin
      1 tbsp garlic powder
      1 tbsp cumin
      1 tbsp chili powder
      1 tbsp paprika


1.  Coat meat with rub mixture.
2.  Put on tray in oven @ 225 degrees, FAT SIDE UP, for 1.5hrs per lb.
3.  Remove Pork after time has elapsed (internal temp near 200 degrees)
4.  Let cool for 1 - 2 hrs.
5.  Pour juices into separate container temporarily. Remove fat flap from top.
6.  Pull meat apart with 2 forks or 10 fingers.
7.  Add additional rub mixture to taste, add back fat juices to desired greasiness.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Captain Lawrence Brewery

At first, I was afraid of growlers. (I was petrified).

You see, once a growler of beer is opened, it’s basically a ticking time bomb waiting to go flat. Ideally, once it’s been opened, it should be consumed in one sitting. But what if I didn’t get around to drinking it all at once? Will I have wasted half my beer? Why would I do that when I can just buy a 6-pack and drink them whenever I want?

All these fears were of course alleviated when Kyle and I split a growler of Gandhi-Bot. Then we started to think about the good things. You know the beer’s as fresh as it gets. You can get fill-ups of beers the brewery may not even bottle. It’s a reason to get together with friends. And best of all, it’s satisfying to have a huge, bulky, brown, half-gallon glass bottle of beer in your fridge that gets in everything’s way and pisses off your girlfriend.

With that in mind, we took our empty growlers down to Pleasantville, NY, for a taste of what Captain Lawrence had to offer and, of course, to bring some home.  We were so excited on the way down, we played a little jug band music with our growlers and an old rusty washboard.

 Feel free to comment if you find yourself in this picture.

The first room in the brewery is the tap room, which is fine, because that’s our favorite room. Here, brewery workers hand out sizable free samples of everything on tap. On the day we visited:

Captain Lawrence Kolsch: Light and clean tasting, with a hint of hops. A light sipper.

Captain Lawrence Extra Gold: Sweet, Belgian-y, with a bit of citrus. If not for the obvious selection of the IIPA, this would have been my favorite.

Captain Lawrence Pale Ale: Moderately hoppy with a nice malt backbone (though I had to pick it out, as I don’t like bones in my beer)

Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale: Nice malts and spices, though I didn’t get a whole lot of pumpkin.

Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA: Super floral & sweet, really hoppy without managing to be very bitter. Naturally, this is what both Kyle and I got our growlers filled with.

$10.50 for a growler of Imperial IPA. It's what Jesus would have done.

We also went on the short brewery tour with awesomely-named-tour-guide Ryan, who showed us the inner workings of the brewery, all the shiny machines, and the disgusting barrels of spent yeast that they donate to local farms. Eww.

Ryan also mentioned that in the next few months, the brewery will be expanding substantially with a move to its new location in Elmsford, which will finally allow them to produce 6-packs of Pale Ale and other 12 oz. offerings. Big things coming from the Captain. Be on the lookout at your favorite bottle shop.

No brewery review is complete without pictures of big shiny things.

We didn’t realize it before we plugged the address into Kyle’s GPS, but Capt. Lawrence is about 10 minutes closer than New England Brewing Co., making it our closest commercial brewery. It’s an awesome place to grab some samples of a year-round favorite or something seasonal, the growler prices are totally reasonable, and the staff is friendly. Next time you’re in Pleasantville (and why wouldn’t you be), definitely plan to stop by.

Grrrrrrr, (I’m growling. Get it?)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Best Mac and Cheese Recipe EVER!

So you've read the title and your first thought was "yeah right".  It's a bold statement I know, but true none the less.  Don't believe me?  Try the recipe, and if you still think that you have a better Mac and Cheese then feel free to cook some up for me!

Prepare for the second installment of Food Plus Beer's Sunday Football recipes.  The mouthwatering cheesiness pictured below is sure to win the hearts of your family and friends.  As always, grab a beer before you start.

The Best Mac and Cheese Recipe EVER!

1 lb curly pasta (gemelli or cellentani)
1/2 lb Bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
9 Tablespoons bacon fat (reserved)

3 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons of flour
3 cups whole milk
1 lb extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese (buy a block and shred it yourself - a MUST)
2 cups cheddar crackers (like Goldfish or Cheez-It)
Fresh cracker black pepper

Boil water for pasta.  Salt the water and par-cook the pasta just shy of al dente.

Cook Bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until crispy.

While bacon is cooking grind cheddar crackers.  I find that the easiest way to do this is to just put them in a Ziploc bag and have at them with a rolling pin.

Remove bacon and reserve fat drippings in a jar, as well as leaving about 3 Tablespoons of grease in the pan.

Add butter to pan.  When melted combine flour with the butter and whisk constantly until incorporated to form a roux.  When flour begins to brown a little slowly add milk and continue whisking.  Do not add all of the milk at once.  Add a little bit at a time and combine thoroughly before adding more.

Once all of the milk is mixed in add 3/4 of the cheese.  Mix until cheese is melted and fully combined.  Add crushed black pepper and salt to taste.

Put pasta in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Cover with cheese sauce and half of the bacon then mix.  Top with the remaining 1/4 lb of cheese.  Next, combine ground cheddar crackers with 6 tablespoons of bacon fat and cover the top of the pasta.  Last, crumble the remaining bacon on top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Finish off on broil for about ten minutes for a nice crispy crust on top.

Now that is some ROCKIN' Mac and Cheese.  If you try it, post a comment below and let us know what you think.  Enjoy!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York Craft Beer Week

If you like New York, love craft beer, and can’t get enough of weeks, New York Craft Beer Week is the place for you.

Every night from 9/16 to 9/25, the city will be teeming with tap takeovers, beer dinners, meet-the-brewer nights, and more. In addition, for $10, you can buy a beer “passport” that entitles you to one $3 pint at every participating bar in the city. All you have to do is use it 3.33333333333333333333 times and it’ll pay for itself.

Not a bad way to usher in Fall. (I really hope Usher falls off a stage somewhere so we get hilarious search results for this post).

Happy drinking, and don’t fall asleep on the train.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Burgers

NFL kick-off is an exciting weekend.  Now you have yet another excuse to drink beer and eat terribly unhealthy but deliciously fatty crave worthy food.  Each week we are going to post a Food Plus Beer original recipe that's worthy of Sunday Football.  So grab a beer, the remote, and get cookin'!

Warning: These burgers are monstrous and totally delicious and devastating to your circulatory system.  Do not operate machinery while under the influence of these burgers.  Beware of flowing melted blue cheese that not only covers, but also fills these abnormally juicy burgers.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Burgers
1/2 lb bacon
1 1/4 lb Ground Beef
4 T Bacon Fat (reserved)
A couple splashes of Amber Beer
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 t Salt
1/3 lb Blue Cheese (divided)
Crushed Black Pepper
1 Small Onion Caramelized

Garlic Balsamic Mayonnaise
1 Clove Garlic (crushed)
4 T Mayonnaise
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
Crushed Black Pepper

Fry Bacon in a pan. Reserve 4 tablespoons of fat and dry bacon on a paper towel.

Combine Beef, Bacon Fat, Beer, Worcestershire Sauce, and Salt.

Divide beef mixture into 4 even amounts and form 4 patties, about 4 inches in diameter.

Divide half of the blue cheese between 2 of the patties.  Make sure that the cheese is in the center and leave room around the edges.

Place the empty patties on top of the blue cheese topped patties and pinch the sides together.

Generously coat each side in crushed black pepper.

Grill on high heat for the first two minutes and then lower to medium high for 8 minutes.  Flip burgers and top with the remaining blue cheese. You'll want to put the cheese on soon after you flip because it takes a while for the blue cheese to melt.

Load up each side of the buns with the Garlic Balsamic Mayonnaise.  Put the burger on, smother with bacon and caramelized onions, grab another beer devour and be happy! Your mouth will thank you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ryan Does Portland, ME Pt 2: The Sebago Brewpub

Click here for Pt. 1: The Allagash Brewery.

As Brit and I left Allagash, we found we were in an odd place in terms of what to do next. It was 2 pm, we were a little buzzed and a little hungry. It was too late for lunch, too early for dinner, and there was no point in going back to the hotel, because we were in friggin’ Portland.

Therefore, we came to the conclusion that the best course of action would be to have a snack and a brew at another one of my predetermined beer destinations (Beerstinations?), the Sebago Brewpub.

This was taken from a moving car. Don't act like you're not impressed.
The Sebago Brewpub is located downstairs from a Hampton Inn, a couple blocks from the water in the heart of Portland’s Old Port. I couldn’t help but notice the prime location and lament that a similarly-themed restaurant in Stamford would never be afforded such choice real estate. Alas.

There were 10 Sebago beers on tap, and I ordered a Frye’s Leap IPA. My history with Frye’s Leap up to this point had been very up-and-down. I’d had it on tap 2 or 3 times and been very impressed, and I’d had it in a bottle and been…underwhelmed. The brewpub’s offering, as you may expect, was super fresh, with that great hop aroma and kick that must have faded as the bottle aged a bit. If you can find fresh Frye’s Leap on tap, it’s certainly worth a taste.

Pictured (Left to Right): my cell phone, Frye's Leap, a coaster, Bass Ackwards.

Brit ordered Sebago’s Bass Ackwards Blueberry Ale, which isn’t my cup of tea, but it was malty and well-balanced without a nauseating amount of blueberry taste (which is not uncommon in blueberry beers.)

The menu was standard American fare, burgers, sandwiches, wings and what not, and we ordered potato nachos; nachos with waffle fries where the tortilla chips would normally be. It was culinary mad science. The salsa, sour cream and jalapenos worked perfectly on the potato – it was sort of like a nacho and a potato skin’s delicious bastard child. Also, my taste buds and my arteries are no longer on speaking terms.

Anyone know a good cardiologist?

While we were munching away, we noticed on the menu that all Sebago drafts were $2 from 10PM to close. Did I come back at 10PM for 2 more beers? Of course I did! I had another Frye’s Leap, and then moved on to the Lake Trout Stout – a malty stout brewed with real fish. (Just kidding.) Lake Trout was your run of the mill stout, malty, roasty, and serviceable, but nothing to write home about. Then again, I can’t think of much that would inspire me to write my mom a letter.

‘Twas a good time getting to know Portland, ME, and its surprisingly rich beer culture. I shall be back.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stone Brewing Flight Night TONIGHT @ Coalhouse

Just in case you haven't heard the news, there was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit in Virginia. Tremors were felt up through New England - even in Stamford! Life is unpredictable, Coalhouse's tap list tonight is not. They've got just about every Stone Brewing beer out there.  Stop in for a couple delicious brews that will ROCK your world (double pun intended, oh man I'm good).  And don't forget, Beer Club Members get their first beer FREE!

Never been to Coalhouse? Check out our review.

The Taps:
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
Drink up my friends!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stamford Summer Restaurant Week 2011

Stamford Summer Restaurant Week 2011 started today, Monday, August 22nd, and runs through Sunday, September 4, 2011. Eat up!

Click for menus…

$10.11 Lunch / $15.11 Dinner
Black Bear Saloon
Grand Burger *NEW*
Kujaku Japanese Restaurant
Lola’s Mexican Kitchen (excludes Fri and Sat)
Lucky’s Classic Burger & Malt Shop
SBC Downtown Restaurant & Brewery
Tiernan’s Bar & Restaurant
Volta Gelateria Creperie *NEW*

$12.11 Lunch / $20.11 Dinner
Butterfield 8 Restaurant & Lounge
Capriccio Cafe (lunch only)
Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant
Quattro Pazzi (excludes Fri and Sat)
Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza Company
Tengda Asian Bistro

$20.11 Lunch / $30.11 Dinner
Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar (Menu not available yet)
Bar Rosso *NEW* (excludes Fri and Sat)
Capital Grille
Chez Jean Pierre (excludes Sun)
Columbus Park Trattoria
Emme of Capri
EOS Greek Cuisine (excludes Fri and Sat)
Mitchell’s Fish Market
Morton’s The Steakhouse (dinner only)
Napa & Co. (lunch only)
Tappo Restaurant (excludes Fri and Sat)
ZAZA Italian Gastrobar *NEW* (excludes Fri and Sat)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ryan Does Portland, ME – Part 1: Allagash Brewery

I, Ryan Prescott, am a full-fledged beer geek. Sometimes, I don’t know how I got here. In 2009, I was in college drinking 30s of Busch and Keystone Light. Beer was nothing more than a mechanism for drunkenness - it didn’t matter what kind it was, just as long as it would provide buoyancy to a ping-pong ball.

Now, I can’t plan a vacation without my mind wandering to beer. What beer does (insert vacation locale) have that I can’t get here? What breweries are in the area? Any brewpubs or beer bars worth checking out? I just can’t help myself.

So, it’s hardly a surprise that when I decided to visit Portland, Maine for the first time with my girlfriend, I had to make a few stops; the first of which was a tour of the Allagash Brewery.

Yes, I'd like to solve the puzzle? Is it, "Allagash Brewing Co.?"

The Allagash Brewery is located 10 minutes or so from the heart of Portland, on the same road as two other breweries (Maine Beer Co. and Rising Tide Beer Co. – both closed to the public on the Tuesday we were visiting). We arrived at 1 pm for a guided tour, and were happy to learn that the first part of the tour was the beer tasting.
The (quite generous, in my opinion) tasting consisted of four different brews:

1. Allagash White – Allagash’s flagship beer, which, according to our tour guide, comprises 80% of the brewery’s sales. That’s kind of a lot. This beer is clean tasting, citrusy, crisp, and just perfect for a hot summer day. I may start substituting it for Gatorade in the near future.

2. Allagash Tripel - Spicy, even more citrusy than the white, with a little alcohol bite. Delicious. Had to buy a 4-pack.

3. Allagash Curieux – This beer is nothing more than the Tripel, aged in Jim Beam Bourbon Barrels. It pours a darker color, with a stronger, smokier taste to it, and the Bourbon aging bumps up the ABV to 11%.

4. Allagash Victor – This beer was brewed with wine grapes, which gave it a nice sweetness compared to the previous brews.
From there, we put on our sweet protective goggles and began the tour of their facilities, checking out the impressive brewing equipment, going over the brewing process (which Kyle and I know all about because we homebrew like bosses), and staring at the bottling line for a while, because it’s mesmerizing and I can’t help it.

Watching the bottling line > Counting sheep

From there, we went into the barrel aging room, a room filled from floor to ceiling with experimental brews that have never seen the light of day. It’s always nice to see a successful operation like Allagash continue to push the envelope and try wacky new things with their beer, so it was interesting to think of the possibilities that lay within those barrels.

Brittney tried drinking one before it was ready, and she turned into a blueberry.

All in all, it was a good time that I’d recommend to anyone. The tour is fun and informative, the samples are free and plentiful, and it’s always cool to see what goes into putting those tasty brews in those pretty bottles.

Check back soon for Part 2: The Sebago Brewpub.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's National IPA Day!

According to no less of an authority than the Internet, today, August 4, is National IPA Day.  What is National IPA Day? Who started it? Why is it August 4?  I didn’t really know, so I did some investigating, hoping to find an official IPA Day website. No dice. This was the best I could find:

“International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.

#IPADay is opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag, and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!”

So, there you have it – IPA day is nothing more than a celebration of a classic style of beer. You remember your IPA history, don’t you? In the 1700s, Britain had many soldiers and colonists living in India. Due to malts and other raw ingredients spoiling on the long journey overseas, these poor souls were left without any of their good homeland ale. As a result, brewers created a higher alcohol beer with lots of hops (a natural preservative) that could handle the trek to India. Just like that, the IPA was born.

If you’re a fan of IPAs, crack one open tonight and throw a tweet or status update up about it. Here’s what I’ve got in the ol’ inventory:

Dogfish 60 Minute IPA
New England Sea Hag IPA
Sebago Full Throttle Double IPA
Ryan’s Homebrewed IPA (Secret ingredient: love)

Kyle’s Fridge:

Sebago Full Throttle Double IPA
Dogfish Head Burton Baton Imperial IPA
Breckenridge Lucky U IPA
Kyle’s Homebrewed IPA (Secret ingredient: hate)

Happy IPA Day!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer
Asia Pacific Breweries, Singapore
Pale Lager Lager
5% ABV

You're getting pumped up for a Friday night, rocking out to "Eye of the Tiger". Your body's bouncing, and you're belting the words out at the top of your lungs. But this singing has made your throat dry and you REALLY need a beer. Why not pair this song with a Tiger Beer? Tiger Beer from Asia Pacific Breweries is Singapore's number one beer, and as far as macro-brewed Asian Lagers go, it's definitely one of the better ones that I've tried. Light yellow in color with fine bubbles, the beer is crisp, clean, and goes down smooth. The style is similar to that of a macro American Lager (think Budweiser) but it's got a fuller, more rounded taste. Tiger is dry hopped with a nominal amount of hops that add a little to the flavor.  The most noticeable distinction is a lingering sweetness towards the end. I happened to enjoy this sweet taste as it lets Tiger stand out from the pack and makes it more refreshing.

Would I take this over a Budweiser? I'd say yes, but at $8-9 dollars a six-pack I just don't think the taste justifies the price. Next time you're at an Asian restaurant, by all means order a Tiger. You'll enjoy it and it's likely better than the other options available. Plus, it's totally sessionable. But, if you're going to spend 8+ dollars on a six-pack, skip the macro-brewed lagers altogether.

- Kyle

Tiger Beer Testimonials:

"It grabs you and doesn't let go!" - Claude Balls

"Strong and decidedly untamed flavor!" - Roy Horn (of Siegfried and Roy)

"Chicks love it!" -Tiger Woods

[speechless] - Ethan Alive

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rowayton Pizza

Norwalk, CT

Rowayton, Connecticut is like a pre-op transsexual. It was born a part of Norwalk, but it’s never really felt like it belongs there. It belongs in Darien. You see, growing up, Rowayton always knew it was different. While the other neighborhoods in Norwalk allowed used cars, strip malls, and non-whites, Rowayton decided to call itself by a different name, devote itself to boating, and dress its residents in pink shorts with lobster decals.

In its heart, Rowayton has always been a part of Darien, and it breaks my heart to watch it struggle with its identity. It’s a sect of Norwalk badly in need of a “sects change” operation. So, now that I’ve pissed off transsexuals, people from Rowayton, people from Darien, and people who hate bad puns, let’s talk pizza!

At 7 o’clock on a Saturday night, FPB grabbed a handful of beers and headed down to the only BYOB pizza place in Fairfield County (at least to my knowledge), Rowayton Pizza. My razzing on Rowayton, of course, is all in fun; it’s actually a beautiful area with a very “small-town New England” feel to it. The downside, of course, is that parking sucks, so it took us 10 minutes to find a spot down some side street in front of someone’s house.

When we got to the restaurant, the parking situation was explained a little more clearly to us, as the line to get in was spilling into the parking lot. It would be over an hour before we were seated, despite the menu’s front cover assuring us, “There’s No Waitin’ at Rowayton!” It may be a cute rhyme, but it ain’t true.

Once we were seated, though, things began to run much more smoothly. After putting our now-warm beers on ice, we started with an order of fried calamari. It was lightly fried, crispy, cut into nice big rings and served with a side of tangy marinara. And with 5 of us eating it, it lasted about 3.8 seconds. Calamari, we hardly knew ye.

From there, I moved on to the Amalfi Drive pizza, a clam, bacon and garlic pizza with red sauce. It was well balanced; tangy, cheesy, salty, with plenty of clam flavor in every bite. The crust was a satisfying combination of crunchy and chewy…an excellent pie.

Another highlight of the evening was the price. The 16” large Amalfi Drive was just $15.75…I’ve seen seafood pizzas cost $20+ on multiple occasions. Add to that the fact that we were drinking our own beer from home, and that Rowayton doesn’t charge a stupid corking fee, and you begin to see that it’s one of the biggest pizza bargains in the area.

Our advice – either go early, or go late. If you get there at say, 5 pm, and beat the rush, or 8 pm, once it’s died down a bit, you can avoid that pesky one-hour wait and enjoy great, affordable pizza with whatever beer your heart desires. But if you choose to go at 7 like we did, well, that “No Waitin’ at Rowayton” slogan on the menu just may begin to sound like sarcasm.



Rowayton Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This burger could save the world.

You may have heard about the grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary's face on it, but what's so impressive about that? She's everywhere! Appearing in strange places is kind of her deal...

But this, my friends, is rare!  Ryan has been known to appear in McDonald's at least once a week, but never before has He been seen on the burger!  This is truly a message from God that Ryan must eat MORE cheeseburgers.  We all should!  

Obviously we're selling this burger on eBay.  That's clearly what you should do with any religious figure that appears in your food, right?  The Virgin Mary Cheese Sandwich fetched $28,000.  I think the McRyan deserves at least double that... there's both cheese and two "beef" patties in there! Just listen to what this burger can do:

  • It can make any sized space smell like McDonald's for days.
  • It will never go bad.
  • It has the power to make hearts stop.
  • It saved the world from the rapture a month ago.
  • It can save the world again...
Please send all bids to Kyle. Serious offers only - no low-balling!

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

    Extra Stout
    7.5% ABV
    $9.49 for a 4-pack

    Despite accounting for 45% of Guinness sales word wide, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (FES) only made it to the United States within the last year.  This was good news for American beer drinkers as FES is a damn tasty brew.  At 7.5% ABV with loads more hops than the rest of the Guinness line-up, this beer was crafted to survive long journeys and harsh climates, hence the 'Foreign' part.  It pours black as the night with toffee colored mountains of foam on top.  But this is not that fine bubbled, pillowy foam you might expect from a typical Guinness.  FES is carbonated (like most normal beers), not nitrogenated like the standard Guinness Milk Stout.  There's no widget at the bottom of this bottle.

    Put your nose over the beer and deliciously strong smells of coffee, caramel, and roasted barley rise up.  In your mouth the beer is full-bodied and rich with the tastes of everything you've just breathed in.  After the roasted malts comes a deep hop bitterness that lingers long after you stop sipping.  This lingering taste, the 7.5% ABV, and the ability to drink this beer at warmer temperatures allow you to take your time with this one.  FES is like a classic Guinness on steroids.

    In a word you could call the overall flavor 'bittersweet'.

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Your guide to the 20% alcohol tax increase in the state of Connecticut

    Starting July 1st, the incompetent pinheaded morons who run the state of Connecticut are increasing taxes on alcohol by 20%. Seeing as how the increase has been widely under-reported, and Food Plus Beer is your authority on all things alcoholic, we figured we’d give you a bit of a heads up.

    Long story short, if you’re loading up for a 4th of July party or barbecue, do it before this Thursday, because everything you buy at your local bottle shop is about to be a couple bucks more expensive. How much more expensive? Well, the retailers are taking some of the hit, too, so it’s not as simple as (Price you normally pay) * (1.20). [I wanted to include a pun about your fifth not actually costing a fifth more, but I decided not to. Unless you count this, but it’s in brackets. Doesn’t count.]

    At Three Seas Liquor in Stamford, the proprietor had a sign posted briefly explaining the effects of the new law, along with an example of how the price will change. The sign states that a previously $29.99 bottle of Absolut will now cost $31.99. For the consumer, that’s a little less than a 7% increase. A $10 6-pack, then, should cost about $10.70 if the changes are even across the board (and assuming most liquor stores are spreading the 20% out in a similar manner to Three Seas).

    So, as you can see, it’s not exactly a doomsday scenario, but it’s still a pain in the ass...especially when there’s such an obvious alternative solution to getting more state money out of CT’s booze industry. I don’t know, say, OPENING THE FRIGGIN’ LIQUOR STORES ON SUNDAYS? Well, gee, wouldn’t that make just a little bit of sense?

    You can buy a beer from a bar on Sunday, but not a liquor store. Uh...what?

    We’re currently optimizing 6 out of the 7 days of the week. If we were to open on Sunday, that’s a 16.7% increase in days our liquor stores are open, collecting taxes. Wouldn't that offset a good portion of that 20%? Not to mention the fact that a seventh day would create more jobs, thereby stimulating the economy and generating more income tax revenue.

    And wouldn’t this stop residents of CT border towns from driving to New York, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island to buy alcohol on Sundays…a direct loss in tax revenue for CT and benefit for its neighbors? Connecticut's a pretty small state - it's not that far a drive. I could walk to Port Chester if I had to.

    Connecticut, for all its self-righteousness and progressive attitude, is one of just TWO states in the U.S. (Indiana, I believe, being the other) that doesn’t open its liquor stores on Sundays. That’s right, the entire Bible belt has moved on and embraced the beauty of drinking white lightnin’ out of a boot on the Sabbath… yet CT can’t seem to get its act together and clings to its Puritanical roots from 400 years ago.

    Jesus turned water into wine, people. I don’t think he’d be offended. Open the damn doors.

    Enjoy the tax hike,


    Monday, June 20, 2011

    100 Beers at Monster B's

    About a month ago, I finally had my 100th beer at Monster B’s, and crossed over into Hall of Foam immortality. The clouds opened wide, rows of glistening trumpets brought forth thunderous melodies from the heavens, and scantily clad Nordic maidens hand-fed me grapes and fanned me off with giant banana leaves. Either that or some dude with a beard gave me a high five.

    Anywho, that day, I took a picture of the front of my Hall of Foam card, with plans to take a picture of the back of the card for an FPB post after drinking the two beers I needed to make an even 100.

    Well, I forgot. One of beer’s less fortunate side effects, I suppose. Beer giveth, and beer taketh away.

    Eventually, I made it back to Monster’s, snapped a photo of the back of the card, and here it is, in all its sudsy glory – 100 beers. I’d like to thank my liver.


    This card sets penmanship back 100 years.

     My mom is so proud.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    SoNo Restaurant Week 2011

    Just found out today that SoNo Restaurant week is happening NOW, through June 17th (Friday). Here are the participating restaurants, with Restaurant Week menus where applicable.

    Bacchus – RW Menu Not Online- (203) 956.6220  Make Reservations
    Barcelona – RW Menu Not Online- (203) 899.0088
    Black Bear Saloon – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 299.0711
    Coromandel – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 852.1213
    ChocopologieRW Lunch Menu & RW Dinner Menu- (203) 854.4754
    Donovan’s – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 354.9451
    The GingermanLunch & Dinner RW Menus- (203) 354.0163
    MatchRW Menu – (203) 852.1088  Make Reservations
    O’Neill’s – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 838.0222
    Red Lulu – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 939.1600
    Strada18 – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 853.4546
    Sono Brewhouse – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 853.9110
    The Sono Baking Company & Cafe – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 847.7666
    Wasabi Chi – RW Menu Not Online – (203) 286.0181

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Kona Grill - Stamford, CT

    For all the great happy hours in Stamford, there’s one category that’s sadly under-represented: Happy-Hours-With-Food (Henceforth referred to as HHWFs). These are, of course, happy hours in which the discount extends to food items as well as drinks.

    Now I know what you’re saying: “But Ryan, C.J. McDouchenstein’s has 50 cent wing nights on Wednesdays!” True, and I love me some wing night, but it doesn’t do me much good on a Friday. A HHWF, by definition that I’m currently making up on the spot, is a happy hour that discounts food every day (weekends, of course, notwithstanding).

    Think about it a bit. In Stamford, it’s pretty easy to find a 4 dollar beer on a weekday afternoon, but decidedly more difficult to find a corresponding $5 appetizer. Enter Kona Grill.

    Being that it’s located A. in the Stamford mall, and B. across the street from mega-companies like UBS, Kona Grill is a bit of a haven for yuppies and jailbait high-school chicks. But for a HHWF, my friends, we’d gladly enter the gates of Mordor.

    We arrived at Kona this past Friday afternoon after spending the afternoon shirtless, throwing rocks at each other and swilling light pee beer. This may have been part of the reason our waiter hated us. But that’s neither here nor there – we wanted sushi and Sake bombs, stat.

    Sake bombs at Kona’s happy hour are $7.50, and we had enough for three people to do two rounds apiece. Now, is Sake and Japanese rice beer as good as a cold IPA? No, but it’s insanely cheap, it’s fun to do something different and I like the feeling when your Sake cup smashes into your front teeth. So there.

    For dinner, I ordered a fiery shrimp roll and twin mini-burgers with fries off the happy hour menu. The fiery shrimp roll was just spicy enough (Sriracha ftw), with good flavor and a satisfying shrimp crunch. The burgers were bigger than I expected and surprisingly good, with well-seasoned beef, a tasty bun and a nice pile of     shoestring fries. The combined price of my dishes: $8.13.

    You can find better sushi in Stamford. You can find a better atmosphere. You can find a much better beer list. But I defy you to beat $10.38 for a sushi roll, twin sliders, fries, and two rounds of Sake bomb. It’s a HHWF, baby! And that’s exactly why Kona Grill has one of the best happy hours in Stamford.

    But there’s one other aspect where Kona truly stands alone. Their HHWF starts at [4] 3, ends at 7 – and starts up again at 10. That’s right; Kona is crazy enough to give out discounted food and drinks from 10 til close on a Friday night. I think I’m turning Japanese.



    Kona Grill on Urbanspoon

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    SBC Stamford

    Southport Brewing Company
    Stamford, CT

    The night of Cinco de Mayo, FPB and its friends had a brilliant idea: to go out to a Mexican restaurant!

    Unfortunately, everyone in Stamford had the exact same idea. It was already quarter past 7, and facing a 45-minute wait for a table at Maryann’s on Summer St., we made the executive decision to change plans on the fly and grab a table across the road at SBC. (And aren’t you lucky?  Lately we’ve reviewed more Mexican than the INS. It was time for something different anyway).

    For those who don’t know, SBC is a brewpub, serving standard American fare and a selection of beers brewed in-house to go along with the regular tap rotation. And being that the first location opened in Southport, CT, SBC actually stands for Southport Brewing Company, leading to a crippling case of acronym confusion whereby everyone accidentally calls it Stamford Brewing Company. Let’s just move on.

    Being that it WAS still Cinco de Mayo, we all opened with a round of the Margaritas SBC was advertising on its doors - $6 apiece, and you get to keep the cup! The Margaritas were pretty good, though a tad sweet for my taste (and no rock salt – alas). The cup was just a flimsy plastic thing, so we didn’t actually take them home like we would if they were sweet pint glasses or something (double alas?)

    For dinner, I split an order of fried calamari and a small Margherita pizza. The calamari was nice and crispy, lightly fried with two different dipping sauces (important for a schizo like me). The Margherita pizza here, though, is really a hidden treasure. I hadn’t had it since I barfed it up after Junior prom (not the pizza’s fault, vodka’s fault), but it was just as tasty as I remembered it (on the way down, at least). Plentiful cheese, juicy tomato slices everywhere, a healthy dose of basil – just a really well-done pie in a fairly unexpected place.

    Kyle ordered the Brew Burger. Despite having only two slices of bacon, the flavor was all there. Well seasoned and properly cooked to "medium" meat, smothered in caramelized onions and fontina cheese. The fries weren't too shabby either!

    I was so fired up, I decided to order one of SBC’s beers, the English Pale Ale. It was decent, smooth, drinkable, but just kind of unremarkable. Then I tried the IPA that Kyle ordered, and it tasted almost exactly the same. You really have to squint your tongue to notice much of a difference at all. They were like store-brand versions of a good beer - the basics were all there, but they were missing the subtleties and flavors that make a beer "craft". That's probably why they're only $4.50 apiece.

    I mean - these beers aren’t BAD, they’re just…meh. And that’s a shame, because SBC has an awesome location, a great layout, good food, and it really has a chance to be the best bar in town, except that the one thing you’d expect a brewpub to have – awesome homemade beer - is missing. It’s like watching LeBron James squander his talent year after year in the playoffs - it’s painful to watch good potential go to waste.

    SBC is still a fun place to hang out, particularly during the summer, and we WILL be back…we just wish they’d remember what the B in SBC stands for.



    SBC Restaurant Brewery on Urbanspoon