Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nice Article in

Here's a nice piece on Annette and Merchants Fine Wines at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adventures in the Antipodes.....

(....or not.)
I had to take a quick trip back to Melbourne, Australia recently to take care of some family business, and I didn't have ANY spare time, so I didn't get to any bars, breweries or restaurants. But, the good news is that the local bottle shops had plenty of good beers to keep in the fridge at my mum's place, including a few I'd not tried before, and the local food shops offerred a plethora of fantastic fresh fare for me to cook.
The beer on the far left was a simple lager brewed with NZ Nelson Sauvignon hops, and was delicious. The Pepperjack was a beer mixed with some Shiraz grapes and made in the Barossa Valley. Little Creatures was the staple in my fridge, along with Melbourne's Mountain Goat Brewery's Steam Beer (not pictured.)  

 My mum lives in a predominately Greek area, and the local shopping centre reflected this with an abundance of fish markets featuring fresh octopus and fresh sardines! Cooked simply in a little garlic and olive oil, the elusive (to Detroit, anyway) sardines were just superb (though my mum said she preferred the canned ones!). Another evening saw us feasting on giant fresh shrimp over linguine. And another on duck breast with a pomegranate and balsamic reduction sauce. And, I can't forget the freshly caught rabbit, courtesy of a friend of my mum's, braised with prunes and James Squire Porter, and accompanied with Tasmania's Cascade Stout.

My only free two hours during the whole time away saw me at Acland Cellars, an amazing bottle shop that specializes in imports that nobody else has. Check out what I found there......(and the prices!)
Alaskan Smoked Porter!!

I resisted the urge to buy the Consecration to bring back with me, but kicked myself as I was eating the duck breast......

A Fine Feast

Roast in Detroit hosted a great beer dinner this past Tuesday, featuring Stone and Jolly Pumpkin beers.

My brother Dave has the full story here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great beer line-up at this event on January 22nd!

Hosted by Oak Cafe, Wyandotte, Saturday January 22, 3-9PM. 
This event will be held at Placowka Post 95 Hall, 2935 11th (1 block east of Oak Cafe), Wyandotte
Here's more info about tickets, etc

1. Bells Batch 9000
2. Bells Batch 10,000
3. Bells Wheat Luv
4. Bells Hell Hath No Fury
5. Founders Kentucky Breakfast
6. Founders Backwoods Bastard
7. Founders Devil Dancer
8. Dark Horse Plead The 5th 2009 Barrel Aged
9. Dogfish Olde School Barley Wine
10. 2009 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
11. Kuhnhenn 4th Dementia
12. Kuhnhenn 4th Dementia Barrel aged
13. Bells Trumpeters Stout
14. Goose Island Dominique Sour Ale
15. Dark Horse TOO Cream Stout
16 Dark Horse TRES Blueberry Stout
CASK ALES 1. Arcadia B-Craft Black Double IPA 2. Arcadia COCO LOCO Triple Chocolate Stout

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Holy Grail of cheese

That would be Murray's, in Greenwich Village, NYC. For those that live locally, it's a bit like Zingerman's, only way more cheese! What a wonderful place! We spent over an hour in there, ogling and tasting cheese. The people that work there are as knowledgeable and passionate about cheese as, well, we are about beer. (And are trying to be about cheese.) Which is why we were there. You can taste to your heart's content.
After tasting about 10 cheeses we settled on the following (keeping in mind that we had to bring all the cheese back with us on the plane later that day).....
Red Leicester - Sparkenhoe Farm , UK. A raw milk, cloth bound, cow's milk cheddar with a grassy, minerally flavour. Fantastic with Mr Cicerone's IPA.
Sottocenere - Northern Italian cow's milk, semi-soft cheese infused with black truffle, with a rind coated in nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, licorice and clove. (Skip the rind, eat the paste!!). Oh my. The ever-so-luscious truffle, in any form, has me grasping (and gasping) for more. Mr Cicerone's Irish Stout was really good with this cheese! I ended up using the remainder in a linguine-with-walnuts dish, and it was great!
Tilsiter - this particular cheese is from Austria., thought the original is from Switzerland. It's a funky, stinky, washed-rind cow's milk, and Aventinus was fantastic with it.
Weinkase Lagrein - it's Northern Italian! It's a cow's milk soaked in wine and herbs, garlic & pepper. 6 weeks later you have a cheese that incorporates all these flavours, especially the garlic! It has a strong, unusual, garlicky flavour. Aventinus was also good with this cheese, as was Mr Cicerone's Batch 300 rye barley wine. If we can find this cheese locally we will be making a batch of macaroni & cheese with it, for sure!
Mimolette - from Normandy, aged 22 months. Wow. More, please! A dark orange, hard cheese with some similarities to an aged gouda, though it's more fruity and less caramelly. I tried this with, not Calvados as recommended by Murray's, but Etienne Dupont's  Pommeau de Normandie, a blend of Calvados & cider. (We have some in our fridge.) Perfect!

Recipe Time! Part Two

The key to success in the kitchen....

A closer look:

We're sure it lost something in the translation....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Recipe Time!

Well, sorta. I found this gem via Dave Barry's blog. Be sure to enjoy the comments following the "recipe."

English Peas?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I HEART New York

Love it, love it, love it! Even in a blizzard. (If there's a blizzard, there are two places to be- at home, with a stocked fridge and lots of books, or NYC. You can get anywhere on the subway -it's not shut down no matter how bad it is outside, or, provided the winds aren't blowing at hurricane force, you can still walk. Even in 8 inches of snow.)
We decided to spend Christmas in NYC this year, both visiting friends that live there, and doing our best to visit as many great beer bars and eateries as we could manage in three (which turned into 4) days. First stop- St Andrew's pub, just off Times Square near our hotel. We arrived there, straight from the airport, at 11PM on Xmas Eve, parched! Mr Cicerone opted for Belhaven's Twisted Thistle IPA, and I decided on Palm, the simple session-style Belgian pale ale that isn't available in Michigan, and I'd yet to try it. I do love this style, but Palm was a little sweet. I prefer De Koninck. I , too, opted for the Thistle when the bartender cried out for Last Call. Mmm.
Christmas Day in NYC.....people everywhere, lots of places open, and not a Santa in sight! I love this place! Lunch found us at Ben's (Kosher) Deli, enjoying a big chopped liver sandwich while Mr Cicerone opted for pastrami and a Brooklyn lager. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly really, the pubs we were hoping to be open were not, so we settled in to Heartland Brewpub for a couple

before heading to the Upper West Side to visit our friends, who fed us a fantastic brisket pot roast (infused with horseradish) along with, on our recommendation,  He'Brew Messiah Bold brown ale. It had been a chilly but pleasant day weatherwise, and sometime as we were walking around I noted to Mr Cicerone, (a little wistfully for his sake), that it would have been perfect if it had snowed, just a little. Little did I know.....

...Full post

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Funny Ad, Great Timing

Mrs. C. and I were enjoying some great beers at the Pony Bar in New York City during the recent blizzard, and as we were chuckling at this ad:

Right then, two young guys came in, squeezed in right next to us at the bar, and ordered Bud Lights. Whoops, kids, wrong bar! In case you didn't check out the link, that was kind of like going into a five star restaurant and ordering a Whopper. We had some great beers there, including Southern Tier Ne'tra Gal (It's a dorky Star Wars fanboy reference,) a sort of low-grav black IPA thing with only 4.6% alc/vol. We also enjoyed some great sandwiches, and our front row seat view of the first big paralyzing snowstorm to hit Manhattan this winter. Our trip back to our hotel, a matter of only a few blocks, was entertaining for those of us that love the snow, and vexing for those who do not:

An even bigger hassle than usual to have a car in Manhattan

At the point the above photo was taken, about half the snow we were in for had fallen, and already travel by car had gotten decidedly dicey. By morning, it was clear we would not be travelling on that day... forcing us to entertain ourselves with more food and beer....