Friday, December 4, 2015

Sweet eats of late.

Enticing squares of fudge from Scheels at Jordan Creek Town Center. Clockwise from top left: rich Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt is to die for; Des Moines River Bottom with layers of chocolate and vanilla fudges plus caramel and chips; Snickers fudge is packed with plenty of peanuts and caramel to satisfy; nutty Chocolate Walnut.

Chocolate covered pretzel stick, left, from Nan's Nummies in Valley Junction. A quick sweet and salty fix. As good as the chocolate variety are, an added layer of caramel, right, jacks up the pleasure. Way more satisfying than a Twix bar.

A voluminous, flaky croissant at Scenic Route Bakery hides a secret within. Its chocolate!

Nan's Nummies Menu, Reviews, Photos,
Location and Info - Zomato Scenic Route Bakery Menu, Reviews,
Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Recent breakfasts: Chain vs. Local.

A double-smoked bacon, egg, and cheddar breakfast sandwich at Starbucks. Delineation between white and yolk is a bit disconcerting, but otherwise its a passable sandwich.

This breakfast sandwich at Sidebar with bacon, egg, cheddar, and a dijon aioli reminds me in bun texture of the Croissan'wich served down the street at Burger King, but with actual flavor.

I rarely visit Panera Bread but I do like their baked egg souffl├ęs, such as this with spinach and bacon. I don't know if the sausage on this breakfast panini was turkey or pork, but it had a rubbery texture and mild flavor I usually associate with the former.

'Meaty' bialy from Scenic Route Bakery. Bacon, ham, egg, cheese, veggies, on a wee-sized focaccia. It has eclipsed their mini-cheese quiche as my favorite item at Scenic Route.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cold-smoking and cask-conditioning at Firetrucker Brewery: I'd tap that!

From left: Neil Zaugg cold-smoking barley malt, 3 Alarm Red, Burning Bear Stout.

Firetrucker Brewery's first anniversary release, the 3 Alarm Red (9% ABV, 82 IBU), cold-smoked with peach wood, tastes of caramel and smoke, finishes bitter. I desire flan after a few quaffs. A smoky, woody Burning Bear Stout (5.1% ABV, 50 IBU) tastes of roasted coffee and dry malt.

A Black & Tan, made by Liz Long, with the Uptown IPA and Burnout Brown.

From left: the Cat Dragon served by itself and as a Moscow Mule, Habanero 3 Alarm Red.

The Cat Dragon ginger beer (11.5% ABV, 0 IBU) offers serious ginger aroma and flavor with a simple syrup sweetness. At thrice the alcohol of Firetrucker's Cat in a Tree hard ginger beer, this garners respect. Also available with lime and ice as a mule, the Firebreathing Cat Dragon. Cask-conditioned Habanero 3 Alarm Red is a robust, smoky brew with a zest that's no slouch.

From left: Vanilla Burnout Brown, Strawberry Honey Brewbarb, Angelicus.

Cask-conditioned Vanilla Burnout Brown pairs deep caramel malt flavor softened with vanilla. Cask-conditioned Strawberry Honey Brewbarb provides a mellow tartness, with the strawberry coming out post-swallow. At 8.0 ABV it catches up after a few tulips. Angelicus' golden hue hints at sweet banana flavors. A light hand with herbs and spices round out this fine Belgian Oldstyle double pale ale. Smooth for a nearly 10% ABV, 60 IBU.

Dan Heidersheit, with Liz Long, tapping a cask-conditioned Vanilla Burnout Brown.

From left: Resuscitator, Acova Black Walnut Ale, Midnight Orange IPA.

Raisiny Resuscitator (7% ABV, 26 IBU) is a malty dopplebock that's lush with dried fruit flavors. With the winter approaching Firetrucker's magnificent Acova Black Walnut Ale is back on tap. Another cask-conditioned brew last tried was the Midnight Orange IPA, with hoppy Uptown IPA flavored with South African Midknight orange zest and pulp. Its a keeper!

Firetrucker Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Muy bien, Malo.

A trio of pupusas. Thick corn masa tortillas, filled with pork shoulder and cheese, served with sides of curtido (slaw) and salsa. Browned and with a more defined crust than what I normally expect for a pupusa. A pupusa should yield to a fork; these require more effort. The pork and cheese filling is rather mild. I generally prefer pupusas stuffed with either spinach leaves or loroco, an edible flower native to Mexico and Central America.

Chef Matt's Spaghetti Gordo, with Mexican and Spanish chorizos, bacon, garlic crema, roasted peppers, corn, tomato, queso fresco, cilantro, and tortilla crumbles. Corn entices in aroma and flavor along with a mildly-pungent queso base. The principals of this dish – spaghetti pasta al dente and a loose, yet creamy garlic queso sauce – never play second fiddle to the rest of the orchestra. That said, zesty, toothsome cubes of Spanish chorizo are a significant compliment, if not ranking equal billing. I longed for a flour tortilla to sop up the remainders in my bowl. ¡Bueno!

Fried Brussels sprouts, with queso fresco, pickled Anaheim chiles, pumpkin seeds, and aioli. If only our mothers would have made sprouts like this! Outer leaves are crispy, while the interior is much like the roasted variety, with an appealing crunch.

Malo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato