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Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

Last weekend, I went down to Florida for my buddy’s bachelor party/birthday weekend. He lives in Sarasota, a part of Florida that I had never been to before.

I flew down on Thursday into the Sarasota airport and we immediately headed to the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tampa. Just a tip if you plan on visiting. Some of the hotels in the area have brochures that allow you to get $20 of free play in the casino if you have never visited before. I’m sure if you call they can tell you where to pick up the brochure.

Before arriving, we made a quick stop at Brandon Cross Liquors to grab some drinks as the casino does not offer free ones. I didn’t expect much as it was just a small shop in a strip mall. However, this was a really great shop. They had a good selection of beer and liquor. We picked up a 6-pack of Laughing Skull Amber Ale, a beer made by Red Brick out of Georgia. This turned out to a good, not great beer.

Later in the night, we decided to grab some food at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was pretty empty, although it was a Sunday night. We were seated way in the back and a cover band was playing on the stage. I think they played “Happy Birthday” at least six times.

I ordered the chicken fingers and my buddy ordered the nachos. The nachos weren’t too bad. We ordered them with pulled pork and they tasted like standard bar food. The chicken fingers were good but they were really small and cost about the same as the nachos. Nothing award winning here, but we just wanted some food in our stomachs.

The next morning, we were starving and wanted something delicious for breakfast. I had read about this place not too far called Daily Eats so we decided to check it out.

For a Friday morning, this place was packed! It was definitely a younger crowd. I ordered the Tijuana, which was a breakfast bowl filled with scrambled eggs with vegetable chili, shredded pepper jack, jalapenos, and guacamole served over home fries. It was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend this place if you area in the area.

After breakfast, we wanted to shoot some pool so searched what was in the area. We found a place called The Tiny Tap Tavern which seems to be a popular place in the area.

Unfortunately, they were getting new pool tables as we walked up so we weren’t able to play but if I ever come back to the area I am definitely making a stop here.

Luckily there was another place not far away called The Rack.

This was a sushi bar/pool hall. It seemed like a pretty cool place to hang out. They had plenty of pool tables and also a ping pong table. We didn’t try the food so I can’t comment on that.

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A few weeks back, I won tickets to see a speaker at National Geographic. I invited my Mom to come out with me, and we met beforehand to grab something to eat. One of her favorite places for an easy meal is Tonic in Foggy Bottom.

It looks to be a place where a lot of GW students hang out. As you walk in, there is a bar straight ahead and a flight of steps taking you up to a dining area. We sat upstairs, which was pretty empty as they had just opened for dinner. This place is huge! I thought it was cool that you can draw on the paper table cloths and they also had books for people to read.

My mom ordered tea and I tried to order the Bell’s Two Hearted IPA on draft. Unfortunately, they were out but the waiter suggested I try the Spiced IPA from Widmer Brothers. This is part of the Rotator series. I really liked the beer. It had a nice balance of hoppy and spicy.

We both ordered burgers. I ordered the Southern BBQ burger, which came with Bourbon BBQ sauce, aged cheddar, apple-wood bacon, and fire griddled onions. I got it with a side of tater tots. This was a great burger, and I liked that when I ordered it medium rare, it was actually medium rare. The tater tots were also awesome and are hugely popular here.

This is a great place to grab some food and a couple drinks. It’s a very casual atmosphere, the food is great, and the prices aren’t too bad.

Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy on Urbanspoon

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Recent Returns

Hi, everyone!

Been back to eat at a few places recently and I thought I would share my experiences.

Los Chorros

Los Chorros is still one of my favorite restaurants in Wheaton. My original review can be found here. This was only my second time eating in the restaurant. We went on a Friday night and it was pretty busy but there was no wait for a table. They brought out complimentary chips and salsa while we decided what to order. I decided on the Tacos al Carbon, which is three corn tortillas filled with steak and served with rice, beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole. Really good tacos, and a great portion for $11.95. I never leave this place hungry. My friends were very happy with their dishes as well. My buddy got the Especial Doña Reina, which came with steak, sausage, an egg, avocado, rice and beans. It was a huge portion and according to him, also delicious. My girlfriend got the Chef’s Taco’s, which is three corn tortillas filled with steak, chicken, and beef tongue. it comes with cilantro, pico de gallo, avocado, and rice and beans. I can personally testify that this dish is also delicious. For those who are hesitant about the tongue, give it a try. The meat is very tender and flavorful. This place remains one of my go to restaurants in Wheaton for the good food, good prices, and comfortable atmosphere. They also have great service.

Nava Thai

Nava Thai is still the most frequented restaurant by my family in Wheaton ever since Suporn closed. My original review of Nava Thai can be found here. I’ve been trying to order some different things. I usually go for the Duck Kaprow or Panang Curry, but I decided to try the Pineapple Curry with chicken. I liked this dish because of the sweet mixed with the savory. If the sauce is good enough to drink at the end, I’d say it’s a thumbs up. We also ordered the spring rolls which are consistently good here.

Silver Diner

Silver Diner is like a reliable friend that you don’t need to visit all the time to know that things are good. My original review was here. I ordered the chicken tenders (my food of choice as a kid) and a Tupper’s Hop Pocket Ale. The chicken tenders were pretty good but the beer was amazing. This beer is actually from Bethesda, MD. It’s an American Pale Ale with a 6% ABV. I can’t recommend this beer enough.

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As Wheaton Calling reported earlier in the week, Royal Mile Pub is back with new owners as of Friday, the 16th. They have done a great job staying on top of the story. Their latest can be found here

Last night, my family and I went for a birthday dinner. My parents tried to stop by on Friday and said that it was so crowded that even Nava Thai was packed, presumably because of people being discouraged by the wait at Royal Mile. From the looks of it, people really missed it.

We went about 6:00 or so last night, and there was no wait for our party of five. The new owners were at the door, individually greeting each person and we were seated right away.

The menu seems to be pretty much the same as before, if not a little smaller. The beer list is also slightly smaller. I ordered the Goose Island IPA, which was delicious. My Dad tried to order the Baying Hound Pale Ale, but it was not available. Every time we come we try and order this beer and it’s never available. I’m unsure as to why they keep it on the menu.

The service was a little slow, but being that they just reopened, we were willing to cut them some slack. To their credit, the food actually came out really fast. I ordered the corned beef and cabbage, and was pretty underwhelmed with it. Their was a huge half a head of cabbage with only a little beef and a few potatoes. They may be still be ironing out some of the kinks in the kitchen, as well. I did try some of their buffalo wings, which were good and very meaty.

After we finished our meal, it took a very long time for our waitress to come back and give us the check. When we got the check, we waited for some time and nobody came back to collect it. We had to flag down another staff member in order to pay. Again, we realize they are just reopening but the service needs to improve, especially because it was not all that crowded.

I’m glad that Royal Mile is back, and think it’s an excellent part of the neighborhood, but I hope that they continue to improve.

Royal Mile Pub on Urbanspoon

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Let’s drink some beer

It’s getting to be beautiful outside, so it’s the perfect weather for grilling and having a couple of beers. Here are a few I’ve tried over the last couple weeks:

Newcastle Founder’s Ale

This pale ale from Newcastle debuted back in January. I haven’t seen it around much. I believe it will be available through April 2012. It’s a good beer, if not lacking a little bite. However, it’s great cold and I think most would enjoy drinking this.

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

This beer is fantastic! It’s the new Spring seasonal by Sierra Nevada. Although it has ruthless in the name, it’s a very drinkable IPA. There’s even a little taste of citrus in the beer, which makes it a good Spring time beer. Very impressed by this beer and I highly recommend it.

Harpoon Celtic Ale

Generally, I find Harpoon to be pretty good and I knew this was a new offering from Harpoon so I gave it a shot. Truthfully, I was pretty underwhelmed by this Irish red ale. It would probably pair well with some corned beef, but it didn’t do much for me on its own. I’d order it if I was out and in the mood for a red ale.

Magic Hat Vinyl

Magic Hat never really blows me away, but are usually pretty good. Their Spring seasonal, Vinyl, wasn’t bad but nothing about it really stood out to me. It’s am American Amber with a fairly low ABV which would make it good for a BBQ.

Flying Dog Garde Dog

I really like this beer! It’s Flying Dog’s Spring seasonal. It’s a French farm house ale, not too malty and not too hoppy. This would be a great beer for people new to craft beer. It would pair well with seafood, bread, and cheese. It’s a refreshing beer, and it’s a nice change from all the heavy winter beers I’ve been drinking in the last few months.

Breckenridge Pandora’s Bock

This is a seasonal offering from Breckenridge. It’s only offered January through March. This is a good beer, with notes of coffee and chocolate. It packs a high ABV (7.5%), but it doesn’t taste too strong. This would be a great after-dinner beer.

Goose Island Honker’s Ale

Last Friday, I was going to a party to try crickets for the first time. I decided I needed a delicious beer by my side in case they tasted terrible. I stopped at Wheaton Winery and saw they had Honker’s Ale, which is an absolutely delicious beer. I think I may have tried it before when I was just starting to drink nicer beer. It’s an English Bitter with a low ABV, but this beer was a hit with everybody. Now that I know Wheaton Winery has it, I’ll be back to pick up more.

Dogfish Head Aprihop

I don’t like very fruity beers, but I was intrigued by Aprihop. It’s an IPA brewed with Apricots. The brewer Sam Calagione was quoted as saying this is a fruity beer for people who don’t like them. I definitely agree with that. It’s a nice balance of citrus, fruit, and hops and has a 7% ABV. This is a great Spring time beer.

Tröegs Nugget Nectar

Tröegs has quickly become one of my favorite breweries. Everything I taste from them is delicious. I plan on visiting the brewery since it is not all that far away. I’ve heard a lot about Nugget Nectar but this was the first that I’ve been able to try it. It’s an American Amber with a 7.5% ABV. The key word here is nectar. If you like hops, this is your beer. This stuff sells fast, so if you see it, grab it!

More to come!

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Here’s a few various things from the last couple weeks:

  • Hollywood East Cafe is having a 14-dish meal to celebrate Chinese New Year, complete with Lion Dance. More information can be found here.
  • Wheaton Patch posted a story about the second generation at Los Chorros trying to increase their visibility. That story is here. My review of Los Chorros is here.
  • Eatin’ in Wheaton recently reviewed K Town Bistro in Kensington. The review can be found here.
  • Been There, Eaten That loves the spicy food at Nava Thai. The review is here.
  • Recently, while surfing the Internet I came across a condiment called Mike’s Hot Honey.

    It’s essentially honey infused with chilies. I highly recommend ordering some. I’ve put it on roast duck, bagel with butter, and chicken. The possibilities are endless. You can find out more about it here.

  • I’ve been able to try some great beers in the past couple of weeks. Some of my favorites are as follows:

  • I was recently at Woodmoor Supermarket and was blown away by their beer selection. I found a bottle of Baying Hound Angel’s Nectar.

    I’m a big fan of Baying Hound because they make good beers and they are local. This particular beer is a chamomile honey wheat beer.

  • While at Arrowine a few weeks back, I came across Bell’s Winter White Ale.

    This is a nice change of pace from the usual heavy winter ales. It’s a nice, light witbier. I highly recommend this beer.

  • I finally got around to trying Newcastle’s Winter IPA.

    I liked it, but it did not have any kind of bite to it. I like my IPA’s to be hoppier. However, this beer did taste good and I would definitely drink it again. It won’t blow you away but you’ll most likely grab another one.

  • Last week I stopped at Beers and Cheers and picked myself up a six-pack of Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale.

    I’ve never tried a beer from Tröegs that I didn’t like, and this one was no different. This is an Amber ale which a nice hoppy aftertaste. Pick this up if you come across it.

  • I went to Gilly’s recently and decided to make my own 6-pack. One of the beers I chose was a Scrimshaw Pilsner by North Coast Brewing Company.

    My initial instinct was that this beer almost had a salty flavor, in a good way. This was a fantastic beer.

    I also tried the new Flying Dog Wileman Farmhouse IPA.

    This beer just debuted this month. It was one of the best Flying Dog beers that I have ever tried. It’s a nice, crisp beer that packs a punch (7.5% ABV).

    Also in the 6-pack, I had a a Long Trail Harvest.

    Addmittedly, I was drawn to it because of the label. This is a brown ale from Vermont brewed with maple syrup. Truthfully, there is not a lot of flavor to this beer.

    I also tried a Slam Dunkel from Weyerbacher.

    I loved this beer. It’s a Weizenbock with a very balanced taste.

    Another beer I tried was Full Sail’s Amber.

    This was a very tasty, amber ale. It didn’t blow me away, but good none the less.

    In addition to the 6-pack, I picked up a bomber of Amber Dog by Pub Dog.

    I bought this mainly because it’s brewed in Maryland. I’ve tried Pub Dog beers before, and they are pretty good but nothing amazing. I liked this beer, but as I drank it I forgot I was drinking it. It’s a middle of the road beer.

  • Recently, I also tried the new Sam Adams Alpine Spring.

    I’m not sure why I bought a Spring beer so early, but I did, and I wasn’t crazy about it. This beer tastes way too citrusy. After a few sips, I slightly adjusted but I didn’t really enjoy it much. I’d be open to trying it again in the actual Spring time.

  • Speaking of beer, I was in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago visiting a friend and we were looking for a place to watch some NFL playoffs. Our options were slim, so we decided to go to Uno’s in Hamilton, NJ. I have not been to Uno’s since I was a kid, and I remember it used to be a treat when my family would go. Normally, we’d get Little Cesars or Pizza Hut.

    My expectations were extremely low, but to be honest it wasn’t all that bad. We were quickly seated, and our waitress handed us a beer menu. I couldn’t believe it – a whole page of craft beers on tap. I ordered a 20oz Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA for $7.50! I paid the same amount for a glass half that size at Dogfish Head Alehouse. Not only did they have great beers on tap, you could even buy growlers. Granted, the prices were awful but just the fact that you could do so blew me away.

    The food was definitely quantity over quality. We tried the wings, and I found it weird that they did not have hot wings. However, our waitress brought us a bottle of Tobasco. The service was quick, and again, the beer selections were great. They had Dogfish Head 90 Minute, Old Rasputin, and countless other great beers on draft and even more in bottles. While I won’t go out of my way to eat at Uno’s, if they all have this beer selection, I’ll certainly stop in for a beer.

  • Speaking of pizza, I recently ordered again from Big Papa Pizza and Wings in Arlington, VA. We ordered a Hawaiian pizza, a chicken parmesean sub, and an order of fries. The food came FAST which we really liked. Also, the pizza is definitely better then average. The crust is really good. The sub was pretty good, but nothing to go out of your way for. The fries came soggy so we had to crisp them up in the stove. I still want to try the wings. However, the draw here is definitely the pizza. Great pizza, fast service, and good prices make this place a winner.
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My girlfriend and I decided to try Cava Mezze, a Greek restauraunt in Clarendon. We have walked past it many times and never paid it much mind, but it gets pretty good reviews and we liked the idea of ordering a bunch of small plates.

It’s located on Clarendon Boulevard just down the road from the metro.

We walked in and were told there would be a 15-20 minute wait for a table. The restaurant is bigger then it looks from the outside. The lighting was very dim and you can tell they are trying to have a trendy atmosphere.

We grabbed a seat at the bar and were happy with the beer selection. I ordered the Face Plant IPA from Lost Rhino and my girlfriend got the Raging Bitch from Flying Dog. I really liked my IPA, and will definitely keep an eye out for it again.

We were quickly seated after grabbing our beers. The place was pretty crowded for a weekday night, but luckily we got a good table off to the side. The crowd seemed to be mostly people in their 20’s and 30’s, and slightly dressy.

For appetizers, they brought out pita bread with tzaiki, olives, and a spicy dipping sauce. For dinner, we ordered the lamb souvlaki, fried calamari, and the braised pork.

The lam souvlaki was far and away the best part of the meal. The lamb was tender, and paired perfectly with the pita and greek yogurt.

We also really liked the fried calamari, which was also served with tzatziki. The breading was not too heavy on the calamari, which really allowed you to taste the squid.

We felt slightly robbed because of the braised pork. It didn’t taste bad, but it was almost as if they just cooked it in a slow cooker and did not braise it. I don’t claim to be an expert on braising meat, but both my girlfriend and I agreed that it didn’t taste as it should. Again, it wasn’t bad but I would probably not order it again.

To wash down our meal, we both ordered some Delirium Tremens which I had never had on draft. It went perfectly with our meal.

Overall, we were happy with the meal and the prices were reasonable, especially for Clarendon.

Cava Mezze Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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