July 31, 2009

Squatters Pub and Brewery - Beer in Utah?

Because we live in NYC, it's not often that we can find a bar/restaurant that's brightly-lit, clean, and features a large menu that lists both burgers and tempeh!

Squatters Pub and Brewery in Park City, Utah features regular meat-loving entrees alongside vegan and vegetarian dishes and its full roster of beers. It is also environmentally friendly with biodegradable take-out and condiment containers, paper straws, and using wind power.

The concept seems to have worked well - the restaurant was fairly busy with a mixed clientele of various ages (families, couples, and groups of friends).

Utah beers (yes, Utah serves beer!) from Squatters and Wasatch Brewery.

6 Beer Sampling ($4.49): Overall the beers are light (4% ABV) and some are a little sweet like the wheat beer, but that's the style here.

Classic American Burger ($7.99): Made with Niman Ranch (renowned natural meats that are hormone & antibiotic free, humanely raised, and sustainable farming & ranching practices) 100% ground chuck, lettuce, onion, and tomato. It was juicy and perfectly cooked.

Black and Tan ($3.79 for a 1/3 liter): A mix of Squatter's Evolution Amber and Captain Bastard's Oatmeal Stout.

Captain Bastard's Oatmeal Stout ($4.79 for 1/2 liter): On it's own, it's a little light for a stout, but still drinkable at 4% ABV.

Stout BBQ Buffalo Burger ($11.99): a half pound free-range King Canyon buffalo burger, cheddar, Captain Bastard's Oatmeal Stout BBQ Sauce topped with crisp onion straws. Buffalo can be a tough meat, but this burger was nice and tender.

Chef's Veggie Burger ($8.99): A grilled patty made with roasted veggies, garbanzo beans, rice and oats, topped with avocado and hummus. It was hearty and fresh.

Garlic Fries: Crispy and full of garlic flavor without being too greasy.

Squatters Pub and Brewery is located at 1900 Park Ave in Park City, UT.

July 30, 2009

Chimayo - Elk in Park City, UT

While we were planning this vacation in Park City, UT, we asked around for dinner recommendations. We decided to check out Chimayo because of everyone's rave reviews about this Southwestern restaurant.

Even during the slower summer months, Chimayo was one of the more popular spots. The decor is rustic and the atmosphere was festive and casual.

We loved the dressing (like a very light, not spicy, mayonnaise made with cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, olive oil) with the bread.

Ceviche de la Casa ($16): shrimp, scallops and fish marinated in lemon and lime juice
tossed with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, sweet onions, serrano chiles and seasoned with cilantro. It was a beautiful presentation (we like the cheesy crisp). It tasted like a strong Bloody Mary or Clamato with fresh seafood and a tangy bite (from the cilantro, garlic, and lime). The dish was good, but maybe on the pricey side.

London Broil of Elk ($40): Seasoned with toasted black peppercorns and sesame seeds. Accompanied with a potato and cheddar quesadilla (with fresh tomato salsa) and asparagus. The elk was finished with a green chili béarnaise. This was the highlight of our meal! The meat was tender and flavorful. The bearnaise sauce was good - not too heavy and a little sweet. The asparagus was crisp and perfectly cooked. We loved the tomato salsa because it added a freshness to the dish.

Grilled Buffalo Flank Steak ($40): Topped with wild mushrooms and served with corn-poblano potato gratin. The buffalo was finished with a red chili sauce. This was an earthy and hearty dish. The gratin was good (a little too cheesy). The (large) steak was perfectly prepared and the mushrooms were delicious!

Chimayo is located at 368 Main St in Park City, UT.

July 29, 2009

Cow's - Park City, Utah

We were surprised to find Cows ice-cream shop here in Park City, UT. We recognized this Prince Edward Island-based from our childhood trips to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. It's a fun store with all kinds of cow-themed merchandise available for sale.
Tons of ever-changing flavors.

House-made waffle cones that come with your ice-cream purchase.

We got the java chip and the Baileys Chip ($4.75). Both were creamy and crunchy (from the chocolate chips). We love the eggy and fresh taste of the cone.

Cows is located at 402 Main St. in Park City, Utah. It's a fun, kid-friendly, nostalgic spot. Connected to the ice-cream shop is Cows' coffee shop with adult food (e.g. sandwiches) and free WiFi.

July 28, 2009

Main Street Pizza & Noodle - Park City, Utah

After a 5-hour plane ride, and driving up from Salt Lake City into higher altitudes, we were tired and famished. We drove into Park City and headed straight to Main St - the "downtown" area with cute (albeit touristy) shops and restaurants.
Hot and Spicy Southwest Burrito Pizza ($21.99, 16" large):
This pizza is topped with jalapeno peppers, red onions, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, cilantro, and fire-roasted chilies. It comes with a side of salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

The pizza was good, but pricey. It was spicy from the peppers and fresh from the onions and cilantro. The chicken was a little dry. It had all the components of a burrito, but was not as heavy.

Main Street Pizza & Noodle is located at 530 Main St in Park City, UT.

July 27, 2009

Summer Treats around NYC

We definitely have a sweet tooth, so it's always fun to try new desserts in NYC. We lucked out and found a couple of sweet treats in the most unlikely places (a newly opened gastropub and a very casual bar in Brooklyn) . But of course, to end our dessert tour of the city, we ended up at our favorite guilty-pleasure in New York.

The housemade PB&J cupcake ($4.95) from Gus and Gabriel Gastropub is large and so decadent. The peanut butter is smooth and rich. It works well with the jelly center. The cake itself is light and fluffy - not dense at all!

We came across San Francisco's It's-It mint ice-cream sandwich ($4) at Brooklyn's Pacific Standard bar. This ice cream sandwich made out of 2 oatmeal cookies and ice cream has been a West Coast treat since 1928.

One of our favorite ice cream places is burger-mecca Shake Shack. We love the inventive, and always changing, custards and concretes. We enjoyed the Peach Cobbler Concrete ($6.25) which was peach custard blended with shortbread and caramel, dusted with cinnamon sugar.

Thanks to our fellow blogger at Eat, Live, Travel, Write for publishing this post on her blog. Check it out! Mardi's been traveling (most recently in Australia, and now in Laos) and posting photos from her journeys!

July 26, 2009

Beckmen Santa Ynez Syrah #1 Clone 2004

We went to a tasting at Acker Merrall & Condit in Manhattan featuring 2004 vintage wines from France, California, Italy, Australia and Spain. Included were tastes of 2004 vintage cabernets, red Rhone varietals, pinot noir, chardonnay and tempranillo.

We really enjoyed the Beckmen Syrah Clone #1 from the Purisima Mountain Vineyard (we also like their Grenache and other Rhone varietals) and since the wine was on sale for $30 (usually about $45 in the NY area) we picked up a bottle. Although $30 is not necessarily cheap, 2004 vintage wines are hard to find now (and some of the wines in the tasting topped $100 per bottle!).

Beckmen's reds and whites coming from the Santa Ynez Valley are consistently good year to year. The Syrahs are always winners, including the #1 Clone from 2004, bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Upon opening, the deep red wine (almost purple) had aromas of rich, red fruit like a fresh pie hit you, but not in the candied way some cheaper or lesser quality California wines might have. Although it is ripe in style with a little raspberry jam and dark plum, this plush, concentrated and full-bodied wine has integrated and round tannins with subtle spice, pepper and resin to balance the sweetness.

A few years of bottle time has made this wine even better. Most ripe wines tend to die out after a few years but this has not.

We suggest letting this open up a little bit if you can find one, but who can wait? This is a delicious wine that is not over the top, even at 14.8%. Too bad we didn't pickup a second bottle for down the road.

Beckmen Vineyards is located in Los Olivos, CA.

July 25, 2009

North Coast Brewing at Dive Bar

We recently stopped by Dive Bar (near 96th Street) because they had a North Coast Brewing tasting event. North Coast is one of our favourite craft brewers and although it's brewed in Northern California, some of their beers actually make it to the East Coast. We're always on the lookout for Old Rasputin on tap, a rare treat.

First up, we tried a sampler of the North Coast beers on tap (6 tastings, $10): This included the Blue Star (American Wheat Beer, paired with goat cheese), PranQster (Belgian-style Gold Ale, with Old Amsterdam cheese), Scrimshaw Pilsner (with aged sharp cheddar); Le Merle (Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale, with Mahon); Red Seal Ale (amber, with grana padano); and the top beer of the evening, Brother Thelonious (paired with gorgonzola dolce). Old Rasputin was not available at the tasting, but we liked having the complimentary cheese.
After the tasting, we picked the Brother Thelonious ($6). Poured into a tulip glass, the Brother is a big, bold Belgian-style (strong) abbey ale. Deep mahogany, rich with prune/raisin fruit and sweet malt, this is an elegant beer and even at 9.4%, it's still smooth. It was probably the best value, since we often get 4-packs retail for about $13 (some proceeds from this beer are donated to a jazz charity).
Guinness chocolate brownie ($3): Rich and dark, it tasted like dark chocolate mixed with coffee. It went well with the Brother Thelonious.
Blondie ($3): Cake-like and light, this blondie was tasty and not too sweet.
Poutine ($8): Fries were crispy (almost overdone), but the curds weren't 'squeaky' or melted enough and the gravy was too much like a roast beef gravy. This was not authentic Quebecois poutine, but it was not bad for a NY dive bar.
Dive Bar's Muffulleta ($12): We find it funny they list this under Lighter Side. Best bet is to share this.
North Coast Brewing is located in Fort Bragg, CA.
Dive Bar is located at Amsterdam Ave. and 96th Street.

July 24, 2009

What to do in New York this weekend

Salud! Enjoy a free Spanish wine tasting and tapas this Saturday at Union Square Wines (140 Fourth Avenue @ 13th Street). Reknowned writer and importer Jorge Ordonez will be presenting his favorite wines from Rioja, Basque country, and more. Get there early as the event runs from 2-5pm. Admission is free and no reservations are required.

Come out to celebrate Belgian National Day this Sunday at The Frying Pan (Pier 66, W 26th St & the West Side Highway). One of our favorite Belgian restaurants (and event sponsor) Petite Abeille, will be serving burgers ($5), mussels ($10), and pommes frites ($3). Street vendor Wafels & Dinges will be serving waffles ($4). There will be live music, a great raffle (prizes include a pair of round-trip tickets from AA), and the Miss Belgium USA contest. The event runs from 2-9:30 pm. Adult admission is $15 (kids are free) and no reservations are required. All proceeds go towards Foster Pride.

Who can resist a whole pig roast in the summer? Get out to the 2nd Annual Pig Roast & Dance Party this Sunday in Brooklyn (3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Ave at Stagg St). Chef Eric Sherman will be on hand to turn 200 lbs of whole hog into pork tacos ($3 each). Cold drinks, live music, and roasted pork - what could be better? The party runs from 4-9pm. Admission is free. RSVP to events@3rdward.com.

July 23, 2009

peacefood cafe: a new vegan restaurant on the UWS

We met a friend for lunch at the newly opened peacefood cafe, a restaurant that features vegan entrees and desserts.

The interior was bright and airy (there was no indication that this used to be a dental medical center)! You have to first order at the counter and then a server will bring your food to your table.

The mini brownies ($0.99) looked good!

Green Lemonade ($8, large): We asked for a beverage recommendation and our server suggested this drink. This was blended with apples, lemon, ginger root, and mixed greens. It was tart and the greens definitely left an aftertaste. It was prepared well and definitely was fresh; however, liquid mixed greens aren't really our style.

Daily Vegetable ($5, small): The zucchini and chayote squash were delicious. They were grilled enough to allow for the sweetness to come out.

Chickpea Fries ($6): These fries were plump and tasty. They were lightly breaded, substantial, but not heavy.

Pan-seared French Horn Mushrooms Panino ($9): Our friend had this sandwich filled with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, artichoke aioli, and mint & basil pesto.

Roasted seasonal vegetables pizza ($9): We're told that this takes 15 mins to make and it was well worth the wait. We love the taste of the zucchini and yellow squash along with the crunchier texture of the pine nuts. The chunky tomato sauce was also tasty and made this dish nice and hearty.

peacefood cafe is located 460 Amsterdam Ave (at W 82nd St).

July 22, 2009

Spitzer's Corner on the LES

Though the first gastropub in the US only opened in 2004 (The Spotted Pig), they have been quickly growing in popularity. One of our favourite's is Spitzer's Corner in the Lower East Side.

The pub's named after Spitzer's Dress Shop (not Eliot!) which used to occupy this space for over 50 years. It now features about 40 craft beers on tap and more in bottle along with good food and atmosphere.

Guss' Famous Pickles ($4)

Duck Confit Salad ($11): slow cooked duck leg on a bed of baby spinach, frisee arugula, and pine nuts. It was dressed with a passion-fruit seeds vinaigrette. We loved that the bread was spread with foie gras butter.

Houblon Chouffe ($8, 9% ABV): golden tripel style beer with god yeastiness and spice, clove, banana. We really like this beer and other Chouffe brews from Brasserie d'Achouffe, they have become personal favourites. We buy the bottles to have at home.

Allagash Curieux ($8, 11%): An oak bourbon barrel-aged tripel from Allagash in Maine with an alcoholic punch, vanilla from the barrel aging and coconut and banana flavours. The beer was also a little sweet similar to most beers aged in bourbon barrels. This is a sipping beer like the 3 Philosophers below, we would only drink one glass.
Brewery Ommegang 3 Philosophers ($8, 9.8% ABV): This Belgian-style quad is big with rich, dried fruit and cherry, and a big finish for a big beer! You could easily pair this with a big meal. We've had this in bottle before, so it was good to try it on tap. The beer is great either way if you like the rich quads.

Coney Island Sword Swallower ($6, 6.8% ABV): From Shmaltz Brewing, this hoppy and citrusy beer goes down easily.

The bottom of our taste of the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (13% ABV): definitely not a warm weather beer, it's thick like molasses. It sure smells and tastes good, we'd enjoy this more in February on a cold day.

Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator ($6, 7% ABV): Sweet, dark fruity malts with carbonation, this doppelbock-style beer had a balance of hops and sweet malt.
We tried a few other beers including the Southern Tier Unearthly IPA (double IPA) and the Ephemere from Unibroue (fruit beer). At Spitzer's, it's easy to mix it up between styles. The staff was very helpful in letting us sample different beers.

Spitzer's Corner is located at 101 Rivington (at Ludlow)