Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wine beer. Or beer wine.

Today's very generous donation to the cause, the bottle reads,"For this farmhouse ale, we teamed up with our neighbors at Margerum Wine Company to bring the best of both to the table.  We brewed a pale, dry, spicy French-style table beer and then barreled it in oak barrels with Margerum's tropical, floral, bright savignon blanc must."

It is carried exclusively by Whole Foods who also had a hand in creating this partnership.   Figueroa Mountain's Biere de Manage ("home brew") tastes like flowery things with an undercurrent of clove.  It is based on the Saison ("season") style of beer making, a style that originated in the french-speaking region of Belgium.  During the slower winter months, the farm houses would brew this stuff to have on hand for their summer workers.  Originally around 3-3.5% ABV, this bottle was still a fairly easy 8%, and it was a perfect quaff to fritter away a long warm day.  Which it did. I was also there.  (Life on the farm is hard.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Hotel Glendale gets its close up.

This is the Hotel Glendale.  I got this picture from The Glendale Historical Society website because the Hotel is indeed a national historical landmark, reference #94001197.  Also, this is how the Hotel typically looks: green awnings, red vehicles. 

Back in July, 2012 was this post about an Australian beer commercial being filmed here at the old Hotel Glendale. I posted a few photos of the shoot.  Red awnings, green vehicle. 

Then I forgot about it.

But Ever-Vigilant Glendale Denizen Tropico Station, THE Glendale Blog posted this video yesterday on his FB page, the actual ad filmed that day.  And though The Hotel is at the very beginning, stay for the crashing through the police barriers, at least. Cheers.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The good old days are now.

There is a never-ending generosity that is The Cave, and though I reference it to a possibly ad nauseam end, I will continue to reference it ad infinitum.  Because it's generous, and in this world that is something, every time.

Wino Summer continues with a contribution to the cause from the one and only, the legendary, you'd know him if you loved him: The Deanster. I was poking around the goods and decided it might be a good time to open this, a 2009 Kuentz-Bas Alsace. It's a Kermit Lynch wine.

Theoretically I prefer many wines, but few match my gastro-tendencies.  At the moment it is all about lemon, mustard, and hot sauce on some otherwise unimportant food item. To resolve the disparity, I typically hang out, have a glass of wine, and then have dinner.  This wine I thought might do okay with condiments.

And then R. came in.  R. came in Saturday talking about doing some much needed re-arranging, a favorite activity in the dog days of summer, and a necessary one in advance of the coming shipping season.  When it got to be within an hour of close and it looked like R. was still knee-deep in it, I offered to stay late.  After close this fell open, and I was happy to share it.

Sunday: DITTO!  R. was still in there working on his "system."  M. showed up so now we were all here after close working, catching up, and enjoying the pleasant generosity of The Deanster - also present in an ipso facto-y kind of maybe way.   A lovely evening, it's The Cave at its best.

Onward with the generosity!

On Monday or Tuesday, I decided to open this stuff up, a most generous donation from V.   Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout from Oregon. This is a Russian Stout aged for 10 months on bourbon casks from Kentucky. As you can see from the picture, "Still Life with Lemon," it's very inspiring stuff.  Drinking this is like lounging on the bottom of a bourbon barrel while eating a dark chocolate bar. This bottle is enough for twenty people.  Remember it on Valentine's day.

I am a most fortunate troglodyte surrounded by a great and warm AND VERY UNNECESSARY SO CUT IT OUT ALREADY generosity. Cheers.

A later-added PS.  About a week ago I was in 7-11 and saw this for the first time.  In response to my reaction, wordless and agog, The Niece said, "Don't look at it, just walk away."  All I have to say is "Clamato" might just be the most tragically named product ever.  That + beer + this beer is a train wreck too complicated to grasp. 

Earlier today I'd emailed V. to thank him for the stout, and he emailed back a picture of his wife in Hawaii drinking this stuff.   NO WAY!  Hahahahahahhahahahha!

Have fun in Hawaii, kids.  These are the good days. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2003 Drinkward Peschon Napa Valley Cab.

Good stuff!  Just when I wasn't sure Cabs were my thing, this tall drink of grape walks through my door.  With me.  I was carrying it, a very generous donation to the cause.

2003 Drinkward Peschon "Entre Deux Meres" Napa Valley Cab.  Two beautiful photos from their website.

This paragraph from Polaner Selections.
"Lisa Drinkward and Francoise Peschon were introduced to each other by their children and became fast friends. They, in fact, liken their philosophy about wine to their philosophy of raising children, and named their wine "Entre Deux Meres" (between two mothers, in this case), "Give them a lot of tender loving care, nuture always, then let them go on to express themselves and become the unique individuals they were meant to be." They believe that gentle handling and minimalist intervention yields unique wines that are elegant and balanced -- a true expression of the roots.

The wine is made by both Francoise Peschon and Lisa Drinkward. Peschon is also the winemaker at Araujo vineyards in Napa, while Drinkward is the wife of Les Behrens (of Behrens & Hitchcock). In fact, the wine is made at Behrens & Hitchcock on Spring Mountain.

The wine is produced in miniscule quanties, The 2000 vintage was the first they produced, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is the only wine they bottle."

Lots of good pedigree here, and it might explain why I like this cab when I was otherwise losing all cab hope.  Not to be sexist about it, but many of the recent cabs I've consumed seem to have a certain  muscle-i-ness to them.  There's a spiciness to them that seems to obliterate rather that mingle, and if you have a second glass, it almost burns the tongue like cinnamon.   It's like being trapped on the elevator with a guy wearing too much cologne, or being at a small party with the one obnoxious guy talking too loud and too long.

Not this stuff, this was a well-curated party: nice, intact tannins and a balanced presence of spice with fruit and other grape-y things.  Good party.

Again, not to be sexist about it; we all have our obliterating bits, like how mine right now is hummus.  No matter who made that wine, it was a nice wine. Just trying to make a point.  And avoid hate mail.  Cheers.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The dog days of The Cave.

Well, if everyone is going to leave town or otherwise not drink wine, you get what you get: hummus!  Lots of hummus, more hummus than you can shake a stack of pita at. 

As you know, caves - especially The Cave - are or is ...?... a tender and revered eco-system, and a good troglodyte respects its environment.

 I believe, in this Cave Food Pyramid, I might be the Organic Debris at the bottom.  I could be the greatest predator of them all, I'm pretty sure were it between me and the Cavefish I could take that Cavefish down. But best to let the ecosystem thrive and then adjust to how that shakes out.

So now that it's summer, I am adjusting to lots and lots of microorganism salads. Microorganisms are tasty, don't get me wrong, but after some time enhancements become necessary and so that is how we get to The Great Glendale Hummus summer.

Many salads of what's in season: cucumbers and dill and cilantro and red onion, a nice lemon/olive oil drizzle, a generous spoonful of hummus on top, and an egg on top of that - sometimes fish, I can't seem to not want this every day, and the hummus is a fitting dimension.

We started with Central Grand Market and then found Pacific Food Mart.  The latter I preferred as being lighter and, as the customer commented to me it would be, "cleaner."  But Central Grand Market had a nice bite to it lacking in the Pacific Mart.

Then the laundry room was crazy so I (wait for it) threw in the towel and opted the laundromat.   Across from the laundromat is the strip mall where Eden Burger is, and I walked over there to get a bottle of water. Nestled into the corner of that strip mall is this place, Kozanians Ranch Market.  (There is another one on S. Glendale Ave.) This is when I realized there are, in Glendale, a million of these little groceries and there would be much hummus in my future.

When I saw it was made by a company called Babylonia Foods in Glendale, this gave me hope there was a single producer supplying many small groceries apt to carry hummus.  But no, a little research showed it's simply their in-house name.  I don't know who Barron is, or why it's Babylonia Foods and not Kozonians Hummus, but I do know you might not want to buy your meat there, heh-heh.

The hummus was chunky, "artisan," had the best balance of flavors (not noticeably too salty) and an interesting recollection of deviled eggs. That might be paprika on top, it might have been from that.  Also, cumin in there, it was a nice after taste. This was a nice hummus.  

NEXT. Well, I had to try this and check it off the list, Nature's Pride Golden Farms. There is one on San Fernando, but this I got from their store on N. Glendale, north of the 134. This was a nice hummus but safe, which I guess is necessary to appeal to the widest audience. Turns out I like a little more opinion in my hummus.

NEXT. I was running a little early today and remembered this place on Central, Glendale Ranch Market. Which begs my question, What IS a Ranch Market?  Is it one company with many ranches? I don't know, but there are a lot of them in Los Angeles.

The hummus here is also nice but unremarkable.  It is vaguely unbalanced - like your resident troglodyte, you're thinking right about now. 

Yesterday I was in Whole Foods and the gentleman standing in line ahead of me was wearing chef pants.  I'm not sure how these got to be THE chef pants, but I engaged him in conversation anyway and he works for a company that caters to the studios.  They specialize in middle eastern cuisine.  I asked him where in Glendale one can get the best hummus.  "Packaged?"  Then he trailed off and it was clear I was on a fool's errand.  However he does favor Raffi's for good local Mediterranean eats.  Which I see has hummus on its to-go menu.

Right now we are leaning towards the offerings of Pacific Food Mart and Kozonians Ranch Market. 

Entirely unrelated, last weekend I decided it was too hot to drink wine, at least anything red and big, which is precisely why I opened this, 2002 Chien Lunatique.

I think the chien was lunatique after drinking this wine. 

I don't know why France's dogs are lunatiques while ours are merely something to beware, but there it is.

This wine was exactly what I wanted: decadent and delicious.  Deep dark fruits, mysteries and allures, exactly right.

Cheers to the quiet days of summer and all the little bits that fill it. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Great Glendale Hummus Search, part 2, sooner than I'd planned.

What, more hummus already? The Great Glendale Hummus search continues today minus any plan for it to do so.  After the last sampling I thought maybe a quiet bit of rest, reflection and research to make it a somewhat thorough and fair endeavor. 

Also, I was running really late in the Out-and-About part of the day. That's the part right before I punch the troglodyte card, which, incidentally, has never been done LATE in many, many years. And then I passed this place. Oh, sigh.

Pacific Food Mart, on, go figure, Pacific @ Dryden.  First, nice little store.  Bright and lively, everything a cave dweller thrives on.  More than that, it's hard not to fall for a place that has three fantastic paintings of chickens and flowers above its deli counter.

The gentleman assured me: no sugar.  Also, that the hummus was just made.  And that it's really good.  A waiting customer standing next to me concurred. She said, "It's clean." The hummus, when he handed it to me, was still warm.  Hopes were high.  And then I hightailed it out of there.

This hummus is:  lighter, airier texture than the previous fare.  Less salty, and a nice hint of garlic.  Clean, indeed. But I must concede, the previous hummus had a nice bite to it that was lacking here.  This was smoother.  And I could always add more lemon.

Which begs the obvious: why aren't I making my own hummus?  I neither have nor desire a food processor.  I suppose I could do it by hand, people have done it before, it'd merely be less smooth but edible. 

Until then, this is getting fun. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Don't ask, don't tell.

Can I throw those away for you, gentlemen?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Great Glendale Hummus Search has begun.

Recently perusing the interwebs, it turns out my sudden craving for hummus collided with stumbling onto this  capture from the Tumblr page, Things White People Like. There is another version on the site Stuff White People Like.  I don't know if they are related or competitors or plagiarists, but I don't want to get into the middle of it by posting one minus mentioning the other.
Now a stereotype, I still wanted hummus.  The deal is, Whole Foods once had a really fricking good hummus in their fresh/prepared foods case. Then they messed it up by changing the recipe and adding sugar to it.  Okay, so now that I'm even MORE a stereotype, let's add to it:  basic hummus has like four ingredients in it: chick peas, tahini, lemon, and garlic.  THAT'S IT.  So when I go to a store and see a list of weirdo stuff in there, I walk away.  Hummusless.
Trader Joe's has one hummus, Eggplant Hummus, minus sugar.  But I live in Glendale, there has to be an amazing hummus somewhere in this town, right? The search has begun.

First stop.
Currently on ...Central above the 134, these guys are going to move into the old Red Carpet location on Glenoaks.  Will they still be Central Grand Market?  The suspense is palpable. 

Fresh behind the counter but minus any posted ingredients list, I asked if there was sugar in their hummus.  The initial answer was "I don't think so," but I persisted.  After some investigating, the answer was no, but I have no idea what else is in this hummus.  I got a small tub.  The hummus is reasonably priced and good consistency.  My only thought against it was it seems too salty, and maybe a bit...heavy. Whole Foods was a fresher, lighter fare, this by comparison seemed more laden.
The woman behind the counter was very nice as was the gentleman who looked into ingredients for me, but I think the search will continue.  Someone suggested I try one of the many restaurants, like Carousel.  Good idea!

Still, last night I made a cucumber salad with red onions, dill, lemon, S&P, and a drizzle of good olive oil.  Put some hummus on that and a hard boiled egg with anchovies - only in this case a scrambled egg with a bit of curry because I was running late  - de-lish!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

da Plonk is in da Cave, redux

You may recall, though I hope not, December 2012 through April 2013 saw the Great Cave Plonk-a-thon

It's baaaaaaack.

It seems we've come into some plonk, and now it can all be yours.  Sure, all the experts say the wine you cook with should be at least as good as the wine you drink, but they're experts, what do they know?  Plonk's acidity pairs well with fatty meats and adds a nice zest as it reduces. 

It just so happens I'd already picked up a small bit of pork butt, aka, shoulder, and was about to sacrifice a surprisingly pleasant wine to it, this 2001 Columbia Crest Shiraz.  The Larry came in Friday and left this behind.  I thought it might be okay at best, not because Columbia Crest doesn't do a good job of it at a most reasonable price, but that their efforts might not last 13 years.  I was wrong!  It was delicious, a little too delicious in a big sort of way, it probably would have obliterated that pork butt.  (AKA, shoulder.) 

Fortunately the Plonk showed up. I opted this one, a 1978 something French and white.The cork was like soft butter and the wine tasted like the smell of coffee with a sharp, fruity edge. 

I'm just going to say it: raw pork butt is not attractive.  Neither is the shoulder.  Garlic, salt, and some crushed spices - looks like a little anise, black and red pepper, coriander and a little cumin.  Not quite a slow-and-low, more like a slightly faster-and-medium.  The juices got strained and reduced, and softened with a bit of butter.  This is a sharp, acidic flavor profile, maybe not for everyone, but free for the taking for anyone to try.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Buy beer here, not there now, but there later.

There is a place in South Pasadena called Mission Wines.  It's on Mission, so that works out well.  Whenever I ask anyone if they go to Mission Wine and Spirits, they usually think I mean this place, but no. 

I mean Mission Wine and Spirits

There are four of them, the first in Pasadena, on Washington.  There is one in Glendale on Glenoaks.  They opened a second Glendale location when they took over the world's greatest-named liquor store, Hammered Liquors (Glendale @ Maple).  This was late 2012. It was just a quick move-in to capitalize on the holidays while paperwork was being secured for renovation in the early new year. 

Gary manages that store, and he was generous in embracing this uncouth troglodyte as part of his clientele.  More importantly, Gary has a dream: to be the biggest beer retailer IN THE WORLD!  We all need our dreams - well, based on last night not mine, but you know what I mean.  Part of the renovation would be to have, like, three or four miles of beer cases to fill with all Gary's dreams.  Awsesome. 

You know how paperwork goes, especially in Glendale. A year passed, some of another, and Mission is finally closed for its renovation/soon-to-be close up.
To give Gary a run for his dream, world famous (?) Ramirez recently opened its new, second, location on Olympic @ Soto, very near it's first location.  I wrote about visiting Ramirez-original last November, the world's biggest beer selection crammed into a phone booth. 

No longer!

I got this.  It was nice, I liked it. 

Not sure when Mission will be re-opening, look forward to dreams fulfilled.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Hotel Glendale.

Find the Hotel.
(Then keep scrolling.)

In conjunction with Preservation Month, The Glendale Historical Society and the City of Glendale Historic Preservation Commission presented, earlier today, the Glendale Civic Center Walking Tour.  Participants picked up a booklet and map for the self-guided tour that covered 21 notable buildings in the heart of Glendale, including the Municipal Power and Light Building, Glendale Main Post Office and First United Methodist Church. 

Old though I am, I was not featured in this tour. The Hotel Glendale was.  Here is the stop placard. 

 Here is the postcard, front and back, with the printing intact.  You can see both these pictures, and more, lining the walls here at The Cave.

According to Glendale's volume of the ubiquitous series by Arcadia Publishing  ("Home of the Iconic Images of America Series!") the radio station was here 1927 - 1929. Katherine Yamada, one of the books authors, also pens the column "Verdugo Views"  for the Glendale News Press. You can read more about the Hotel's radio history, KGFH and the longer lived KIEV, here.

Before the antenna intricate enough to nuke everyone on the sixth floor, there was to be a dirigible port, the world's first.  I've read some places that it would take passengers into DTLA in twenty minutes, but the bigger vision was a series of roof top junctions that would end in New York.  

This post on Vintage Air gives us the ecstasy, agony, and eventual bankruptcy of Slate Aircraft's vision, via its prototype ship, the City of Glendale. "Slate envisioned a network of hotels and "stations" across the country where his transcontinental airships would make passenger stops, the first of which was built on the roof of the Glendale Hotel."

Before e-things and i-things, there were real things.  Good for us the ones that stand, protected. Thanks to those who work to protect them.