Friday, September 23, 2016

Beer Friday: Fresh IPA by Fort George Brewery

On most Fridays, I'll share a beer I particularly enjoy, and think you might as well. This series will feature beers from all over the U.S. (and when we're lucky, the world). Cheers! 

Fort George Fresh IPA | A Hoppy Medium

Um, apparently I haven't written a Beer Friday post in over a month? I promise, at some point, this will be a regular thing again...

But for today, we're talking about fresh hops (sometimes called "wet hops"). Fresh hops are bold and unblemished hop oils, and they only drop in Oregon once a year - but they go quickly - so I've been trying to get my hands on #allofthebeers before they disappear!

One particular fresh hop beer I've enjoyed so far is Fort George's Fresh IPA (we actually visited the brewery in Astoria a few weeks ago). Here's why it rocks:

What: Fresh IPA by Fort George Brewery

Style: Wet Hop IPA

ABV: 6.4%

Tasting Notes: Super clean, and borderline crushable, this is a fantastic IPA for those of you who might not love the hop bombs. It's also a great transitional IPA from summer to fall - still light and slightly citrus-y, with a bit more malt flavor and floral, grassy notes.

Pairing Suggestion: Although this beer is nicely complex and flavorful, it's still on the lighter side - so I'd pair it with something a little more bold, like spicy Thai (or Indian) food. It can also stand up to the heaviness (read: grease) of a great bar go ahead and treat yo self.

Where Can I Find It? For my Oregon friends, this beer is widely available in 16-ounce cans and on-tap throughout the state - but only for a limited time! Click here to see where it's available near you.

What have you been drinking lately?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PaaDee | SE Portland

One of our dear, fellow food-obsessed friends here in Portland has been giving us the same "demand" since we moved here: "Go to PaaDee."

After almost a year of being here, we finally gave into his orders a few weeks ago.

PaaDee (which means "to bring good things") serves up modern Thai dishes in an intimate, bustling setting in SE Portland. The decor's a little funky, the employees are friendly, and everything from the food to the cocktails is inventive yet familiar.

Cocktail at PaaDee in Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

Our meal on this particular night kicked off with cocktails (naturally). Since we dined here so long ago - and I'm the worst blogger ever - I don't remember what cocktail I ordered, but it was delightfully strong and delicious. (As was Z's).

PaaDee in Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

For an appetizer, we went with a Brussels sprouts dish (a special that night) that was fantastic. The Brussels sprouts were cooked perfectly, and the flavor was wonderfully savory and interesting. I could eat this every night.

PaaDee's dinner menu is organized by Snacks, Soup & Salad, Noodles & More, Entrees, and Vegetables (vegetarian-friendly entrees). I went with the Pad Ma Khua ($10), and added wild prawns for an extra $3. The original dish consists of Japanese eggplant, red bell pepper, scallions, onions, basil, and sweet chile paste. (It was also served with rice on the side).

PaaDee in Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

This dish was seasoned perfectly, and I loved how vibrant all of the colors were! If you're a seafood fan, definitely add the wild prawns - they helped add additional flavor, texture, and some protein to the dish.

Overall, we loved our first visit to PaaDee. Our only regret is not taking our friend's advice sooner!

Where have you had a great meal lately?

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Exploring Astoria, Oregon

Before I had to fly back to Boston (on Labor Day) for work, Z and I took full advantage of our holiday weekend. We kicked things off Friday afternoon, first stopping at de Garde Brewing in Tillamook, and then making the gorgeous sunset ride into Astoria (about 1.5 hours away).

The Oregon Coast | A Hoppy Medium

The Oregon Coast | A Hoppy Medium

Astoria is a place I've wanted to check out for a while now. Z and I love the Oregon Coast, and Astoria is saturated with history (and the house from The Goonies is there, which is extra cool).

We stayed at an Airbnb Friday night, which was located right in downtown Astoria...AKA only a short walk to the breweries we wanted to visit. Astoria's downtown is located right on the water, so everywhere we went during our short stay had lovely, ship-filled views.

Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Some of our most noteworthy stops in Astoria included:

Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

The Riverwalk in Astoria stretches for over 6 miles, but we enjoyed walking just a short distance of that after our breakfast (see below). The Riverwalk was a nice way to get around the downtown area on a beautiful day - right along the water, with lovely views everywhere you look.

Fort George Brewery, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Fort George Brewery, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Fort George Brewery & Taproom, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium
Inside the Taproom.

Fort George was high on our must-visit list. The brewery has two different settings, including their Public House (with an upstairs and downstairs menu) and, right next door, their Lovell Brewery & Taproom. We had dinner upstairs in the Public House Friday night, where mason jars full of beer and delicious pizzas (and a just OK tofu banh mi) hit the spot. On Saturday afternoon, we hit up the taproom, where the beer list was more "special" (i.e., featured several brewery-only beers, which the Public House lacked). Oh, and the bartender at the taproom put fresh hops in my 3-Way IPA sample (pictured above). Winning!

Buoy Beer Company, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the beer I tried at Buoy (their IPA). However, their taproom floor is open to the water below - where several seals were sleeping! It was really cool to drink a pint and watch the show below us. We checked out Buoy right before it closed Friday night, but I'd be open to going back during the day time to enjoy their views of the river (and more seals, obviously).

Columbian Cafe, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

It looks incredibly unimpressive from the outside, but this teeny little joint pushes out some incredible breakfast dishes - with plenty of vegetarian options to boot. There are only a few booths, as well as bar stools overlooking the one chef/griddle, which is where we delightfully sat and enjoyed the show. We were lucky to go here on an unusually quiet weekend, but expect some wait time (it's worth it!) if you're not as fortunate as we were.

There are many other places to visit in Astoria, but we made the most of our short trip!

How did you spend the last long weekend of summer?

Columbian Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

It's too hot to cook, and - despite what all my Facebook friends say - it's still summer...and I'm lazy these days. Which is why this blog has been seriously lacking in recipes lately. (Come the REAL fall, I'll start cooking again. I promise).

Anyway, my laziness has led me to whip up all of the no-cooking-required recipes I can (which equates to about one per week these days). And when I was looking for a way to use up leftover chickpeas recently, these hot weather-friendly sandwiches were born.

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches | A Hoppy Medium

This recipe is completely customizable, depending on what you like in your sandwiches. And if you have a 15-ounce can of chickpeas lying around, you can still use that with the ingredients below (it won't make much of a difference in terms of flavor/texture). But whatever you do...just make these. I promise you'll like them.

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Serves: 2
-1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-2 tablespoons Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise (or whatever mayonnaise you prefer)
-1 tablespoon diced dill pickles
-Salt and black pepper
-4 slices good bread (I used Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed)
-2 slices Havarti cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
-1/2 avocado, sliced
-Tomato slices
-Dijon mustard

1.) In a food processor, pulse chickpeas until slightly mashed, but not pureed (you want some texture; not hummus). You can also mash the chickpeas with a fork, if you don't have a food processor. 
2.) Transfer chickpeas to a small bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise and dill pickles; season with salt and black pepper. 
3.) Toast the bread lightly, with a slice of cheese on two of the slices of bread, to let it melt. Lightly smash 1/4 of the avocado evenly on two slices of bread. Scoop the chickpea mixture evenly over the avocado (you may have some leftover, depending on how full you want your sandwiches). Layer as you wish with additional ingredients (I added tomato, arugula, and a drizzle of Dijon).

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches | A Hoppy Medium

This really is a great alternative to tuna, or even egg salad (although, I do love a good egg salad). This here is protein-packed and not drenched in mayonnaise, so you can feel full without any of the guilt. 

Now...make a batch of these, get outside, and go enjoy the rest of your summer! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beers, Eats, and Views - The Seattle Edition

Seattle. Is. Awesome.

Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

You've already heard a little about our trip to Washington (here and here), but these are the remaining noteworthy stops we visited during our weekend getaway.

Columbia Center - Sky View Observatory

That photo above? That was just one of 10,000 pictures I took at the top of Columbia Center. My cousin told me about it, and I am so glad she did. No lines + affordable entry price + the tallest building in Washington = better experience and better views than the Space Needle. Winning!

The Hangar Cafe

The Hangar Cafe, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Mimosa at The Hangar Cafe, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The Hangar Cafe is a small, no-frills spot in the Georgetown area of Seattle, and we lucked out with zero wait time. (An apparent rarity here!). The abundance of sandwiches as well as savory and sweet crepes and waffles on the menu was enticing, and they have several different kinds of mimosas. Oh, and plenty of vegetarian options/substitutions to boot. I went with the Hangar Crepe ($10.75), filled with egg, Swiss, cheddar, slivered red onion, Roma tomatoes, baby spinach, and Field Roast Chipotle Sausage in place of Black Forest ham. The crepe was also drizzled with housemade poblano-basil vinaigrette and creme fraiche. 

On the side: a mason jar glass of the OG mimosa (OJ + champagne).

Pike Place Market

I mean...duh.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Pike Place Market was high on my list - mainly for the "full Seattle tourist experience" - and it was definitely worth the walk-through.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The farm stands and people-watching were fantastic (as expected), but it was also fun to check out the Pike Brewery for a quick pint

Fremont Brewing

Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Fremont Brewing was high on our must-visit brewery list, and it did not disappoint. Their bustling Urban Beer Garden had great views of the water + boats + sunset across the street - I could have sat out there all night. 

 Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

At the time of our visit, Fremont also had their Ales for ALS IPA on tap, which was a delicious, borderline juicy IPA (my favorite!). Great beer for a great cause = win-win.

Holy Mountain Brewing Co.

Holy Mountain Brewing Co., Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Holy Mountain was also fun to check out, despite the lack of air conditioning in their not-so-breezy taproom. (Heads up: Few places we visited actually had A/C, so plan accordingly if you visit Seattle during the hot summer months!). I really enjoyed the Somnium saison - wonderfully thirst-quenching on such a hot day.

Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub

Pan-Seared Tofu Sandwich at Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Elliott Bay has a few locations in and around Seattle, but we stopped into the West Seattle location before heading back to Portland. The beer, in all honesty, isn't anything too special - and the space inside is dark, loud, and overall unimpressive - but I'd go back here 500 times for the sandwich above alone. This here is the Pan-Seared Tofu Sandwich ($10.50), piled HIGH with chile garlic-marinated tofu (cooked to perfection), tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, sliced avocado, and cilantro-garlic sauce, all sandwiched between a fantastic, toasted seed bread. Served on the side were addictive fries and housemade pickles.

For being a no-frills spot, I was really impressed with this sandwich and the thought that went into all of the food overall.

The Fremont Troll, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium
Who's seen "10 Things I Hate About You"?

Other notable breweries/beer bars to visit in Seattle: Reuben's Brews, Cloudburst Brewing, Outlander Brewery & Pub (for weirder beer flavors - like Lavender!), and Toronado.

Have you done any traveling this summer? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Georgetown Liquor Company | Seattle, WA

A full vegetarian menu in a [sunny] dive bar with plenty of old school video games. Did we find heaven?

Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Georgetown Liquor Company is situated just a short drive outside of downtown Seattle in the cute - yet no-frills - section of the city guessed it...Georgetown. Our friends who we were staying with highly recommended this spot, and we were so glad they did.

Beers on tap are mostly local, and a Crikey IPA by Reuben's Brews did not disappoint.

Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The indulgent-sounding, all-vegetarian menu (that could be all-vegan, too, if you ask for no dairy, etc.) made it hard to choose what to order for lunch. (Their motto is "strong enough for a carnivore, made for an herbivore." I love that!). I ended up going with a solid choice: the Captain Nemo sandwich ($10.45) - a toasted whole wheat hoagie piled high with housemade vegan chickpea salad, provolone cheese, Romaine lettuce, and tomato. 

Captain Nemo Sandwich at Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle | A Hoppy Medium

Served with a pickle spear and my choice of side (salad, soup, or tortilla chips and salsa - I went with the chips), this was one filling lunch. We were amazed at how such incredible food can be pushed out of a tiny kitchen. Clearly, the chefs here know what they're doing. We almost came back that night for dinner, but decided we should explore some more of downtown Seattle instead.

After lunch (and some Mario Kart on Super Nintendo), we made the short walk over to Georgetown Brewing.

Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

We were hoping they'd have their Gusto Crema Coffee Ale that we tried at the Oregon Brewers Festival (it legit tasted like iced coffee), but they didn't have it at the brewery that day. The beers were still decent, though, and it was fun to check out the source! (FYI: they only serve samples of their beer on-site here - for free - but have plenty of growlers, etc. to-go).

Overall, we had a fantastic time exploring Georgetown, and I'm still dreaming about that chickpea salad sandwich.......

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Three Magnets Brewing Co. | Olympia, Washington

Last weekend, Z and I hopped in the car and headed to Seattle.

Seattle's almost a three-hour drive from Portland, so we made a much-needed pit stop along the way at Three Magnets Brewing in Olympia, Washington.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

We've tried several of Three Magnets' beers since we moved to Portland, and we've been big fans of every one of them - so we were excited to finally check out the source.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Three Magnets is setup where you can seat yourself, outside on their medium-sized patio (overlooking apartment building construction - normal stuff in these parts), or inside their bar/lounge area. We opted to stand at the small bar (that had a few stools), as we just drove over an hour and wanted to stretch our legs. The service behind the bar was odd at first - no one could understand why we opted to stand vs. sit, and we waited a solid 10 minutes before anyone even asked us what we wanted to order. Thankfully - and strangely - the service got much better as the night went on (and after we got hungry/a table), but the first impression was not ideal.

Regardless: the beer here is good, and the food was also quite tasty.

For beer, I loved the Little Juice IPA as well as the New Mex Lager - something I would typically never order, but it was delightfully refreshing on a hot night (and paired well with guacamole).

Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

For an appetizer, we got the Nopales and Guacamole ($9), which included lime, cilantro, pickled red onion, tomatillo, queso fresco, and tortilla chips. 

Nopales & Guacamole at Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

This was some good guac, and all of the toppings worked nicely. The chips were also delightfully sturdy and salty - making them able to stand up to the thick guac and accompaniments.

For my entree, I went with the Grilled Sockeye Salmon Veracruz ($14), which consisted of grape tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, caperberries, cilantro, lime, aji amarillo crema, and grilled flour tortilla.

Grilled Sockeye Salmon at Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The salmon was cooked a fantastic medium-rare, and the accompanying crema and vegetables made this dish really fantastic. The grilled tortilla, however, I found to be an odd choice as a "side." I would have preferred something a little lighter - like rice - to help soak up the sauce.

Overall, we really enjoyed checking out Three Magnets, and the location is a prime pit-stop between Portland and Seattle.

More on our Seattle adventures coming soon!