Friday, December 2, 2016

Beer Friday: PM Dawn by Trillium Brewing Company

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! 

PM Dawn by Trillium Brewing Company | A Hoppy Medium

Since we moved home, I've been drinking basically nothing but Trillium (and Bissell Brothers...) beers. I have been a huge fan of Trillium since they entered the Boston beer space a few years ago, and I've been very eager to visit their second brewery - with full pours and all! - in Canton, Massachusetts (they opened it when we were living in Oregon). 

On Thanksgiving weekend, my opportunity to check out their new spot came - and boy am I glad it did. Canton is only about a 40-minute drive from Boston, and Trillium's new space is fantastic. The large, open setting was crowded on this Saturday afternoon, but lines moved swiftly (and, smartly, Trillium has a separate line for cans, etc. to-go and one for pours and/or bottles to be consumed on-site).

I usually opt for Trillium's hoppy beers, but after a few of those, I decided to try their latest batch of PM Dawn as well. And good god, it was delicious. Here's why:

What: PM Dawn by Trillium Brewing Company

Style: American stout

ABV: 9%

Tasting Notes: Freshly roasted coffee beans (they infuse this brew with their neighbors', Barrington Coffee Roasters', cold brew), smooth vanilla, rich cocoa, and a hint of peanut butter makes this beer delightfully sweet - but balanced out nicely with some necessary bitterness from the coffee. The mouthfeel is also silky smooth, making this 9% stout go down a bit too easy. 

Pairing Suggestion: I'm drooling over the thought of pairing this with a piece of chocolate cake, but if sweets aren't your thing, I love pairing good coffee stouts with brunch, too.

Where Can I Find It? Both Trillium locations in Fort Point and Canton currently have PM Dawn available in 22-ounce bottles or growlers, but it also can be found on tap at the Canton location, when available (their Fort Point location only sells bottles, cans, and growlers to-go - no pours on-site).

Have you had any great beers lately?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Scenes From Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and holiday weekend! Here are some scenes from our relaxing, yet fun-filled, holiday:

Thanksgiving Tablescape | A Hoppy Medium

Eggs Benedict with Seitan Hash from Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, MA | A Hoppy Medium

Bourbon County 2016 release | A Hoppy Medium

1.) The beautiful Thanksgiving table d├ęcor at my older sister’s house in Maine. (For the meal, I contributed this Vegetarian Wellington + vegan mushroom gravy, as well as these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars).
2.) Me and one of my nieces, Braylee – accidentally matching!
3.) Z and his younger brother, Max, at our second Thanksgiving Friday night
4.) Continuing my holiday diet with brunch at Veggie Galaxy Friday morning…this was the Eggs Benedict with seitan hash – SO GOOD.
5.) That Eggs Benedict fueled us for a day of Bourbon County shopping – AKA how the Lahey clan does Black Friday. This beer – and its variants – are only released once a year, on Black Friday. Cheers to that!

Tell me all about your holiday!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

How is Thanksgiving this week?? And why was there snow on my car this morning? Fall is going by way too fast.

If you’re like me and have absolutely nothing prepared for Thanksgiving, fear not: here’s at least a dessert recipe you can easily whip up for the big day. Who needs dinner when you have a full dessert table anyway?

I have been making these pumpkin bars for…years. They’re oh-so moist and full of flavor thanks to the addition of some fall-friendly spices…and a touch of garam masala, which gives these bars that wow factor. (You can forego the garam masala if you don’t have any on-hand, but it does give these bars a little something-something, if you’re down to buy (or make) some!).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars | A Hoppy Medium

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
Yields: 24 bars
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-3/4 tsp. ginger
-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
-1 tsp. garam masala (optional)
-1 tsp. baking soda
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-1 large egg
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 cup canned pumpkin puree
-1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2.) With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
3.) Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
4.) Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars | A Hoppy Medium

These pumpkin bars are basically fall baked into a cake-like form…with chocolate chips. Your Thanksgiving dessert table needs these.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Or are you totally unprepared like I am? (This happened to me last year, too, by the way…).

Friday, November 18, 2016

Beer Friday: The Substance by Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

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! 

The Substance, Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. | A Hoppy Medium

We drank a lot of great beer in the Pacific Northwest. But in my humble, liver-quivering opinion, nothing beats East Coast IPAs.

Many of them are juicy with just the right amount of hop presence on the tongue to prevent them from being too sweet - a fantastic balance of crushable flavors.

And Bissell Brothers, located in Portland, Maine, is one brewery that has perfected these "hop juice" creations. 

What: The Substance Ale by Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.6%

Tasting Notes: Dank yet juicy and oh-so crushable, this IPA quenches my thirst no matter what time of the year it is. Available weekly via can and on tap at the brewery (they got new digs since we moved - great space!), this brew is one of the few that's worth the you will likely be in line to get it. Brewed with Falconers Flight, Centennial, Appolo, Summit, and Chinook hops, this beer packs a hoppy punch with a bright, well-balanced finish. 

Pairing Suggestion: Um, everything? But for a few recommendations: something spicy, like these Spicy Seitan Tacos or Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches. Or, since this is a juicy beer - pair it with brunch! This Chipotle Sausage, Scallion, & Tomato Frittata would be a great pairing.

Where Can I Find It? The brewery in Portland, Maine! Or, if you're lucky, you might be able to find it on tap at these Maine locations

What have you been drinking lately?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Highlights From Our Cross-Country Road Trip

Wow. What a whirlwind month it's been!

Driving cross-country | A Hoppy Medium

After taking 11 days to drive cross-country home to Boston, we quickly returned to our respective offices...and life has been non-stop ever since. As I write this, I am actually on a plane to Orlando for my company's customer conference. Talk about getting right back to reality!

Our trip home was nothing short of incredible, though. It was a lot of driving, but our trusty Subaru Outback stayed in great shape the whole way - we didn't even encounter so much as a flat tire. Here was our full itinerary:

Oregon ---> Redwood Forest ---> Reno, NV ---> Park City, UT ---> Denver, CO ---> Kansas City, MO ---> St. Louis, MO ---> Louisville, KY ---> Asheville, NC ---> Richmond, VA ---> Boston, MA

Along the way, we saw a ton of old and new friends, ate a lot of great food, sampled a ton of great beer, and saw #allthesights. It would take me days to recap our entire trip, so instead, here are some of the highlights from our 11-day journey across the country (in no particular order).

1.) The Redwood Forest

Redwood Forest | A Hoppy Medium

Redwood Forest | A Hoppy Medium

We hit the Redwoods on the tail-end of the typhoon that was hitting the Pacific Northwest, so a lot of the parks were closed. However, we stopped at one of the park ranger offices and got some fantastic recommendations for open parks - and frolicked through the massive trees in the rain. It was really a remarkable experience, and definitely a big highlight for both of us!

2.) Louisville, KY
We stopped in Louisville on a whim - it was a great way to cut our original ride from St. Louis to Asheville shorter - and I am so glad we did. Louisville really surprised us: the downtown was gorgeous and quaint, with Louisville Slugger baseball bats scattered throughout, recognizing famous baseball players who used them. (Z loved that part!). Against the Grain Brewery was also a fun stop for dinner and fresh beers, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options to boot.

3.) Vegetarian Reuben from Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, NC

Vegetarian Reuben from Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, NC | A Hoppy Medium

Z actually ordered this, and I had major food envy. I good does this look? It was phenomenal, and definitely a food highlight from our travels.

4.) The roadside scenery

Salt Flats in Utah | A Hoppy Medium

On the side of the road, somewhere in California | A Hoppy Medium

Middle of nowhere | A Hoppy Medium

From the Salt Flats in Utah (first photo) to the snowy mountains in Wyoming to the gorgeous views of the Pacific in California (second photo), we saw some gorgeous, ever-changing sights along the way. 

5.) The beer...obviously.

Wicked Weed Funkatorium | A Hoppy Medium

Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, CO | A Hoppy Medium

Just like our last cross-country trip, we made a ton of stops at some breweries and beer bars we were eager to check out. Some of my favorites included: Wicked Weed (they have two locations in Asheville, but we both liked the Funkatorium the best); The Answer in Richmond - great hoppy beers and stouts; Side Project in St. Louis; and Sergio's World Beers in Louisville - very unassuming place with a brash yet super friendly owner behind the bar; who will be happy to show you his extensive beer collection, if you're nice to him. This place had some great beers on tap and for sale via the bottle; really impressive options here!

Our trip back to Boston was definitely exciting and too so much fun, but I am so excited to be home - and I promise, I'll get back in the kitchen again soon, too!

Your turn! What's new with you??

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Next Chapter

On October 2, 2015, Z and I arrived in Portland, Oregon. A week before, we had left our home and families to drive cross-country to this city we had already fallen in love with.

Driving cross-country | A Hoppy Medium

When we came out here, we committed to a year, knowing we'd eventually want to return to our house, our loved ones, and our cubicles. (We both work remotely for Boston-based companies).

And here we are: even though we extended our time here a teeny bit, it's almost time for us to pack up the car again and make the trek home. I'm very excited for our cross-country trip - we're taking a different route this time, and double the days to see everything we can - and I am so excited to be home with our families. But I never could have guessed how hard it would be to leave our home here in Oregon.

Tumalo Falls in Bend, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium
Tumalo Falls in Bend.

Yes, the scenery, the food, the beer - it's all amazing here. Hell, even the coffee is incredible! All of these things make leaving hard, but the people - the lifelong friends we've made - make it the hardest.

And as I drench my keyboard in bittersweet tears, I am comforted to know we'll be back here. Many, many times. Portland, Oregon has officially become our second home - even if we're not rich enough [yet] to make that officially true. It's our second home in our souls, as cheesy as that sounds. We made some lasting memories and friendships in our year+ here; we have our favorite restaurants, bars, and bartenders; and our favorite day trips, such as to the Coast and hiking through the Gorge.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium
Multnomah Falls.

If there's one thing I learned from this crazy thing we did - you know, dropping our lives to do something totally different for a year - is that, if you can do something like this: DO IT. We almost didn't. But we were able to make it work, no matter how crazy it sounded in our minds initially. And if you really want to do something like this, you just have to do it. Life's too short not to. I would have totally regretted not doing this, but the worst part would have been not knowing just how life-changing, in the best way possible, this move actually was going to be.

Portland: Thanks for everything. We're sure going to miss you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit

Ah, fall. The time of year for crisp, gloriously chilly temperatures; vibrant foliage; pumpkin everything; and an excuse to have curry incorporated into every meal.

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit | A Hoppy Medium

Curry is so warming, so comforting, so delightfully spicy and flavorful that I find myself using it all the time once the temperatures begin to drop. Whether I'm using a spice blend, a paste, or concocting some sort of curry sauce - I just love the aromas, flavors, and fingernail-staining of it all. 

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit | A Hoppy Medium

So, it's no surprise that one of my first recipes this fall is filled with curry flavor. (Side note: I used Upton's Naturals Thai Curry Jackfruit here because I had some in the fridge, but feel free to use your favorite jackfruit, or even tofu, chicken, etc. This dish is very versatile!).

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit
Yields: 4 servings
Adapted from Upton's Naturals
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
-3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
-3 tablespoons Thai chile paste 
-Salt and black pepper
-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
-1 15-ounce can lite coconut milk
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 green onions, sliced
-2 small red bell peppers, chopped
-1 tablespoon of chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
-1 10.6-ounce package Upton’s Naturals Thai Curry Jackfruit
 -16 ounces udon or rice noodles, cooked
Lime wedges, extra chopped scallions, and chopped cilantro for garnish

1.) In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over low heat. Add 1 clove of the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the red curry paste along with the spices and grated fresh ginger. Add the coconut milk, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Turn heat to simmer and set aside.
2.) In a skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion, remaining garlic, and green onions. Stir-fry until golden, then add the red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the jackfruit. Stir until the jackfruit is thoroughly heated and the vegetables are tender. Season as needed with salt and black pepper.
3.) To serve, place a portion of noodles in a medium-size bowl and top with veggies as desired. Ladle some coconut curry sauce over the noodles and veggies, then top off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, scallions, and cilantro. (We also added chopped pistachios to ours, for extra protein and crunch. Highly recommended, but certainly not necessary).

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit | A Hoppy Medium

This dish is super easy to whip up, and I loved all of the aromas and flavors that came with it.

Happy autumn, all! 

What's your favorite thing about fall?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Crater Lake

Behold the beauty that is Crater Lake:

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Last month, several friends from Boston visited us in Oregon so we could explore Crater Lake. We drove from Portland to Bend, then Crater Lake, then up to the Coast for a few days of road trippin', camping, and hiking.

Crater Lake, as you can see, is a sight to behold, and a must-visit if and when you're in Oregon. (It's a little over four hours from Portland). Mazama Village Campground was perfect for our "glamping" adventure - once you reserve a spot ahead of time, you can drive to find a vacant campsite, park your car right there, and unload accordingly. (The only odd thing is that, even though we reserved a spot, we still had to drive around to find a vacant one versus having our own spot pre-claimed).

Many hikes are within a short driving distance from Mazama, boasting gorgeous views at all angles of the mighty lake.

It was a fantastic trip - one I wish we had time to do again before we leave! (More on that soon...).

Have you taken any fun trips lately?

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