A Beautiful Mess

By mess I mean garbage plate. I’ve always wanted to come up with a Rochester hot sauce, or meat sauce, or whatever you’d like to call it. And this was just the excuse I needed. Linh Phillips from Sir Rocha Says is going to be presenting at the RAF 20 Minutes and a Beer on April 19th (see the Facebook event). We needed a photo for the event creative and I thought why not pay tribute to Linh’s (and my) love all all things food and drink….including Sriracha.

The garbage plate was made famous in Rochester. And while mine is not exactly the classic from Nick Tahou’s, it was super good. I started with Wegmans frozen sweet potatoes fries. I pan fried them in a touch of oil then caramelized them with maple syrup. Those are topped with Wegmans deli macaroni salad. Two Zweigles pop-open red hots come next, followed by the hot sauce and Sriracha.

Don’t forget the Sriracha Hot Stout from Rogue Ales & Spirits. It’s an easy drinking stout with hints of chocolate, malt and coffee. The pepper spice is definitely there, but not nearly as strong as you may think given the bright red Sriracha bottle look. A very interesting beer and an excellent pairing for our plate.

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The hot sauce was pretty easy to make and ridiculously good. I mixed a touch of sweet in, to go with the spice….especially since I knew the Sriracha was coming. Given it’s a Rochester recipe, I used the Dundee’s Porter instead of only water….and it’s way better! Here is the recipe.

  • 1 medium or 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bottle Dundee’s Porter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 8-16 oz. water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet, then fry onion and garlic in oil until lightly browned. Break up meat and add to pan with all spices. Stir continually until browned to keep loose. Once browned, add the porter, tomato paste and brown sugar. Simmer 1 hour, adding water if necessary to keep it moist.

Heather and I shared this and it was splendid! Let us know your “plate” suggestions and favorites and we’ll make another! Cheers.

The diversity of beer and music.

I went to the beer store. While this isn’t necessarily an odd occurrence, my mission was unusual. I volunteered to shoot an image for this month’s RAF event, 20 Minutes and a Beer. (Join the Facebook event!) Anthony DeVito from Pandora will be speaking about the current and future state of streaming audio. Thus my mission was to find some beers that relate to music! Beer and music come in hugely varying options, so I find it fitting that the two I ended up choosing are so different in their inspiration and their taste/style.

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First we have Trooper. A traditional English ale inspired by the song of the same name, it was created by Bruce Dickinson (the Iron Maiden vocalist), and brewed by Robinson’s. The iconic artwork was hard for me to pass up, as it brought me back to my high school days of listening to heavy metal. The website describes the beer as malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon. There is a bit of malt hiding under the citrus and hops to help hold it together, but I found it a bit too lemony, with not enough malt. It was good, and probably a great example of the style, but I really wanted to like it more. I have, however, added an Iron Maiden station to my Pandora account.

Second, we have the re-release of Bitches Brew by Dogfish Head. It was first created in 2010 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis’ 1970 groundbreaking jazz album. A dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root. I found this to be a fabulous stout, very dark in color with a thick, rich caramel head, featuring a great blend of mild bitterness and mild roast. Flavors of dark chocolate and coffee mix in with just a touch of caramel and honey. An excellent and drinkable beer with a slight malty finish, it’s much drier than you may think given the flavors. Of the two, I have to give the Bitches Brew the hands down victory. I have also added a Bitches Brew station to Pandora!

Which station are you going to add? Which beer are you going to try?

If you’re in the area, please join me at Good Luck on Tuesday!

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Santa wants beer and cookies

Yes, he does. Specifically this Newcastle Brown Ale and Heather’s chocolate crinkle cookies. I would normally wait until closer to the holiday to do a Christmas post, but the next RAF 20 Minutes and Beer event is calling! And guess who is giving this presentation? Yours truly. I’d give you some details but I don’t have them all planned out yet. Hopefully you can swing by to cheer me on listen and have a beer! My presentation title is… Say No To Stock: Be Original & Let Your Idea Grow. I’ll share my take on stock images vs. creative original photography (which do you think I prefer?). Showing you examples of misused and overused stock images, I’ll try to demonstrate why it’s always better to be original and let your idea grow (so you don’t end up on Santa’s naughty list). Should be fun!

Here are the original photo and the poster. Do you think I would have been able to find a stock photo for my silly idea? Don’t forget to make Heather’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. The recipe is down below. Now for that Newcastle (Which is the perfect choice, as they have very original advertising. #nobullocks)….Cheers!

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Chocolate Crinkles:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour (I use a little less)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350. Roll about one teaspoonful of dough at a time into a ball and roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place 2″ apart on greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper). Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

More beer is never bad…

….especially on a Friday afternoon. Let’s skip over the stories that would contradict that statement (just one more!), and go right to the clarification. More beer photos are never bad. Especially when I can use them to help promote the second “20 Minutes and a Beer” event of the fall season, next Monday the 18th.

While there’s no shortcut to creativity nirvana, one can get there by experience, hard work, dedication, and by following some thought provoking non-scientific principles titled “The 12 Creative Rules of Thumb.” Joe Mayernik, former RAF President and Co-Founder/Creative Director of Brandtatorship, will share these 12 principles to live, learn, and be inspired by. The principles will make you rethink, while forging ideas that will help you challenge the creative norm.

Joe is a terrific speaker, and I hope all of you in the Rochester area can stop by the Back Nine Grill. The Facebook event page will give you more information. Joe has a great blog which I suggest you follow as well.

Now for the beer! I couldn’t help but highlight a few local brews: 12 Horse Ale and Fyfe & Drum from Genesee, and Magic Hat’s #9. Cheers!2eat2drink-more beer

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The end of October. Uh oh.

So, it’s rare these days for me to do posts on consecutive days. Not because I don’t want to, just because work has been very busy! (Thank you!) I have lots of things stored up to post, but figured once October was over it wouldn’t make much sense to post an Octoberfest! Some of you may have noticed it appear in my header a few weeks ago. That’s when I did the shots to be used on an event poster for a Rochester Advertising Federation event, “20 minutes and a beer.” It’s a Samuel Adams Octoberfest, which is my go-to favorite. Let this serve as your reminder to go get your favorite before someone else drinks them it’s gone. Cheers!

PS: Look for a Halloween post tomorrow. 3 days in a row!

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Drink like a local. Welcome to NOLA!

Welcome to New Orleans! Heather and I just had an opportunity to take a quick honeymoon over Columbus Day weekend. So thank you, Mr. Columbus, for discovering our world and providing us with a long weekend!

When we visit somewhere, I really do try to drink in the local culture. Our first day, it was an Abita Amber that fit the bill. It was smooth and malty with a touch of caramel. Excellent! Perfect to sit back, relax and listen to some local jazz at The Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street. I’m sure there are many great local brews, but this was one of my favorites.

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As we wandered into the colorful little club with tons of character, Rites of Swing was letting it all hang out. Yvette Voelker jumped in for an awesome vocal performance. I highly recommend that you track them down.

More posts from NOLA coming soon. Cheers!

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Mean and Nasty. Add Choklat. Not so mean and nasty.

Here I go messing around with those “usual” pairings again. But I had the beer…and I had the cheese, and I thought….why not??? It turned out to be a really good idea!

In this case, the cheese came first…..from a June trip to the Thousand Islands. How can you resist a cheese called Mean and Nasty? It’s a super aged cheddar from River Rat cheese. (Even thought I can’t find any information on their website.) Our oldest son spotted it in a gift shop in Alexandria Bay, saying he’d had it before and liked it. He wanted us to try it, so we picked it up. It sat in the fridge until the right pairing came along.  The cheese has a definite sharp bite, but being a fan of sharp cheddar It’s hard to call it nasty. It has a lot of creaminess hidden under the sharpness and plenty of calcium lactate crystals hidden throughout.

The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.

The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.

I discovered the beer during a photo shoot. (Yes…I love my job!) I poured 9 different beers for the shots and since there was a touch left in each bottle I got to try them all. The Southern Tier Brewing Choklat was a standout for me. It’s a stout brewed with chocolate….and it’s delicious on its own. The scent of chocolate and caramel fills your nose as you bring your glass up. The taste is very creamy to start, with caramel malt, and finishes with bittersweet chocolate and hops. Together…..it’s creamy chocolate bliss. The bite of the sharp cheddar pairs well with the hops. The creaminess in both blend together, while the chocolate shines through. Yum!

2eat2drink_meanandnasty-p2eat2drink-meanandnasty choklat-p2eat2drink-choklat-pHere are a few highlights from our trip!