Monthly Archives: May 2007

I get my Mondays back

This lackluster season of 24 is finally over.

Full Sail LTD Limited Light Lager

Go Full Sail. A yummy lager with multiple layers of flavor but not trying to mimic anything German or Czech I’ve ever had. Golden, light, bubbly, slighty sweet. Delightful but not challenging. It get on the tongue and jumps right off. This one will also work for your friends who won’t touch a bitter beer, though I think it would be helped with just a little more bitterness. But if you’re looking for a beer to share at a BBQ this summer, this one could be the perfect choice. It really found a nice spot on the fence between the lighter lagers and craft beers. In fact, I’ll be showing up at a BBQ with a 5-pack of this in just a bit.

me and my cast enjoying an LTD in the backyard

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

This cloudy beer is a treat for a broken wrist. Easily opened using my wall-mounted bottle opener, I managed to pour it gently down the side of the glass, extracting only a slightamount of head. Which is fine because I can’t (or won’t) shave and less head keeps the foam out of my ‘stache. The Republic consistently turns out hoppy heavy hitters, and this is certainly big. A mouthful of hoppiness with a nice body to boot, this golden-hued ale is of medium bitterness and fairly aromatic. Get out and get some.

Cafe Be Van

Just wanted to callout this tasty little Vietnamese deli located at 6846 NE Sandy.  Their menu is pretty small, mostly serving up a varety of meat sandwiches, but there is a vegetarian option as well.  Their sandwiches are $2.75-3.00, and the perfect size for a light meal.  Just think, even if you ordered four sandwiches, a hum bao (sp?), and a drink, your meal would still still be a Cheap Eat by WW’s standard (what a disappointment that issue was!  Usually a year-long staple, this year’s Cheap Eats was recycled in under a week).  The sandwiches (we tried ham, the special, and the bao) were good, with fun twists on our American standards, cilantro, carrots, othr veggies, and something tangy.

I broke my wrist

Thursday was a beautiful day to ride my bike.  Things soured a bit on my way home.  Crossing Halsey around 47th (near the Daily), I was absently putting my foot into the stirrup, when upon looking up, I was almost on top of the curb.  I attempted evasive action, but clipped it and fell.  Dumb, oh well.  I got back on my bike and continued down the bike path (designated shared…happily there was no traffic).  As I rode, it seemed like the front brake was rubbing the wheel a bit.  Since I was approaching that big hill below Fremont, I though I’d check it out.  To inspect it, I decided to do a bit of a wheelie and watch to see if the wheel stops.  So, I pull up on the handlebar, and watch closely as the fork lifts off the wheel, the wheel slides back into the fork, I come crashing down and over the handlebar, landing mostly on my shoulder, scraping my elbow and knee, hitting my happily helmetted head, and somehow hitting my hand/wrist.

This was at around 47th and Wysteria.  I stood up, dazed, laid down in some grass for a bit, the stood up again.  It was odd, there was a fair number of people around, but nobody paid any attention…nobody asked if I was okay or anything.  I got back on my bike and rode home.  N talked me into going to the immediate care center where x-rays indicated a broken wristbone.  They splinted me and sent me on my way, and tomorrow I see a specialist.

on the size of government

I’ve been shying away from political posts, but that Imperial IPA loosened my tongue a bit…so this is a comment I left in response to this.

After reading your post I’m amazed that at the end you still refer to Bush as a Republican president, as he is only republican in the disappointing social values perspective that your party embraces for votes alone (else why such hypocrisy in your leadership).

As far as your issues with government size, I partially agree. There are huge shortcomings in the system. Government handouts, welfare abusers, unjustified wars, sweetheart deals, they’re all problems.

But, the general anti-government, ant-tax stance is wrong. And it doesn’t matter what percentage of Americans make their honest wage off government funding.

You are correct about the transfer, but you should be thankful for it, as that transfer is keeping you out of the company store. My belief is that Democratic voters have the primary goals of preservation of the middle class and the progress of the American economy (as well as an unalignable array of social goals).

Government is able to provide a buffer against major economic shifts (such as the baby boomer problem and our market’s wholesale shift to a service industry) both by providing meaningful employment and by training and education. It is also able to provide protection for smaller players against more powerful entities. Completely contrary to the objectivist Republican ethos, regulation actually promotes competition.

cheers.

Butte Creek Brewing’s 10th Anniversary Imperial IPA

The label tells us to “Go big or go home,” but at 9.1% ABV, this certified organic 22ozer out of Chico, CA is more likely to send you home. Big certainly describes this Imperial IPA well. Big and potent. And pretty enjoyable. If you like your beers strong, and you’re fond of IPAs (I’m guessing you probably are), you will dig BCB’s X IPA.
The aroma is surprisingly meek in introducing this ale. Lacking almost entirely of a hoppy scent, there is only a hint of sweet malt. But once it’s on its way in, you quickly realize the deception. This baby’s a heavy hitter. Most of the hoppiness is bittering, but it offsets the maltiness nicely, mounting a two-pronged attack on the tongue. That is, while it evades the over-potent alcohol flavor, which doesn’t meld quite well enough for my taste. It takes an excellent beer to taste smooth over 8% or so, and while this one’s pretty good, I don’t think it quite pulls off the potency. Perhaps if it were a bit heavier on flavoring hops.

The body is medium-heavy, with a slight, not unpleasant tendency towards the syrupy texture I often find in higher gravity ales. It has a decent, quickly dissipating head and a golden hue with copper highlights.

Overall, this is a good beer, great for jump-starting the evening (helloooo Saturday night!) or for somebody into those heavier IPAs, or just as an alternative to your regular IPA.

broken wrist

Well, I’ve closed the injury trifecta by breaking a metacarpal last night in a bike accident (single vehicle).  I went to the urgent care last night and the good Dr. told me to see a hand/wrist specialist.  Calling around today, it just feels like nobody’s broken a bone here in Portland before.  I can’t get in to an appointment until next week, nobody can answer any questions…shoot, they don’t even understand the questions.  Like do I need it casted, what kind of doctor should I see, is it ok to leave it splinted until tuesday?  So, any recommendations are welcome.  thanks!

Sourdough Pizza/BBQ Pizza

Two recent projects of mine came together recently, with pretty nice results! I’ve been making sourdough bread for a couple months now, and it has been working well. In addition, I visited New York recently. As we all know, bread+NY=pizza. Except in alternate axiom sets where bread+NY=bagels, but we’re in my reality. Plus, while bagels were all over New York, most of them were nothing special. Not that I didn’t find some grub ones, it’s just that most were delivered from somewhere, and really not that great.

So, pizza. I first made a couple of standard pizzas at home. I made the dough (an overnight process), made up some sauce, and preheated the oven to 550F with the pizza stone in it. With this whole bread thing, preheat refers to more than just letting the oven come to temperature, it needs to become the temperature, which involves getting it to that temperature and letting it sit for ahwhile. In addition, for bread I increased the humidity by placing a pan of water on the bottom rack. Due to the significantly shorter bake time for pizza, I didn’t do this. Maybe next time.

So we’re talking my oven on max, sourdough rolled as thin as it’ll go, a thin layer of sweetened pizza sauce, and some mozarella. Flour the stone, set the pizza, and into the oven for 5-10 minutes. As you can see, the crust came out pretty pale. I’m thinking it’s due to my using all-purpose flour, but that’s one thing to investigate in the future.

Then this weekend we went to Cannon Beach with some friends. Anners and I have been talking sourdough for some time, so I prepped some starter to take. Make some pizzas, hang out, drink beer. But….a twist. Let’s do it on the BBQ! This was at a beach house, so we had limited cooking supplies, didn’t want to make a mess, and all that, so a BBQ is perfect. Of course, devices to help prep sauce/grate/chop were in short supply, but you do what you can with what you’ve got, eh?

I used two methods. Here is a quick rundown of my techniques for BBQ pizza. First, crack open a beer and set up a space to keep toppings, dough, sauce, and oil. You’ll want some paper towels available for oiling the grate and the crust. Get your coals burning using whatever method is available. I used a direct cooking method, and it seemed most effective with a double layer of coals. I needed to consolidate the coals partway through to increase the direct heat. After the coals are ready, spread them out and cover the BBQ to let it come to temperature.
Clean and oil the grate. Really. Stuck dough is ruined dough. Well, I’ll eat it, but you know what I mean. You will want everything to be on hand, you won’t have much time once things start rolling.

Prep the dough. Prepare the dough however you like. I pulled out my sourdough starter the day before, added some water and bread flour, and let it do its thing overnight. In the morning, I added some flour and (less) water and kneaded it to a proper consistency with a little snap. Then add the salt and knead some more, cover with plastic in a large bowl and let it sit while you do something else for a few hours. It should have risen a bunch. Push it down and let it rise again, or not, depending on when you want to make the pizzas.

Create the crust. I rolled out a bunch of rounds ranging from around 8-12″ diameter. Some were rounder than others. Get it as thin as you can…like 1/8″. While this is going on the coals should be heating. I just made a bunch, there didn’t seem to be a problem with them drying out, but the ones that sat the longest stuck together a bit (peeled apart easily).

Take everything outside. Your flame should be fairly hot, but not scorching. Oil the grate. The first method I tried was as follows. Oil one side of the dough, place oil-side down. It’ll likely puff up. You can press down with the edge of the spatula to puncture and release the gas. Check the botton, you want it crisp and a little golden. Flip the dough, lightly spoon on your sauce, place the cheese and toppings, cover, and let it grill for a couple minutes. Keep an eye on the pizza, it won’t take long. Take the pizza off, put it on a plate, and serve immediately. you don’t want these treasures sitting around getting cold.

Saucing the flipped pizza.

Some cheese!

Spinach, onion, garlic, more chees…yum!

Crispy crackery crust. Yeah!

Alright, I mentioned a different method, and I think it was better. Don’t flip. Just oil the dough, stick it on the grill, add your sauce and toppings, cover and let it cook. It won’t take long, and I found that the outer crust cam out better this way. Next time, this is the way I’m going the whole time.