Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jackie D's Search for Habitation

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
It has been a little bit of a busy week… but you know that’s how G’s do it. During the week, I went apartment hunting with Jackie D to help her try to do the impossible… which is find a reasonably sized one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco for under $3,000 a month… preferably under $2,000 but let’s not get too crazy. This IS San Francisco that we’re talking about. The city were the average selling price of a home went up over 30% this year when the national average was 1.4%. F**king insane… For what I pay as my share with three roommates in a townhouse… The Wingman pays less than HALF for a six-bedroom on acreage in Utah.
Anyway, we checked out a few places… and they were mostly in the Tenderloin the first few days… and they were pretty ridiculous. About 400 square feet studios… for about $1,800+ a month… and not exactly the finest amenities… and crackheads abound on every single block in that area. We were still optimistic with the search… but yeah, she was definitely looking into the roommate thing for a moment... and then on Friday, she luckily found a place that was half-decent... and "only" $2,300 a month... so yeah, she jumped all over that a few hours before she flew back to Philly. YAY!!! I'm excited for her... and I think she is too... but she's also running numbers in her head... I can tell. So excited for her return!
As for my apartment, the bathroom is still being redone… in fact, now COMPLETELY redone like even under the floorboards and everything since they found a bigger leak problem… so I should have it back by the end of next week. Fingers crossed… and in the meantime, all of my stuff is now in about a third of the space since the workers need to be able to walk entirely through my bedroom to access the bathroom… but yeah, it should be even better when they’re done. Allegedly they’re going to jack up the shower head to suit my six-foot-eight frame… but we’ll see if they even raise it to accommodate your average six-footer. Before it was… I don’t know… Asian influence? So yeah, fingers crossed.
Saturday, Izzy & I had some homebrewing duties to tend to… starting with the transfer of our future aware-winning Honey Amber Ale to the secondary fermenter…

Fancy bubbles from cleaning secondary carboy...

Mmm... look at that gorgeousness...
and the beer color...

How does it get that color?
This is the sediment taken out during
primary fermentation

Cleaning activity...
Then, since we had an open primary carboy, why not fill it up with our next batch - Blood Orange Hefeweizen!!! Based on a recipe from Dogfish Head Brewery’s owner in a Popular Mechanics article, it sounded pretty interesting… and since we were able to pick up some blood oranges in Watsonville last weekend, and the rest of the ingredients at homebrew shops, so decided to give it a try. The recipe is obviously pretty similar to our first batch of Bavarian Hefeweizen that we made in November… but with the addition of blood oranges into the wort & fermentation for a different colors & taste components… as well as about double the hops of our Bavarian Hefeweizen.
However, due to a few factors, we were simply NOT feeling it... and it wasn't essential... so we decided to not make the new batch & then we spent the weekend dogsitting for Izzy's aunts because... well, they have a teenage daughter who could do it but... she was busy... by being there 90% of the time... except when she went to Target... allegedly... let's face it, she's a teenage daughter who just doesn't want to do anything. Good for her. Regardless, we had fun anyway. We did squeeze the blood oranges from last week & got some zest... so it'll be well preserved for next week's batch to be brewed.

Now we will soon have the Oktoberfest Lager, Honey Amber Ale AND Blood Orange Hefeweizen doing their thing… and they should all be ready in time for our next big party. What is the party you ask? Why… it’s $TEVE-TOBERFEST!!! What is that? Well, it’s going to be my 33rd birthday celebration… complete with ample beverages (like the 15 gallons of previously mentioned beer that I currently have fermenting& about 20 more gallons in other kinds of booze ready for drinking), some oompah music, Falco, and Izzy & I are going to try to make some amazing German foods like pretzels, spaetzle, some legit brauts and all that kind of stuff too. There will also be the triumphant return of… DAS BOOOOOOOOT!!! Details will be coming soon… but prepare thy selves for Epicness!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mokele Mobembe

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Thursday night, Izzy, her aunts & I had dinner at Elevation 66 Brewing for the first time… and it was fantastic. Super Dave was even there just doing his brewmaster / owner thing, helping run the place. I got there first (because I'm a man) and had a Coast 66 Double Rye IPA while waiting. Dave stopped by & we chatted it up for a minute or so, but then he was off doing owner stuff. The ladies showed up, we ate some GREAT food including house-made sausage (probably the best I’ve ever had) with spaetzle that was incredible…  fish & chips with three full large pieces of fish… a delicious Reuben sandwich… and even the mushroom Panini sh*t that one of the aunts got was pretty good. Of course their beer that we helped (in a small part) to make was great as well. Super Dave even stopped by a few times to say hi & introduced us to his wife Esther, the namesake for their vanilla stout. That's cool as well. Best part: With four full meals (ladies had leftovers) and two rounds. and even some snacks & tremendous beer & cheese soup while I was waiting… the total came to like $85. Not bad at all for a bit of a fancy night at the pub. I highly recommend it if you’re in the El Cerrito area. It’s just two blocks from the BART station for El Cerrito Plaza, check it out.
Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of the food... but here's something that Izzy & I made... it's flat steak marinated in soy sauce, Worcester & Mangria... wrapped around bleu cheese and slow roasted in a crock pot. It wasn't perfect... but yeah, delicious.

Saturday, we went on a little road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway towards Harley Farms in Pescadero. If you remember from a few weeks ago, we went out there & took the tour… and they mentioned that the farm was expecting dozens to hundreds of baby goats around this time of year… and with Izzy being such a HUGE fan of goats and all cute four-legged creatures, we thought we’d go check them out. We would’ve went on another tour… but they’re pretty much booked up for the next few months… so we just went on the cheap (free-99) and saw a few cute guys. Here are some pictures…

Next stop was a brewery that I had heard great things about called Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in Capitola. They pride themselves on unique brews… and using a variety of different methods of brewing to kind of experiment with flavors. For example, they had cask-conditioned IPAs & porters… along with a variety of saisons (farmhouse ales) with mixed types of fermentation & yeasts available when we stopped by. I admire their determination to try new things and to go into the unknown wholeheartedly… however, I just didn’t particularly care for the beverages that were on hand. Now, that being said… I not a huge fan of saisons in general (see Beer Talks) nor cask-conditioned ales unless their more suited for cask-conditioning. For example, English Ales & some of the maltier choices (porter was much better than IPA) work well with the cask method… but for me personally, it just tastes like flat lifeless beer otherwise. Again, if you like saisons & cask ales, then I highly recommend that you check this place out if you’re in the beautiful area of Capitola. The proprietor of the establishment is a wonderful bearded man who came out to greet me & share in height-advantaged conversation for a few moments… it has a good vibe full of dog owners… and the beer is okay… but perhaps I’m just spoiled by constantly being surrounded in AMAZING beer, that I felt this stop was just okay. Again, go check it out for yourself… and stop by some of the other sights down there by Aptos, Santa Cruz & Watsonville like we did.
Speaking of which, here are some of our stops along the way while down there… including an okay BBQ joint called Sid’s Smokehouse… and then back out to Aptos to see the beautiful Seacliff State Park...

Saturday night, we stopped by Izzy’s friend Peter’s Birthday Bash at his house… and as is usual with his house parties, they’re amazing & awesome!!! Dozens of people filling the place, enough booze to poison an elephant’s liver beyond repair, dance floor competitions, live entertainment, just a great time. We also brought some of our Hefeweizen & Nut Brown Ale bombers… and our 5 Day Cider which was ready for consumption. We had tried it Friday night & it was pretty splendid… basically just like sparking apple juice but cloudier and maybe 3-4% ABV. You could easily drink it all day. Anyway, several guests wanted to try our beer… and they all seemed to like it, with most LOVING it. There was even one drunken guest who offered to help with financing a brewery if we started one… but we’ll see in a few months when he sobers up & we come to collect. Regardless, it was a fantastic time with good peeps & everybody made it home safe thanks to public transportation & designated drivers like me. Yup… that’s right… I was drinking coca-cola most of the night… cuz that’s how a G do.
Over the weekend we watched Season four of “Archer” now on Netflix (in like one sitting it seems) and also a 1999 movie called “Pirates of Silicon Valley” starring Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs & Anthony Michael Hall  as Bill Gates about the early days of Microsoft, Apple, IBM and basically the computer boom in general in the late 70’s early 80’s. There have been a number of movies about this subject recently (in particular Steve Jobs since he died and apparently once somebody dies you can do whatever you want with their image) but this movie was apparently one of the first & most acclaimed. The story is essentially about these college students (Jobs at Berkeley & Gates at Harvard) who see the future potential of the computer world & try to get in on it… and because nobody else really seems to see the potential that they do or have their business savvy… or even a little ruthless cutthroat behavior… they basically end up OWNING THE WORLD! Well, not quite that much… but spoiler alert, Bill Gates does become the wealthiest man in the world by the end of it. I thought it was a pretty interesting little piece of (controversial) history based on the times… and I would recommend it. It’s not the best movie obviously… but not too bad. I liked it.
My bathroom in my apartment is getting torn up & remodeled (leaking pan) so hopefully when it’s all said & done, I’ll have a new bathroom with a raised shower nozzle (you know, for a man of 80 inches in height as opposed to 60). It’s a bit of a pain sharing the bathroom with the other three lady roommates but… whatever. I’m low maintenance & plan ahead. Also, Jackie D is in town again… and we’re going to check out some apartments while she’s in town, getting ready for her move back. Have a great day everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?