Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Colonia Taco Lounge (La Puente)

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The menu on the 1st Friday of Lent, 2014.





Beer and wine.  I love that they are delving into the world of craft beer.




Michelada - a little diluted for my liking.  The use of a more flavorful beer would be in order here since you are building the flavors over ice.  Makes sense, que no?




Cocktails - more on this another day.  But for now, don't order the Oaxaca Calling.  Nothing about it speaks of Oaxaca.  #Trust!





Congregation IPA.  Or was it??  The beer was decent but for an IPA, it had very little redeeming value.  I'm 99.9% certain the IPA I ordered, was not the beer I received.  1)  The color was too dark for an IPA. 2)  This was the first time I've had an IPA served in this type of glass and 3) the hops were muted like I've never tasted before in an IPA.  Again, if this was an IPA, it sucked.  For another style of beer, it was okay.  I'll have to try this beer again somewhere else.  I'm convinced this wasn't a Congregation Alehouse beer. #IGot5OnIt!




Avocado Crunchy Taco - Good flavor from the sauce but I didn't really like the hard shell.  It reminded me of those hard shells we used to buy to make quick "hamburger tacos" as youngins.  And don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!  We've all been there. :)





Huitlacoche Taco - Most people would say corn smut is an acquired taste. I disagree.  If you closed your eyes, I'd say Huitlacoche tastes like really earthy stewed mushrooms - almost like escargot - ALMOST!.  If anything, I think the color is what turns most people off.  Me, I enjoy the flavor and color alike.  Something about eating black food...just not the black teeth part so much.  Anyway, this was my 2nd favorite vegetarian taco.





The gold medal belonged to this cauliflower taco with sweet corn.  Lilly and I liked it so much we ordered another one and attempted to recreate it a week later at home.  This taco came on a homemade flour tortilla which was damn tasty as well.





Chayote Taco - Whether you remember it or not, we've all had this as a side or taco when we were young.  It's probably one of the most comforting tacos for me because it reminds me of stuff my mom used to make for us when she was healthy enough to stand up on her own two feet before eventually succumbing to a debilitating disease.  #FuckYouLupus!




The best looking taco was also the worst tasting taco which also happened to be the most expensive taco and the Chefs special to boot!  It had a whole lot going for it - none of which either of us cared for.  The pineapple salsa tasted like something that had been sitting at a salsa bar for day.  The salmon, on the other hand, was overcooked and had very little flavor.  Not worth the money or time.  #StayAway



Potato Tacos - These otherwise ordinary (but tasty) tacos were dressed up more than I'm accustomed to with mixed greens, queso fresco and avocado crema.  Not bad.




Papa y Rajas - Another satisfying taco with loads of flavor. 




I did say I ordered 2 of these Cauliflower tacos, right?  #NoLie!





Buñuelos with canela and allspice dipping sauce.





Capirotada.

Desserts were okay but the stars were truly the tacos.  Not all hit the mark for me but a few really stood out in my mind.  Enough to warrant coming back for sure.  For those of you observing meat-free Fridays or are simply vegetarians, you have plenty of options to choose from to put together a solid meal.  I highly recommend this place especially if you decide to order from anything on the menu.  Options are definitely o' plenty.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Absolution Brewing Co. (Torrance)

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The newest brewery on the [Torrance] block.  Also, known as ABC.



If you've ever been to Valiant Brewing in Anaheim, it's almost as confusing to get to.  Luckily this industrial building has a series of signs leading around a short maze of similar complexes to help you reach your destination.  If you're gonna do a South Bay Beer crawl, I highly suggest you start here and then make your way to Smog City, Monkish and Strand...ending in El Segundo, naturally.



ABC opened less than a month ago so their hours of operation might change in the foreseeable future.  Sucky thing is, they pretty much have to close their doors to the public at 9, as the city doesn't want them to operate as a bar.  Booooo!!!! 


 
My craft-beer-convert, Lilly and I went over the weekend to see what was good.  For starters, the gentlemen that work there are very hospitable.  It's a small operation, so if you go, expect to be greeted by owners and brewers alike. 


   
Not only will you be greeted with a warm smile and welcoming handshake, you'll also be given tasting notes for the beer(s) you end up ordering.  As they grow and lines start to extend out the door, who knows if they will be as willing to shoot-the-shit with you.  But for the time being, they are doing their part to ensure you won't be a one-time patron.  I commend and applaud their service.  



Now, beer-wise, nothing underwhelmed much and their were some standouts.



Lilly and I shared a flight of 6 and both declared their Hef and Belgian Ale the clear winners.  The Purgatory Hef with locally grown organic strawberries was especially good, in my book.  Kinda reminded me of the whole champagne 'n strawberry bit - but better!  



Their stout reminded me a lot of Telegraph's Stock Porter so if you're familiar with that brew and liked it, you'll find this equally as good.  I liked their Possessed Porter too but to a lesser degree.  It was on Nitro so the flavor was subdued.  I like the variations to come though. I mean, toasted coconut, black cherries, roasted pecans, chai spices, pumpkin, peanuts...tell me that doesn't sound tasty!?



The only beer I did not taste was L'il Angel - their session IPA.  But from the IPAs I did try, I preferred their Cardinal Sin Red IPA.  It's a balanced IPA so for hop-heads, you're better off trying their Fallen Angel.  But even that IPA isn't hop-forward. So, be forewarned.  



The last things we tried were non-alcoholic.  Consider these offerings gateway beverages for lil tikes. #ISeeWhatYouDidThere While I found their cream soda lacking in flavor, the root beer, was high caliber - and I don't even care for the stuff, so that's saying something!

I was impressed for a brewery barely coming out of the blocks.  Their beer was good to say the least with room for even more refinement.  These guys have a high ceiling, as far as I'm concerned.  So, next time you're in the neighborhood definitively swing by to check out these up-n-comers.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lips Of Faith - Yuzu Imperial Berliner Weisse (New Belgium Brewing Co.)

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So you like to drink hefs, do ya?  You don't like the hoppiness from all the IPAs out there these days and dark beers aren't exactly your idea of beer.  So, what are you to do when hefs become a little monotonous??    



I say, reach out for a Berliner Weisse.  Basically, a sour wheat beer or sour hef, if you will.  Some of these beers can be more than your taste buds bargain for, but I found this little number a perfect thirst quencher without tasting warhead-like.   



Next time you see a bottle from New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series, do yourself a favor and pick up a couple.  Depending on which bottle you choose, you might not get blown away by them, but they'll certainly be worth looking into.  At worst, you'll think they are good.  At best, you might just look into the style a little deeper, look for similar beers and expand your knowledge.  Ultimately, ditching hefs for good.  Congratulations!  You're on your way to becoming a beer snob geek!  Kidding aside, beers such as Yuzu are good entry-way beers to delve into the world of craft beer. And for the record, I got nothing against Hefs, especially smoked ones or wheat beers aged in Añejo Tequila Barrels.  But more on that later. ;)     




Monday, March 10, 2014

Cappuccino Stout (Lagunitas Brewing Co.)

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I've been into coffee beers lately and this is another one I've enjoyed.



There have been others I've liked better but this one is no slouch.  In fact, it's my favorite Lagunitas release to date - that I've tried of course.



It's a perfect breakfast drink!  Believe it or not, despite the higher alcohol content than most beers, the caffeine from the coffee is more than enough to wake you up.  So, if many hours into the day you find yourself tossing and turning in bed and unable to sleep, remember that breakfast beer you had.  Trust me.  It's occurred to me on a couple of occasions now.  Seriously, have this in the morning and not in the PM.  So, put that Red Rockstar Bullshit Monstrosity down!  Throw away that Lipovitan and grab a bottle of coffeeee beer.  It does the same as all those energy drinks and I'd imagine it tastes leaps and bounds better!




Mariscos El Hermano (Vernon)

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Baja Style Fish Taco.



But since it's the only kind of fish taco sold here, there really is no need to ask for a specific style of taco.  They're good by the way but I've had better and I'm not particularly fond of the fish they use.  Tilapia?



 What's always good here are their Tacos Dorados de Camaron.  They're not my favorite (Mariscos Jalisco owns that title) but they are really good.



 The same can be said for their Tostada Mixta.



 It's a heaping mound of seafood topped over of a single tostada.  They usually give you 2 extras and a fork to make something more manageable to eat.  



Drizzle some hot sauce on top and squeeze a bit of lime over them.  Only thing missing now is a cold cerveza.  Salud!