Apr 29, 2011

Beer cocktails: the Lotusland

I've always liked beer just fine the way it is, so I was never really enthralled at the idea of adding booze to it. At least until my last birthday, I wasn't.

P took me to Lotusland, an organic winery in Abbotsford, for a tasting. Within an hour, we'd befriended the hilarious woman behind the bar (who also happened to be one of the owners). We mentioned we were more beer nerds than wine connoisseurs, and she responded with: "Well in that case, you gotta try something." She promptly disappeared to her car, and returned with a single bottle of Okanagan Springs Black Lager and a tiny bottle of Van Gogh espresso vodka (what - you don't store your booze in your vehicle?!). She then proceeded to pour us a small glass of heaven - which shall henceforth be known as the Lotusland.

Apr 27, 2011

Snacks that rule: kale chips

Is it just me, or is everyone all about kale chips lately? No? ...Ok, maybe it's just me and my healthy nerd friends. Regardless, kale chips are so good, you don't even have to be a health nerd to like them (and you can always alternate them with handfuls of Doritos). I've never been a huge kale fan (so bitter!), and I'd always buy the stuff and then let it go bad while I tried to come up with something inspiring to do with it. Problem solved! Yum.

Apr 22, 2011

Countdown to VCBW

In the past, I used to just have one craft-beer related event to look forward to each year: the annual Fall launch of pumpkin beer (yep, I love me some gourd-flavoured brew). But ever since last spring, thanks to the Vancouver Craft Beer Week folks, I've got something else to get excited about - something much, much bigger (and the fact that it coincides with second-round NHL playoffs definitely doesn't dull the celebratory vibe).

In only its second year of existence, Vancouver Craft Beer Week is 9 glorious days of tastings, premieres, casks, food pairings and general celebration of everyone's favourite malty beverage (you can read more about what VCBW means to the craft beer community on BC Brews).

But now, onto the important part - the events.

Apr 11, 2011

To hop or not to hop?

I can't believe I'm going to admit this publicly, but... I am not a huge fan of hoppy beers. Yeah, I said it. If you haven't yet closed the browser in disgust that I still dare to call myself a craft beer fan in the Pacific Northwest, give me a chance to explain:

Apr 8, 2011

Red lentil & rice veggie burgers with sweet potato wedges

Despite being full of veggie-munchers like me, it's tough to find a good veggie burger in this city. It's even tougher to find a good store-bought version. The ones that are flavoured in an attempt to taste like meat have never gone over well with me (Me: "Taste this for me, I think it might be meat. Gasp! I think they served me meat!" P: "This tastes nothing like meat. Do you even know what meat tastes like?!") and most of the rest of them are bland as hell.

After several years, I finally got sick of watching P chow down on a plump, juicy, freshly-made beef burger while I sat and chewed on my cardboard "mushroom patty". And so I threw down my bun (figuratively) and decided I could probably do it better myself. My first attempt is a lentil-based burger:

Apr 5, 2011

Let the planting begin!

Between monsoons this weekend, we managed to get some containers set up in the yard. Radish and lettuce seeds went into fresh dirt, strawberries were transplanted and decorative grasses... were decorative? But here's the best part - total amount spent so far: $0. Yep, that's right - our ridiculous plan of landscaping without spending any money actually seems to be working!

Apr 4, 2011

Beet and bean borscht

I've always enjoyed the saying "cheap like borscht." But I don't think it quite gives borscht all the credit it's due. Something like "cheap, easy, delicious and the coolest colour EVAR like borscht" would be more accurate in my books.

I got this recipe from a pretty random source: the Saskatchewan pavilion at the Olympics last year. They had a booth celebrating their role in North American pulse production (sounds sexy, right?), which included a free little booklet called "Cooking with Pulses." Mmm. Nothing like the word "pulse" to get your appetite going. Anyway, courtesy of the great province of Saskatchewan, I bring you:

Apr 3, 2011

Sweet beer Saturday

It started out as one of those annoying Saturdays where you spend a lot of time driving around doing errands and not a lot of time enjoying it. By 2 in the afternoon we were lost somewhere in Coquitlam in a maze of traffic and construction. Patience was starting to erode, tones were starting to get snappy. And it didn't help that we were both starving. And then, suddenly, we came upon it. A brewpub - in Coquitlam! Who knew?!

And so, moods improving already, we rolled into the parking lot at Big River Brewpub. Although the fact that it was attached to a bowling alley made me doubt its authenticity for a moment, I felt much better when I saw that the brewer's choice pint for the day was a coconut porter. This place had to be legit.

Big River Brewing Coconut Porter