TRÖEGS JavaHead Stout

Troegs Java HeadIt’s been a while since I’ve made a post, so I thought I’d dig a little more into my beer tastings.  Some of the better grocery stores near me let you fill up a six pack with assorted single bottles of a wide assortment of craft brews.  This is really great for a newbie like myself as I can try a lot of stuff without buying six of everything.

Here’s one of the brews fro my last assorted six pack: TRÖEGS JavaHead Stout.  So here is my still very amateur review of this wonderful sounding stout.

JavaHead poured black with a tan head.  It smelled wonderful; roasty like chocolate or coffee.  Tasting it brought hints of coffee and roasted malt.  It was slightly bitter, but balanced well by the rich flavors.

Overall, this was a good brew that I would drink again.  It was really my first departure from traditional stout beers and I enjoyed it.

Troegs Java Head

First Time French Press Coffee

Over the past couple years I’ve started to enjoy coffee.  What I once thought of as a bitter, watery caffeine delivery system has become an enjoyable treat.  My journey started with god awful gas station coffee supplemented with flavored creamers.  The occasional glass of iced coffee made with what was left over from my parents’ morning pot was good, but also flooded with creamer.

I slowly started to drink better coffee when it was there, but I still wasn’t completely sold on the stuff.  While at a gathering to mourn the loss of a loved one, one of my relatives made Syrian coffee.  Being adventurous with food, I gave it a try.  Black, no sugar, no cream.  It really opened my eyes to what coffee could be. It was strong, it was pungent, and was like nothing I had ever tasted.

That brings me to my current position.  I learned one of the reasons I never like my parents’ coffee was they made it quite weak.  I started experimenting and found I like a coffee with about twice as much grounds per cup of water.  Since then, I’ve been enjoying quality beans, usually shade grown (and free trade), but still made with a cheapo blade grinder and standard drip coffee maker. Continue reading

Toledo Favorites 2: Pub Food – Nick & Jimmy’s Bar and Grill

I’m not big on going to bars. In fact, what usually gets me to a bar is the food.  I’ll usually have a drink, but the food is why I’m there.  For that reason, Nick & Jimmy’s has become one of my go-to bars.  Nick & Jimmy’s is one of a few restaurants owned by the same restaurateur.   These include the Village Inn, Basin Street Grille, and the Temperace, MI Nick & Jimmy’s.

Upon entering the restaurant, there is a section of seating and of course the bar. Off to your right is another small seating section and a room with two pool tables and a shuffleboard table.  Off of that room is another small bar.  There are a few arcade games throughout the bar like pinball.

I am rarely in there for dinner or later with the bar crowd.  My friends and I will grab a late lunch after class occasionally.  It is usually not very busy in the middle of the afternoon. We usually eat with a beer, then go play some pool, which is $1 per game. Continue reading

BGump’s 101 Restaurant & Lounge

This was my first time at this fairly new Sylvania, OH restaurant.  It’s located on Main St. just north of Brint Rd.  We had a large party of 12, and were seated at a row of tables in the corner of the bar/lounge area.  It was a snug fit, but not uncomfortable.  The atmosphere was nice, if not a little dark.  We were seated right in front of the fireplace, and it was hot through most of our dinner.  I will say now, I grabbed my Canon XSi with Canon 40mm f/2.8 “pancake” to throw in the pocket of my leather jacket, as anything bigger won’t fit.  But it was so dark, I couldn’t get any pictures with the lens, I really needed to bring the 50 f/1.4.  So I apologize for the lack of pictures.

The menu features a wide range of a dishes from the expected Cajun classics like crawfish etouffee, to steak, even Black Angus meatloaf.  Every one of the twelve of us found something that sounded good.

I took at look at their very different draught beer list.  Basically all craft brews, many I had never heard of.  I ordered an Ommegang Three Philosophers as the description intrigued me and sounded like a beer I would enjoy.  This was the first quadrupel I have tried.  It was served in a small branded glass (due to the moderate alcohol content of 9.8%).  It was very good;  malty and sweet, but not overly so.  It was not bitter to me at all.  I may have to find some of this to try it again. Continue reading

San Marcos Taqueria – Best Mexican Food in Toledo?

A friend of mine told me it was the best Mexican food she’s ever had.  Doesn’t mean much to me; I’ve been told that about a lot of places only to be disappointed once I eat there.  I find the margaritas are usually the determining factor for many.  A few weeks later, she mentioned it in class and a couple other people overheard and said it was the best Mexican food they had had too.  My interest was piqued, and I did some research online.  The general consensus was that is may in fact be the best in Toledo.

So myself and three of my friends headed over there after our classes today.  We parked in the back, so we could walk through the small grocery store attached to the restaurant.  It used to be the other way around (a small restaurant in the back of a grocery store), but it has gained popularity and they’ve expanded the restaurant.

20121207-San Marcos Taqueria-0003.jpg The restaurant is quite vibrant with hand carved and painted chairs and booths.  It wasn’t very big, but it wasn’t crowded at all.

The menu is simple, and their specialty is of course the tacos.  You can a regular taco for $1.50 or a Taco Especial for $2.00 with all the fixings.  A cilantro sauce, sour cream, a white cheese, a slice of avocado on top, and more.   On the tacos, you can choose between chicken, pork, pork skin, steak, shredded beef, beef tongue, or beef intestine.  They had a number of other items on the menu including tamales, fajitas, and other Mexican dishes.

Upon the recommendation of my friend who suggested the restaurant in the first place, I ordered a Pacifico Clara beer.   She is more of a beer drinker than I, although I didn’t think it was too bad. It was served with a lime. I thought it basically tasted like beer, but it was quite smooth with hardly any aftertaste.  The clean flavor went well with the fresh ingredients of the tacos.

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Chips and salsa were served prior to the meal.  The salsa was delicious, even though it was fairly mild.  The chips were good, but not amazing.  Definitely had better and much, much worse.

I had three tacos: a pork, a shredded beef (barbacoa), and because I love to try new and unique food, a beef tongue.  My tacos are shown to the right, with a couple slices on lime.  All were delicious, especially the beef tongue.  It tasted like a good beef roast, but even meatier. The texture was very soft, and a bit dry.  It wasn’t spongy like some internal organs, but wasn’t quite as fibrous as regular piece of beef.  Overall it was good and I will be getting it again.

Two of my friend had the special fajitas.  They came on a cast iron pan and were steaming hot.  Loaded with shrimp, chicken, beef, and vegetables, they looked and smelled great.  They were served with a plate full of sides like beans, rice, lettuce, and guacamole.  I got a taste of the fajita meat and it had a very good flavor.

20121207-San Marcos Taqueria-0001.jpg The friend of mine that suggested San Marcos got a chicken taco and a couple of tamales.  She isn’t a big fan of spicy food, and the tamales were on the upper limit for her.  I tried a bite and I’d say they were mild.

Anything could be spiced up by a couple of bottles of salsa on each table.  There was a mild-medium salsa verde that had excellent flavor and a bit of heat. It went well with the lighter, already a spicy pork taco. There was also a hot red salsa that went well with the boldness of the beef tongue taco.

The service was good.  Our waiter was attentive without being annoying.  We were there at an odd time, so it wasn’t real busy, but it was picking up when we left around the start of normal first dinner seating.

So is it the best Mexican food in Toledo? It might just be. It is definitely the best that I’ve had.  If you’re a fan of Mexican and haven’t been to the little taqueria in the back of a grocery store, I’d highly recommend you check it out!  It’s well worth the trip downtown.San Marcos Tacos on Urbanspoon

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness

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Magic Hat: Heart of Darkness

Hey everybody! Before I start this post, I want to give a little more info about myself.  Like I said in my introduction post, I recently turned 21 and have started to get into wine and beer pairings with food.  I’ve never been a big fan of beer, but I’ve been experimenting lately and have started to find some that I enjoy.  Most of those seem to be of the dark variety, particularly stouts.  My first beer was a Guinness, on the recommendation of a friend who is also not a big beer guy.

That brings me to my (very amateurish) review of Magic Hat’s “diabolically delicious stout,” Heart of Darkness.  The bottle is pictured to the right.

Heart of darkness indeed, this beer was black once poured into a glass.  I couldn’t even see any light through it.  The head wasn’t very thick,

and dissipated maybe a quarter way through the glass.  It did leave some lacing during the time it was present.  The hear is show below, right after what I considered a good pour (for me).

Magic Hat: Heart of Darkness

This beer had a fairly distinct coffee smell to it along with that of beer.

I’ll say now that I’m not too good at picking out hints of flavors and nuances in beers yet, so I won’t even attempt to go into much detail here.  It was definitely flavorful, with a little bitterness.

This was a beer that I would drink again, and not just because I’ve got 5 more left!

 

You can check out my Flickr by clicking on the photos here to check out more.