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Wednesday Food: From Wisconsin to California

Continuing from last week’s post: after Wisconsin I flew to LA to spend a long weekend with my family.  Southern California has had more rain this year than in what seems like the last decade, and is unrecognizably verdant– it is glorious.

My dining adventures began with the drive from LA to San Diego.  The Sister and I made a lunch stop at Pizza Port in Carlsbad.  I began with a Revelations Belgian Gold– light amber with your standard banana and clove esters; not especially complex, but very drinkable for a Monday before noon.  We shared a Pizza Carlsbad– pesto, chicken, sun-dried tomato, artichoke hearts and feta– that was fresh from all the basil pesto, pleasantly sweet from the tomatoes and chicken, and slightly piquant from the artichoke and feta.  The whole-grain beer crust was thick and doughy, which I love just as much as a crisp flat-bread or New York crust, but is exactly the thing that sends opposing coasts into a heated debate.  As an indulgent hop-head, I couldn’t resist a Shark Attack on tap, and it didn’t disappoint: bitter, bright yet earthy, and almost garnet-colored.

The brewpub has a bottle shop next store which is small, but carries a decent variety of regional craft brew.  I was immediately charmed by the place when I saw the windows lined by sunbleached empty bottles of contraband from the Midwest.  Though not usually open midday on Monday, headbrewer and all-around good guy Jeff Bagby was around to let us stock up.

With a boot full of beer we made our way south and inland to Stone Brewing in Escondido.  I am a big fan of theirs and wrote of first visiting the brewery last July.  This time, after reacquainting ourselves with the barman, we took a tour of the brewery.  Tour guide Dan illustrated the journey of a Stone brew from hop and grain, through sparging and cooling, all the way to the bottling and shipping.  He was patient with our inane questions and generous with the tasting pours.  One might say he was a good man, and thorough.

After a long rest at The Sister’s apartment in Hillcrest, it was off to The Linkery for dinner.  While I commend this establishment for quality, and efforts in sustainability, I was disheartened by cost and portion (i.e. value).  Two tacos sharing a halved sausage were subtle and tasty, but set back me back $14, and the side of beans that used to bulk up this dish have been removed from the plate.  The cup of coffee I ordered– a French Press of medium roast Intelligentsia producing about a cup and a half– rang in at over $7.  Again, I’m not one to turn my nose up at quality, but this is a $3 mark-up for what I regularly order in Chicago.

With the bitter taste of overpriced coffee in my mouth, we ended the night at Hamilton’s.  I can’t say if it was the Black Butte porter, or the mesmerizing effect of every beach-town hipster in the county filling the bar, but I was soon lulled into a state of exhaustion that could only be met with 11 hours of sleep and a plane ride home.

  • Keg storage outside Pizza Port
  • Saddling up at Stone
  • Mash tun on Stone tour
  • Mascot
  • Stone gardens


March 10, 2010 - Posted by | Wednesday Food


  1. It warms the ‘hops of my heart’ knowing that you had some sister time AND that you consumed calories while doing so, be they baked or brewed. I am becoming so beer intrigued that I just may some day, in your expert company, abandon my decades long dedication to the brothers Ernest & Julio for an escapade into estered ambers. Much love – The Auntie.

    Comment by bonita | March 11, 2010

  2. Another adeptly critical yet comprehensive review! Could use a slice and a beer right now… The delights of beer are always so much more enjoyable with a chuckling little sidekick who commands the room and always wrangles another “taster” out of the bartender!

    Comment by Vanessa | March 11, 2010

  3. The Girlfriend and I need to go on a vacation, and we need you to plan it, apparently.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | March 11, 2010

  4. I propose that Adam & the Girlfriend take me up on my standing offer to use the guest room at my place in the Bay Area. Bay Area Webloggers will surely help show them a good time.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | March 11, 2010

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