restaurant review

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Simi, Smell Me, Taste Me Sunday

These photos were taken Sunday at Enegren Brewing Company in Moorpark, CA and Lab Brewing Company in Agoura Hills, CA. A few days ago I was at El Segundo Brewing Company and was introduced to Joe Nascenzi, one of the owners of Enegren Brewing Co., a microbrewery in Moorpark, CA. After talking with him for a while, and hearing what kind of beers they were brewing over there, I knew that I had to head out there with Tanya. While I am a definite hophead, Tanya is more into saisons, porters and stouts. When Joe told me about their oatmeal stout and chili pepper saison, I promised to pay them a visit.

While one microbrewery is frequently like the others, with the only difference being the taste and variations of the beers they brew, Enegren Brewing is definitely different than any other I have visited. Brew Captain Chris Enegren studied mechanical engineering at Loyola Marymount University and when he graduated from brewing in his kitchen he put this knowledge to work in designing a proprietary brewing system unlike any I have ever seen. Complete with a computerized command center, their brewing system is entirely automated. It is a very cool system to check out, and they produce a quality product. When we got there Sunday they were in the process of building a new refrigeration unit as they had moved their larger one to a unit next door. In other words, they are expanding, with the hopes of beginning to bottle beers in the near future. Continue reading

Schooner at Sunset, Sunset Beach

These photos were taken Saturday at a new gastropub, Schooner at Sunset, which is located at 16821 Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach, CA. For those not sure where Sunset Beach is, it is the very north end of Huntington Beach, just south of Seal Beach. Your car’s GPS is most likely going to call it Huntington Beach, so don’t worry, it is all the same place.

To be honest, I am not really in the habit of going down there unless I am taking a weekend motorcycle ride down the coast. The fact of the matter is, when I initially left the house this afternoon I was headed north; but since the destination I had in mind was not to be found on the Charger’s GPS, I remembered hearing that Schooner at Sunset had opened, and put their address in the GPS instead. The only reason I knew of Schooner at Sunset was that a friend of mine, Daniel Drennon, told me he was involved as their Director of Craft Beer. Having met Daniel during the last American Craft Beer Week when he was the “beer guy” at LA Weekly, I knew that the craft beer menu would be something I could get into. When I saw his list of available craft beers on tap for their grand opening I was very disappointed that I was going to have to miss it due to a schedule conflict with a couple event photography gigs I had. Continue reading

The Rockefeller Gastropub, Hermosa Beach

Last month, during American Craft Beer Week (ACBW), I accidentally discovered The Rockefeller Gastropub on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. I will never forget our first visit there. It was day six of ACBW and it was my goal to find as many American craft beers that I had never tried before as possible. The fact that I was able to come up with 12 new brews at that point of our adventure truly said something about the quality of the brews they pour. As Colleen, the manager, said, “We try to keep a good turnaround of quality brews.” They are doing a great job. I think it was at The Rockefeller that I first heard the term “gastropub.” For those wondering, a gastropub is a restaurant that specializes in good food with upscale beers brewed by others. A brewpub serves food and their own beer.

I let Tanya chose our meal since we were splitting it, and she opted for the Arugula Parmesan Salad with a Royale Burger. Both were pretty tasty, with my leaning towards the salad. As it turns out, Hangar 24 was doing a beer tasting, so Daren, another manger asked me if we wanted to join in. You can probably guess our response. Since we were staying a little longer we decided to try the Cinnamon Apple Bread Pudding for dessert. I know if we have dessert again, I will be urging a repeat try. Continue reading

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