Sunday, May 3, 2015

Brannon's Brewery and Pub - A Review

-
In addition to being an avid foodie, I'm a fan of comic books.  During my last several trips to pick up my weekly helping of heroic fantasies, I've noticed the presence of a new pub, a block from the comic book shop.  Brannon's Brewery & Pub at 3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. Beaverton, OR, sits in the space Stewart Anderson's Steak House occupied during the better part of my childhood and early adult life.

Always interested in new sources of beer and fried bar food, my friend, Dani, and I decided to try the place last week.  The pub has a very open and spacious feel, with a series of widely spaced dining tables surrounding a centrally located bar.  Along the left side of the dining area one finds doors to rentable V.I.P. rooms, while the back wall consists of viewing windows which peer into the pub's beer making/storage facility.
Blackboard with beer list at Brannon's Brewery & Pub
Subject: Blackboard with beer list at Brannon's Brewery & Pub | Date: 04/29/15 |
Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell | This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |



View of in house beer vats from Brannon's Brewery & Pub's dining area
Subject: View of in house beer vats from Brannon's Brewery & Pub's dining area | Date: 04/29/15 |
Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell | This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |



We arrived around 1pm.  Their lunch menu has multiple sections, featuring a variety of fare.  I was debating between  the:

$9.00 small ($14.00 for the large) Pearl Pizza (herbed olive oil sauce, aged Manchego cheese, shaved Prosciutto, marinated red grapes, roasted garlic, and fresh baby arugula),

$12.50 ($14.00 with fries) Brannon's Burger (a Mt. Shadow Farms beef burger patty stuffed with smoked Gouda, topped with caramelized onions, tomato and greens), and the

$12.00 Three Sausage Platter (a platter of three fine sausages from Mt. Shadow Farms; a bratwurst made with their own Vernepator Pale Ale, a hot Italian sausage and a German sausage; served with a German-style pretzel from Fressen Bakery, Brannon’s beer mustard and house-made bacon jam);

when I noticed the appetizer menu offered $9.00 Scotch Eggs.  I hadn't had a Scotch Egg since my birthday dinner at The Horse Brass three years earlier, so I jumped at the chance to have another.


Scotch Eggs & Fries served with house made Beer Mustard and Garlic Fries
Subject: Scotch Eggs & Fries served with house made Beer Mustard and Garlic Fries |
Date: 04/29/15 | Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell | This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |

Swedley’s Scotch Eggs consisted of two medium boiled eggs  wrapped in Hill Meats' Italian sausage, then deep fried.  The eggs were served on a bed of hand cut fries accompanied by jiggers of ketchup and Brannon’s beer mustard.  Being medium boiled, the eggs' yolks were semi liquid serving as a sauce to the pleasantly spicy sausage.  While the savory fried treat didn't need a condiment in order to be tasty, the grainy beer mustard added a sweet spiciness to the dish.

The fries bore skins on both ends and were well seasoned with salt.

I drank a $4.50 pint of Pantechnicon Brown Porter with my lunch.  The Brown Porter is described as having "unmistakable aromas and flavors of bittersweet chocolate and toasted nuts," with an *ABV value of 4.8%.   Honestly, I've had several beers which have claimed to possess notes of chocolate, and none of them, including this one, have delivered on the claim.  Nevertheless, it was a smooth dark beer with a toasted, slightly sweet, taste.

My friend, Dani, isn't the foodie that I am.  She complained about exactly the same thing which I liked about the pub.  She felt the menu was heavy with, in her words, "pumped up food, featuring smoked Gouda, blue cheese, etc...," and there were few, if any, mundane dishes for eaters like herself.  I'm not sure she saw the, aptly named, Burger Burger (a Mt. Shadow Farms beef burger patty topped with fresh greens, sliced tomato, and onion) for $9.00, but I understood her point.

I any case, she finally settled on the $5.00 Garlic Fries.  Like mine, they were fresh hand cut fries, but were seasoned with sea salt and roasted garlic, and were sprinkled with herbs.  While the herbs mostly added color to the helping of potatoes which could feed three people, the fries delivered a nice kick of garlic and salt.

Eaters looking for good beer and well crafted bar food will enjoy Brannon's Brewery & Pub.  I give the place 8.4 out of 10 stars.

Brannon's Brewery & Pub's Hours
Monday-Thursday: 11AM to 10PM
Friday: 11AM to 11PM
Saturday: 11AM to 11PM
Sunday: 11AM to 10PM
Happy Hour 3pm-6pm Sunday thru Friday

* Alcohol By Volume
-

Saturday, April 25, 2015

SPAM SPAM SPAM

-
The following entry is a reflection of my Note To Spammers Page, listed above. I'm posting it as a blog entry too, in case there are readers who read my entries, but don't browse my pages above.
-

Just like the patron in the classic Monty Python skit, I don't like SPAM!  OK, I don't mind the canned spiced ham product, it has its place in the pantries of suburbia.  What I can't stand are anonymous comments which have NOTHING to do with the topic at hand.

A few times a week I'll get a comment on a recipe post, such as, "You make a valid point, I never thought of the issue quite that way.  Visit my page to buy vintage Metallica albums."

They never thought of a pancake recipe quite that way?  The comment is so general that it could easily apply to 99% of the blog posts out there.  Generic comments, like this tell me the commenter didn't read the posted blog.  They're posting a comment to try to get free advertising.

By the way, what good does it do to call themselves "Anonymous" if they're going to provide a link to a website they own?  It makes me think the commenter is either a moron, or the link isn't to a real website, in which case the link is probably designed to add spy ware to my computer.

A legitimate commenter can leave their web address in the comment form's URL field, and anyone clicking on the commenter's name will be whisked straight to their site.  That's what the URL field is for.

If someone has a legitimate comment about a post, even if the commenter completely disagrees with what I've written, I'll approve such comments every time.  However, if someone merely scribbles a generic line of crap in order to expand their market for; discount Viagra, camping gear, or 70s memorabilia;  I WILL NEVER approve such tripe.

From now on, silly spam comments will appear on the Wall Of Shame on my Note To Spammers Page, listed above, with the links disabled so my readers won't get a virus.  
-
Now, because this is a food blog, here's a recipe for SPAM-Chiladas from SPAM.com.

-

SPAM-Chiladas from SPAM.com

Ingredients:


1 12-ounce can SPAM JalapeƱo, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups cooked white rice
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 (28-ounce) can La Victoria Red Enchilada Sauce
8 (8-inch) corn or flour tortillas
Wholly Guacamole, to serve

Directions:

1 Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 In large skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Cook onion, garlic and pepper for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add SPAM and fry for 5 minutes or until SPAM is browned. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the SPAM mixture for garnish.

3 Add black beans, rice, cilantro and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until well combined.

4 Spoon 1/4 of enchilada sauce over the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Heat tortillas and coat with enchilada sauce. Spoon SPAM mixture on to each tortilla. Roll up to enclose filling. Place in dish and pour remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas.

5 Top with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake 40-45 minutes or until warmed through. Serve with guacamole if desired. Sprinkle reserved fried SPAM over enchiladas.

James' Note:
Personally, I'd top these with a healthy dollop of sour cream.
-

Recipe prints as a single page for your recipe file or refrigerator.
-

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Copper River Restaurant & Bar - A Review

-
My mother is an animal lover, so I popped for tickets and took her to the opening of Disney's new documentary, Monkey Kingdom.  After the movie she returned the favor by treating me to a late lunch/early dinner at the newly opened Copper River Restaurant & Bar at 7370 NE Cornell Road Hillsboro, OR 97124.

The restaurant sits where, the now defunct, Hillsboro branch of the On The Border used to be.  Local restaurateur, Christie Burnett, oversaw the building's remodeling which features a fully stocked centrally located bar, a window enclosed dining patio, dark walls, and dimly lit box shaped chandeliers.  The new look gives the restaurant a pleasant air of sophistication without coming across as being stuffy.  On the off chance stuffiness had been a question, our friendly, chat eager, waiter, Alex, belayed such fears with his recitation of the establishment's brief history and his interest in my views on the upcoming Pacquiao/Mayweather fight.
Copper River's Strawberry, Pear, & Apple Salad
Subject: Copper River's Strawberry, Pear, & Apple Salad | Date: 04/17/15 |
Photographers: James & Bonnie Kiester | This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |

Choosing from the "Entree Salads" section of the menu, my mother had the $11.95 Strawberry, Pear, & Apple Salad, consisting of wild organically grown arugula, strawberries, pear & apple slices, grapes, crumbled Gorgonzola, candied walnuts, grilled chicken breast, and a bit of Romaine all dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.

I had a few bites of her salad.  The varied types of produce were fresh, crisp, and juicy, and their sweetness was complimented nicely by the salty blue cheese. The grilled chicken was well seasoned and tender with caramel colored grill marks and a savory grilled flavor.  Tying the components together was a lemon vinaigrette which delivered flavors of citrus and garlic.

Being the meat lover that I am, I had the $28.95 Filet Mignon from the "Grill Classics" portion of their menu. The steak was a 28 day aged center cut tenderloin, partially wrapped in smokey bacon, and topped with a demi-glace.  This morsel is served with rustic buttermilk mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables (in my case roasted asparagus).

I wish my picture of this gem and my dessert had been saved on my camera, but, alas, I'm a writer, not a photographer.

In any event, the steak was superbly seasoned and cooked to a perfect medium rare.  Its slightly sweet demi-glace mixed with the meat's juices, adding an additional punch of flavor.  Serving as a border between the meat and the creamy potato skin laced serving of mashed potatoes lay a strip of crisp bacon, which I added to bites of my steak for a supplemental hit of smokiness and light crunch.

My only complaint about the meal was with the asparagus.  It had a good roasted taste, but the woody ends were left on a third of the spears on my plate.  This can be the result of using one spear as a guide a chopping the entire bunch in single motion.  If the spears aren't EXACTLY alike, this short cut can result in woody ends being left on some spears and edible flesh being severed from others.

I was happy to see healthy selection of local beers on their beer menu, including Burnside Brewing's Sweet Heat.  I drank the sweet & spicy $6.00 pint with my steak and found it worked well against the savory beef.

Dessert was a pile of five hot Donuts (large doughnut holes), sprinkled with powered sugar and cinnamon, served alongside a jigger of warm house made caramel sauce.   Since we were there between 4pm & 6pm, we got the dessert for the $2.95 Happy Hour price.  The sweets were fluffy and light with a scrumptious cinnamon flavor, reminding me of Dutch Ebelskivers from my childhood.  The caramel dipping sauce added another level of rich sweetness to the already delectable dessert.

For the most part, this was a very pleasurable dining experience, the ONLY deficits being the aforementioned asparagus tips and the music being a few decibels too loud for my personal taste.  However, such hiccups won't keep me from returning to Copper River Restaurant & Bar, which has earned 9.3 out of 10 stars from me.


Copper River Restaurant & Bar's hours of operation are:
Sunday 11am to 11pm
Monday Tuesday Wednesday 11am to 12am
Thursday Friday and Saturday 11am to 1am

For more information visit CopperRiverRestaurant.com.
-

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why I Can't Review Fairlife Milk

-
Fairlife Whole Milk
Subject: Fairlife Milk | Source: Coca Cola Company's Press Release |
I was drinking a glass of milk yesterday, when I stopped, peered longingly into the glass, and thought, "Man, I wish milk was better for me."  OK, that never happened.  1 8oz cup of mainstream whole cows' milk has 11.03 grams of carbohydrate, 7.9 grams of protein, 276 mg of calcium, and 349 mg of potassium.  See a complete nutritional breakdown here.

Nevertheless, Coca-Cola has launched a new “premium” line of healthier milks, called Fairlife. To make their milk healthier, Coca-Cola separates the milk into five components; water, vitamins & minerals, lactose, protein, and fat; then remixes it into "a rebuilt lactose-free milk," which contains half the sugar and double the protein of the normal product.

I can't review it, because I'm never going to try it.  I'm a full fledged member of middle income America, and in my neck of the woods Fairlife milk is prohibitively expensive. Coming in whole white, fat free white, 2% white, and 2% chocolate, Fairlife milk’s national average price is $4.29 for a 52 oz. bottle. Since there are 128 oz in a gallon, Fairlife milk costs to $10.51 per gallon.

The average price of conventional milk, is $3.50 per gallon (according to Bureau of Labor Statistics).  Lactose intolerant shoppers can find Lactaid (the leading brand of lactose free milk) for $3.38 per half gallon ($6.76 per gallon) at Walmart.

It's not only the high price that keeps me from reviewing this product.  At best, I'd be able to verify Fairlife's claim that their milk tastes like milk, essentially saying nothing.  Besides, I'm not sure how much a lab can do to milk and still call it milk.

Unless someone is severely protein deficient, I see no reason to spend $10.51 per gallon on this milk.


-