Rubicon Brewing Company :: An interview with brewmaster Scott Cramlet

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In my recent visit to Sacramento, which will be the topic of discussion in the next episode of the show, I had a fantastic opportunity to visit with Scott Cramlet, brewmaster at Rubicon Brewing Company. This was made possible through Rick Sellers, of Pacific Brew News.

I didn’t want the interview to get buried in the discussion of everything that happened in Sacramento, so I decided to share it with you now. I wanted to concentrate on Rubicon Brewing, share it’s history, and all of their great beers.

Listen to the interview with Scott Cramlet.

Rubicon Brewing’s owner Glynn Phillips is truly passionate about brewing, having been involved with homebrewing since the age of 15. Yes, that’s right – 15. The story of how he got involved in the brewing industry is documented well on the Rubicon Brewing Company’s web site.

Rick and I visit with Scott for half an hour, and I appreciate him taking the time out of his busy day to discuss Rubicon’s history, day to day operations, and varieties of beer that they brew. We learn that Rubicon was not only the first brewery to brew a Wheat Wine, but also the brewery where the now infamous Racer 5 IPA got it’s start.

You can listen to the interview with Scott Cramlet here, or in the iTunes Store.

Thanks to Glynn and Scott for their hospitality, and to Rick Sellers for taking me to all the places in Sacramento that, quite frankly, did not suck.

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Food Inc.

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Food, Inc., the Robert Kenner documentary, is now playing wider – in more theaters. 51 to be exact, and perhaps close to you. Please check showtimes in your area and see this movie!

A complete list of play dates can be found here.

Visit the official web site for more details.

Vigan Longaniza

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A sausage is just a sausage. But a chorizo is a kick in the ass. That’s my motto. I live by that, and my new found religion.

Yes, I said religion.

With a respectful nod to Paul Kahan (owner of The Publican in Chicago), I now believe there to be a holy trinity: pork, oysters, and beer. I could live the rest of my life on just those three things if I had to. Albeit a short life, but a happy life nonetheless. When it comes to pork, it plays a major role in my weekly menu.

At some point during the 80’s, America had a massive brain fart and gave pork a bad rap. People stopped eating it and pigs around the country had one big swine party. Then the Pork Council started running commercials telling everyone it was OK to eat pork again. They even called it “The other white meat.” Party’s over, piggies. You’re back on the menu.

As far as I’m concerned, pork in any form is great. But ground up, mixed with spices, then stuffed in hog casings, it becomes something else altogether. It becomes a meal in a tube.

I’ve been enjoying variations of sausage for years. Living where I do, I’m treated to varieties from all over the world. Yes, there are the sausages for everyman: Italian sweet & hot sausage, bratwurst from Germany, bangers from England, boudin noir from France. But chorizo is in a class all by itself.

In Mexico, it’s served in a loose form, held together in a plastic casing. Spanish chorizo has it’s own flavor, dense with smoked paprika and cured for long periods of time. In Portugal and Brazil, Linguiça is king. But in Asia, it’s an entirely different tube of meat.

Longaniza are Philippine chorizos flavored with spices native to the Philippines. They’ve been making Longaniza for a very long time. Every region of the Philippines has their own specialty too. And unlike the chorizo made in Mexico and Spain, Longanizas can sometimes be made using chicken, beef, or fish.

I discovered Vigan Longaniza a couple of years ago at a local Asian market. It’s usually an exciting day for me when I get a chance to shop there, but the day I discovered fresh sausage I almost had a stroke. And listen, as a 6-foot-3 white guy in an Asian store, I stand out enough. The last thing I need to be doing is the moonwalk at the meat counter.

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As I prefer to do with most meat, especially sausages, I grill them. Nothing seems more appropriate to me than few pieces of hickory kissing sizzling sausages with continuous whips of hot flames. Slowly, the sausages begin to ooze their fat, which drips into the hot embers, making even more trouble for itself. Fat on a flame makes for more angry flames.

What makes Vigan Longaniza unique among others is that it’s got a high concentration of garlic, and is quite sour. In Ilocos, a province in the North, they stamp this sausage with it’s own unique flavor by adding Sukang Iloko, a vinegar made from sugar cane juice. It’s widely used in the Philippines, and has a very mellow taste that some say is similar to that of rice vinegar.

I hadn’t realized how rare an opportunity it is for me to get a chance taste this sausage until I did research for this post, as it’s rarely available outside of the city of Vigan. When it is, it’s in small quantities. So to whoever it is who’s making these fresh here in the states, Thank You.

Vigan longaniza are traditionally served with atsara, which are pickled vegetables. I’m a total whore for pickled fresh cucumber slices, so they ended up being the perfect compliment to this tasty snack – a gastronomic gift from my Philippine friends.

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episode 39 :: the last supper

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Two years ago today, I left the Man Show of podcasts behind and started my journey as a food blogger/podcaster. I was uncertain of the show’s future, where it would go, and how long I’d be doing it. I’m happy to say that 38 episodes later, I have even more energy for it than I did that day, and would feel a massive void if I no longer had it.

To celebrate the show’s anniversary, I’ve asked my friends at The Beer Safari to join me in a game of “My Last Supper”, a round-table discussion that professional chefs like to play. I posed the question to all of them: “If you knew you were going to die at midnight, and could have any last meal of your choice, no matter what it was that you wanted, what would you have? And what would you choose to drink with it?”

And I pose the very same question to you, in the hope that you will participate. What would be your last supper? There are no rules, no limits. Just you and your last meal. Please comment in the comments section of this post and let us all know what your last supper would be.

Listen to Episode 39 now, and join the launch of Season 3 of My Life as a Foodie.

Also in this episode:
alligator_cajun• All-new segment “Eat it, before it eats you!” featuring alligator in a cajun gravy
• Abita’s Andygator dopplebock (courtesy of Mike at Big Foamy Head)
• The Bruery’s 1st Anniversary
Follow My Life as a Foodie on Twitter
• According to the makers of Pringles, they’re not really potato chips! Who knew?
• Food, Inc. opens in NYC and LA this Friday. Buy tickets now!
• The New Orleans restaurant scene is as competitive as ever

Music from this episode by Marilyn Manson. Buy it in the iTunes store for 99 cents.

My Last Supper
Buy “My Last Supper” on amazon.com and flip to page 18 for the most disturbing picture of Anthony Bourdain ever.


Special thanks to:

Rick from Pacific Brew News
Doug at Hump Day Happiness/SIDT
Big Foamy Head
Brain Gravy
Groucho @ The Beer Report

Thanks for making the launch of Season 3 of MLaaF possible!

A Return To Noodles

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Center of the universe. Those are the words that describe a bowl of soup when you’re desperately hungry. Because the minute you engage it, the minute your spoon commits to breaking the surface of the broth, everything else surrounding you becomes irrelavent. Everything pales in comparison to the importance of the contents of that single bowl in front of you.

I first visited Ebisu Noodle Restaurant in January of 2007, when my friend Don and I discussed a videoblog we were planning called “Counter Culture.” That never happened, leading the way to this. I will never forget my first trip there, and my subsequent trip in March of that year with my wife.

We revisited Ebisu later recently and not a whole lot has changed. Sure, the prices are slightly higher than they were before (by 15%), but that’s more a sign of the times than anything else. And given the prices, it’s still a very cheap lunch date.

As before, the minute you sit down, you’re treated to a cooling salad of pickled cabbage. I don’t normally order beer when I eat soup or noodles, as it tends to leave me feeling heavy and bloated, but for some reason I make an exception when I’m at a Japanese restaurant. So I ordered a small bottle of Asahi.

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I had Wonton Men ($7.95) – a very dense, deep, rich broth filled with a generous helping of ramen noodles, cooked al dente (just how I like them). In this seemingly bottomless dark bowl of broth were bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, scallions, and an omelette filled with shrimp that lurked just beneath the surface. It was the Loch Ness Monster of omelets, I swear to you.

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The list of choices for ramen seem endless at Ebisu. Miso Flavor, Cha-Shu Men, Champon, Stamina Ramen, Mah-Boh, Curry, Vegetable, Ten Shin, Hakata . . . . I could go on all day. In addition, if you feel like really filling up, there are extras like eggs, corn, seaweed, wontons, ginger, BBQ pork, beef, or shrimp, even quail eggs. For an additional $2, you can really do some damage.

Rice dishes are equally as popular, and that’s what Katrina was in the mood for. Shrimp Fried Rice ($7.50) was lush, perfectly cooked rice packed with loads of tiger shrimp. It was a plate for two. Neither of us finished what we’d ordered. Other available rice dishes include Kim Chee Fried Rice, Curry Rice, Ten Shin Cha-Han, Chuka Han, a variety of rice balls, and Inari Sushi.

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Rice dishes are served with Chuka Soup, which is made with dashi stock, seaweed, and ginger. Light and delicious, Chuka has that drinkability factor that makes you want to abandon your manners, push the bowl to your face and crank it back. These are the impulses that keep me out of most upscale restaurants, or at least near the back.

With such a wide variety food available, I could see eating lunch and dinner at Ebisu all week and not experience the same thing twice. Donburi, Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba, Izakaya-style appetizers, and a multitude of A La Carte items fill all 8 pages of their menu.

Ebisu_storefront_smallMendokoro Ebisu
Japanese Noodle Restaurant
18924-A Brookhurst Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Phone: 714.964.5993
Web: www.ebisuramen.com

Business Hours:
Sunday through Thursday 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM