Thursday, June 28

i love days when...

..my new favorite bracelet made by Madison from The White Ruffle comes in the mail!
[Yes those are the aforementioned polka dot shorts I can't stop wearing. And yes that is a beer in my hand.]


...I'm so in love with blogging that I utilize the free WiFi in the Starbucks drive-thru in order to write a post.
...I learn all of these neat Photoshop skills... thanks to PuglyPixel.
...a blog friendship becomes a real one!
[If you haven't met Tammyyou should probably head to her blog right now]. 

{What makes your day? I'd love to know!}

Wednesday, June 27

things i dig: navy + color

Recently, I've been really obsessed with navy-based outfits and random pops of color. Those navy polka dot shorts are my most recent purchase and let's just say I wore them all weekend [is that gross?]


{PS: Did you notice beauty & the feast's facelift?! Victoria from vmac + cheese designed it and let me tell you she was too amazing and fun to work with! Gah I can't stop looking at it. lovelovelove.}

Tuesday, June 26

inspired by locals: doug from societe brewing co.

When I had my interview/hangout with Juan from MIHO Gastrotruck, we both ordered Societe Brewing Co.'s The Apprentice from Tiger! Tiger! Obviously, I felt pretty cool that Juan and I were drinking the same beer. But it was the first time I tried it and needless to say, I was excited. It was good. I did some research and reached out to these two inspiring brewers and after meeting with them [and drinking a sh!t ton of their beer], decided that they more than fit the profile for "Inspired by Locals."


Meet Doug [left] and Travis [right], the masterminds behind Societe Brewing Co. Besides being very passionate about brewing and beer in general, these guys could easily be my best friends. Super fun and cool and oh did I mention their beer is pretty awesome too? 

Travis started his professional brewing career at
Russian River Brewing Co., home of Pliny the Elder, the elusive Pliny the Younger, Blind Pig, yeah yeah yeah... all the good ones; so he knows his stuff. There, Travis worked as an apprentice and soon after was promoted to full-time brewer. 

Doug's career path was a little different, starting out in the real world as an investment banker in New York [smart cookie]. Once he realized that he wanted to make brewing and beer his life and career, he moved to San Diego and started working at Pizza Port, Oggi's and eventually The Bruery. 


There, the two met and the rest is history [as in, they started Societe...pronounced "Society"...
this isn't a love story!]
How did you get into brewing?
Doug: I was a beer drinker before anything else... a beer nerd, actually. I even collected bottles and one day thought why not try making it. Brewing isn't just a hobby; this is serious stuff. I'm doing this to get somewhere. I need to learn something new everyday... not just make an okay brown ale and be done.
Travis: I think it was a hobby at first but wanted to do it for a living.
Doug: I had never met someone who loves beer and thinks about beer the same way I do and that's why Travis and I wanted to work together. We believe that beer is an incredibly pure product that has to be respected. We're not about throwing random ingredients around just to try it out. At the end of the day, the beer should be beer.

What are some obstacles you faced when opening your brewery/tasting room?
Turning the brewery into a reality. I kept having the "it starts tomorrow" mindset. I struggled with this for a while. I wanted to start a brewery but when do you do it? Raising the money is never easy but since both of us were brewers in the past we knew we had a good idea of what we were doing. We built a big buffer into the budget but still, there are so many things that you don’t expect financially that destroy you. But the hardest part was getting in the mindset and saying, "okay let's just do it now."

Travis, you're from Santa Rosa and Douglas, from Houston. Did our incredible city of San Diego influence your choice to start your brewery here? We have some damn good brewers.
The decision to come down to San Diego was beer. We made a point to go to Alesmith, Stone and Ballast and introduce ourselves, just to say,"hi, we're new, this is your town." We know these brewers and others paved the way and we never wanted to come and just merely reap the benefits. We're serious about brewing and beer and we plan on doing our best. Pat from Green Flash gave us their blessing, "thanks for coming around, just make sure you make good beer." But the decision was purely based on San Diego. The brewers and the people here, everyone loves beer, so we picked the best beer city.

How has business been these first few months of operation?
Non-stop. Business is very good. We can't make enough beer. We're already out of kegs. We're in a happy place where we're supplying all of the bars and restaurants we like with our beer and selling the stuff we make instead of sitting on beer that we've made. The fact that our beer is selling at O'Briens like wild fire is all of the confidence we need to know that our beer is good. We don’t check beer advocate but the fact that legitimate and great places to have beer go through our beer is all we need to know. And Lee Chase of Blind Lady and Tiger! Tiger!... if he likes it, we're doing okay.

What is most important to you when crafting a brew?
Care and TLC. Ingredients are important but the process is most important, even more than the recipe. The focus has to be on the care and handling the beer. Short cuts aren't an option. We will never compromise our beer to get more sales. Speeding up the time of the brew…never. At the end of the day, quality is everything. 

When will you consider your business a success?
Never. I will always be looking to make the beer better. The market that matters to us the most is the local market and that should be fed first. One of the main things Travis taught me early on is that medals don’t matter. Don’t live life trying to get medals; care about the beer.



What do brewers like you drink [besides your own brews, of course]?
Doug: Stone Imperial Russian style, Bruery Hottenroth and Russian River Temptation.
Travis: Temptation is fantastic but my all time favorite is from DrieFontien [the beer is Oude Geuze]. There are lots of different ways to describe it but it's sour. Some describe it as gym socks, horse blanket, barnyard, wet dog in a phone booth... the list goes on. But it's fantastic.

What is your stance on hyped up beers like Pliny the Younger? I dig it... but I think it's kind of ridiculous how crazy people get over it. But I'm no pro. Do you think it's all it's cracked up to be?
Pliny the Younger was never intended to be super hyped. They would announce it and it was the fans that turned it into a beer that popular. Other beers that don’t do it on purpose but they will hype of the release, make a party, this is a release date and it creates a release date. Very rarely is a beer turned into a Pliny the Younger type beer. Russian River just wanted people to enjoy the beer (Pliny the Younger) and see how much hops they could put in it. I don’t agree with hyping things up. We will never write up extravagant things about beer; we'll just release it and say, "by the way our new IPA is on tap."




Do you hope to ship your beer all around the U.S.A. and beyond?
Not at all. We want to be able to provide all beer here [in San Diego]; we don’t want to run out. We want people to come here to drink the beer. We like the idea of selling beer out of the tasting room and tasting it in the tasting room. If we do expand, it will be extremely limited in other states and other parts of the country. We have the huge tasting room [here at the brewery] for a reason. It's nice to have the beer on site.

When is your tasting room open and how many beers do you have on tap?
We're open five days a week and starting in July, we'll be open seven days a week. Flights and pours are 10 to 12 oz and we can do 4 oz. tasters. Currently we have eight beers on taps but we hope to have 16 in the next year. Our goal for quarter one in 2013 is sours.

What can we look forward to from Societe Brewing Co.?
Sours! 

"If the beer isn’t drinkable, it aint worth sh!t. It needs to be something that you can enjoy and look forward to drinking; something that you crave." -Douglas Constantiner from Societe Brewing Co.

Sunday, June 24

weekend happenings

This weekend was niiiice and relaxing; just how I like it:

I [finally] ventured back to Mission Beach with Amanda
We ate at Olive Cafe [chef's choice = best breakfast ever] and pretended we were still in college.
I drank way too much Yeti [amongst other things] and didn't feel so hot Saturday.
I went for a walk around the 'hood and discovered the new-ish graffiti in North Park as well as some giant succulents. 
&&& I bought "The Frugal Foodie Cookbook" since currently, my bank account doesn't exist. 



{How was your weekend?}

Friday, June 22

these are a few of my favorite things

Besides being totally obsessed with the Sound of Music [fun fact: I learned all of the songs on the piano and would watch the tape over and over and over and OVER again when I was little... and I liked to believe I would grow up to be Liesel; is that embarrassing?], a few things have caught my eye on the ole blog-o-sphere lately that I think are worthy of a repost.


The notion of "glamping" is definitely one of my newest favorite things. If you've been reading beauty & the feast for a while, you know I have no problem roughing it.

First and foremost, I love camping... real camping. In India, I lived without toilet paper and a real shower for five months. And here in San Diego, I'm known to sit on the floors of bars gently petting my friends' dogs bear hugging random bar-goers' dogs. [Yes people look at my funny but I can't help myself!]

It just doesn't phase me. But I do enjoy a little luxury every now and then. Recently, Sarah from Chevron & Stripes wrote about the glamping concept and it inspired me to conduct some research. Though I think I'll always prefer real camping, this is something I'd be highly interested in trying. I mean, how comfy does that fluffy tent look? Not to mention the moose sleeping bag [moose just happen to be my favorite animal].

1/2/3/4/5/6/7


This installation from Jung Lee via vmac & cheese is just so unique and romantic. I really enjoy the positioning of the neon lights in nature. Too cute!

photo courtesy of one and j.


This cool DIY project from honestlywtf. It's cheap, easy and looks pretty darn cute with any outfit. All you'll need is 18 hex nuts and twine. Simple right? It's on my list of things to make this weekend.

photo courtesy of oak nyc

{Welp, I'm inspired! I love you, blog world. Happy Friday!}

Thursday, June 21

happy thursday!

Hi nuggets! Today I'm over at Shannon's blog sharing a recipe I concocted this past weekend: Gruyere and Spinach Bakes. They were perfectly savory and pretty dang delicious if I do say so myself... so you should pop over to her corner of the blog-o-sphere, say hello and start creating your own version of "the bake." Nomnomnom.


{Yum dood.}

Wednesday, June 20

inspired by locals: sogoal from sweetly simple

As I continue to inspired myself and hopefully inspire you all, this week I'm featuring a college friend, current neighbor and TRULY talented woman. Meet Sogoal: baker... artist... baker-artist and everything in between. You can visit her personal blog here and her and Jess' baking blog here. Sogoal and Jess create what I like to call "cookie art" and once you see these incredible cookies below, you'll know why. Seriously... keep scrolling... it blows my mind.

photos courtesy of brian taksier

When did you discover your cookie-making talent?
When we formerly worked together, Jess and I were going through slow season [winter] like most bakeries do, so we found ourselves with a touch more spare time than usual. We always wanted to try painting on cookies in addition to meticulous pipework and then one day in December 2011…we did!

How did you learn how to decorate so precisely?
Jessica went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York and has always had an impeccable knack for pastry and fine arts; I got my bachelors in painting and drawing at the University of San Diego and have always had my hands in the cookie jar. We’ve had lots of years of hard work and practice coming up to this point. Lots.



What kind of tools do you use to create the decorations?
Butter, sugar, sweat, tears. Sometimes blood. Just kidding…kind of. We use our trusty Kitchenaids, food coloring, paintbrushes and water. And we always wine and dine as we do it, so I guess those count as tools, too.

How do you decide what kind of cookies to make (flavor-wise)?
We just like trying everything. Jess and I are always experimenting with whatever flavors are currently “inspiring” us [read: we are desperately craving]. Most recently, Jess gave into some dark chocolate, and I went for some cardamom and pistachios…because I’m Middle Eastern.

Do you coordinate cookie flavor with decorations?
Not yet. That's a fabulous idea. Can we steal it?

What is your favorite cookie flavor that you've created?
Jess’ is favorite cookie flavor is our simple sugar cookie with a touch of cinnamon and orange zest. As for me…uh…that pistachio cardamom number was my jam [again, Middle Eastern tendencies].




What type of cookie decorations are you most proud of? 
We are both keen on tedious labors of love! That means, the cookies that typically take the longest, are the ones to which we get very attached. I love tiny typography on cookies and Jessica is a sucker for abstract artwork on cookies. Usually, the longer we’re hunched over and squinting, the more proud we become.

How do you hope to grow your talent? 
So far, the dreaming, experimenting and growing are set to the confines of our kitchens [with The Shirelles on blast]. And the current goal is to practice, practice, practice. We’ve come this far, but there is SO much more to do and try and learn. We can’t wait.

If you're interested in learning more about these incredibly beautiful not to mention delicious morsels, contact Sogoal and Jess at sogoalz@yahoo.com and visit their blog: bakesweetlysimple.com

my personal favorite

Monday, June 18

isola pizza bar

Located in the heart of Little Italy, Isola Pizza Bar recently opened their doors, serving up an array of delicious pizzas using only the finest local ingredients. At first, I was a little concerned about the abundance of plaid-shirted bro-esque men present and the horrendous "Call Me Maybe"-type tunes playing in the background. But once Bon Iver's "Skinny Love" started playing and a few of the bros got their checks and left, I felt much better about the ambiance.




First we ordered the mozzarella e prosciutto bruschetta. The bread was perfectly toasted with a touch of butter and fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and salty prosciutto were all piled on top. 



For the main course, I decided on the arugula con l’uovo pizza. The crust was definitely the breadwinner [haha!] of this pizza: doughy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Toppings included mozzarella, parmesan, panna, truffle oil, egg, arugula and generous chunks of pancetta.


 

The service was efficient and friendly, the space was modern, the food was impressive and the wine list was extensive. With clean lines, dim but not too dim lighting and simple d├ęcor, Isola is the perfect spot for a date night or a feast with friends. 

{Isola Pizza Bar is located at 1526 India Street in Little Italy, San Diego}

Sunday, June 17

three feasts from the weekend

I'm over at Sienna's blog today reminiscing about my time in India. Check out my post // explore peace, love, wander and all of Sienna's travels... my advice? Read with caution; you'll undoubtedly want to flee the country afterwards.

'Til next time...


oh underbelly. you fonny.

vegetable ramen with bacon-wrapped mushrooms & shishito peppers | underbelly

beatles-themed ice cream shop in normal heights

chocolate-peanut butter ice cream | mariposa

perusing the feastly menu

too hungry to look normal.

gorgeous cheese board with fig compote and candied pecans

mussels in smoked tomato butter solace & the moonlight

{It's feasts like these that make me hesitant to ever live anywhere else.}

Friday, June 15

things i'm afraid to tell you

I'm not sure where this begin... from what I can tell Jess started the motion then Ez, Meg, Liz and probably a bunch of other fabulous bloggers decided to give it a shot, too. I think it's a great exercise to get real with the blog-o-sphere. I think sometimes people can come off fake or "too perfect" on the web, which I get, we all like to keep things positive! But it's nice sometimes to see a human side of people... so here I go:
Sometimes I spend $7 on fro yo. 

I don't think I'm snobby when it comes to much, but in terms of food and beer, I'm a huge priss. I believe every meal should be the best meal ever and I won't go near a crappy beer. Extreme? Definitely.

I get self-conscious sometimes which is why I don't feature many photos of myself on my blog.

I often judge people not interested in traveling. I guess it's just such a huge part of my life that it baffles me when others don't have the desire to see the rest of the world.

I'm really sensitive. Probably overly sensitive.

I am terrible with money. Really terrible. And I really like buying things for other people and of course myself too. However I won't go into detail for fear of my parents reading this and freaking out.

I think about falling in love and my future husband [whoever he is]... a lot. Too much. The idea of sharing my life with someone is just the most exciting and beautiful thought to me. [This actually sounds really pathetic and weird now that I'm typing it out... but this is all about honesty, right?]

I watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette... I know, I know, judge away. [But how can you not? It's amazing these people think they're gonna fall in love when 100% of the relationships have not worked. Too comical.]

I'm really not sure if I can ever be a parent and it makes me feel like a bad person.

I hate my hands. I feel like they're too big for a girl.

I do not like Colbie Caillat's music. At all. Like I physically cringe and freak out if I hear one of her songs [sorry Colbie; sorry fans].


{Thanks for loving me anyways! HAPPY FRIDAY!}

Wednesday, June 13

inspired by locals: kory from LOVELIKEBEER

This week's "Inspired by Locals" post is about an organization that is new to me but already extremely close to my heart. As a lover of good food, an ex-vegetarian, a self-proclaimed beer snob and a firm believer in working for a purpose, LOVELIKEBEER is essentially the organization I wish I would have thought of first [haha, just kidding]. I had the chance to work with Kory through Urbanist Guide and the guy is really pretty dang inspirational, not to mention good looking. 

If you're in San Diego and looking for a feastly AND healthy meal [which I think we can all agree are few and far between], head to Sea Rocket Bistro tomorrow, June 14, for LOVELIKEBEER's menu series featuring an incredible vegan dish [maybe the best I've ever had] created by Chef Tommy Fraioli [read more about the dish here] paired with Green Flash's Hop Head Red. Nom.

photo courtesy of infatuatedeye.com

Who is the founder of LOVELIKEBEER? What was the inspiration for the organization? How did it begin and evolve?
I started LOVELIKEBEER with my friend, home-brewing partner, fellow beer geek and fellow vegan Derek Humbard. While active in the local beer community, we realized we were missing out every time there was an exciting beer dinner due to the lack of vegetarian, not to mention, vegan food options. Inspired by a desire to get more involved in the craft beer renaissance, an amazing beer dinner at Blind Lady Ale House with Unibroue during SDBW [San Diego Beer Week] that had a vegan option and envy about some [now] friends starting the L.A. Vegan Beer Festival up north, we started to put together plans for what eventually became LOVELIKEBEER. 

We thought first about putting on a comparable festival, but intimidated by the need for permits, major up front costs, not to mention skeptical about only being able to do something once per year, I took a page from the book of the Pop-Up restaurant movement and suggested this alternative format to Derek and he agreed it was the way to go: little to no up front cost, semi-frequent events all with their own unique twist and collaborating with different chefs each time to make some really artful and innovative vegan cuisine, which is another gap we thought deserved filling in San Diego. 

How do you choose which charities to feature and support?
Even though Derek and I maintain a shared mental list of charities that inspire us locally and nationally, in many cases, we like to evoke a cause for the which the proprietor or chef of the host restaurant is passionate about.  So in some cases, such as the San Diego Animal Rescue, the venue was very forthcoming about the charitable partner of their choice. In other cases, such as with our selection of the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders, the venue was interested in who we'd like to benefit and we were able to offer up some of our own choices. In every case though, it's a shared selection that both us and the venue/chef are inspired by and are very excited to help out.

 sneak peek at tomorrow's pairing

How do you choose what restaurants and breweries to feature?
The beer selection comes exclusively from Derek and I's preferences: breweries that we have loved for a long time or up-and-comers we are excited about or styles that we're really interested to experience paired with food. As for venues, because of our desire to score great beer, we tend to stick to the bistros/bar/restaurants that already have a strong footing in the craft beer industry and can help us get the beers we'd like to get. We also like to choose places that seem to have some form of affection for vegetarian cooking already so that we are not overwhelming them with an exotic task of cooking some artful, vegan dishes for a one night only, mad house event.

What are your long-term goals for LOVELIKEBEER? Do you hope to have a restaurant?
LOVELIKEBEER was started with no larger goal or ambition. It really was a project to create the types of environments we'd like to see in San Diego, to bring a unique perspective to the local beer and food scene and to give back to worthy causes. As it has evolved, we're excited more than ever to push the boundaries, both with the events, but also with new concepts such as the Menu Series we're launching which will place a LOVELIKEBEER collaborative dish pairing beer, vegan food and charity indefinitely on the menu of some local San Diego restaurants. It allows us to have our take on vegan cuisine in a few different places all at once and, in between events, and it gives folks that are interested in what we are doing a chance to try the dishes anytime they'd like. It also keeps the charitable donation aspect in a consistent flow which is really cool.  From there, we really have no other master plan beyond following the inspiration wherever it takes us.  We're going to hopefully have a new Menu Series dish to pop up at a second restaurant and at least two more larger events this year, one of which we really would like to experiment with, maybe something like a pop up, street food and beer garden, or a true, multi-evening pop up kitchen in an unexpected venue.


Come out to LOVELIKEBEER + Sea Rocket Bistro's dinner, TOMORROW, June 14 at 3382 30th Street in North Park, San Diego. The cost is $22 for a delicious and healthy vegan meal plus beer anddddd you'll be supporting Seeds @ City Urban Farm.

{Sounds like a great deal to me. See you there!}

Tuesday, June 12

azucar: a cuban style patisserie

This weekend, my roommate Amanda [who's in the process of creating a blog of her own... hooray!] and I ventured to Ocean Beach for a little day of fun...a.k.a...lots of eating. We had lunch at South Beach, absolutely the best fish tacos around [post coming soon!] and then checked out Azucar for dessert. I've been dying for a tasty treat from Azucar for about a year now, but unfortunately I don't make it to OB as often as I'd like.

Azucar caught my eye because it's a "Cuban-style" bakery and since I'm one-fourth Cuban [though I claim it as my full nationality], I was definitely interested. It was exciting to see the guava stuffed pastries [my family calls them "pillows"] and a few other treats that reminded me of my childhood in Miami and my Cuban background.

Naturally, as soon as we saw the spread of options, we had to sample a variety of treats... you know, just in case we don't make it back for a while. Amanda ordered the chocolate/salted caramel and an esperesso chocolate chip cookie and I sampled the doughnut muffins and a peanut butter white chocolate chip cookie. Let's just say, the calories were worth it and I was one freaken happy camper.





Scrumptious is an understatement 

pretty cupcakes

Next time you're in the mood for dessert, venture to OB and get a treat from Azucar [also be sure to give me a call so I can come with you]. I promiseeee there's no way you'll be disappointed. 

Azucar Cuban Style Patisserie is located in Ocean Beach San Diego at 4820 Newport Ave.

{My diet starts tomorrow.}

UPDATE: Check out my first post for the "Urban Dish" column at Urbanist Guide! I'm pretty dang excited about it!

Monday, June 11

SPONSORS!

Hello friendly friends! If you haven't noticed, I've gotten super pro over the past week and added 175x175 sponsor spots to ole Beauty & the Feast. The only thing you have to do in return is throw my button up on your blog! Easy peasy. So if you like food, beer, travel, adventures, crafts, more food, more beer or just have something interesting to say, let's get to swappin'!

In other news, my dad passed along photos of these AWESOME apartments in Mumbai, India [Just another good reason for us to return, Lena!] I think I'd be a little chicken to dive in, but nonetheless... pretty cool!


{Be sure to check out some of my favorite bloggers who I've already swapped with! They are the BEST.}

Friday, June 8

cucina urbana

Cucina Urbana, located in Banker's Hill San Diego, has 400% captured my foodie heart. Sadly, I didn't always have this opinion. I dined at Cucina Urbana a few years ago and had a really blah experience; not bad by any means but definitely not memorable. Thanks to my friends, colleagues and Urbanist, I gave Cucina Urbana another try and I'm so glad I did! The interior is beautifully decorated very Anthropologie-esque and I very much appreciated the details [chalkboard art, eclectic lighting fixtures, etc]. Essentially, I'd like whoever decorated this restaurant to decorate my future home.



Squash blossoms filled with ricotta cheese and topped with aioli and pesto. 
Nom.com [did I really just type that?]

Meatball pizza sans meatballs for my vegetarian amigas

LASAGNA TO DIE FOR WITH GARLIC BREAD. This was for sure the winning dish.
pork + veal + marinara + b├ęsciamella + gooey cheese...ohhh yahhh.


Chalkboard art 


Impressive wine selection

The service was great, the food was fantastic and the ambiance couldn't have been better. I absolutely can't wait to go back!

Stay tuned for more foodie finds around town because this weekend, I'll be investigating some brand new restaurants! [the fact that my pants are getting harder and harder to button is perhaps a sign I should sample the salads}.
{HAPPY FRIDAY! Here's to a feastly weekend.}