pumpktoberfest #43 -
treat yoself.

spice up yer nuts.

pumpktoberfest 2010!

#195 - links &
drinks 2011.


the fifty states project #6: CA.

if i've learned one thing from 2 pac & dr dre, it's that california knows how to party, or at least they'll know how to do so in the year 2095. personally, though i've attended a number of rockin' parties in the san fran area in my time, i can't attest to southern california's partying skillz, so i'm just going to have to take their word for it. since the state's got the most people of any in the nation & an economy that's larger than canada's, i suppose that their ability to throw an acceptable party is pretty good. they could get beer from their hundreds of fine craft brewers, wine from their hundreds of fine vineyards & weed from their thousands upon thousands of fine weed proprietors. any cali band except for the red hot chili peppers or green day or blink 182 can provide musical entertainment. if all that cali party awesomeness doesn't do it for you, you can just drive east to vegas to gamble your face off amidst a blur of neon, hookers & adrenochrome.

in the grand scheme of things, cali's a pretty important state. back in the day, they had that whole gold rush thing, which resulted in a huge population explosion. these days, since there's no longer a gold rush, illegal immigration helps keep the population growing. cali is the state that gave us iphones & deuce bigelow & snoop dogg, as silicon valley's there and the film & music industries are largely based there. the government was republican dominated for many years, but these days the democrats rule things in concert with the state's 600K millionaires. regardless of who's in charge & how many mormons & anita bryants there are trying to poison the process, the state's always been way more progressive than the majority of the country. want to create an environmental regulation that the rest of the nation will initially think is batshit crazy but will eventually adopt? bring it to cali. after all, they're the ones who created CARB.

in my new york-influenced eyes, there are two californias--northern california & southern california. north cali is all san fran & hippies & tech businesses. southern cali is all LA & plastic, new age, hollywood types & surfing. of course, there are a few other things of import in the north part of the state other than the hippies. sacramento, the state capital, is not one of them. the city does get points for having a former sacramento kings guard as their mayor though. up north, there are cities like san jose & a handful of respected universities like stanford & UCAL-berkeley. down south, LA dominates the area, with its five hundred square miles of car-choked sprawl but there's also san diego, which is home to the largest navy base on the pacific coast & butts right up against the mexican border. it's also home to the world's most beloved chicken.

speaking of chicken, as far as food goes, california's made some pretty significant contributions. take the california roll. ever since its creation in LA a few decades ago, it's become the gateway roll for many a sushi eater. since california's 37% hispanic/latino, there's obviously a huge mexican/latin/spanish influence on the food, one that's spread throughout the rest of the country. while the california burrito has its roots in new mexico, it rose to prominence in san diego. san francisco also has their own burrito. california pizza kitchen helped people expand their pizza palettes with non-traditional ingredients. whether this is a good thing or not is definitely debatable. in-n-out burger, mcdonalds & jack in the box all got their starts in southern cali. those fruit & veggies you're eating? there's a good chance they came from cali, as the state's warm climate helps them produce a shitton of fruits & veggies.

the best part about california is the fact that it's located in the pacific ring of fire. that means they get an exciting smorgasbord of natural disasters. sure the san andreas fault & its accompanying earthquakes get a lot of the headlines but every once in a while, they get a landslide or forest fire thrown into the mix to break things up. luckily, there hasn't been a volcanic eruption in the state since 1915, but i guess that means they're due for some hella gnarly lava action. given that weather conditions have been getting more & more extreme in recent years, i have my fingers crossed that they won't get a huge earthquake that triggers tsunamis & volcanic eruptions that trigger a bunch of landslides & forest fires & wipe the state off the map. that would be entirely UN-tubular.

snack: laura's wholesome junk food chocolate fudge bite-lettes
drink: baird/ishii/stone brewing japanese green tea i.p.a.

for my california snack & drink, i decided to give all my lovin' to the southern part of the state. for my snack, i went all hippie dippy with a tub of laura's wholesome junk food chocolate fudge bite-lettes. laura's an ACTUAL MEDICAL DOCTOR based in LA & for the past decade, she's been making all-natural junk food that can be eaten as part of a healthy lifestyle. i'm not sure why she couldn't just stick with "bites" & leave off the whole "-lettes" thing though. it's just plain extraneous. all told, laura makes ten different types of bite-lettes, flavors like cole's cashew chocolate chip & grandma's gingerbread. i didn't see either of those when i was perusing the bowery whole foods market or i would've opted for one of them.

my favorite part about hippie dippy snacks is that hippies LOVE adjectives. these chocolate fudge bite-lettes aren't made with oats & canola oil. they're made with ROLLED oats & EXPELLER PRESSED canola oil. call me prejudiced against vegan cookies but going in, i was expecting them to be dry & flavorless but they're actually pretty moist & pretty tasty. though the rolled oats are the main ingredient & give each bite-lette a satisfyingly dense texture, the cocoa & chocolate chips dominate the flavor. at $5.99 for a baker's dozen of them, they're a bit pricey but i've got to hand it to laura, she's developed a snack that manages to be both "healthy" & slightly addictive.
i've been a huge fan of the beers from san diego's stone brewing for quite some time now. their arrogant bastard ale has become one of my favorite beers. for the last three years now, they've been issuing a series of unique, limited-time-only beers that they've created in collaboration with two other brewers. so far, they've come up with ten brews, half of which i've tried. in july, they released a cherry chocolate stout & the baird/ishii/stone brewing japanese green tea i.p.a. & while i've tried the cherry chocolate stout & it was quite delicious, i somehow came to the conclusion that a (relatively) lighter beer created with a guam & a japanese brewery that features green tea was way more fitting for a post on california. it's brewed in conjunction with guam's ishii brewing co & japan's baird brewery and 100% of the proceeds are donated to japanese tsunami relief programs, so that's cool.

it's a light amber-colored IPA that's quite good but ultimately nothing mind-blowing. the bottle explains that they've used a bunch of different hops in it but the flavor's not as hoppy as stone's other brews. this is a good thing though, as the subtler hop profile allows the green tea flavor to peek through. if the hops were any stronger, i think that inkling of green tea flavor would've been lost. for a beer that's 9.2% ABV, it's ridiculously easy drinking & devoid of the alcohol taste you usually get with beers that hover in the high-single digit ABV range. i've had a few of them over the past couple of weeks but it's been almost two months since they released it, so you might have trouble finding a bottle. as of monday, new beer distributors in manhattan had at least a few bottles. who knows. they could be fresh out by now. anyway, if you do come across one, it's definitely worth a try. if nothing, you'll be contributing to japanese tsunami relief, helping you get some practice in for when the big one hits california & they need donations.

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