The Sonia Show

Writer. Mocker. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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Weekend Getaway: Portland

Yeah, so, we went to Portland.

My mighty, mighty good man David had to go to Portland for work, so I flew up on Friday to meet him for a little weekend away. I left Calvin in the car in the parking lot at the airport. Don’t worry, I left the window cracked. I’m not a monster.

I kid. He stayed with my mom and had the best time ever. Grandma is his best friend.

So, yeah, I flew up to Portland, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but it was my first-time ever flying on a plane by myself. Also, I’m 46. I know, I know. It’s pretty ridiculous.

Look, Mom! I’m going to fly on the plane like a big girl.

I downloaded the new “Mystery Science Theater 3000” on my Kindle, and it turns out it was the perfect length for the flight. It ended right as we were landing. I was completely entertained and distracted the entire time.

We had an awesome time in Portland. It’s a great city. There was a ton of tasty beer and everywhere I went there was a variety of vegan options. And not just the “I guess I’ll get the fries and the salad” variety, but full-on vegan options. Even a divey bar would have nachos with a vegan cheese option. Heaven!

Our friend Caitlin showed us around on Friday, and we went to a vegetarian restaurant Harlow, where I discovered jalapeno cashew cheese that I will absolutely be trying to make myself. We also went to Breakside Brewery, where I had a couple of really good IPAs, Rainbows & Unicorns IPA and Lunch Break ISA. I also bought this rad hat, which David is modeling in this photo.

We also had dinner at a vegan restaurant, Blossoming Lotus, because David and Caitlin are nice people. I got the chickpea chana masala curry, because curry is one of my faves, and it was delicious. We ended the night with drinks at Horse Brass Pub with David’s friends Collin and Siri.

On Saturday, we went to Blue Star Donuts. Voodoo Doughnuts is super famous, but we were told repeatedly that Blue Star Donuts is a local favorite. We were not disappointed. David got the creme brulee donut, and I got a vegan blueberry one. Yummers!

After that, we went to 10 Barrel Brewing, and I had the milk stout, which was pretty darn good.

We had evening drinks with our friend Kirk and his girlfriend Emily at the White Owl Social Club, which is such an awesome place we didn’t really want to leave for our dinner reservations. But we’re so glad we did, because we had an amazing dinner at La Moule. As you can tell by the name, mussels are kinda their thing, so I decided to be a bad, BAD vegan for a meal and get the Korean mussels, which had miso, ginger, kimchi, garlic and sesame oil. It was good stuff. Honestly, I could have just eaten a loaf of crusty bread and dripped into the broth.

I can see why so many San Franciscans have moved to Portland. It’s very San Francisco-ish, except cleaner. Maybe that’s because of the rain?

We had such a good time. Big thanks to Caitlin for giving up her Friday to show us around, Collin and Siri for meeting us at Horse Brass, and Kirk and Emily for introducing us to the White Owl. Thanks, you guys!

 

 

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Six Things I’m Loving: Chef’s Table, SF Beer Week And More

Yeah, so, I’ve been stupid-busy at work. Don’t you hate it when you have to work at work?

On top of being swamped at work, where I just celebrated my EIGHTH year of working there (WTF?!?), both my mighty, mighty good man David and I caught a nasty cold from my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin. If you listen to this week’s Dorking Out, you can hear how congested I was earlier this week. It’s so sexy.

So, yeah, I’ve been swamped at work; our president is a raving lunatic who is going to get us all killed; and I had a cold. Good times.

Let’s talk about something else. It’s time for another installment of six things I’m loving right now.

Daily Skimm

Being outraged about everything that is going on is a full-time, but I already have a full-time job. Good buddy Kate recommended Daily Skimm to me, which sends an email newsletter every morning that summarizes the most important news stories of the day. It’s super helpful, and makes reading a lot of bad news a little easier … a little. I highly recommend it. You can sign up for it riiight here.

SF Beer Week

sfbeerweek-2017

On Friday, David and I used Urban Sitter for the first-time ever (which worked out great – Calvin had a great time and was instantly comfortable with her) and went to the SF Beer Week Opening Night Gala, like we always do. Just in case you don’t know what that is it goes like this: You pay $80; you get a glass; you get to drink unlimited beer from more than 80 breweries. It’s awesome. We tried some really great beer. Favorites included a milk stout from Seven Stills, Shadow Of Their Eyes from The Rare Barrel and The Vastness Of Space from Cellarmaker Brewing Company.

Chef’s Table

You guys! Season three of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” drops on Friday! Man oh man, we love “Chef’s Table” in this house. As “Top Chef” fans, we have found this show to be the part of “Top Chef” we loved the most with all the manufactured drama and stupid challenges. Each episode of “Chef’s Table” features a different chef. The second season was set entirely in France, but the first and this upcoming third season feature chefs from all over the world. We learn why the chefs make the kind of food they make. We learn about the process. And then you get to watch them cook. It’s rad! The cinematography is beautiful. We find the show incredibly soothing, and it is a nice break from all the news about how our country is basically a raging dumpster fire right now.

Abstract

So, well we wait for new episodes of “Chef’s Table,” we started watching this other documentary series on Netflix titled “Abstract.” It’s basically “Chef’s Table,” but with artists. We’ve watched the first two episodes: one was about an illustrator, and the second episode was about the man who designed Air Jordans for Nike. This is totally a David series, and I wasn’t sure I’d be into it. But, it’s surprisingly interesting. You learn a lot about their creative process, and as someone who fancies herself somewhat creative that interests me.

Gin

We went to Bourbon & Branch, a speakeasy in San Francisco, with a group of friends for David’s birthday. It’s a real speakeasy. You have to make a reservation, and you get a password and all that. I’m not really a cocktail drinker. I’m a beer and wine drinker. But I figured a nice place like Bourbon & Branch would be a great place to try some delicious cocktails and figure out what I like. “I’m not a cocktail person. What should I get?” She has obviously heard this question before and immediately suggested a cucumber gimlet, which is made with gin. You guys! It turns out I like gin! I also had another gin-based drink, which I think was called Gypsy. I honestly can’t remember, because gin.

gindrink

San Francisco Giants

Baseball season starts April 3. I cannot wait. Baseball, save me!

 


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Our weekend beer-cation

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good man David and I finally got a much-deserved weekend away.

Mighty, mighty good boy Calvin and Homer spent the weekend with my parents. We took Friday off from work, dropped off the boy and headed up to Healdsburg. We got to sleep in, and it was everything I remembered it to be. We spent most of our time checking out a few breweries and wineries. I know what you are thinking: “Oh, you guys went to Russian River Brewery, right?”

Well, you are wrong! WRONG, I says.

It turns out Russian River Brewing was in the midst of its annual serving of Pliny the Younger, which means that lines were around the block to get in. I am not joking. People were waiting in line for more than 4 or 5 hours to get a beer.

pliny

I’ve had Pliny the Younger before. It’s a pretty OK beer. I’m not really an IPA fan, so it’s not really my bag. However, David loves IPA. He likes it, but he doesn’t “wait in line for four hours” like it. Honestly, they could be serving my favorite beer in the world, and I still wouldn’t be willing to give up like 6 hours of my day to drink it, and I really love beer. I do a podcast about beer!

craftdog

I guess I’m just an old lady now. I have a rare weekend away without my kid. I’m not going to spend it sitting in line waiting to drink a beer. I’m going to go somewhere else and drink beer — immediately. No waiting!

There was no line at Russian River Brewing if you want to buy some beer to-go, so we picked up a bottle of Supplication, Consecration, a six pack of Blind Pig IPA (which is also difficult to get by the way – they don’t distribute it anymore and it’s tasty), and a couple of Pliny the Elder. We also picked up a few bottle of Sonoma Pride, which a side project by the owners of Russian River. They are also quite tasty.

We visited Lagunitas Brewing Company. We each got a flight of beer. I realize that Lagunitas is known for IPAs, but my favorite was the High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout, because of course that was my favorite. My favorite is always the darkest, highest alcohol content beer on the menu. Same thing at Bear Republic: I had a flight of beer, and my favorite was the Russian Imperial Stout, Old Baba Yaga.

David at Bear Republic. His beer flight runneth over.

David at Bear Republic. His beer flight runneth over.

Sadly, I couldn’t buy any of these beers in bottle to bring home. I was super bummed. However, we did have the Russian River beers to drink after we got home, and that did not suck.

view

For a complete rundown of my favorite beers, check out my Untappd profile riiight here.


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Old Movies, New Beer: Meet Me In St. Louis, Bathing Beauty and Deschutes Brewery

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good man David and I watched the glorified clip show that is “That’s Entertainment” Part 1 and Part 2, which got us interested in MGM musicals.

In our new episode of “Old Movies, New Beer,” we talk about “Meet Me In St. Louis” and “Bathing Beauty.” We also talk about some our favorite musicals.

We’re drinking Jubel 2015 from Deschutes Brewery, which is delicious and strong, so you know I’m say assy shit by the end of the podcast – as usual.

You can find the podcast riiiight here, or you can listen to us on iTunes. Cheers!

meetme


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Old Movies, New Beer: Christmas In Connecticut, White Christmas and Straffe Hendrik Quad

Yeah, so, I got drunk and said a bunch of assy shit on this week’s Old Movies, New Beer podcast again.

Are you guys listening? You should listen. Don’t you want to hear my voice? It’s so irritating sexy.

straffehendrik

Check out our awesome Christmas village. It has a movie theater now. It’s totally rad, and not nerdy at all.

This week we chatted about holiday movies, specially “Christmas In Connecticut” and “White Christmas.” We were drinking one of my favorite beers, Straffe Hendrik Quad. It’s got a pretty high alcohol content: 11%.

And if that podcast puts you in the mood for other holiday movies, we talked about “The Bishop’s Wife” and “The Man Who Came To Dinner” as well as all “The Thin Man” movies (some of them are vaguely related to the holidays).

Cheers!

 


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Old Movies, New Beer: The Haunting, The Curse Of The Cat People and Firestone Walker’s Helldorado

Yeah, so, mighty, mighty good man David and I got drunk and talked about old movies again.

This time, we talked about “The Haunting” and “The Curse Of The Cat People” while sipping on Firestone Walker’s Helldorado, which is so good, you guys. It’s got a high alcohol content: 13.2%. Wheeee!

thehaunting

You can hear our sexy voices riiiight here. You can download our podcast in the iTunes store, too.


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It’s fancy beer time

Yeah, so, last week, mighty, mighty good man David and I went to the San Francisco Beer Week Opening Night Gala.

It was our first date night since the mastectomy last month. We had a great time, and there was a ton of beer to try. There was a much bigger crowd this time around. Last year, the event was in the Concourse Center, and this year it was in Fort Mason, a much larger venue. I heard there were 1,900 tickets sold. At first, I found the crowd to be a little overwhelming, and some of the lines were a little too long for Short-Attention Sonia, but eventually I got drunk used to it.

sfbeerweek

Just hanging out in front of the SF Beer Week sign, looking cool. You know, like you do.

I tried just enough beer at the SF Beer Week Opening Night Gala, meaning if I had anymore I surely would have been sloppy drunk. I was all about dumping the beer that I didn’t really like. I usually have the need to drink it even if I don’t really like it – kinda like the need to clean your plate even when you are full. This time around, though, I decided that if I can only handle so much beer, I’m not going to waste what I can handle on beer that I found to be less than delicious.

So what were my faves? I really loved the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Drakonic Stout from Drake’s Brewing. Not surprising. Drake’s Brewing had one of my favorites last year, too: an amazing sour beer. Also, I’m a huge sucker for bourbon barrel-aged beer. I almost always love it. I really enjoyed Bob Quad from Social Kitchen & Brewery and Brass Parachute Barleywine by Third Street Aleworks. David really loved the Drakonic, too, and ZZ Hop by Auburn Ale House.

We made sure to hit up a lot of the breweries that we never tried before. I love Speakeasy and Almanac, but they are our neighbors, and I have their beer all the time. I tried to be really good about logging all the beer I tried, but I know I failed. Still, if you want to see an almost complete list of what I tried, check out my Untappd.

Within the past year, David and I have collected many bottles of beer that we refer to as “super-fancy beer:” beer that we are saving for special occasions. Well, since I’m going to be doing chemo for the next five months, and I can’t really drink, we have decided that the next couple of weeks are special occasions so be on the lookout for check-ins, Instagrams and tweets about “super-fancy beer.”


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Let’s talk about beer or something, shall we?

Yeah, so, let’s talk about something else other than cancer. How about beer?

When mighty, mighty good man David and I went on our honeymoon to Paris and Belgium, we drank a lot of delicious beer. One of my favorites was Waterloo, which we had in a bar in Brussels. It was a strong dark ale, and it was served in a goblet. We drank a lot of beer on that trip, but that night in Brussels was the drunkest I got, and I wrote about it riiiight here. It’s one of my favorite stories from our trip, because it involves me yelling at a pickpocket: “I see you, and I’m taking your picture!”

So anyway, sadly, we could never find Waterloo here, and we certainly couldn’t get a hold of the precious goblet. David was always on the lookout for it, and, well, ta-dah!

waterloo

It’s a Christmas miracle! David was able to find the goblets and the strong dark ale in a holiday beer pack that he ordered from a beer shop in Belgium for me for Christmas.

David gets me the nicest gifts.

Isn’t the goblet super cool? It reminds me of the grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

wisely

We are planning to break in our new goblets tonight for our New Year’s Eve feast. Every year for New Year’s Eve, we stay home and David tries to recreate a meal we had on our honeymoon. This year, David is preparing Beef Bourguignon and pots de creme, and I think the Waterloo will go well with it.

Happy New Year, you guys!


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Old Movies, New Beer: The Bishop’s Wife, The Man Who Came To Dinner and Anchor Steam Christmas Ale

Yeah, so, this week’s Old Movies, New Beer podcast is up. We’re talking about “The Bishop’s Wife” and “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” and we’re drinking San Francisco’s very own Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. It’s good.

christmasbeer

The podcast was slightly delayed due to illness. Mighty, mighty good man David and I both had colds, but – not surprisingly – my cold lingered, because my immune system is crap. Lucky me!

Trust me, no one wanted to listen to a podcast of a congested, coughing, whiny lady talking about holiday movies and beer that she can’t really taste. I’m glad we waited until I was feeling better to record. When you listen, you will probably pick up that I’m still a little congested, but it’s not too bad … I hope.

So anyway, I hope you enjoy the podcast. If you like it, don’t like it or REALLY don’t like it, we would love to hear your feedback. So, please feel free to comment on http://www.oldmoviesnewbeer.com or send us an email at cheers@oldmoviesnewbeer.com.

 

 


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Brewcation

Yeah, so, and now for the important stuff … the beer we drank on our vacation.

Our first brewery stop on our drive down the coast was El Toro Brewing Company in Morgan Hill. It wasn’t really part of our plan to check out this brewery. It just happened to be lunchtime, and we were near Morgan Hill, and I remembered there was a brewery in Morgan Hill.

El Toro has a really spicy beer on the beer list, but I was too afraid to try it, and I regret being such a pussy. Sorry. Instead, I had an oatmeal stout, because everyone knows an oatmeal stout in like 90-degree weather is awesome. Also, I didn’t take a photo of it, but I’m sure you can guess what a pint of oatmeal stout looks like.

Our next stop on our beer quest was Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo. It was my birthday, so beer was required. It’s a smallish brewery. We can’t get their beer here in San Francisco, which is a bummer. We did a tasting flight, and as you can see from the photo, their tasting flight was a lot of beer.

centralcoast

We’ll have all the beer. Thanks, Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo.

David and I split the flight, thankfully, because it was a lot of beer. David really loved the Catch 23, which is dark rye IPA, and Lucky Day, which is an IPA. My favorites were the Chai Ale, which is exactly what you think it is, and the bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal stout, because I am a complete sucker for those barrel-aged beers.

Oh, and be warned, they serve a big tasting flight, but there’s no food. Just bags of chips and stuff like that. So, if you go to the tasting room and you’re hoping to throw back some beer and eat, that’s not going to happen. However, there is a really good taqueria about a block up from the tasting room. We were pleased.

The next day we hit Firestone Walker Brewing. We were really excited to taste all their beer and watch the Giants game, BUT, they didn’t get FOX Sports 1, so there was no Giants game on. I know they don’t get FOX Sports 1, because it’s the first thing they told us when we walked through the door, because I was wearing my lucky Giants hat. Bummer.

It didn’t stop us from trying all the beer, though.

firestone

Firestone Walker Brewing – The Paso Robles Taproom & Restaurant

We started in the Firestone Walker Taproom Restaurant. I had a lot of favorites. I loved the Agrestic, which is a sour beer, and barrel-aged Velvet Merkin, because as I already mentioned, I’m a damn fool for barrel-aged beer. David loves their IPA, so their Double Jack was right up his alley.

After lunch, we moved to the tasting room next door, where I had the the Belgian quad Stickee Monkee. It reminds me of the Straffe Hendrik Quad I had in Belgium, which is one of my all-time favorite beers. I also had more the barrel-aged beer, because duh.

On Saturday, we went to Firestone Walker’s madlab, Barrelworks, which is where they create their experimental beers. In other words, it was a barrel-aged beer and sour beer. Sonia heaven!

Cool photo by David

Cool photo by David

We loved this place so much. I wanted to pack my bags and move in. There wasn’t a bad beer on the list. They were all complex and interesting and delicious. They had sour beer. They had bourbon barrel-aged beer. They had beer and wine blends. They had beer aged in wine barrels, beer aged in oak barrels. You guys, they had a tequila barrel-aged beer! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Tequila and I used to be really good friends, but we don’t talk anymore, because it always ended badly for me. The beer is called Velvet Añejo, and it’s amazing. Stupid tequila … I can’t stay mind at you.

barrelworks

Dark and light at Barrelworks.

David’s favorite at Barrelworks was probably the Bretta Weisse, a Berliner-style wheat beer. It was so light and refreshing. He was super disappointed that there were no bottles to buy.

So, Barrelworks was so great, which made Figueroa Mountain Brewing, our next stop, kind of a disappointment. We went from these complicated, tasty beers to just regular ol’ beer. David and I each got a tasting flight. David did the IPAs, and I went to the dark side. The IPAs were good, but the stouts and porters were a letdown. The Danish Red Lager was pretty OK, and coincidentally, that’s the beer that had just won the Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival that very day.

figueroabrewing

Figueroa Mountain Brewing.

 

I was disappointed in the beer, but the brewery seemed nice, and they had the Giants game on. Still, we didn’t stick around very long. Plus, it turned out at the Giants were playing the game that would never end. The game went 18 innings, and we watched and listened to it all day long.

So, that’s all the beer we drank on our vacation. Seems like a downer way to end this post, so I’ll just put this photo of me in my happy place here.

barrels

They don’t call it the Barrelworks for nothing.

If you want to read about all the other stuff we did on our vacation, click riiiight here. And if you can’t get enough of beer talk, you can follow me and mighty, mighty good man David on Untappd, where we rate all our beer all the time.