Moorpark’s Own Craft Beer

by Brian

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a craft brew kick.  Actually, that’s an outright lie.  I’ve been obsessed.  Since leaving San Diego, I have been searching for the camaraderie and creativity that only craft brewing has been able to give me.  Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of useful pursuits out there.  But not many are as interesting as the purposeful brewing and joyful consumption of my beloved beer.

My buddy Dave and had I brewed our own Double IPA.  I guess what I’d like to say about it (because the wound is still a little open) is that it was a learning experience.  Looking to increase my knowledge in local beers, as well as a way to drown my sorrows, I decided to go find a small brewery in Moorpark called Enegren Brewing Company.

Enegren Brewing Company – Flinn Avenue in Moorkpark

The idea of being able to visit a brewery is a fairly new development in the beer world.  It has only been with the explosion in home brewing, that the concept of beer as science and craft has been made available to the masses.  There are ancient breweries in Germany, Belgium, and Ireland that had been painstakingly crafting the same beer for hundreds of years protected by rows of razor wire, explosive ordinance and monkeys packing Clint Eastwood-like Colt .45s.  All that changed when the common man rose up against such tyranny and began the crusade for free beer.  (Well, you still have to pay for it, but you get what I mean…)

The people of Enegren embrace this counter-culture approach to beer.  When you walk into their tasting room, the smell of a fresh batch of grain, boiling with anticipation of its destiny, often hangs in the air.  On the wall, displayed like a work of art, is the schematic for their brewing operation.  Rather than hiding their process from “the competition,” they seek to educate and inform on how this nectar of the gods is made.

A glass of the "Protector" IPA

A glass of the “Protector” IPA

Anyway, enough soliloquy on the freedom of beer.  Here’s what I think about the brewery that is Enegren. Continue reading

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Filed under Moorpark, Ventura County

Back to Umami

by Brian

So I reviewed this place shortly after opening last year. Let’s just say that I wasn’t impressed. I’ve been in since, but I was bored tonight so I decided to give them the full EMC treatment.

Umami Burger – Thousand Oaks (The Lakes shopping center)

I went into Umami tonight because, honestly, I felt sorry for them. The whole shopping center felt void of human presence. In fact, when I asked the barman (who is also the manager) why it was so empty, he told me that January is the worst month for restaurants. I’m not going to argue with him because it seemed as though myself and the party of six out-of-towners were the only patrons tonight.

photo 5

Still, I decided to sit at the bar and have dinner. I figured that, at the very least, my food would be up quickly. The first drawback, though, was trying to actually sit down. It seems that the seats at the bar are constructed from re-purposed bug zappers, fashioned into the shape of ass-hammocks. See exhibit A below:

photo 2 Continue reading

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Who’s your Daddy?

by Brian

We’ve entered the era of the dog.  It’s official.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, burgers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  But the newest trend lately seems to be the gourmet hot dog restaurant.  Today’s review comes from a recent trip I made down to San Diego.  I was staying with my great friend, Lisa, who has the most comfy air mattress in the history of the universe.  Seriously, that thing is goooood.  Anyway, what was I talking about?  Oh, right, hot dogs.

Daddy’s Hot Dogs – On University Ave, in Hillcrest

Back in the day (i.e. the 80s) the concept of gourmet food meant white tablecloths, celebrity sightings and people who I would normally refer to as “total douchers.”  Luckily, the concept has evolved a fair amount over the years and legitimate gourmet food can be found in the most unlikely place, or places (if it’s a food truck).  Daddy’s Hot Dog’s isn’t going to win any awards for decor, and it would not inaccurately be described as a ‘hole in the wall.’  Literally.

See? A hole… in a wall.

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Umami Mia!

by Brian

So it’s been a year since Mikey has posted and more than two since I’ve been able to come up with anything good to write.  First, I’d just like to say that, no, I wasn’t on hunger strike.  I was working my way toward a law degree and all the fame and fortune that comes with it.  Ironically, I am now in the exact same state as I was when Mikey and I started this site a little over three years ago.  I am currently unemployed.

Alas, a kid’s gotta eat.  So here’s a little post about one of my latest dining adventures at the newest Thousand Oaks hotspot, Umami Burger.

Umami Burger – Thousand Oaks

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit.  I love me some burger goodness.  After all, we’ve had some great ones here at EatMeCalifornia.  The best among them, in my humble opinion, is the Father’s Office burger.  We’ve also had great burgers at The Apple Pan and, of all places, PJ’s dive bar.  With that said, I have to admit that I’ve been hearing the siren’s song that is Umami for quite a few years now, and this, this!, was my chance to dive right in. Continue reading

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Mikey Eats Authentic Lebanese

So, with a wounded back, I laid on the couch watching Deadliest Warrior re-runs and pondering if a Ninja really could beat a Spartan.  After seeing the evidence, it was clear and I was damn hungry and unable to go anywhere.  Long ago, I hurt myself stopping a greyhound bus from blowing up.  See, if the bus went over 50mph it would explode and if it went under 50mph it would explode.  So I had to get to work, jump some freeway gaps, do a few tricks with the camera and then get all the people off the bus. Anyway, I hurt my back while doing a double take at how Keanu Reeves became a popular actor.  So I’m laying here and since I had a friend coming over I begged and pleaded for her to bring me something to eat.  I actually didn’t have to beg all that much.  She’s really nice.  So she brought me food from…..wait for it……wait for it….. Jabal Lebnan.

Jabal Lebnan – On Sunland Blvd in Sun Valley

So this was my first taste of Lebanese food.   I was excited.   My friend brought me Beef Shawarma, rice, the house salad, garlic sauce, and hummus.  I also got to try the falafel, fresh pita bread, and some of their chicken.  I love throwing everything in a pita and eating it like a taco.  You can easily do it with this stuff and it’s really good.  I loved the flavor in the beef.  Though it was a little drier than I normally like it, it was still very good.  I know almost nothing about middle eastern cuisine so it was a real education for me.  I was trying to pick things out and garlic was very prevalent along with lemon juice and maybe some allspice.  There was a sauce to try and it tasted like it was yogurt-based.  It was also very good.  I loved the long rice and the veggies too.

Sorry just a menu this time

The falafel was not for me.  I’ve heard that they are very popular and I say have fun.  I’d rather get in a falafel ball fight with them.  I’d love to get a gun that could shoot them. I guess I’m just not into hard crunchy fava beans and chickpeas.

I’ve had hummus before at a couple Greek places and theirs was pretty good.  It seemed to have all the basics: garbanzo beans, parsley, lemon juice, tahini.  It was good. But just like mashed potatoes here, I imagine if you can’t make hummus over there then you need to move to New York and live with Zohan.  So Lets Go!

Just a side note: tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds.  The seeds are hulled and roasted.  This stuff is big apparently (not Oprah final episode big, but at least American Idol Big).

From the look of the menu they have plenty of dishes, a wide range of prices, and they even do the Hookah thing.  I’m a cigar man myself, but if you people enjoy it, Hookah yourself crazy.

For those of you who are really into Mediterranean, middle eastern, and cuisine from that part of the world, hopefully you can give some more insight.  The only thing I can do is tell you I liked it.  I’d go there for sure, and I would love to try some other dishes minus the falafel.  I think they buy their pita bread rather than make it, so maybe someone else who has been there can confirm that for me.

If you’re in the area and want to experiment give Jabal Lebnan a try.  Maybe my friend Bernadette can give you some more insight on the customer service, because this was simply delivery for me.  It was brought right to me with a smile and it allowed me to contemplate why Keanu Reeves is still getting work.

Thanks again to Bernadette for bringing me dinner (and great customer service).  I’m hopin’ she becomes our sideline reporter for EMC so we can really start widening our turf.

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Kitchen Nightmares – Oceana in New Orleans

Here we are at the season finale of Kitchen Nightmares which of course for me is a bummer because I love this show and EMC are huge fans of Gordon Ramsey. Luckily though we go from Kitchen Nightmares right into Master Chef. We did not get a chance to review the first season of Master Chef last year so I’m looking forward to it this year. In addition I have a few more episodes of Kitchen Nightmares to throw on here as my dvr had mono for a couple weeks and did not record some of my shows. Grab a beer and your favorite crawdad and lets head to New Orleans to Oceana.

Oceana – New Orleans

Last week was twins, this week we got just plain brothers. Don’t worry folks these brothers are not only brining back the George Michael stubble look but they are also crazier than our main man Charlie Sheen. Sorry Charlie we had to throw you in the mix at some point. We also have a red cheeked angry head chef thrown into the mix creating a wonderful red cheeked, gold chained, stubbly, greasy haired anger tornado. Good luck Gordon!

The Ocean located on Bourbon St making it prime stop for tourist and locals. Owned by brothers Moe and Rami who bought it from their father they spend wonderful New Orleans afternoons yelling at each other, the staff, the tourists, the dogs, the Levies, the street lamps, and the food. I seriously can’t understand how they have a staff. There has got to be a better job than this place. I’d rather be a Wall mart greeter. I’d rather be in a Nicolas Cage movie. Hell, I’d rather be the guy who hoses down the streets after Mardi Gras than work for these guys. What’s really great is that the only things that aren’t angry in this place are the cock roaches and the rats that are living off the fact these guys can’t clean to save there angry lives. Continue reading

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Kitchen Nightmares – Capri in Eagle Rock

Gordon visit’s a double nightmare at Capri in Eagle Rock, Ca. Why is it a double nightmare? The owners are twins. Unfortunately for us and Gordon they are identical twins. You know already we are going to be forced to endure twin jokes, trading names, acting like each other, etc, etc.  The best twin humor however will be dealt of course by Gordon.  We will have twin insults, twins yelling and most important in any kitchen nightmare, twins crying.  So on to Capri in Eagle Rock.

Right away Jeff and Jim started us off with the lame twin humor. “You’re Jim.”  “No, I’m Jim.”  Then we, of course, need to speak in chorus.  I already want to beat them with a soggy loaf of bread.  So these guys had been going to Capri and loved it so much they decided to buy it.  Anyone who watches Gordon take on these projects knows these are the worst kind of owners.  They are clueless, lazy, and lazy.  Yeah I know I said it twice.  After all, they are twins and are twice the amount of lazy.  Luckily their staff respects them and showers them with praise.  Just kidding.  They basically say that they are lazy, immature, sloppy, loud, and can’t cook. Other than that they are fantastic.  Continue reading

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