Whiskey Wednesdays at the Public House (Fullerton)

Watch out Happy Hour and Taco Tuesday, the Public House in Fullerton has a new twist on Wednesdays: Whiskey Wednesdays. As a bourbon fan – what a great idea. They offer 3 whiskeys tastings and 3 beer tastings for $12.00. Each week they offer different whiskey and beer tastings. While there two weeks ago, it was Japanese Whiskey. I have been there for Canadian Whiskey Wednesday, and a Bourbon Wednesday.

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What a good way to try different whiskey (or whisky). It forces you to try something you might not try and it’s a great price to boot. Anyone who is into their whiskey always wants to try something new and this is the perfect way to do it. Hopefully Whiskey Wednesday starts to catch on at other restaurants!

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There are always new spirits to try. A tasting like this gives you that opportunity without the commitment of a bottle. I find it really interesting that Public House pairs it with three beers as well. You get quite a flavor explosion that way and find out what you really enjoy. I thought I had experienced enough scotch and dark beer tastes in my life to know I didn’t want more. But since going to the Public House I have had some dark beers on Wednesdays and want to give more a try.

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Evans Brewing is Orange County’s oldest craft brewery having opened in 1994. They opened the Public House in the fall of 2016. We go out on Friday nights with friends and Public House has become a regular for us. They have a wonderful happy hour with their brick oven pizzas on special as well. The menu has some good signature cocktails, or their knowledgeable bartenders can make you whatever your heart desires. They have a nice selection of whiskey which is unusual for the normal restaurant opened by a craft brewery. But it doesn’t stop there.

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This blog was supposed to be about Whiskey Wednesday’s and “Brown Liquor” tasting but I have to mention the food. I will do another post about their beer and food, it is so good. I am getting hungry writing this. Do you like “Tater Tots”? Loaded question because who doesn’t, right. The make sweet potato tater tots! They are to die for! There is the “White Pie” pizza my wife loves made with garlic puree, pea tendrils, ricotta, mozzarella, peas, sea salt. It was on the menu all summer but with the fall menu it disappeared. I thought Lynn was going to cry. The manager assured us it will be back. But my favorite is the “Home on the Range Bison Burger.” A generous bison patty, sweet onions, Oaklore reduced jam, spicy Cajun onion strings, aged white cheddar, arugula, and roasted garlic aioli. Can I just go there and eat now? The menu is extensive, soups, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and big plates.

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This was supposed to be about “Whiskey Wednesday’s” and whiskey tasting but it has turned into the Food Channel. For readers in Orange County, the next time you go out, go to the Public House in Fullerton, you will enjoy the experience.

 

Bourbon Review: Parker’s Heritage 8 Year Old Malt Whiskey

I was in Dallas on business last week and visited Whiskey Cake, my favorite spot for a drink and bite to eat in the Frisco/Plano area. I decided to try something from Parker’s Heritage Collection.  Each year Heaven Hill Distillery releases a special whiskey in the name of their late Master Distiller Parker Beam.  I have never tried anything from the Parker Collection.  To honor the great Parker Beam I thought I would try one of their releases.  I selected the 8-year-old Malt Whiskey released in 2015.

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Enjoying Parker’s Collection at Whiskey Cake

 

If you are not familiar with Malt whiskey it is made from a fermented mash just like bourbon. Unlike bourbon which is 51% corn or higher, Malt is made from a malted grain, and this one is barley, 65% barley and 35% corn.  Just like bourbon it must be aged in a new charred American Oak barrel.

This is one of the first American Malt’s I have experienced. It was really good. If you haven’t had experience with American Malt Whiskey’s you will be pleasantly surprised.  There are many similarities to bourbon.  It felt a little like drinking a scotch, then I thought, “no, it’s a little like a bourbon.”  It has notes of butterscotch and toffee, and you get the sweetness from the corn.  You can definitely taste the oak.  It has a mellow rich flavor and is a very smooth whiskey with a soft finish.

I was originally going to try the 8th Edition 13 year old “Wheat” whiskey but they had sold the last of it. I never would have picked it first but glad the wheat was sold out. I’ve never been a big fan of scotch or European malts, but I’m glad I tried this.  I’m looking forward to trying more Malt Whiskey in the future. It’s a unique experience.  If this becomes the benchmark for American malts we are in for some fun experiences.

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Parker’s Heritage Collection Editions (Photo from the Heaven Hill Distillery website)

Aged: 8 years
Proof: 108 proof
Color: Mahogany
Aroma: Oak, pine
Taste: Toffee, butterscotch
Price: $100 (When Released in late 2015; you can find resale bottles at nice liquor stores like Hi-Time Wine Cellars)

3 Bourbons for Thanksgiving

Now that our children are grown, the Thanksgiving meal has evolved into being about more than just turkey. The boys generally enjoy a little bourbon before and/or after we eat (we still stick to a light red wine for dinner). With Thanksgiving just two days away, I thought I’d share with you three bourbons great for serving on Thanksgiving.

1. Buffalo Trace

buffalotraceThis is a bourbon that is good for both mixing or sipping. At this price point, you don’t have to watch the bar to make sure your good sipping bourbon isn’t ending up in mixed drinks, but also can easily serve it to a large crowd to enjoy on the rocks. Buffalo Trace is an outstanding distillery which makes premium brands such as Pappy Van Winkle and Blanton’s.

Price: $25.99 for 750mL from BevMo!

2. Basil Hayden’s
bottleThis is a great bourbon for serving both on special occasions or at an impromptu gathering with friends. It is a lower proof, well priced sipping bourbon. I recently picked a bottle up from our Costco for $39.98. We pulled it out on Sunday at Friendsgiving and it was a crowd favorite. I’ve written before about this making a great gift – consider taking this to your Thanksgiving host as well!

Price: $44.99 for 750mL from Total Wine

3. Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Reserve Cask Finish
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To go with some of the bold, tanniny red wines you will be drinking over the holidays, I suggest Jefferson’s Reserve finished in Groth Cabernet French Oak barrels. This bourbon is a superpower sipper and will be well received by all your friends and family. If you follow this blog, you know I’m a big fan of Jefferson’s Reserve bourbons. This one is perfect for a holiday – unique, smooth, easy to like.

Price: $73.99 for 750mL from Mr. Hi Time

RECIPE: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

As our family starts finalize our Thanksgiving menu, I wanted to share a favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipe – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. It’s to die for. So rich. You really don’t use much bourbon so for guests that don’t like bourbon it really just imparts a little extra flavor to the pie, but not a true bourbon taste. I also really like this crust recipe and have used it for other pies. This recipe is great for tailgating too! (I’ve never taken a photo of the pie – will have to do that this year.) Enjoy!

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Photo from Food & Wine’s website

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (from Food & Wine magazine)

Ingredients:

CRUST
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water

FILLING
2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons bourbon (remember, you’re adding flavor, so don’t use your fanciest, but don’t skimp – we use Woodford Reserve)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (we use Ghirardelli)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ice water. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until firm.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant; coarsely chop. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

4. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set. Tent the crust with foil halfway through the baking time if the edge is browning too quickly. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Bar Review: King Street Oyster Bar (Leesburg, Virginia)

Serendipity is sometimes the best part of a trip.  We have gone on vacations without hotel reservations or knowing where our travels might lead us.  On our recent  trip to Virginia we landed at Dulles and before heading to our hotel wanted to explore the area a little bit. We landed in Leesburg.

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In Leesburg we did a little shopping before dinner and saw a cute place called King Street Oyster Bar.  It’s a small restaurant and bar set up in an old storefront right downtown, and, it turns out, had only been open a couple of months.  Lynn likes to get good shellfish when she is on the east coast and this looked like a fun place to start.  Me, well, I was looking for a bourbon drink!

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We sat right in the front window and decided to drink and graze.  They have a fun menu with a good selection for anyone.  We started with a “New York Sour.”  It was made with the bourbon of your choice,  lemon juice, simple syrup, and topped with red wine.  It was really good and very different.  They have a good bourbon and whiskey selection and a very friendly staff to help with you with your choice.  And great happy hour prices on drinks and oysters.

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Speaking of selection, the apps and food options were terrific.  We started with the “Bleu Cheese Chips” which are potato chips (looked home made?) topped with basil aioli, marinated tomatoes, and warm bleu cheese.  You can see by the picture it’s a meal itself.

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For dinner, Lynn then had 2 varieties of raw oysters followed by “King Street Oysters” – which were grilled oysters with blue crab, Tasso ham, and roasted corn.  I am so sorry I didn’t get a picture, they tasted and looked amazing.  I also had fish and chips, which were very good.


If you are looking for a little history, some fun shopping, and a taste of Virginia near Dulles Airport, try King Street Oyster House.  The patrons and staff were all very friendly.  We were so glad we stopped in and I am sure you will be pleased as well.