Best Damn Dirty 30 Ever

My husband and I went to my favorite place on earth for my 30th birthday: New York City. We went to see some friends, hang out, eat great food, see the city, and drink beer. My husband had something more up his sleeve…he arranged with Charlie Palmer and his Chef at Aureole a special dinner menu based around all of my favorite foods. He invited three of my favorite people to spend the evening with us and mailed a bottle of my very favorite champagne ever: the Charlie 1985, so we could toast to me with this special wine. It was incredible. Every minute of this evening was special and filled with laughter.

We had a stunning five course meal that incorporated every single thing I love, some things in an obvious way and others not so obvious but very creative. I love carrots, watermelon, pot roast, ahi, foie gras, macadamia nuts, garlic, mustard, celery, truffles, and so many other things… my husband sent this list of what he knows I love and we were “awed”.

Some of the highlights:

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~Foie Gras terrine and pan seared…

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~Wild Dover Sole with black truffles, celery root & apple puree, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette.

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~Dry aged rib eye, braised short rib agnolotti {This was the ode to my favorite dish in the world: Pot Roast!} with roasted garlic and miso butter.

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~My birthday dessert… WOW.

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The food was all incredible, rich, artful, and made the entire experience one to remember. BUT one of the best parts of this whole meal was the simple efforts the chef made to accommodate my friend who doesn’t eat seafood and didn’t want to cause a scene by not eating it. They prepared two dishes for him that looked exactly identical to the rest of the tables, only in chicken instead of sole and watermelon instead of ahi, served him first and explained the dish, then served us all. My friends level of comfort wasn’t compromised by the thought of eating fish- it was awesome. We have dined at so many high-end restaurants and never had this personal touch- the chef is brilliant. Dining at Aureole is an experience everyone who has a passion for food should try.

 

 

 

Aureole on Urbanspoon

Ninkasi

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 Ninkasi is a cool spot. They have a nice big outdoor area with fire pits to sit and chill because the inside is rather small. The beers of course, are great. We have been fans of a lot of the beers we get in California but we were super impressed with the single hopped series. 

They do samplers of all their beers and will sell growlers of anything.

Ninkasi Brewery on Urbanspoon

Oakshire Brewery

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Oakshire was decent. The IPA was good, we bought some cans to go. They have several beers to choose from or you can do a taster of all of the beers. Surprisingly the Gnome beer was one of my favorites.

Oakshire Public House on Urbanspoon

Loowit Brewery

Loowit was cool. They have a small front space but then the back opens up into a huge space for games and hanging out sipping on good beers. The bartender was great- very helpful and had positive energy. We were making our way into Portland to stay for the next few nights and also wanted to find a spot to watch the Giants game. Everyone in the brewery was chatting with us about the game and recommending places for us to stay and trying to get us to stay in Vancouver. They were nice.

We loved the Red {all of the reds in Washington were great- many of them were dry hopped so they were high up on our want list} and the Storm Shadow Imperial IPA.

The beers are good. They have growlers and cans/bottles to go. A super good find.

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Loowit Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Old Ivy Brewery & Taproom

Old Ivy has the mini keg growlers, they are the best growler of all the growlers- they keep the beer fresh for so long and they’re easy to pack. They have a beer list with a lot of really great guests beers so we liked this place most because you can buy a keg growler and fill it with 10 Barrel.

Old Ivy Brewery & Taproom on Urbanspoon

Dirty Hands Brewing

In the sleepy little town of Vancouver, we found Dirty Hands inside a building that looked like an old catering company. It was quiet but the gal behind the bar was very cool. She came form San Diego and knew her beers. Since we were heading into Portland from Seattle, we still had quite a bit of Pliny and Blind Pig left to trade. We mentioned Russian River to her and she lit up so we gave her two and she gave us a growler! It was rad.

The beers were good. Fav beers: the Shitty Brown {Well… just because} and the Steel Monkey IPA.

They do some food there and they seem like a small team just trying to make good beer and make it happen. I’m glad we stumbled upon it.

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Dirty Hands Brewing on Urbanspoon

Fish Brewing Company

Fish is cool. It’s a totally funky little restaurant with super cool bartenders. The foods pretty good- Ruben sandwich and Cubano are my recommendations.

The gal behind the bar had so many beers on tap that she offered to just give us half tastes of everything since we literally were just tasting. It was way cool and added to the experience. Great beers, well made. They have beers in cans to take home too. I liked the Bitter End IPA. These beers they serve are also the Leavenworth brand which was the brewery that was there before and they just took over the recipes.

This is a great find for a good wholesome beer experience in Olympia, Washington.

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Fish Tale Brew Pub on Urbanspoon

Harmon Brewing Company

Harmon Brewing Company is huge and old and funky. The beers are ok and worth a try but nothing so spectacular. In downtown Tacoma, there are a lot of places to go but we wanted to grab a bite to eat and thought this was promising. We ended up waiting for so long at the bar while the bartender gossiped with another co-worker, then finally I was able to order and then I never saw her again. It seemed like there may have been a shift change or just someone taking pity on me because this nice guy came over and helped me with my order and then was kind enough to pack up my food to go before it came out. This place was poorly kept and after seeing into the back area where they wash dishes and peering into the kitchen- I was reluctant to eat the food but it was substance. I really don’t recommend this place. I hate to publish anything but raving reviews of breweries, but that’s not always going to be possible. This place needs to call Restaurant Impossible for a revamp and get a handle on management.

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Harmon Brewery & Eatery on Urbanspoon

7 Seas Brewery

This is heavy metal punk meets hippy kind of place… The music was metal, the people working were a little punky but super nice, and one of the brewers who gave us some information about the beers was a bit hippy-like. It was a cool place. It’s in a big space inside a shopping center in Gig Harbor. You drive through neighborhoods and start to think you can possibly be going the wrong way because it’s not in a “brewery type” location, it’s not a warehouse, but it’s there. The bar is cool, they have great merchandise, they sell the cool growlers and small ones.

They have a few IPA’s that we really liked but the favorite was the Ballz Deep and the Rude Parrot.

7 Seas came highly recommended by several of the breweries we stopped at throughout our trip- its a good find. They also sell cans of some of their beers so it’s great for bringing back beers to share with your friends!

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Sound Brewery

Sound is a small little warehouse with a tiny tap room. It was still raining pretty hard so it seemed like people were finding a spot to hang out and just post up for a while, so this was a crowded place. The beers were good- the Reluctant IPA and the Humulo Nimbus Double IPA were our favorites. We were in a hurry so we did not stay long but this is not the brewery to go to if you’re interested in talking to a brewer or even anyone about the beers, you pretty much are on your own. They’re nice, they’re just small and busy.