Genever with a “G”

At long last, I have enough time in my busy schedule to come up for air and post something. Hopefully, you’ve been enjoying the podcast I’ve been doing with OC Weekly’s Greg Nagel in between posting gaps. If you haven’t yet, you’ll find the episodes on the platforms you usually source for your podcast needs.

In the meantime, I have another article to share with y’all. This one kicks off with me in a Los Angeles hotel room staring down a row of genevers. It’s not as lascivious as it sounds. In fact, it’s the scene for an educational exercise. Before this encounter, I had no idea how to pronounce the Dutch brown spirit, nor was I 100% sure if “genever” was spelled with a “g” or a “j.” I was fortunate, though: Myriam Hendricx, the master distiller for the Dutch distillery Rutte, was on hand to walk me though the lineup. That’s where the story so graciously published by Artisan Spirit Magazine more or less begins.

Check it out and please enjoy. You’ll have to flip to page 54 to check it out. I’m working on figuring out how to directly link to the magazine page, until now, my Luddite flag is a-flyin’. But the whole magazine’s worth perusing. There’s a whole separate section on genever in the issue. If you want to know more about this form of Dutch liquid magic after you read my scree, you’ll have an easily accessible chance.

By the way – a new podcast episode will be dropping soon. It’s a good one. At least, I think it’s good. I may be biased, though.

Podcast Episode 5

Rich and Greg talk about the world’s most highly rated IPA’s from Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, and of course Younger. Ponga Sauvignon Blanc was un-screwed, then we bitch about Jameson IPA Caskmates. Rich also dives into wine trade tasting events, central Texas BBQ popups, and the LA Times Food Bowl.

PONGO, GOOD. Photo by Nagel

Podcast Episode 4: Belgium, Hawaii, Napa, and Beyond!

Rich and Greg kick off the show with Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen Oude Gueuze, chat about the best time of year to book Hawaii travel, sip on a Cab from Round Pond called Kith & Kin from the Napa Valley, and chug gallons of Mal Bien Mezcal before becoming truly lazy and napping on the studio couch.

Worldly Beverages.

We also dive into behind the scenes judging spirits festivals, the magic of Queensboro Gin, and are fancy tacos better?

Two For the Price of One

Life’s been busy. It’s common refrain around these parts, but it’s true. In a way, this post supports a lack of time. You see, I’m dropping by to share a couple of new-ish articles I wrote for the fine folks at Tasting Panel Magazine. One problem: the articles were from the publication’s January/February edition, hence the quasi-word “new-ish” in the previous sentence. My bad. Sorry.

The good news is that you can still access the magazine and the articles online. The first one, which is found on Pages 4 and 5, breaks down the magic of pairing funky cheeses with a few iterations of Basil Hayden. You’ll find the second story on pages 96 and 97. It’s a story featuring Sipsmith’s delicious gin, and why the spirit is perfect for winter consumption. It’s a timely piece that fits in with the season. (Checks calendar). Or not. Again, my bad. Sorry. But it’s a fun piece, I promise.

Podcast 2: Electric Boogaloo

Thank you to every single one of you that took the time to listen to The Lazy Hunter Podcast’s debut episode. Greg Nagel and I are happily overwhelmed with the positive feedback we’ve received over the last few days. Just as important: Nobody’s come out and told us that we suck outright. I suppose I should be thanking those people for holding in such an opinion.

We know we had a blast putting it together. That’s what The Lazy Hunter Podcast is all about, really. While we’re writers/journalists, we’re not experts – at our core, we’re just a couple of dudes that enjoy talking about food and drink in a manner that occasionally smashes its way against geeky boundaries. We’re thrilled that you not only went along for the ride, but also enjoyed the chatter.

If you’re ready for more, we got you covered. In case you missed the blast on Monday, Episode 2 is live. You can catch it here, or on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher if you want to listen on the go. This time around, we talk about Epic beer, how to pronounce Malbec, dig on some rum, and break down a food trend or two. One of us also tries to sing the Trololo guy song. I swear we spit out most of the booze we sample to stay sober.

It’s Come to This: The Lazy Hunter Podcast

First show sipping.

Late last year, I was hanging out with Greg Nagel, OC Weekly‘s resident beer, food, and cocktail writer. This is a normal occurrence. We’re professional colleagues now, but we’re also old college friends that have known each other for nearly 30 years. I’m sure our teenage selves would have laughed at the sheer implausibility of us being professional colleagues as adults, but here we are. In the midst of our get-together, Greg mentioned that he had recently picked up a bunch of podcasting equipment. “We should do a podcast together!” I blurted out. I was having a beer at the time. I’m sure it was research beer.

“I’m down!” Greg replied. He probably said something wittier and less banal than this. He’s a clever bloke. I don’t know for sure, though. I didn’t have anything on me to write down exact quotes. Also, research beer. The point is, we both thought it was a pretty swell idea, and we’d revisit it after the holidays.

Well, the holidays have come and gone, and it turns out we weren’t kidding. I went over to his house a few days ago, and we laid down a genuine, bona fide podcast. We’re calling it The Lazy Hunter Podcast because, well, it’s the name of this site and the logo is cool. It really looks groovy when you pull it up on iTunes.

Yep – you can indeed find The Lazy Hunter Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google and Stitcher. Episode 1 is live now, and we have it uploaded on this very site for your enjoyment. (These announcement posts will eventually have platform links for your convenience, probably as early as the next one). Greg and I talk a little about beer, shoot the breeze about wine, geek out about spirits, and get a bit nerdy with food. This is pretty much what you can expect from us. It will be fun, I promise – Greg knows his stuff, and I can fake things rather well. Possibly.

Check it out, tell your friends, share with strangers, smite your enemies…okay, skip that last part. But you can do the other three actions, right?

The Lazy Hunter Podcast

Episode one // January 2019

Rich and Greg dive into an indie craft beer, a California Syrah, and super small batch spirit given out at a party, then chat about the foie gras ban and food favorites from 2018.

  • Beer: Green Cheek Beer Company Radiant Beauty West Coast IPA
  • Wine: Andrew Murray Tous Les Jours Syrah 2016, Santa Ynez, California
  • Spirit: Re:Find Distillery Writer’s Blanc White Whiskey (sample)
  • Food: Foie gras ban, 2018 favorites

Robe and Wizard Hat Time: 2019 Food and Drink Predictions

The other day, a question that usually arrives around this time of year met my ears.

“So, do you have any predictions for 2019?”

What I’m supposed to predict doesn’t need verbalization. I know it’s about food and drink. It’s a fair question to ask. After all, it’s what I do, so I should have an opinion. But I must confess that every year, it always catches me off guard. Instead of replying with prepared answers, I tend to hem and haw for a spell before coming up with one or two off-the-cuff responses stemmed from meager seconds of forethought. You may want to bear this in mind if you run into me in early January.

However, I’ve had a few days to ponder the future state of eating and drinking since the question was initially proposed, and I have a few thoughts about what to expect in 2019. Some of these will be rendered worthless by June, of course, and that’s fine. That’s the way these things work. When I did this last year, the predictions ended up ranging from “Nailed it” (the Twin Cities did indeed emerge as a hip alternative travel destination) to “Did I really write that?” (Georgian wines haven’t exactly flown off the shelves). As you read this, expect to encounter at least one part of my Nostradamus act that will soon make me look like a Nostra-dumbass. Which one will it be? Only time will tell.

Let’s start with a layup. California’s foie gras ban will last throughout the year. The fattened goose liver delicacy is verboten in California yet again, and we should know what’s coming in the next few months based on what happened the last time it was 86ed in 2012. Passionate voices from both sides will grow louder. Animal rights activists will sue restaurants that dare violate the ban. Chefs will come up with clever ways to circumvent the law. Hardcore foodies will complain. Eventually, a motion to suspend the ban will get in front of the right judge and we’ll be allowed to eat foie like we were a few weeks ago. However, these things take time. It took two-and-a-half years to lift the last kibosh. If anything, any similar overturn will take longer. It sucks if you’re a foie fan, but look on the bright side: You can still enjoy pate.

Another trend that looks relatively easy to call is a backlash over the keto diet. You may not know what keto is, but you probably know at least one person giving it a try. It’s essentially a low-carb, high-fat diet that mixes in a modest amount of protein, a formula that apparently forces the body to burn through its fat with greater efficiency. It has the makings of the weight-loss trend that gets shoved down people’s throat at every turn, much like the Atkins diet many moons ago. You will get sick of hearing about it, if you haven’t already. If so, don’t fret – relief may be on the way. Keto already has some high-profile detractors, so its welcome may be worn out sooner than later.

2019 looks like the year cannabis will be fully embraced in the food and drink arena…sort of. As the stigma of marijuana lessens state by state, expect to see a similar level of acceptance take hold in restaurants and bars. The seeds of this trend were planted last year, as the cannabis extract CBD started to emerge as a legit ingredient in the kitchen and behind the stick. CBD will likely be hippest ingredient around this year due to the legislative process, but its usage also represents an early step in the concept of culinary cannabis. We are coming closer the day where cannabis dinners gain acceptance. However, that day will not be this year, despite the growing buzz surrounding the concept. (Disclaimer: the weed puns in this paragraph were completely unintentional. Honest).

Looking at travel, I have a hunch that Canada’s maritime provinces will end up being a trendy destination. The reason? Come From Away, the musical about the small Newfoundland town that hosted thousands of stranded post-9/11 travelers for a week, is currently touring the country. Theatergoers may leave the show wanting to pay a visit to the regional source of so much hospitality and kindness, a desire which would lead them to places like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the play’s featured province if acted upon. I may be off by a year here, but that’s close enough. I scored victory points on last year’s travel prediction. I’m good if my aim is wonky.

Finally, look for a greater proliferation of unloved produce on the scene. I’m not talking about the kind of weirdo alien fruits and veggies you can find through a specialty producer like Frieda’s. I’m referring to mainstream produce suffering from imperfect aesthetics. Tons of delicious fruit and veggies get tossed every year because they’re not pretty for a grocery store’s display, and there’s been a groundswell of public awareness regarding this practice. It’s led to more people realizing that such behavior is stupid and wasteful, and rightly so – it is stupid and wasteful. Fortunately, a few grocery store chains are starting to reach the same conclusion.  More chains will – and should – follow.

So, there you have it – a proper answer to an annual question I’m always ill-prepared to receive. Will these predictions make me look like a moron by August? Probably. But there’s only one way to find out for sure.