Monday, January 30, 2012

Afternoon Delight - World Beer Festival Returns to Columbia

This is the first in what I hope will be a long line of guest posts.  The lovely April Blake, who writes her own awesome blog, The April Blake, was fortunate enough to win a ticket to the World Beer Festival held in Columbia this past weekend.  My beer drinking self really wanted to go, but already had plans.   Take a look below at what April had to say, and then make sure you pop over to her blog to check things out.  And time, in order to keep track of your beers, may I suggest the use of the Untappd app?  It's kind of like 4Square for beers.

Imagine the guy that announces WWE wrestling matches saying this: "Are you ready for the Woooorld Beeeer Festivaaaal (recap)? "

According to the State paper, there were around 3,000 attendees at the early afternoon session of the WBF and I believe it. Despite cramming that many people into the two levels of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center with the goal of tasting as many two ounce samples of beer as possible, the crowd was a real delight. I wasn't stepped on, shoved, spilled on, or yelled at the entire time, which is more than I can say for a typical Saturday night out in the Vista. Upon entry, my friends and I received a miniature plastic souvenir beer cup, a perfect sampling size. We started on the main level and worked our way through the crowd to start at the Abita Brewery booth. Already a fan of their Purple Haze, I tried Turbodog, which was a bit thicker of a beer than I would normally try, but in a two ounce realm, I enjoyed it. A whole pint, on the other hand, might be a bit much.
Next up was the Sam Adams booth, where they had Alpine Springs brand new beer available for sampling, and an old favorite of mine, Cherry Wheat. I started with Alpine Springs and told a representative on hand my opinions on the beer, which was that "it tastes like fresh mountain air." It was a clean crisp beer that I would definitely enjoy an entire pint glass worth when it comes to bars in the area.

I pictured myself as a brewer, then went back for a hit of Cherry Wheat. After three beers in my glass, I realized that I needed to clean the suds out but didn't want to wade through the crowd to a beer rinsing station just yet. Pro tip:snag a handful of napkins to keep on your person to clean out your glass between samples, especially when the prior beer was very thick or flavorful.We made our way around the room, some beers were delicious, and some were not so much. Chocolate stout? Yuck. Absolutely not, not ever. My hits were on the lighter side- wheat beers, IPAs, a few brown ales. But since we were there, the beer was there, and they were just small samples, I did dive into a few beers I was pretty sure I wouldn't like, and confirmed my dislike of thick tasting and feeling stouts and lagers. Beers with coffee or espresso notes didn't sit too well with me either despite loving both of those things in their own elements.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Restaurant Week SC - Dianne's on Devine

We've been celebrating Restaurant Week here in Columbia since January 12.  So far, I've hit up two different places, with a third on tap for tonight.  I'll be recapping everywhere I've been (obviously), but I wanted to start with last night's meal at Dianne's on Devine.  No pictures, since the lighting was rather dim, and I wasn't going to use an overly bright flash to get good quality shots.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

We Have a Winner!!!

Many thanks to those of you who entered my little blogiversary giveaway!  I appreciate the comments and suggestions about the blog.  I'm definitely going to try to put some of your ideas into practice.  I'm hoping our winner will enjoy the prize: a copy of Eric Dishes & Dustin Mixes.  Fair prize copy hasn't actually gotten to me from Amazon yet, but it should be delivered around the middle of this week.  As soon as it's here, I will send it off to the winner.

And now, without further ado, the winner of the giveaway (as determined by is....


Ashley, if you would please email me at thehungrylady [at] gmail [dot] com and send me your mailing address, we can discuss your prize.  Also, if you would like to provide a review of one (or more) of the recipes in the book, I'd love to have it as a guest post.  And make sure you stop over at Eric Dishes to let him know what you think of his book. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Restaurant Week, 2012, and a Contest

Happy 2012, y'all!  Yes, I realize that I'm about two weeks late with the New Year's wishes, but sometimes that's just the way it goes.  This is really just a big housekeeping type post, though I promise that I have a few reviews that I'm sitting on.  Hopefully they will start to appear this weekend...assuming I don't have too much homework to do for my classes that started this week.

First things first. South Carolina Restaurant Week starts tomorrow, January 12.  It runs through Sunday, January 22, and features tons of deals across the state.  The options for those of us in the Columbia are pretty awesome, but if you're outside of the capital city or feel like a quick road trip, the choices in other parts of our fair state look to be worth the trip.  I'll be hitting up three restaurants (and finally using up my gift cards!) - Dianne's on Devine, Villa Tronco, and Rosso.  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited.

Moving on.  I don't normally make New Year's Resolutions because then I can't be disappointed in myself when I fail to keep them.  This year, I've decided to take a leap of faith and make a few.  But only for the blog. Not for my non-blog existence.  In 2012, I would like to:
  • Visit a new restaurant at least once a month.  This may not seem like a big deal, but now that my gift cards are just about gone, I have to find a way to work it into the budget.  I think this is a resolution I can stick to though.  And I'm taking requests for places to review.
  • Post at least twice a week.  This one may be a little trickier.  I don't want to write if I have nothing new to say.  I'm debating opening up the blog for guest posts, so let me know your thoughts about that.
  • Figure out a way to incorporate my other great love into the blog.  That would be music, for those of you just tuning in.  I'm still hammering out the details on that one, but as music is food for the soul, there should be some way to work it in.
  • Learn to cook.  There.  I said it.  My 2012 life goal is to learn to cook.  Here's the thing.  I am capable of cooking, I just really don't like to.  I get bored, so I stop paying attention, so everything burns.  Vicious cycle.  So this year, I'm going to start simple and try to find recipes that don't require me to pay too much attention.  I'm open to all suggestions.
Given that last resolution, it seems appropriate that as a prize for my 1 year blogiversary, I'm giving away a cookbook.  Yes, that's correct. The Hungry Lady turns 1 at the end of this month. To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of Eric Dishes & Dustin Mixes, a new cookbook authored by my friend Eric.  Eric and I have known each other since we were awkward high school freshmen, and though we haven't really kept in touch (except via Facebook) since graduation many years ago, I follow his food blog and love his recipes.  The best part?  The recipes look like they make some fancy food, but it's all very simple to prepare.  I asked Eric if I could use his book for a giveaway, and he was all in favor of the idea.  

See what you can win?  Check out Eric's blog or the page for more information.  
So here's how this is going to work.  All you need to do is leave a comment on this post by 5 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 14.  Tell me why you like this blog, things you would like to see on the blog, how you feel about guest posts, your thoughts on Restaurant Week, etc.  Just keep it food or blog related.  After 5 on Saturday, I'll go ahead and use a random number generator to pick a comment and determine the winner.  The winner will be announced in a separate post on Sunday morning.  If you are the winner, you will need to email me (thehungrylady [at] gmail [dot] com) to claim your prize.  I must receive your email by Monday at noon EST.  If the winner hasn't contacted me, I'll pick a new one.  I know that sounds complicated and annoying, but it's the only way I can think of that doesn't require you to leave your personal email in comments.  Plus, I wouldn't mind the blog views.

Go. Tell your friends.  Leave a comment.  Check out Eric's blog (linked above).  Win the contest.  And if you win, and want to review one of the recipes in a guest post, that would be pretty awesome.  Happy 2012!