Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Introducing the Beachwood BBQ Rotating Tap at 320 Main

Now along with your 35-day Dry Aged Rib Eye or your Lobster Roll Sliders you can enjoy an ice cold local brew from Beachwood BBQ straight from the tap at 320 Main! The rotating tap will feature a different brew from Beachwood's stacked roster every couple weeks. This month's beer is the Citraholic IPA. We took a minute to chat with the masterminds behind the hops, Beachwood GM, Kyle Crabb, and Beachwood Brewmaster, Julian Shrago:

Kyle Crabb:

What is the history Beachwood BBQ?
A: Beachwood BBQ was opened in 2006 By Gabe and Lena Gordon. Gabe is a fine dinning chef by trade specializing in southern food. When they were deciding on a concept for Seal Beach, they tapped the local community for ideas and BBQ was the over whelming response. From there Beachwood BBQ was born.

Q: What's your role at Beachwood?
A: I came on board at Beachwood when we expanded after the first year. We doubled our size, put in a bar, and separated the dinning room. I was hired as the first bartender, then bar manager, then my current position as General Manager. I love working for Gabe and Lena, they are wonderful people and a pleasure to work for. It is hard to find owners with as much passion for the business as they have, and that is the core of their success as owners.

Q: What's your favorite beer at Beachwood?
A: My favorite style of beer varies from season to season. Currently I am really into Imperial stouts but I am always up for a fresh IPA, lambic or gueuze. My Favorite Beachwood beer is Melrose IPA. Julian is a master brewer, and his IPA's are some of the best in the country in my opinion. We always knew that Brewing would become a part of Beachwood BBQ. When Julian joined our team I knew the beers would be great. I am very excited about the future of Beachwood Brewing and can't wait to see what's in store for this next year.

Q: Are you excited about teaming up with 320 Main to get the Beachwood brew even more exposure in the community? Are you teaming up with other restaurants like this?
A: We love 320 Main! We have had a special relationship throughout our history in Seal Beach . I believe our similarities in craft beer for us, and craft cocktails for them, go hand in hand with the innovation we our both trying to achieve in the culinary scene of Seal Beach.

Q:  Can you explain how the rotating tap at 320 Main will work?
A: I love to have 320 Main carry a rotating Beachwood Brewing tap. This means that the beer we give them from week to week will be ever changing, just like our tap list at Beachwood BBQ. I am also looking forward to doing collaborative events with 320 Main in this next coming year.

Julian Shrago

Q: How did you get involved with Beachwood BBQ?

A: Gabe and Lena (Gordon) had been friends of mine for a few years and I was a frequent patron of Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach. About the time they were thinking about expanding the Beachwood enterprise, I was about to launch a production plans for a production brewery. We decided to join forces and create Beachwood BBQ & Brewing together in downtown Long Beach.

Q: What kind of credentials does one need to be deemed a "Brewmaster?" (What's your history in this field. Training, etc.)

A: You don't necessarily need formal training, but I certainly helps. There are a handful of schools in the US that offer professional brewer programs. I am an aerospace engineer by trade (mechanical engineer by degree). I spent over a dozen years in an industry that, in my opinion, is a great blend of art and science. Brewing started as a hobby at home, but over the years developed into a passion. Friendships with professional brewers and the honor of brewing as a guest at production breweries (as a homebrewer) was my segue into professional brewing. For me, brewing is in many ways an extension of my engineering background.

Q: What is your vision for the Brewery? 

A: To be a place that continually strives to hit new creative marks. For me, creative freedom and the ability to share that with thousands of people (craft beer consumers) is a gift. If I can do that and have it be well-received by our customers, that is remarkably rewarding.

Q: How do you go about creating the different brews? Is it a spur of the moment thing or do you go in with a plan of what you want to create?

A: Some of my recipes existed before we opened and have remain largely unchanged. Our flagship IPA, Melrose is a good example of that. When it comes to new recipes, I think of flavor first. I think of what I want to taste and smell in a beer, what secondary qualities (like mouthfeel, carbonation, etc...) will help me best achieved that goal. Then I think of what ingredients and what percentages of such will get me across the finish line.

Q: What is your crowning jewel? The brew or project you're most proud of at Beachwood.

A: That's like asking a mother who her favorite child is. Every beer is special for its own reasons. I put my very best efforts into everything I do, regardless of the beer.

Q: What other local breweries do you admire?

A: One thing that's special about the craft brewing commnity is that business competition is something that doesn't really exist. I'm not sure I could pick a favorite because I feel that we're all friends and the sense of cammeraderie is peerless.

Q: What's your favorite kind of beer?

A:I don't have a single favorite type of beer. I go through phases. I am, however, always up for a fresh IPA, good Belgian beer, or a well-brewed traditional German lager. For me, it's about drinking expertly-crafted beer, independent of style most of the time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bridget 75

In 1898 the French army adopted a new field gun (we’d probably just call it a canon) that is widely considered to be the first modern artillery piece. The Materiel de 75mm Mle 1897, which saw extensive use in World War I by the Allied Forces, was commonly referred to as the “French 75” by English speakers. On October 23, 1917, the first artillery shells fired by the US Army in World War I were fired by a French 75 that the soldiers had named “Bridget.”

What does this have to do with drinking?

In 1915 a Scottish barman named Harry MacElhone was running The New York Bar (later called Harry’s New York Bar) in Paris. It was there that MacElhone named a new cocktail consisting of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and champagne on his menu the French 75.

Bridget 75
¾ oz Bonded Applejack
¾ oz Gin
¾ oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Champagne

Combine all but champagne in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe and top with champagne.

As Fall has eventually found its way to Sunny Southern California, 320 Main decided to take the drink that took Paris and, eventually, New York and other points West by storm, and give it a bit of an American twist and Fall flavor. A little bit of apple goes a long way to making this refreshing drink feel at home among cooler temperatures and red and orange leaves.

● It is often debated whether the French 75 originally called for gin or - as many people know it - with Cognac. While there are some notable references to the drink being made with cognac, the earliest references all seem to point to gin as the original base-spirit.
● Noted cocktail historian (yes, that’s an actual job that your guidance counselor hid from you) David Wondrich has pointed out that the combination of gin, citrus, sugar, and champagne can actually be traced back as far as 1867, when Charles Dickens encountered it during his travels to America (though Dickens specifically mentions Old Tom gin, which would have had a different flavor).

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Guilt-free Holiday Feast with Beach Fitness

Now at 320 Main, we specialize in American food which brings to mind hearty comfort food- Mac & Cheese, Meatloaf, Steak & Potatoes, and we have that, oh boy do we have that! BUT like anything in life, dining is about moderation and balance. We love our new Walnut Pesto Caprese and Ahi Poke dishes and so do our trainers down at Beach Fitness. Bryce and Barbara, owners of Beach Fitness here in Seal Beach, have become great friends of ours and many of their hard working clients are loyal guests of 320 Main. With the holidays approaching, we teamed up to present the Guilt-free Holiday Feast, a four-course holiday inspired meal, with a dose of healthy holiday eating tips from Bryce Turner.

Bryce & Barbara

In true 320 Main fashion, the event started off with a delicious Pisco Punch featuring Encanto Pisco, fresh lemon & orange, clove, pineapple shrub & sparkling wine. 

Pisco Punch

Our first course was Quinoa Walnut Stuffing & Kale Chips with a bacon-wrapped date. Beach Fitness is a proponent of the Paleo diet so Head Chef James Wilschke created a menu that followed the basic principles of Paleo and featured the following- meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, local/seasonal vegetables and seeds. Walnuts are an Omega-3 rich food and were featured throughout the meal.

Quinoa Walnut Stuffing

The Ginger Squash Soup was made with our housemade chicken stock, fresh ginger and butternut squash. Bryce educated the crowd with good advice for sticking to a healthy diet during the holidays. Tips included pausing between meal segments to avoid over-eating, looking for healthy substitutions when cooking classic recipes and if headed to a party, offering to bring a dish that fits your diet.

Ginger Squash Soup

Next up we enjoyed a Waldorf Salad with bibb lettuce, grapes, celery, apples & honey walnuts with a champagne vinaigrette.

Waldorf Salad

The Main Course featured a 320 Main favorite, the Surf & Turf. This dish features marinated Prime hanger steak, black tiger shrimp, spicy seafood cream sauce and ratatouille.

Surf & Turf

One of the best pieces of advice for the night was to have less food but use higher quality ingredients. We all like to celebrate with our family and friends and indulge during the holidays but that does not have to mean over-indulging. Keeping this in mind will help you enjoy the holiday season & make your CrossFit trainers proud! 

We finished up the evening with a cocktail, the Rusty Nut- Walnut Liqueur, Benedictine & Pampero Rum.

Jason Preparing The Rusty Nuts

The night was a blast for us at 320 Main, Chef James Wilschke and the kitchen staff had a great time developing and serving the menu and the guests enjoyed a sumptuous feast and walked away guilt-free!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cocktails 101: Drink Size

Is bigger always better?

At 320 Main, we get asked a lot about the sizes of our cocktails. It’s true, our drinks aren’t the biggest you’ll find. There are no 10 ounce martinis or yards of margaritas to be found anywhere near the bar.

Why is that? Well, we decided to put together a video to try and explain.

Basically, our drinks are the size that they are because we think they taste the best at that size. Cocktails are usually made with ice – either shaken or stirred. That ice melts and can change the characteristics of the drink as you drink it.

Our goal is consistency. We want every cocktail to be great, but that’s not enough. It has to be great for every single sip, so that your last sip is still as good as your first.

Accomplishing this goal requires us to carefully control how much of that ice for you cocktail ends up as water diluting your drink. Since we take such great care to keep that drink balanced, we don’t need glasses large enough for swimming in – just large enough for tasting delicious.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 M
ain and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jason Schiffer Original: The Detroiter

“Do I want a beer or a cocktail?”

This is a question I hear a lot when people sit down at the bar. It's an age-old debate among people who want a refreshing drink. Do you want the sour or bitter notes of a cocktail or perhaps the hoppy refreshment of an ice cold beer. Sometimes though, you don't have to make a decision between the two.

People familiar with 320 Main's cocktail list will likely already be acquainted with the Michigander, Jason's Applejack sour with a dose of Cynar Amaro and honey syrup. It's sour, bitter, sweet, and strong – everything you could want in a cocktail.

What customers might not know is that no drink ever remains unchanged for long. Every drink is merely a gateway – a starting point for creating a new drink. You would be hard-pressed to find a cocktail that no bartender had ever looked at and thought, “I wonder what would happen if I tweaked it just so.”

One day, Jason decided that he wanted to perform such an exercise, and chose as his inspiration the idea of beer cocktails. Beer cocktails are not terribly new, you can find them in a lot of bars with a large beer presence. Jason recognized the potential of enhancing the already popular Michigander with the qualities of a good beer and the Detroiter was born.

3/4 oz. Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Cynar
3/4 oz. Lemon
3/4 oz. Honey Syrup
2 oz Stone IPA

Add all ingredients to the shaker and shake hard without ice to flatten the beer. Add ice and shake again for about 10 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned Glass and top with fresh IPA. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

The deep, rich and sour flavors of the Michigander pair beautifully with the astringent and herbal notes of the IPA. Apple, hops, honey, and a bit of a smokiness all come through and leave you thinking of the leaves of autumn and warm fire places on cold days.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tiki Tuesdays

BBQ pork belly and pineapple sandwich

Being a classic cocktail bar is serious business. Why else would it seem like any bar or restaurant that’s adhering to the tenants of classical mixology is decorated in browns and blacks with bartenders featuring collared shirts and various styles of facial hair?

Of course the entire point of having a cocktail is to have a good time – to escape from the rigors of the day and find just a little piece of zen. It’s about letting your hair down, taking off your jacket or loosening your tie, unbuttoning your collar, and enjoying life.

Even stuffy classical bartenders like to let down their hair from time to time. That’s why 320 Main has made it a habit to host occasional Tiki Nights, complete with guest bartenders, DJ’s, and special hot dogs a few times per year.

Unfortunately, “a few times a year” doesn’t seem to slake the thirst of our patrons when it comes to tropical tinctures with rum and coconut cream. The most common refrain we hear after finishing a Tiki event is, “When are you having another one? You guys need to do this more.” 

Three Dots & A Dash
Message received.

Now you can tropically tipple every Tuesday night, as 320 Main has introduced Tiki Tuesdays.

Every Tuesday night we roll up the red carpet and replace it with a bamboo mat and a special menu with $8 drink specials including the Three Dots & A Dash, Planter’s Punch, and Navy Grog. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, you can hack your way through the jungle to find Painkillers, Martin Cate’s famed Pampanito, or even a Zombie if you’re feeling particularly brave.

And because nobody likes tropical getaways without great food, you can pair your cocktails with some delectable dishes from our kitchen. Enjoy BBQ Pork Belly and Pineapple Sandwich or other tropically-inspired specials from our head chef, James Wilschke

So now every Tuesday be sure to join us pau hana1
as we say ‘Okole maluna!2

1 “After Work”

2 “Cheers!”

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The 35-day Dry Aged Rib Eye

According to Wikipedia, the rib eye steak is “a beef steak from the rib section.” It also says that the cut of meat spans ribs six through twelve and includes the longis...a whole bunch of muscles.

Let's take a different tack here. Rib eye steak is delicious. It's one of the more flavorful cuts of beef because it's from around the ribs, where the muscles get a lot of use and the fat gets marbled in such a way as to basically beg to be slow-roasted or grilled. All-told, most chefs will tell you that it's pretty hard to screw up a rib eye.

Of course, just because it's hard to screw up doesn't mean you can't do it really, really well.

Chef James Wilschke takes dry-aged rib eyes to build the rib eye entree at 320 Main. “That's really the key to how we make an awesome steak,” says Wilschke. The beef that gets picked to serve has been dry-aged for 35 days. That's 35 days of letting the beef hang in a “hot box” (which is actually cold inside, but who can worry about semantics when you're dealing with a massive side of beef?) so that the natural flavor of the meat is allowed to concentrate. This is an expensive process and one that is only ever performed on the choicest cuts of beef.

Once Chef Wilschke has his cuts, he cooks them (at 12 ounces a piece) with a rub of spices and sea salt. After the steak is cooked to perfection it is laid atop a bed of oyster mushrooms and fingerling potatoes. The final touch is a tarragon compound butter laid atop the steak to add an extra dimension of herbal and savory notes.

The rib eye is succulent and rich, complemented exquisitely by the potatoes and mushrooms – and probably with an excellent cocktail like the Earl Grey Martinez or a Manhattan.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Three Dots & A Dash

As World War II drew to a close, folks back home in the USA were ecstatic. Evil had been vanquished and their boys (and girls) were coming home. 

This excitement wasn't lost on people like Don The Beachcomber. Don had actually served in the US Army during the war. The War Department, aware of his success running one of the most famous chains of restaurants and bars in the world, put him to work setting up and managing rest and relaxation centers for GI's at the front. Don even received two medals – the Purple Heart and the Bronze star for his work in aiding fatigued combat units in Europe.

Upon the war's end, Don returned home and immediately decided to commemorate the allied victory in the war in the a way only he could – with a drink.

Three Dots & A Dash a la 320 Main
1 1/2 oz Amber Martinician Rum
1/2 oz Demerara Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Honey Mix
1/4 oz Pimento Dram
1/4 oz Falernum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
5 oz Crushed Ice
1/2 oz Water

Combine all in a mixing tin and shake vigorously until the tin is ice-cold. Pour into a chimney glass and top with fresh crushed ice. Garnish with three cherries and a pineapple spear.

The garnish is the thing with this drink. The three cherries and the pineapple spear represent the three dots and the dash of the name of this drink – which also happens to be the code for the letter “V” in Morse Code and was used to signify “VICTORY!”

Don's original recipe calls for the use of a blender to make this drink. We don't have blenders at 320 Main, so we've cut back on the crushed ice a tad and added some water to give the drink its proper dilution without requiring your bartender to shake your drink for over a minute.

This is especially important for Tuesdays.

Why are Tuesdays so special? Because 320 Main is going tropical every week with Tiki Tuesdays! 

Every Tuesday night you can enjoy a selection of tropical libations from our bartenders for only $8, including the Three Dots & A Dash, Planter's Punch, and Navy Grog.

So be sure to come on in and lose yourself in the tropical paradise of 320 Main every Tuesday night, starting September 25th!

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Army Navy

Gin and lemon are two flavors that were almost certainly designed by some higher power to be placed in the same glass.

From the Aviation to the Tom Collins to the (in)famous Ramos Gin Fizz, gin, lemon, and sugar have been mixed together with astoundingly good results for over a century. The basics of this formula are generally referred to as the “Gin Sour” family of drinks, and it's a large family. The fun part of working within a drink family like the Gin Sour, is that by adding an ingredient here (like crème de violette in the Aviation) or changing out the sweetener – say from sugar to orgeat – you can create an entirely new drink.

Army Navy
2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon
3/4 oz Orgeat
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Orgeat is a syrup made from almonds. The name is French and the syrup can often be found in tropical drinks like Mai Tais. One interesting fact about orgeat is that the name actually derives from the French word for barley, orge. Original recipes for orgeat were basically sugared barley water, in which barley was added to sugar and hot water and then steeped. Somewhere along the way people stopped using barley and switched to almonds, but the name never changed.

We're very glad that the recipe went to almond instead of sticking to barley because the almond flavor in the Army Navy is superb. By taking the basic gin sour and replacing sugar with orgeat and adding a few dashes of bitters, the resulting drink is a cocktail with a fuller mouthfeel and rounder flavors thanks to the richness of the orgeat and the effect of the bitters on the entire conglomeration.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Monday, August 13, 2012

320 Main Wine Dinner Recap

Diners enjoying the company.
320 Main recently debuted their brand new - and oh-so-improved - wine list; a carefully crafted menu curated by So Cal leading wine expert, George Pavlov. Now 320 Main's wine list can live up to the standard of its craft cocktail menu. 

Anything shiny and new must be shown off. It's human nature. So Jason and Rebecca Schiffer invited Orange County to come and be wowed by their shiny new wine list at their very first Wine Dinner. Jason and Head Chef James Wilschke put together a seven course menu, perfectly pairing each vintage with classic 320 Main dishes and some new specially created dishes. To plan the perfectly paired menu, James and Jason had to get extremely familiar with the subtle intricacies of each wine. Each wine was tasted numerous times during the menu planning in the weeks leading up to the wine night. After much diligent research, James was able to finalize a  seven course menu that would fully showcase the greatness of the new and improved wine list. 

On the day of the event tables were moved, glasses were shined, the service staff was quizzed and chefs diligently prepped for the 20 guests that would soon be arriving to this intimate gathering. The guests began to trickle in around 7:00. "In the beginning, it can be awkward when everyone walks into the room and as a host you have to figure out how to bring everyone together to create a uniquely human experience over food and drink," explains Jason. But wine is the great social relaxer. Once the food was served and the wine began to flow, all awkwardness dissipated and the guests began chatting between tables, sharing thoughts and noting their favorites. That's what makes these special event nights so... well, special! The night is more than just an isolated dining experience for two, it's a celebration of how good food can unite strangers and make them feel like old friends. "The most inspiring part of the night," continues Jason, "is when you find the connection has occurred and you're getting the whole room to sync. Then it becomes a true culinary experience."

See the photos below for a glimpse inside the fun of the night. Don't despair if you missed out on this one, because Jason and Rebecca plan on having more in the future. In addition to an occasional wine dinner, they plan to hold whiskey dinners, beer dinners and cocktail dinners. Sure to make you the most well rounded amateur foodie in Orange County.

Wine Night attendees enjoying a pre-dinner course courtesy of Chef Wilschke

Amuse Bouche: Bacon wrapped Prawn with Mango Gastrique paired with a glass of St. Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux. 

320 Main Manager Dave Castillo enjoying the Rose.

Course 1: Scallop Ceviche paired with: Birichino Vin Gris (Rose of Grenache) 

Course 2: Mussels with Chorizo paired with: Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner 

Course 3: Grave Lox with Creme Fraiche paired with: Alta Maria Sauvignon Blanc 

Chef Wilschke and the 320 Main kitchen hard at work.

Course 4: Pork Belly with Pickled Vegetables paired with: Folk Machine Pinot Noir.

Course 5: Filet Mignon with King Oyster Mushrooms paired with: Hobo Zinfandel.

Course 6: Lamb Chop with Roasted Root Vegetables paired with: Three Saints Syrah. 

Final Course: Fruit and Cheese Plate paired with: Strub Niersteiner Riesling. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

320 Main's New & Improved Wine List

320 Main's new red wine list.

Change is a scary thing. It can be even scarier when what you want to change is something that you don't feel lies in your wheelhouse.

For years 320 Main has worked tirelessly to build on the strengths of its kitchen and bar staff. The result has been a restaurant which has received accolades for its food and for its cocktails. People come to 320 Main for delicious plates of Americana and refreshing glasses of well-balanced, hand-crafted beverages.

Lost in the shuffle of all of this, unfortunately, was the wine program.

It's interesting to think that 320, known for being at the forefront of good drinking in Orange County, could spend so much time working on a sophisticated and fun bar program, and then neglect the wine program. Of course, in any endeavor, energy put into one facet necessitates some negligence of another. Jason and Rebecca Schiffer both wanted to improve the wine program, but it just seemed “too big to get [our] arms around” while also perfecting cocktails and food.

Enter one George Pavlov.

320 Main's new white wine list.

Pavlov is one of Southern California's foremost wine experts. At the recommendation of Forrest Cokely from Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, George and Jason sat down at 320's bar one night. George raved about the great cocktails, but declared the wine list to be in poor shape, stating that if the cocktail program was Beethoven, the wine program was akin to Justin Bieber. Jason and Rebecca asked Pavlov to help elevate the wine program to the level of the cocktail program, and he agreed.

There were a few road bumps along the way. Pavlov is something of a Europhile when it comes to wines. He prefers the European styles of wine which tend to be lighter and even less expensive than the standard American faire. 320 tries to spotlight all things American, and the bar wanted to focus largely on American-made wines. Together, Jason and George set to work on crafting a wine list that focused on American wines made in a more European style: lighter flavors that are more refreshing and better to pair with food.

The final product of their efforts is a wine program that 320 Main can show off with pride. With the exception of a mere four wines from Europe, the entire wine list is comprised of American wines – all “unmolested” by the producer and all produced organically. Says Jason, “I'm very proud of our new wine program.”

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.