The Beer Chicks Obsessively Eat Pickles and Have a Craft Brew for Almost Every Occasion
Perpetual drinking is just one of the professional obligations that come with being L.A.'s foremost beer sommeliers, a distinction Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune share. Together as the Beer Chicks, they tell top-notch restaurants and bars like Rustic Canyon, Library Bar, 8 Oz., and the Otheroom which brews they have to carry; take staff through "Beer 101" training seminars; and hold ale-pairing dinners that combine food with all the right suds. (They also released the beer appreciation tome The Naked Pint and are currently experimenting with brewing their own small-batch beers for a new book on urban home-brewing called The Naked Brew.) When asked how much of her diet is beer, Perozzi doesn't hesitate: "A good third," she says. Luckily, the duo did manage to sneak some soild food in this week, and shared it all with us for this edition of the L.A. Diet.
Wednesday, December 29
Christina: So, not kidding, for breakfast that morning I had a baby can of Dr. Pepper and a brown sugar Pop Tart. It's a treat. If I have a chance to have one, I will.
Hallie: I do a lot of tea. That morning I had Irish breakfast tea with goat's milk. I tried goat's milk because it's said it doesn't bother your allergies, but found I really like it; it's delicious. Then I had a multigrain waffle with almond butter. I added salt, because I find that, unlike peanut butter, they don't put enough salt in it. Then I added maple syrup.
Christina: At lunchtime, I ate what I cooked the night before. I'd bought short ribs, like 800 pounds of them, and braised them in beer. I used Allagash Dubbel — it's darker and sweet, not so hoppy, with some bitterness. I served the short ribs with Israeli cous cous, green-leaf salad, shallots, feta, and lemon vinaigrette.
Hallie: I did lunch at home and had butternut-squash soup, one of my favorites using a recipe from Food Network's website, with a little balsamic. My friend recently gave me an immersion blender, which is my favorite magic kitchen equipment these days, so I got to use that.
Christina: I was bottling a honey-sage beer that day, so I had a little of that, along with some Eagle Rock. You know, you have to have another person's beer when you're making your own, just to be inspired. I had a large dinner at the house of my friends, Jane and Russell. They bought eight pounds of mussels and steamed them in beer with white ale — I think it was Hoegaarden — and served them with shallots, garlic, butter, and saffron, along with some LaBrea Bakery bread. When our friends have us over, we're usually expected to bring beer, so I brought over two kinds: Duvel Golden Ale and Saison Dupont. Unfortunately, we also had a few wines from Brewer-Clifton's that my friends drive up to the wineries to buy by the case: a Clos Pepe Pinot and Lindsay's Vineyard Pinot, both '06s, both awesome. And I brought some salted-caramel ice cream from Sweet Rose Creamery.
Hallie: I live in Silver Lake, and before dinner, I had a smoothie from a place I love called Naturewell. It had coconut meat, coconut milk, dates, and matcha. I'm obsessed with coconut and try to have it in whatever I can. Then I had dinner at Golden State and got their classic burger, cooked medium, with sweet-potato fries and a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA that I'm totally obsessed with; it's my favorite hoppy beer. They have a beer float there, made with Old Rasputin and Scoops brown-bread ice cream. I had one, it's insane. Then, my fiancée and I went to the movies and had Junior Mints and popcorn, which we always have, even if we've just eaten — it's an incredible combination. It's really a shame they don't have beer at the movies. I've snuck it in inside of a water bottle, but the best is a coffee-looking cup of some sort.
Christina: If I'm sneaking it into the movies, it's vodka.
Thursday, December 30
Christina: Halle and I were together for a work meeting that morning. We went to Intelligentsia in Silver Lake and had cappuccinos, doubles. We always drink, like, waaay too much coffee, and sometimes we go to "the bad place" with it.
For lunch, we grabbed a couple of carnitas tacos at Yuca's on Hillhurst, which are awesome. Whenever I'm on Hallie's side of town, I just have whatever she's having. Then, I ditched her after lunch. My boyfriend and I went to the Kings game that night. I had this skyscraper hot dog with mustard and onions and a big bag of popcorn from Popcornopolis. I also had an eleven dollar, twenty-ounce "premium" beer, which was Bud Lite. I was conflicted, I was confused, I was scared, and finally I was then resigned. Afterward, we went to Caña Rum Bar, and we shared a Jamaican Spark Plug, made with dark rum, and a Honeysuckle, with light rum.
Hallie: I had dinner at Elf Café, one of the smallest restaurants I've ever been to. It's vegetarian and really cute, and not weird, unrecognizable stuff that's supposed to be like meat. We sat at the counter and it's so small there, it's like you're eating in the kitchen. We had labnah, which I love to say, as an appetizer and then a spicy Moroccan kale salad and spanikopita. It's great there, sort of like a potpie. It's BYOB, which I love, and I brought a 750 milliliter Duvel Ale, which goes so well with Moroccan food. At home, I had a Maui coconut porter with a sugar cookie. I find sugar and porter go well together, too.
Friday, December 31
Hallie: I had black puerh tea, it's the only tea that's aged. My friend gave me a big circular chunk like five years ago and every once in a while I take a bit off of it. It's great, very earthy.
Christina: I had no breakfast. I didn't eat until later. At lunch, I went to Bay Cities and had the Godmother and split it with my boyfriend, along with some Pellegrino. I also got some bread for dinner; they have the best fresh bread.
Hallie: I had some really pathetic nachos in the microwave. It's my favorite lazy thing to do. The secret is sriracha.
Christina: My boyfriend is Russian, I made a New Year's dinner, and we invited some of his friends over — one from Georgia and one from Poland, who grew up with him in the Soviet Union. It was a simple herb-roasted chicken. Along with that, I made chanterelle porcini cream sauce with bacon, onion, garlic, and white wine, along with some simple boiled potatoes. You put the sauce on everything. We had Russian sour cream and Russian red caviar, with our Bay Cities bread. We ate the food with Stolichnaya while doing all the toasts, and we also had Trader Joe's panna cotta and hot tea. The piece de resistance was a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal, which our friend says was originally made for one of the Czars, I'm not sure which one. We also had Deus Brut des Flandres, one of my favorite beers for celebrating. It's brewed in Belgium and shipped to Champagne where it's given a similar treatment to Champagne — the yeast is expunged. It's super effervescent and has a high alcohol content. I was trying to impress the Russians. I think it worked.
Hallie: I went to my friend's for a party and basically ate what they had as party snacks, various cheeses, breads, chips, and definitely cookies. To drink, I had Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary; they do one every year and this was the new one, a blend of three: their Celebration, Pale Ale, and Bigfoot Barley Wine. I also had Deschutes Abyss stout and Firestone 11, which I had been saving. They do it every year and I think now they're at fourteen, so this had been aged. Unfortunately, I also had tequila, which is always a bad idea for me.
Saturday, January 1
Christina: Breakfast was caviar and smoked sausage from the Ukrainian store on Wilshire, along with little gherkins. I also made soft-boiled eggs and had green Earl Grey tea. Russians drink a lot of tea.
Hallie: Whenever I'm hung-over, I have a bagel and coffee. I went to Mornings Nights, one of my favorites. I had an everything bagel with cream cheese, egg, and harissa. And for coffee, when I go there — God, this sounds so L.A. — they blend almond milk and soy milk for me. High-maintenance.
Christina: For me, this was a non-cooking day, so my lunch was popcorn. I watched the Rose Bowl, and it was a big day because my family's from Wisconsin. Once I found out that Wisconsin was going to be in the game, I saved a 750 milliliter New Glarus Wisconsin Red Ale for that day. So I started out happy that day. Once I figured out that Wisconsin wasn't going to win, I had a Deschutes Black Butte Porter, my favorite porter hands down.
Hallie: I later ate about five or six Trader Joe's kosher pickles — I'm not pregnant, I swear, I just love pickles. I eat about a jar a week. I also had pretzels with Babybel cheese and a spoonful of Arizona honey. I'm from Arizona originally.
Christina: Again, a non-cooking day, so I had Swedish meatballs in sauce in a pack from Ikea. I fancied it up with a side of currant jelly. And I made egg noodles. And I had milk to drink, something wholesome after the night before.
Hallie: Luckily, my fiancée cooks well and he made tilapia in a pan with flour, along with some wine, butter, shallots, kalamata olives, and some of that Trader Joe's Israeli cous cous. I drank my go-to hangover beer, Saison Foret, which is citrusy, dry, peppery, and pairs really well with seafood. I also had a milky drink myself, an almond milk with cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave.
Sunday, January 2
Christina: I have a problem with authority and therefore love the idea of breakfast for dinner and dinner foods in the day. I made my boyfriend spaghetti carbonara for brunch. I figure it's bacon and eggs, right? We had a fantastic version in Riga, Latvia, together, so I made it to remind him of that. I don't think we drank anything.
Hallie: My breakfast was just coffee. I went to the Atwater Village Farmers' Market where I get a weekly CSA delivery from South Central Farmers' Market, which is kind of like getting a present. While I was there, I picked up a soy latte from Kalei Coffee. For lunch, I made a kale dish. I sautéed mushrooms with cilantro, peppers, garlic, white wine, and kale, and topped it with Parmesan, which is pretty much good on everything. We had water to drink.
Christina: For dinner, my boyfriend and I went to Father's Office in Santa Monica with friends and shared a few things like oatmeal-stout-braised ribs, sweet-potato fries with blue cheese aïoli, beet salad, and Brussels sprouts with Serrano ham and pine nuts. I'm a huge Brussels sprouts fan. We drank Drake's Chinookian Black IPA, Anchor Christmas Ale, which they make differently every year, and a big bottle of Russian River Consecration, which is a great sour ale aged in Zinfandel barrels.
Hallie: For dinner Sunday, we went to Bottega Louie, this huge, beautiful restaurant downtown. We ordered Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, a Caesar salad, and orecchiette pasta with sausage and Swiss-chard ragu. For dessert, we had five of their macarons; they were pink, purple, gold, and very pretty. Then, we went across the street to Seven Grand and had what is my favorite cocktail right now, the Penicillin, which is very smoky and wheaty.
Monday, January 3
Christina: This is when my New Year's resolution to eat better began. I had a whole-wheat English muffin with olive oil, avocado, and tomato, with cottage cheese on the side. I also had hot green tea and water.
Hallie: I went to LA Mill, figuring it was the second day of the New Year, so it was time for a day of working. I had an orange-infused cappuccino with cacao. They steam the milk with orange zest and dust the cacao on top. It's insane. I also had brioche doughnut holes, so I kind of went the other way as Christina. I figured I was working, I wasn't going to mess around.
Christina: For lunch, I had carrot sticks and celery sticks. Then I had hummus with nicoise olives, and wrote under my notes of what I'd been eating, "This is not going to last." I had a snack a little later of a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge and five water crackers, along with some sparkling water.
Hallie: I had some of my leftover kale and more pickles, because I'm obsessed. Then I convinced myself to have a beer and chose a North Coast Red Seal Ale.
Christina: For dinner, my boyfriend and I went to my favorite sushi place, Echigo on Santa Monica Boulevard. It's incredible, no frills, no tablecloths. There's no miso soup, just nothing but sushi, and the sushi rice is perfect, warm with a tartness to it. You have, have, have to go! I was actually introduced to it by Josh [Loeb] and Zoe [Nathan] from Rustic Canyon. We got the omakase and highlights were the halibut sushi with yuzu ponzu, butterfish sushi with apricot sauce, and super good were some of the simplest dishes, like toro, with no sauce, and scallop sushi. It ended with a blue-crab hand roll that's all blue crab wrapped in nori. To drink, I had an Echigo Koshihikari, a Japanese rice beer that I found when working at Tengu, trying to improve their beer list and looking for something beyond Hitachino.
Hallie: On Mondays, my fiancée and I like to walk over to Little Dom's, where they have a fifteen dollar dinner every week, which I think is the best deal in town, and it's so cute there. We have whatever they're serving, which this week was a green salad, chicken cattiatore, and olive-oil cake with raspberry sauce. To drink, I had an Allagash White and the house red, which they call "Dago." That's bad. I didn't call it that though, that's what they call it.
When not working on the next book, Perozzi is consulting on the beer selection at Larry's in Venice and Beaune is working on the beer list at Downtown's Daily Grill.