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Monk’s Kettle

September 19, 2010

There are few better things in the world than a good burger paired with a damn good brew.  I had better hop(e)s for the SF craft beer scene, I knew that Russian River was only an hour north, Anchor Steam is in town, we passed Firestone in Paso Robles on the way up, they’re closer to the beer mecca of the pacific northwest . . . all signs indicated a healthy stocking of craft beers and taps, so I went looking – or yelp-ing, I should say – for a gastropub with a highly coveted craft beer list!

I landed myself a small, but based on the crowd, spot fairly well known for it’s quality beer list called Monk’s Kettle.  I should revise that previous statement to VERY crowded on a saturday night at 9 p.m. spot – where parking within 5 or 6 blocks is a joke, so we had to bust a “do over” the next day and went for early grub.  They’ve got a small-ish bar, a handfull of booths, and some bar style seating.  I was glad to see that, like most other establishments with a good rotation of craft brews on tap, they had 15-20 beers handwritten on their board.  Spork and I had parused their menu beforehand, so unless something else tickled our fancy, we’d been looking forward to the Superior Farms Lamb Burger with lettuce, organic tomatoes, fresh red onions and a cucumber mint tzatziki sauce on a Metropolis sweet french roll and the Coleman Natural Hampshire slow roasted Baby Back Ribs, with grilled organic corn, smashed yukon gold potatoes, jicama slaw and house-made porter BBQ sauce.  That pair of dishes was too tempting to pass, so we ordered up!

I’m not going to say that this was the best lamb burger I’ve ever had (I save that spot in my heart for The Volunteer Park Cafe, up in Seattle), but it was damn good, tender – flavorful – well rounded, it’s components complemented it well.  Again, I’m not going to say that these were the best ribs I’ve ever had (I’ve saved individual taste buds for ribs from places like Houston’s, It’s in the Sauce, etc.), but they were damn good, forgive the repetition, but tender – flavorful – and well rounded come to mind again.  I’d say I have only one very very minor tick on the Monk’s record,  while the ribs were very good, they come in somewhat of a small portion, check the flick, that’s how it arrived at the table.  Brew wise, we went with the Ninkasi Brewing Total Domination IPA and the Avery Brewing Seventeen – both paired pretty well with what we had going on the plate – definitely a win.


p.s.  Back onto the previously mentioned SF Craft Beer scene . . . I had pretty high hopes of being able to walk into any BevMo or Whole Foods and scoring bottles of Pliny like it was no one’s business.  They did have some stuff from Deschutes, Grand Teton Brewing, etc. but we were only able to find Pliny the Elder at Whole Foods in Sonoma.  Just driving by,  we randomly found this tiny corner store called Healthy Spirits, who’s selection of craft and semi-rare bottles was commendable.

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