For Dad

Behind every good kid
is a Dad reminding
them that they are
braver
than they believe,
stronger
than they seem, and
smarter
than they think.
The love between
father and child
is what turns
ordinary men
into superheroes,
adventurers, and
legendary storytellers.

And this week we have been working on a top secret video card for all of the superheroes, adventurers, and legendary storytellers that work at the Lazy Dog Home Office. We reached out to the families of each Dad on our team and asked that they send us a little clip sharing what they love most about the old man.

This one is for you Dads.


Behind the Beer List: with Kip + Roder

words + interview by Dana Ball

You know that feeling that rushes through you when you hear your favorite song? The instant happiness that hits you as you sing along to every word? That is the exact feeling I get when tasting my favorite beer or having a conversation with a fellow beer enthusiast. I recently sat down with Kip Snider, Lazy Dog Beverage Director, and Roder Montenegro, Lazy Dog Bar Operations Manager, and talked about their history in beverage and their process for curating the bar program in our restaurants.

Beer has been a staple of the Lazy Dog beverage program since the beginning. We are currently in the process of launching a new beer program; keeping the list fresh and exciting, with offerings that allow our guests to discover the diverse styles and flavors of beer, with an easy–to-navigate progressive beer list. 

Dana: So Kip, how did you get into the beverage game? Start from the beginning

Kip: Back in the 60’s…

Everyone: (Laughs)

Kip: My beverage career started in the late 80s as a server. I always had a passion for drinking (laughs) and that progressed into wanting to be a bartender. In Texas it’s legal to pour as a bartender at the age of 18, that’s when I had my first opportunity to get behind the bar. I spent a few years as a bartender, until I became a bar manager and started stepping into the development of beverages. It was an easy decision for a career, I love being around people and have a passion for beverage.

Dana: I love hearing stories like this, it was meant to be! Roder, let’s hear how you got your start in beverage.

Roder: It’s funny I got into the industry the opposite way, I finished college…

Kip: He’s trying to say he’s smarter than me

Everyone: (Laughs)

Roder: Kip caught the bug early. I didn’t start working in hospitality until after college, I enjoyed it so much that I went to bartending school. I found the process of creating drinks that people enjoy to be fascinating. From a young age I was an introvert, bartending gave me that push I needed to be comfortable around people. Once I got the bartending bug, it became a passion of mine. As I learned more it enhanced my passion and career in beverage.

Dana: So cool! Noted, beware of the bartending bug. Let’s talk favorites…what style of beer comes to mind?

 Kip: I was always a hop head and I love the Belgian beers, the Belgian Tripel is probably one of my favorites. For easy drinking, the German & Czech Pilsener would be a top runner.

Roder: Belgian Tripel is also my favorite, but my style of beer drinking depends on the season. A witbier when it’s hot during the summer, reds to stouts during fall or winter, and Belgian styles all year round.

Dana: Can’t go wrong with a Belgian beer, also my favorite style! Just watch out that ABV can sneak up on you J Kip, you brought up something about being Knighted in Belgium the other day, I am dying to hear that story!?

Roder: You were Knighted in Belgium? (Laughs)

 Kip: The story of Sir-Kip-Alot… I worked work with a Belgian beer group in my past life, during that time I was one of about fourteen people from all over the world nominated by the Knighthood that year to receive this honor for promoting Belgian beer in the United States. I traveled to Belgium during Belgian Beer Week where the ceremony took place in Town Hall. The ceremony starts when the musketeers carry the beer to the cathedral and bless the beer, the Knighthood talks about how each person has achieved the promotion of Belgian beer in their country, we toast and that starts off beer week.

Dana: Wow! You must be proud of this accomplishment.

Kip: I am very proud, there have only been about twelve hundred people who have been knighted, it’s a true honor to be a part of. It was eye opening to see the history, culture and family traditions in Belgium. Drinking beer for breakfast is the way of life, they respect the fact that beer has given their country a way to prosper.

Dana: Amazing, I can’t wait to see the photos. Let’s talk about your process for selecting the beers served at each Lazy Dog location.

Roder: I think the vision has always been that we want to give guests the best product out there. We support local breweries as much as we can, ultimately offering the freshest product and it varies by market. 

Kip: I agree. We look for feedback from the bar teams, our guests, and look at what beer is popular in each restaurant. Beer drinkers of the world have come to understand what they really like and will follow certain breweries no matter what style it is to try their product, because of their loyalty to the brand.

Dana: Tell me about the idea behind the progressive list.

Kip: Just like a wine list, beer drinkers or people interested in beer expect the list to be in categories; a start to finish guide of styles. Starting at the top of the list with the intro section, a House Blonde or Lager. The mid-level drinkers looking for something like a Hefeweizen or Red Ale would move to the middle. The advanced drinkers or those who want to be adventurous might try an IPA, Stout or Belgian beer.

Roder: It’s a cool thing to see the guests make the jump from a light beer to a pale ale, the progressive list lays it out with the next beer in line.

Kip: It’s really a training tool for our teammates and guests, the menu answers all of the questions. We want our guests, who are familiar or unfamiliar with beer, to be able to navigate through the list with ease.

Dana: Definitely makes finding a beer user-friendly! Word on the street there is a new Lazy Dog Nitro Stout comin’ to town, what’s the story there?

Kip: We wanted a House Stout that was similar to Guinness that would layer nicely for beer blends, giving us the best of both worlds. We went to our House beer partner, Golden Road, and asked them if they would be willing to try a nitro stout.  They were on board and provided us with a couple of kegs to test in our Brea restaurant. Our previous House Stout was an American Stout, which was too heavy to layer for blends. The new stout is a classic Irish Stout with a lower ABV, rich and roasty, with a smooth and creamy balanced finish.

Dana: Awesome, I love nitro stouts, can’t wait to try it!

Roder: We are very happy with how the Irish Stout turned out and are excited to revamp the beer program focusing on the progressive list, seasonality, and bringing attention to the great beer on tap and having something for everyone.

 (Visit your local Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar April 14th to try the new Lazy Dog Nitro Stout!)

Dana: As far as beer trends go, what do you guys think is next? 

Kip: We think people will start trending towards Session styles, which maintains their flavor profiles at a lower ABV, so people can have more than one or two per visit. We feel that Ciders will probably be on the decline with craft ciders still in the running. Hoppy brews will remain trending higher than other flavor profiles. Beer cocktails will continue to evolve and is something we plan to take a look at for the future.


Meet Our Family Project - No. 2

If you are a member of the Lazy Dog Family, you have most likely met Angie Castillo, our Human Resource Specialist, at one time or another. She's often heard as the joyful voice on the other end of your call to Home Office. But what you may not know, is that Angie is a delight to work with and her energy truly lights up the room, more specifically our office. She also has the most contagious smile on the planet...so without further delay- meet our Angie.

video by the talented Lynette Karagozian // starring the adorable Angie Castillo

#LazyDogFamily

Meet Our Family Project - No. 1

At Lazy Dog we are more than co-people- we are family. And we have decided to launch a new video project so that you can get to know us a little better and meet all of the wonderful souls we have working over here.

A quick shout-out to Amber before we start- Thank you for being so willing and patient. Being the first person to try something new is never easy- and you were gung ho from the start. We are so excited to share a little piece of you with the world.

Without further ado, meet Amber.

video by the talented Lynette Karagozian // starring the wonderful Amber Justis

#LazyDogFamily

Farmers Market: Mouthwatering Winter Citrus

CLEMENTINES

sweet, juicy, easy to peel and almost always seedless

cross between a mandarin and sweet orange

sweeter than many oranges (less acid), making it one of the most popular citrus for snacking

in season: november-january

side note: nicknamed the “christmas orange”  because clementine season is very short and typically peaks around…you guessed it, christmas

 

CARA CARA

perfect balance of sweet and tart

look for a slight pinkish blush rind and medium-sized fruit rather than huge, which can be dry

in season: december-april

side note: these are my absolute favorite of all the citrus and not just because the name is fun to say out loud

 

KUMQUATS

tiny, tart and delicious, you can eat these whole – rind, seed, everything

in season: november-march

side note: cutest in the citrus family

 

RUBY RED GRAPEFRUIT

mostly grown in texas

sweeter and juicer than other types

in season: october-april

side note: wait until you try our saint ruby cocktail –available at all locations soon….texas friends, you know what i’m talking about

 

BLOOD ORANGE

beautiful crimson fruit/juice inside, sweet and tender, great for cocktails

in season: december- april

side note: juice these and add to your fav margarita recipe- so. friggin. good.

 

TANGERINE

cousin to the clementine, small, not as sweet as the clementine and seedy

 in season: october-january

 side note: all though it sounds like i have something against tangerines, i swear i don’t

 

 POMELO

pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh

tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit

in season: fall- april

 

MEYER LEMON

rounder than a true lemon, skin is fragrant and thin

color appears a deep yellow with a slight orange tint when ripe

taste sweeter, less acidic then true lemons

in season: december- may

side note: my mama grows these at home and they are just divine – i eat them straight, great for salads and desserts

These ombré hued blood oranges were grown on a private farm in Malibu, California. Photo by Chef Sarah Hendrix

These ombré hued blood oranges were grown on a private farm in Malibu, California. Photo by Chef Sarah Hendrix

On a non citrus-related note: Have you guys heard of Print Guest? This rad photo above is being featured right now- along with a couple of other awesome images. They offer poster prints of images created by Instagrammers who inspire them. So cool, right? Check it out at PrintGuest.com

words by (self proclaimed citrus enthusiast) R. Simms

Fireside Chat with Chef Gabe (and 2016 Menu Sneak Peek!)

'Twas a week before Christmas and I sat down with the merry man himself - Chef Gabe Caliendo.  Check out my interview with our king of the kitchen and catch a sneak peek of our new menu coming to all locations early next year! (You can also take a gander at additional behind the scenes photos from our food shoot under the SNAPSHOTS tab above.)

Chef Gabe interviewed by R. Simms


Chef, if you could describe the Spring 2016 Menu in one sentence- how would you describe it? 

 The spring menu will feature seasonal additions, such as Asparagus and Citrus fruits, made from scratch in each of our Lazy Dog kitchens.

Roasted Asparagus + Bacon Pizza 

What part of the Spring 2016 menu are you most excited about? 

There are a lot of changes, but I think I’m most excited about bringing back an old Lazy Dog favorite:  Cast Iron Trout with Sea Salt Roasted Marble Potatoes and Walnut Butter.  We haven’t had this dish on the menu for at least 4 years.  The trout is from Idaho, tilting its hat to the rocky mountains cuisine.  The preparation is fun and also features seasonal asparagus.

Cast Iron Idaho Trout 

 What was your inspiration for the new menu items?  

Roasted Chicken + Havarti Sandwich

There are so many exciting things going on with the new spring menu.  I was inspired in several directions.  As always, never settling played a big part in all of the revamp items and the new in house roasted garlic chicken  for our sandwiches is amazing. 

 

The seasonal component is also always on my mind.  We are using fresh spring Asparagus in several applications and it replaces the Broccolini. 

 Citrus is also at its peak in the winter/spring contrary to what most people think is summer.  The housemade orange marmalade for our new French toast and the lemon curd for our new raspberry cheesecake are both examples of seasonal spring citrus.  

Housemade Orange Marmalade French Toast

When you create new dishes, what is your creative process? Does it start with an idea you see or a taste you experience somewhere else?

 I start with a concept based on seasonality usually.  The refinement process comes in after that.  For instance, once I have an idea of what I’d like to make- I might look it up online to get visual inspiration for plating.  I may also go to a restaurant that is serving that style of dish or item and taste it.  Especially ethnic cuisines.  I love to try and make our dishes as authentic to their origins as possible.

Where do you find you are most inspired?

Well I’m generally most inspired on or near the ocean and in the mountains.  It must be that they both have amazing air or something.  I feel refreshed and energized in those environments.  What I do is truly a lifestyle and not a job.  What I mean by that is I’m always thinking about new menu items and inspiration is happening to me everyday….everywhere.

Do you test your new ideas out at home? 

I do and honestly they are tough….even tougher than Chris (as in Chris Simms, Lazy Dog Founder + CEO) sometimes.  They know that I want the truth and they give it to me.  It can be hard to hear their feedback when I’m sometimes emotionally attached to my work, but the majority of the time it makes the dish better.  I also really enjoy sharing my work life with my wife and kids…they want to know what I’m doing and it is easier and more fun to show them than it is to explain.

What seasonal produce are you most excited to see pop up in Farmer’s Markets come January/February?

I’m always happy to see Kumquats come into the market.  They are only available for about 3 months:  Jan-March.  Another item that I personally love is Treviso.  Treviso is a bitter green in the cabbage family.  Great for grilling.

And because its only a couple weeks from Christmas…I’m assuming Santa is beer guy- because most awesome people are – If you were to leave a beer for Santa on Christmas Eve, what would you leave for him?

Being that he is such a great guy, I would give him my last homebrew creation.  I made a double stout fermented with cocoa nibs and hazlenuts.  I then barrel aged it and fortified it with some scratch made vanilla bean bourbon.  So in short, I’d leave him a 22 bomber of my Nutella Bourbon Stout.