Loco Moco/Three Floyds Zombie Dust/Zed “Trouble in Eden”

 In Beef, Burgers, IPA, Recipes

Still reliving our Hawaii trip from months ago, we create a dish this evening that eluded us every day we were there, the stick to your ribs breakfast icon known as Loco Moco. From the moment we checked in and saw this hearty delicacy on the room service menu we were determined to order it one morning, but alas the week came and went and we went Loco Moco-less. “Fear not” we said, we could create this hearty fried rice/burger/egg/gravy concoction, and that we did. A veggie-loaded fried rice served as the base for the grilled grass fed patty and over easy egg before having the whole thing smothered in brown onion gravy. After devouring it we quickly concurred that “Loco Moco” must mean “food coma” in Hawaiian. On the topic of elusiveness, let’s talk about the beer for the evening. We were able to get our hands on the holy grail of the Three Floyds beer line-up, the rare yet delicious Zombie Dust. You know with a food and beer tandem like this, the album has to be killer. Leave it to the boys in Zed to lay down the perfect soundtrack for the evening with their newly released and easy candidate for album of the year, “Trouble in Eden”.

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Loco Moco – Let’s kick off this big dish with the fried rice. We warm a little oil in a wok then add in our veggies. We had no rhyme or reason for the ones we chose, so use whatever you like. We warm and soften chopped broccoli, sliced onions and peppers, chopped carrots, green beans, corn kernels and peas. Then add in a couple of cups of cooked brown rice.

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To sauce the rice we add in a liquid that is 3 parts beef stock to one part sesame oil and a hefty shot of sriracha.  Mix well, add to the wok and stir to combine.

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The next step is the brown gravy, which simply starts with a tablespoon of butter melted to which we add a tablespoon of whole wheat flour and stir over medium heat until thick and the aroma turns from raw flour to nutty, about 4-5 minutes.

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To the roux we add a few heavy handy shakes of onion powder then we slowly whisk in about a cup of beef stock and hit it with a little black pepper.

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Bring the gravy to a boil then reduce heat, whisking consistently until the gravy thickens like so…

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Keep the gravy warm as well while we turn our attention to the burgers.  We shape 1/3 lb patties of grass fed ground beef and season with more black pepper and onion powder then slap them onto a scorching hot grill.

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We’re going to throw a little curveball here for our next step, deviating from our normal burger protocol.  As soon as the burger goes down we’re going to immediately smash it down into the grate (make sure your grates are well oiled). For this recipe a little thinner burger is better and while we could have just made thinner patties, we just felt like this approach was the way to go about achieving our objective.  Grill on both sides until nicely charred and medium doneness on the inside.

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The only thing left to do is fry and egg and start building our Loco Moco.  In a large bowl fill the bottom with some of the fried rice and top with two burger patties.

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Top with the aforementioned egg and ladles of the brown gravy.

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Slice the egg so the yolk runs over everything and enjoy every bite of the delicious mess.

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Three Floyds Zombie Dust – While there may not be such thing as THE perfect beer, Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust is as close as it comes. Harder to find than whatever Pokemon Go character is hard to find and with roughly the same number of people out in droves on any given day trying to score some. Let’s start with the pour, no, actually let’s start before that with the insanely cool artwork that adorns the bottle. A little eye candy before the nose and tongue candy ensues. The pour is a thing of beauty as well, a rich and shiny orange hue with a frothy white foam resting on top. The aroma is hop goodness in one whiff, sweet and tropical with a little stankiness. The flavor is like straight up chewing grapefruit peels; bitter citrus delight that leaves a tingle on the tongue and cheek begging for more. It’s a big beer, but so delicious that it goes down dangerously smooth. Thankfully, it didn’t overpower the comparatively speaking blander dish, pairing up rather nicely.

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Zed “Trouble in Eden” – Man has this release been on our radar for awhile, and for good reason. With a debut like 2013’s “Desperation Blues” Cali rockers Zed had huge shoes to fill on this sophomore release and the results are nothing short of amazing.  So much groove, so much riffage; it tested our speakers without a doubt.  Every amazing album ever made has a killer opening track; Zeppelin had “Black Dog” on IV, The Who had “Baba O’Reilly” on Who’s Next and now Zed has “Royale” on “Trouble In Eden. It’s a clinic in groove that would make Clutch proud.  The secret weapon and what takes all this amazing musicianship to levels unknown are the incredible vocals that are laid down in this raspy, heavy yet melodic form.  “Save You From Yourself” digs deep into the blues rock repertoire, delivered with an edge and with the bombast of an arena rocker. Call it the gut-rumbling bass riff, the helium-pitched Maynard-esque vocals or the darker content of the tune, but “The Only True Thing” harkens back to the sound of classic Tool.  There’s some nice Hendrix-y use of the wah pedal on “Today Not Tomorrow” before a well-timed groove clicks and obligatory head banging seems to take over uncontrollably.  There’s also a heavy jam in this tune akin to when Black Sabbath blows the doors off on “Black Sabbath”.  The title track cools the engines slightly, but when a band is this tight and rocks as hard as they do, even the relatively slower tunes still slam. The band picks up the pace again on the super groovy and Sabbath-y “Blood of the Fallen” recalling a 45 of “Skin and Bones” off the debut played at 33 rpm.  It lays down the sludge in fine fashion.  “High Indeed” is such great track filled with the drug-induced vibe of Days of the New along with the dark grunginess of AIC.   “So Low” takes a page out of the Clutch handbook with its slow outlaw blues twang that kickstarts the song.  That quickly gives way to a boot stomping riff and groove that had us maxing out our volume knob.  The album’s closing track is the seven minute epic “The Mountain” which, as the name implies, is an, er, climbing tune that starts slow and almost proggy.  It’s got a trippy vibe with some cool free form noodling on the guitar and bass. The song builds and builds until it concludes with an all out jam that caps off not only one of the best album of the year but the decade as well.

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