Grilled Vegetarian Banh Mi/Half Acre Tuna/Brown Acid “The Fourth Trip”
If we had a nickel for every time we said “I’ve got a hankering for some green beans” we’d have 5 cents by now cuz that’s what just happened for the first time this week. Not sure why that craving hit, but it found us scurrying around looking for ideas on grilling this stringy spring vegetable. We went Asian-themed by tossing the beans with thinly sliced onion and jalapeño in a quick marinade of sesame oil and garlic then grill them all until charred. The veggies get tossed with a quick Asian vinaigrette piled high on fresh baked bread spread with avocado on one half and sriracha mayo on the other. The beer we chose to pair up these spicy sandwiches with was the killer new-ish pale ale Tuna from local faves, Half Acre. We turned the clock back a few decades to the hidden gems that are given new life from our buds over at Riding Easy Records on the Fourth Trip of their Brown Acid series.
Grilled Vegetarian Banh Mi – This is a pretty quick sandwich to make, once the veggies are grilled it’s pretty much just construction time after that. We start with a pound of trimmed green beans that we toss with three thinly sliced yellow onions and a thinly sliced jalapeño. We pour a couple of tablespoons over all of it then sprinkle on some garlic and give the whole thing a quick shake.
We get the grill going to a medium/hot then toss the veggies down on a grill pan. Stir them around a bit until they just start to soften and char, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from the grill and splash with a little more sesame oil as well as a splash of rice wine vinegar.
We toss a take and bake loaf of crusty French bread in the oven then slice it open to slather the bottom half with fresh avocado.
On the top half we’re going to slap on a little sriracha mayo consisting of 3/4 mayo and 1/4 sriracha. Whip together and spread liberally on the top half.
Pile on the string bean mixture and top with sprigs of fresh cilantro. Although not your traditional banh mi, it was fantastic and an awesome vegetarian spin on this classic sandwich.
Half Acre Tuna – We think we can say with a good amount of certainty that beer for beer, Chicago’s Half Acre is our favorite brewery around. Their line of IPAs and Pale Ales could rival anyone’s in our humble opinion. Which brings us to one of their latest release, their Tuna pale ale. The beer pours cloudy orange with a perfect white foamy head. The aroma is perfectly tropical and delicious. The flavor follows suit with bursts of mango and pineapple sweetness in between a deliciously bitter hop punch that has you coming back for more sip after sip. If Daisy Cutter is our 1, Akari Shogun and Tuna would be our 1a and 1b. It was just the right call for this spicy vegetarian sandwich too, complimenting the Asian flavors perfectly.
Brown Acid “The Fourth Trip” – It’s hard to believe that there are already four volumes of this classic series that just continues to be as enlightening as they are humbling when the fine folks at Riding Easy Records keep unearthing these gems that are mostly new to us. The fourth trip is just that, a trip; rooted in deep, trippy psychedelia. The opening track is a ripper from Kanaan called “Leave It”, it’s a rocker in every sense of the word and features one of the dirtier grooves you’ll ever hear. “Oceans Inside of Me” from Stone Garden mixes the Jimi Hendrix Experience with The British Invasion making for a catchy tune that also slams pretty hard too. The Headstones’ “Carry Me On” might be our favorite tune on the album as it combines the heavy hitting of Grand Funk with the darker psychedelia of Spooky Tooth. After the quick quasi-surf rock instrumental “Rock N Roll Fever” from Wrath, Bungi trips things out Amboy Dukes style on “Numbers”. Fitting somewhere between garage rock, rockabilly and punk is “The Train” from Erving Forbush, a song that is either way ahead or way after its time, depending on how you look at it. Seemingly leaving no early 70s genre unturned, Zekes’ “Comin Back” is pure rock/funk delight. Looking for some insane bass work, look no further than “Coachmen” by Bad Axe, it’s a great song in its own right, but that bass line is so sick you wind up getting lost in it. The album closes with the haunting “Lucifer” from Axas which has a little of early Priest in it combined with the doom of Pentagram. It’s impossible to pick a favorite in this series, each are so different and killer in their own right, we just can’t wait for number 5 now.