Photography by Karina Ramirez
Bonanza Brown Ale
In a city where things come and go so quickly, the arrival of Las Vegas brewing juggernaut Tenaya Creek Brewery to downtown has brought some sense of permanency to the rapidly changing landscape. But most of all it has brought us classic beer, with the Bonanza Brown Ale ($4.50 for 16 oz. or $5.50 for 20 oz.) being no exception. Its reputation around the valley is clear, whether in bottles at local stores or on tap in many restaurants, but none of these experiences comes close to getting this ale from the tap at this spacious brew-hub of shining glass and polished steel, where just watching the ale pour out the tap is a phenomena, as a clear stream of dark auburn ripples into the glass like a bass note, the head rising like clouds under the sun. Bubbling under your nose, the first smell tells you what this beer is: clean, slightly sweet, with a malty, coffee-like suggestion— the fundamentals of classic beer working here as a springboard into your mouth. There’s the obvious caramel flavor, the subtle chocolate and a lingering hoppy spice, but, unaffected by any of the flavors, like a perfectly straight line, there’s bitterness. It’s not overwhelming, but just enough to keep things clear: You’re drinking beer. So while the creamy head is still there, take another sip. In fact, take two, because this is the kind of beer you can drink all day.
Southern Fried Chicken
The auditory part of eating isn’t talked about enough. How certain foods play instruments, snapping the snare drums of the palate with a rhythm defined by the pace at which we eat, the moments we slow to breathe and the experience of savory cacophony. Even the scent of good food is enough to start the drumroll in our hearts. But good fried chicken is music like no other, and Chow’s Southern Fried Chicken (two pieces $8, half a bird $14, full bird $26) strings together the pacing of marvel and gluttony like a Louis Armstrong solo, dancing back and forth between the crunching percussions of crispy fried chicken skin and the moments where the music slows down and the meat, which is brined for 24 hours, effortlessly falls apart on your tongue. In the middle of a volcanic crescendo, every member of the orchestra playing rapturously, I take a sudden reprieve and stop chewing for a second. What is that taste? Not like any other fried chicken I’ve had. The garlic notes, the heat. It’s so good; I raise my flag, go all in, and chew to my allegro. Every bite is in tune with that crisp, flaking skin. No, the auditory part of food isn’t talked about enough, but if I bring it up, I must mention this fried chicken.