As per usual, I have been dining out A LOT. In case you didn’t know, while I love wine, it hates me, so going to a wine pairing dinner is nearly anathema for me. To that end, John and I seek out beer paired dinners and recently attended three. Since all featured local breweries, with Joseph James at two of them, at vastly different dining venues, I thought I would pair two of them together for you. Read about the third one here.
At the end of February John and I, together with Friend Erroin, attended a Joseph James Brewery dinner at The Pub inside the Monte Carlo. If you haven’t been there, you should go for the beer selection alone! They have a wide selection of several styles of beer on tap and even more in bottles. The room is huge and there is a private event space with a bar upstairs, which is where we were for this event.
This event began well and ended well with local brewery, Joseph James, clearly the star of this five act show. The apps were really good, especially the Curry Chicken Cucumber Cups and the dessert was fantastic, even though I didn’t taste any of the advertised raspberries. Everything in the middle was hit or miss. The choices of beers per course were great, it was the food that missed the mark. The lone standout in the three central courses was the Mac & Cheese Fritter which was a side for the St. Louis Ribs. Because I try to write more positive than negative, let’s focus on the beers! They were alternately spicy, malty, yeasty or smoky and each one had a specific note that worked really well for the dish with which it was paired. Our Joseph James beer expert, Matt Marino, did a great job working with Chef Damis Irizarry and the beer matched the food beautifully for each course, but the beer was the CLEAR star each time.
Last night John and I, together with son Jack went to a Local “Brewsy” Dinner at Naked City on Paradise. Each of four courses was paired with a locally produced beer. (Moment of Truth – Jack did not drink, he isn’t 21 yet, but we asked if we could bring him to enjoy the food and Chris Palmeri said he was more than welcome.) Featured breweries included Joseph James (with my fave, Hop Box), Tenaya Creek and Ellis Island. Once again, each course was perfectly paired with a fab beer. John and Jack loved the baby back ribs, paired with Tenaya Creek’s Calico Brown Ale. For me the winner of the night was the butter poached shrimp. Interestingly enough, it was paired with my least favorite style of beer, a Weiss beer from Ellis Island, but the beer was the PERFECT choice for the lushness of the shrimp and the woodiness of the mushrooms beneath it. Of course, because neither Naked City location is close to the house, we got a pie to go and I am eating that for breakfast as I write – not cold!
And just a quick note to give props to food stylists everywhere, making white food look great in a pic is TOUGH!