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Cleveland Beer Dinners


NancyH
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We recently attended two "Beer Tasting" dinners. The speakers at each dinner pointed out the challenges of pairing food and beer, versus pairing food with wine. We thought both restaurants - Blue Canyon and Boulevard Blue - did a fabulous job. I wonder if we will see a trend of Beer Tasting Dinners - fire is having one in October!

Blue Canyon's dinner was August 27, 2007 and featured beers from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

The first course was Seared Sea Bass topped with a coriander panko crust, and plated in Blood Orange Butter that made us all look around for bread to sop it up:

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Even the slice of orange was delicious! This dish was served with the Holy Moses White Ale, a crisp Belgian style that cut the butter without overwhelming the fish.

Next up was Bacon Wrapped King Salmon with Fava Bean Succotash, House BBQ drizzle and Chive oil:

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King Salmon wrapped in bacon - does life get any better than this? Paired with the assertive yet gentle Elliot Ness Lager, it was another winning combination.

Our next course was Duck Confit with Mustard Peach Glaze, and Cashew-smoked tomato spoon bread:

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The slightly smoky spoon bread, and the rich duck fat paired well with the Dortmunder Gold - a style I find a little hoppy for a drinking beer, but which complimented the foods perfectly.

The next course is straining my memory for all the details - a cut of the pig Chef Brandt called a "Pork Wing" was braised in Commodore Perry India Pale Ale, and served with wild mushroom goat cheese risotto:

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I forgot exactly where this cut of pork is from [Edsel - can you remember??], but there are only 2 per pig, and they braise out to become incredibly tender. The dish was served with, appropriately, Commodore Perry IPA. Again, I usually find this beer too hoppy to drink as a stand alone, but the flavors of the dish tamed the bitterness of the hops very well.

The final meat course was a slow braised beef short rib, with Espresso Infused Veal Stock and Caramelized Onion, plated with a unique Cocoa Spaetzle that was probably the most intriguing item we were served.

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The cocoa was a perfect foil for the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter that accompanied this course.

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For dessert, Susan Guel continues to invent amazing sweets. For this dinner, she concocted a Chocolate Dortmunder Custard Strudel with Guinness ice cream:

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Neither the name nor the photo do this dish justice - it was like a sweet Turducken, with pastry wrapped around chocolate cake, which had a custard layer between it and the pastry, there was also a fruit layer and something coating the pastry as I recall - and the most delightful candied nuts and brittle on the plate, together with the ice cream.

My only complaint of the evening is that they repeated the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter with this course. I would have preferred a Stout, or even the Octoberfest Beer that was current when the dinner was held. Still, it was as delightful a dining experience as any wine tasting dinner I've been to.

Boulevard Blue's dinner was September 17. Boulevard Blue is a small restaurant on Larchmere Boulevard, near Shaker Square. The kitchen is headed by Chef Matthew Mytro, who was not in the house for this dinner as he was tending his new venture, Paladar See photos here.

Chef Matt's staff and Chefs Richard and Harlan did a fabulous job presenting five courses paired primarily with Belgian brews.

We began with an Amuse:

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Chorizo on Crostini with Zucchini, dressed with Olive Oil & Balsamic

We enjoyed the Amuse with the First Course Beer, Duvel Belgian Golden Ale.

The first course was a Goat Cheese Panna Cotta topped with a Sous Vide Onion Salad. The plate was also drizzled with lightly toasted nuts that complimented the panna cotta well:

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The next course really surprised me. I've never much cared for mussels, no matter where or how presented. So, I was very impressed with the small, fresh tasting morsels presented to us over a potato puree, accompanied by cubes of sauteed winter squash:

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This was paired with Weihenstephan German Hefeweissbier, which refreshed the palate with every sip.

Up next was probably the most tasty dish of the evening - Duck Confit Rillettes with Saffron Gnocchi, plated with an exquisitely reduced Cherry Sauce that was so good, one of our tablemates asked for more!

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The Cherry Sauce was intended to compliment the Rodenbach Sour Flemish Ale, which it did - but the Ale was also perfect to cut through the richness of the duck confit that had been wrapped and fried in more duck fat.

We were all feeling somewhat full at this point - but there was one more meat course to go!

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Grilled Filet of Beef over Parsnip Puree with Potato and cooked in Goosefat, Java Stout Demiglace, Frisee Salad

Served in an oversize bowl, this dish packed deep flavors that were complimented nicely by the Trappistes Rochefort Ten Belgian Ale.

Dessert was simply amazing:

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Molten Chocolate Cake Drizzled with Anisette and topped with an Oatmeal Stout Frozen Sauce

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I usually can take chocolate or leave it, but in this case, I cleaned the plate! The Frozen Sauce was different, and helped to cut the intensity of the chocolate a bit. This was served with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - a slightly dry stout that contrasted well against the intense sweetness of the molten cake center.

If we get to the beer dinner at fire, I'll report back on this thread.

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Oh My!

Time to break out the skateboard and head north before the next one.

(Sorry I couldn't be there last weekend - I've already heard about the spread you and Bob laid out <swoon!>)

Hugs

- TT

Tom Tyson
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According to Chef Katz there are still several spots open for this Wednesday's beer dinner. This was as of yesterday morning. I'm going. He also mentioned that Karen Small is hosting a beer dinner at the Flying Fig. The menus for each are available the websites of the respective restaurants. They both look like winners and I know personally that you can rely on fire to do a great job with all of their special dinners.

Edited by stuart_s (log)
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The next course is straining my memory for all the details - a cut of the pig Chef Brandt called a "Pork Wing" was braised in Commodore Perry India Pale Ale, and served with wild mushroom goat cheese risotto:

gallery_21337_5190_111979.jpg

I forgot exactly where this cut of  pork is from [Edsel - can you remember??], but there are only 2 per pig, and they braise out to become incredibly tender.  The dish was served with, appropriately, Commodore Perry IPA.  Again, I usually find this beer too hoppy to drink as a stand alone, but the flavors of the dish tamed the bitterness of the hops very well.

I think that the "pork wing" was a small bone-in section of the shoulder. But Googling "pork wing" comes up with references to shanks, not shoulder. The texture of that pork sure didn't seem like shank to me. I guess we'll have to ask. :smile:

I had to chuckle at your description of Susan Geul's dessert as a "turducken". :biggrin: It really did sound improbable - cake wrapped in a crêpe, wrapped in flaky pastry, rolled in pretzel crumbs. At least I think that was the sequence. I had my doubts, but wow was that good! It was like a little battle of incongruous flavors and textures that somehow assembled themselves into a delightful experience. And it's fair to say that it was one of the truly unique desserts I've tasted in recent years - never seen anything like it.

I've enjoyed the wine dinners at Blue Canyon, but it was fun having beer rather than wine with this one.

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Last night, we attended yet another wonderful beer dinner held in a prominent Cleveland restaurant. fire entitled the evening "octoberfest celebration".

We were served some marvelous food, and tasted delicious beers, including a couple I'd never tried before!

The evening began with fire's house-made, delectable bread service:

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The amuse was accompanied by a shot glass of Guiness:

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"irish breakfast" boudin noir, baked beans and quail egg

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale accompanied the next course - Pumpkin and Roasted Celeriac Soup with Pumpkin Seed-Cardamom Brittle:

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The soup was served piping hot - when swirled with a spoon, contrails of brittle streaked and sweetened the soup. It was a masterpiece, and the beer matched perfectly, accenting the pumpkin in the soup and the spicings.

Next came a salad - Beer Braised Radicchio, Grilled Apples & Pears, Pancetta Vinaigrette and Fried Cranberries:

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We enjoyed this salad with Founders Red's Eye, described as containing a notable amount of rye grain. The beer was perfumed with citrus and spice that played off of the bitterness of the radicchio. The cranberries were slightly spicy, adding to the complexity of the course.

The next plate contained pan seared Diver Scallops, Curried Fingerlings, Swiss Chard, and Lemongrass Foam and Blood Orange Beurre Blanc:

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The Victory Hopdevil Ale, named for the prominence of the hops, was a perfect foil for the mild scallops and spicy chard.

Our palates were refreshed by the kitchen's next offering, a Beet Sorbet topped with a slice of Candied Horseradish - and yes, it absolutely worked!

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Our table agreed that the best was yet to come (after we tasted it, of course) - a fabulous made-from-scratch ravioli stuffed with braised boar, topped with slices of Pan Seared Boar Medallions, and plated over Chestnut Puree with sides of Mushroom-Fennel Ragout and Mini Carrot, and Boar Jus:

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A View Inside the Ravioli

And the perfect beer served with this perfect dish was . . . Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale - a rich, sweet brew that did not overwhelm the more delicate aspects of the dish. I don't know how they got the boar meat stuffing in the ravioli to be so tender, but oh my, it was melt-in-your-mouth good!

And there was one more course yet to come! After a pour of Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout - which was perfectly balanced between malt and hops - we were presented the following plate:

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Pomegranate Swirl Ice Cream

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Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

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Molten Chocolate Cake

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What can I say except yum? How about this - many of you know that I have a total aversion to all things coffee - the result of a major burn inflicted on my tender skin by Mom's coffee when I was about 3 years old. Well, since I try to not let my food taboos keep me from playing with my food, I tentatively tasted the very outside of one of the espresso beans. It tasted so good (and the rest of the dessert had been so good) that I bit a little harder - it kept tasting good - so I added a little more pressure. Unfortunately, I did wind up biting the bean - and I'm sorry to say that to my coffee-averse palate, the bean itself tasted awful. My fault, I should have known better! Still, there was more Imperial Stout to wash it down - so a happy ending was had by all!

Kudos to Chef Katz and his talented staff (someone please fill in the names; I did not get them and they deserve to be recognized for putting this feast together).

And Cleveland - keep those beer dinners coming! It's more fun than a bottle of wine!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Last night, we attended yet another wonderful beer dinner held in a prominent Cleveland restaurant.  fire entitled the evening "octoberfest celebration".

Kudos to Chef Katz and his talented staff (someone please fill in the names; I did not get them and they deserve to be recognized for putting this feast together).

And Cleveland - keep those beer dinners coming!  It's more fun than a bottle of wine!

Well, I can't help with full names but the Chef's first names are Jeremy, Emily and Jason. Emily is an intern and was responsible for the dessert.

The beet sorbet was great but I think I would have enjoyed it just as much if it were merely chilled rather than frozen as sorbet. The boar ravioli was fantastic and the dessert was also fantastic.

I'm very excited about this series of dinners. Chef Katz plans to do a repeat of last year's Turkish themed wine dinner and in addition they expect to add an Indian wine dinner. I even heard one of the staff say something about a Thai themed dinner. I wish they would spice those dinners aggressively but I'm sure they'll be excellent in their own way.

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