Daily Archives: 12.04.2011

Pairings Tasting Dinner

Last night’s tasting dinner at Pairings was an absolute hit.  When I found out I had won the event, I felt pretty darned lucky.  Last night made me realize that it was kind of like winning the beer drinker/foodie’s lottery.  It was the perfect night to be able to spend with good friends.

When we arrived, we were informed that another group was holding our room hostage.  It was not the most ideal situation, but thankfully we’re an extremely patient group.

Their events planner was incredibly apologetic and their beer/wine manager shared a sour cherry beer from Odell with us while we were waiting.  Beyond the odd lambic, I’m a total newcomer to sour beers, so it was really great to start off the night by sampling a new-to-me beer.

Once we got seated, things were really above and beyond.  In retrospect, I should have taken a menu with so I could do a better job of describing the Belgian beers we sampled, but at least I managed to get a snap of everything that was poured from a bottle.

For our first course we enjoyed a lovely cheese platter that included a couple of wonderful hard cheeses and a beautiful bleu cheese from Mankato (about 1.5 hours outside of the cities).  Three passes around the table later, we had devoured it all.

The second course was a crab cake slider with a saffron caper aioli and truffled fries.  The wooden boat-spoon combination is kind of lovely from a plating perspective, no?  Quite honestly, I could have called it a meal (and a night!) at that point, but what fun is a tasting dinner if the food doesn’t keep coming?

For our main course we were served a fried chicken breast covered in a whole grain mustard sauce with roasted root vegetables and brussels sprouts.  They also tucked in a few cornichons, which provided the dish with a  great texture/acidity contrast.

Last but not least (because obviously we were still starving), we had chocolate tarts for dessert.  They were a ganache base with a mocha whipped mousse topping and decked with crispy pearls.  I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I ate all of mine and part of Marcus’.

To finish, we wrapped up the meal with a couple of glasses of Barley Wine.  Once the beer/wine manager found out that we were beer fiends, he felt that we should sample more than the basic Belgian spread he had originally planned.  Even though those capped off the meal as samples six and seven, they were 11/10.

Are you a slider person or do you prefer full-sized sandwiches?

There are a few sandwiches that I prefer in their full size (Burgers from The Bulldog NE, Reubens) but other wise I LOVE sliders 11/10.  Especially if there’s some sort of sampling involved.

Beer drinkers, what is your favorite beer?  Feel free to share a style or your favorite brewery/bottle!