Monday, July 30, 2012

UPDATE TO ROOT BEER DINNER!

Chef Lopez and Root's management staff have decided to have the one dinner in August so they can really focus on it, and it will be on August 27 (not the previously stated date of two weeks previous).

AUGUST 27!  BE THERE! SO THEY WILL DO MORE!

I've changed my previous post to reflect the accurate information.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Root Beer Dinner: August 27



After the Times-Picayune article by Todd Price came out profiling me as a beer blogger and Root as a restaurant that valued the pairing of beer with fine food, we (me and the guys at Root) came together to talk about promoting/expanding/improving their beer menu. Root decided to host a beer dinner on August 27th. They invited me to choose the beer pairings based on the menu that Chef Lopez put together! Obviously a huge honor for me as well as an extremely fun project.

See below for the menu with the pairings. Many of the courses chosen are Root's most lauded dishes - the stars of their menu. Although I was given free reign to request any beer that is distributed in this market, I wanted to show how their beer menu as it is now complements the regular food menu.

The dinner will $75 per person, not inclusive of tax and gratuity. The beer will be served in five ounce portions. Reservations will be available by phone (504-252-9480) only for seatings at 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 8:30, 8:45 and 9:00.

Amuse Bouche #1
Pickled Plums, Heirloom Tomatoes, Black Olive Powder, Lemon Balm “Caviar”
Amuse Bouche #2
Sweet Corn Gnocchi, Miso Butterscotch, Roasted Mushrooms, Huitlacoche Cream, Popcorn Shoots
* NOLA Blonde: Blonde Ale *

1st Course
Roasted Tri-Color Pickled Beets with “Face” Bacon, Point Reyes Bleu Cheese, Raspberries, Gingersnap Beet Crumble, Candied Pistachios
* Samuel Smith India Ale: English IPA *

2nd Course
Grilled Compressed Watermelon Salad with Pimentón Tuna, Local Goat Feta, Avocado, Chili Lime Vinaigrette
* Bavik: Belgian Pilsner *

Intermezzo
Middle Eastern Falooda

3rd Course
Cohiba Smoked Scallops with Chorizo Dust, Caramelized Cauliflower, Fennel Choucroute
* Rochefort Trappistes 8: Belgian Dubbel * (included the Beer Advocate review 'cause I've never seen a beer reviewed that high)

4th Course
Herb Encrusted Lamb Loin with Parsnip Bark, Strawberry Shiitake Barigoule, Parsnip Mostarda
* Brasserie d'Achouffe McChouffe: Belgian Strong Dark Ale *

5th Course
Yorkie: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Pattie, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Coco Puffs, Minted Milk
* Rogue Chocolate Stout *

I tried to keep diversity in mind while choosing the beers- although there are three beers chosen that were brewed in Belgium, they are different styles and different brewers. And the food that Chef Lopez creates is very well suited to the complex flavor profiles of the beers selected- if you look at the ingredients of all the courses, you'll see that the challenge was to find beers that were able to stand up to the strong and diverse flavors of the food while complementing it. 

I kind of wanted to do something that wasn't a desserty-sounding beer for the dessert course; however, the Rogue Chocolate Stout is an EXCELLENT beer and went perfectly with the mint (which is a very dominant and tricky ingredient to pair) and the roasted chocolate flavors of the beer added a complementary additional chocolate flavor to the chocolate as used in the dish. It's a challenge to me to set my wish to be clever and daring and non-traditional aside, but I did so because I honestly believe this is a worthy pairing.

So! Make a reservation and then you can tell me if my palate was on point or totally off target. I'd love to have your feedback, as well as show other restaurants in town that beer is a beverage to be respected and reckoned with! The only way we can do that is to support events like this.  See you there, I hope!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sleepy thoughts the next morning


  1. I take terrible pictures of food! Trust me, the food looked much better than my pictures may have led you to believe.
  2. Man, I wish dinner had started at 7 instead of 8.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

OMGWTF FINALLY DESSERT

Butterscotch pudding! Bacon ice cream! Bourbon ... bubbles? OK, roll with it. Cocktail is a flip style called the Flip Wilson with Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break stout, bourbon, egg (of course) and pecan syrup.

Well, dang. What a way to end this meal. Gonna need another spoon for all this puddin'.

Whoa. That is some decadent shit right there. Both the dessert and cocktail.

Daaaaaaaaaamn.



Fifth Course

Four year manchego cheese, cracklin,smoked pork. Cocktail... oof. Some sort of bloody mary variation with tomato juice, mezcal (!!)  Tiliquin Geueze (!!!!!!!!)

OK, from the description I did not get what it is. It is the "cheese course" described as their version of nachos.

This course is pretty crazy. Everyone loves the nachos, but the cocktail is controversial! Some people like it, some people hate it, some people kind of think it's sort of OK with the chicharrone nachos-slash-cheese-course but pretty out there. I am that last one. Tom hates tomato juice, mezcal, and Geueze,  so this drink was not a winner for him.

Loved them nachos though. Man! Best. Nachos. Ever. NACHOS BUILT ON CRACKLINS, PEOPLE.



More Fourth Course photos

Because the beer and shot course has MANY SPECIAL PICTURES THAT ARE NOT AT ALL BLURRY OR BORING.



Fourth course

Roast pork loin, smoked field peas, sunchoke. Cocktail: Kopstootje with a shot of Bols Genever.

Beer and a shot! Come at me, bro.

Brewer sez: "sooooo, this is where the night will take a turn."

Fun fact: Belgian tripels were created after genever was banned in Belgium because of excessive drunkenness. Brewers responded to the demand for getting drunker faster.

Cannot load all pictures I want to in one post; stay tuned!






Third course

Scallops, blood sausage, sweet corn, chantarelles. Cocktail: Rob Base. A crazy looking list of ingredients including a syrup made from Monk Suffers Serious Sugar Rush on Barbados beer (brewed by Evil Twin)
Cocktail also has sherry vinegar. Surprisingly, it works.

Never tried this beer before, less sweet than I thought it would be.

Cocktail pairing more successful than beer. Scallops- perfectly cooked. Blood sausage and sweet corn puree, excellent contrast.

Have been mocked soundly for my blogging. Such good food and drinks, I may die of happiness.
Or hangover tomorrow.




Second course

Pied de Cochon, foie grass, pickled radish greens. Cocktail: Godot- Stillwater Existant, and other awesome stuff. Garnished with a fig.

Again, as with the previous course, the chef made a somewhat questionable pig part- foot, ear- and made it amazingly delicious.

We're at a table with Polly from the Avenue Pub and other Avenue denizens. Table talk is fun, and I'm being super rude blogging! Yay me.

This may not be the best idea for my blogging audience or my dining companions. Hmm.

But seriously, the contrast between the foie torchon and the pig foot croquette was amazing.

Opinion at the table is that while the cocktails are fantastic, the beer seems to complement the food better. We'll see if that holds.



First course

Local vegetables, pigs ear, and burrata. Cocktail pairing: "Imperial 75" (a take on the French 75, natch) Stillwater Cellar Door, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, lemon, simple syrup, orange bitters.

Excellent,  both aspects.




Live blogging the Tales Spirited beer cocktail dinner at Coquette

Been a while since I liveblogged and I have a feeling that I will be too drunk tonight and too hungover tomorrow! Enjoy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brux & Untappd

So, although I have about 3 cases of beer from Florida, I've been obsessed with obtaining a beer called Brux which is a collaboration between Russian River Brewing and Sierra Nevada. Because Sierra Nevada is distributed here in Louisiana (and, um, everywhere else in the country), this beer is able to get in this market. However, not a lot (allegedly), so there's been a run on it.

Right after I heard about the beer, I went to Stein's after work to pick some up. There weren't any bottles out on the shelves but when I asked Andre, he brought one out from the back. "One per customer," he said. I asked if I could buy one and if Tom could buy one, and was denied. I think they may have milked the "last bottle sold" thing, as I heard that the Beer Buddha got the last bottle on Friday, but then heard about other folks buying bottles through the weekend. It's all a game, a show.

Having bought my bottle, I heard that it's a beer meant to continue its bottle conditioning, so of course I wanted to age my bottle for a couple months. That means that I'd need to get over to The Avenue Pub to get my immediate gratification on. Finally, tonight, I did.



It was an excellent wild fermented/sour/funky beer. Nice balance, quite drinkable, and it seemed to evaporate in the finish. There was a slight bit of... heaviness? Thickness? in the middle of the sip that I think will ferment out with aging and further bottle conditioning. Not something that detracts from enjoying the beer in its current incarnation, but just something that I think will continue to improve as time passes.

I very, very much enjoyed sharing a bottle of it with my sweetie pie at a quiet table on a Sunday night on the Avenue Pub's balcony bar. Could have shared a second happily, but it was time to go. Always leave the party while you're still having fun, I always say.

Hey! I'm on Untappd! Follow, or friend, me, or whatever- Nora McGunnigle.

Just saw Root's menu for their first beer dinner in August- going over there tomorrow to taste and help select beer pairings! Can't wait! Stay tuned....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

News, Everyone!


Been more or less laying low since the fried chicken beer dinner- we went on vacation to our neighboring state of Florida and we were able to drink and buy Bell's, Lagunitas, Sweetwater, Terrapin, Victory, Southern Tier, and others to our hearts' content. Ahh.

Couple of awesome things on the horizon:

  • Next week is Coquette's Spirited Dinner that will involve beer and beer cocktails! Also pork. Lots and lots of pork.  Needless to say, I'm super excited.
  • Also super exciting: Root will be doing beer pairing dinners on August 13 and 27.  I'll have more info on the menu and the pairing next week- I'm going to help choose the beers to go with Chef Lopez's amazing food! That should be early next week so I am hoping to have a formal announcement by this time next week with the menu, pairing, pricing, etc. Needless to say, I'm honored that Root reached out to me to assist them in planning these dinners. The managing partners/owners have a real love of beer and share my vision of more beer in fine dining.
Stay tuned!