Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The French Room and Chesterfields: A Dallas Adventure in Cocktails

One thing that I've reiterated is that Dallas's cocktail menus (at least the ones that we've seen) are definitely nod-cheers-and-drink worthy.  On Saturday night, we visited the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel.  The hotel was alright, but probably not high on my list of favorites.  I booked it because I bought a stay from a deal site. 

The French Room's menu was pretty tasty with the crab cake being one of my favorites.  It is (if you can't tell from the pics) one of those extremely dim restaurants) with prim and proper service.  I did notice that the desserts here were quite large.  See the soufflĂ© below.  That's a giant dessert for single person, so we decided to just split one. 

After a full dinner, we trotted down to Chesterfield's (literally behind the hotel) on the recommendation of Plinio Sandilio.  Plinio did not let us down.  Chesterfield's Aaron Howard showed us a great time.  All cocktails we had were interesting, creative, and darn well executed. 
I noticed that there was a giant block of clear ice on the counter.  I asked Aaron if he could carve me one of those elusive Japanese ice spheres.  And he said yes.  See pics below.  I had never seen someone carve the ice by hand in person, only on YouTube previously.  It was served in the Gentleman's Companion....... which I guess was me. 

The crab cake was quite nice, with no bread crumbs in it. 

A palate cleanser. 

This was a GIANT soufflĂ©.  I'm not sure how a single person could stomach it, but the people at the table next to us did. 

Here's the line up of Chesterfield's bitters. 

Aaron Howard chisels the ice.  By hand no less.

Tada.  Magic.

Here it is served in the Gentleman's Companion. 

I'm not sure what happened to the drink, but the ice is still there.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Amazing @JesterKingBeer dinner @SWB_HyattAustin

I'm going to give a little background about the Southwest Bistro.  They've got Chef Paul French in the house who is mixing it up and setting a new standard for SWB.  The entire restaurant and hotel is taking  locally sourced to a new level.  Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. is the Hyatt's new motto.
I was gifted with several small jars of pickled fruits and veggies made by Chef Paul, and they were well received by many who sample them.  If you had hesitations about Southwest Bistro, throw them out the window.  I've vetted the new Chef Paul.  I can't promise a perfect experience, but I haven't had a bad once since his arrival. 

In additional to checking out their new staff and suppliers the week before, I was invited to try out a five course pairing dinner with Jester King.  Jester King is one of the newer breweries in Austin, with a fast growing fan base.  Their beers are distinct, intentions, and leaves nothing to change, except for the locally captured yeast.  Let's start the food porn. 

The first course was a delicious bite of Summer.  Pecos watermelon, Blue Bonnent Bibb, and a splash of St. Germain.  This refreshing dish was paired with the Jester King/Mikkeller Drink'in the Sunbelt Hoppy Wheat Beer. 

I must admit. Having come from the coast, I'm particularly fond of dishes with shrimp well-done.  This shrimp was served with the Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse Ale.

Richardson Farms Chicken, sweet corn cake, goat ricotta, mole, and watercress served with the Wytchmaker Farmhouse Rye India Pale Ale.  Sweet chicken + hearty corn + cleansing IPA = win. 

This dish was thoughtfully orchestrated.  Crunchy bitter kale with sweet peaches, and bacon wrapped pork belly.  I appreciated the veggies that did a great job balancing the flavors of the fatty pork.  I smile. 

The dessert was a peanut butter ice cream and spiced peanuts in a chocolate cobbler.  The cobbler was amazing with the Jester King Whiskey barrel rodeo stout (which contains kopi luwak coffee).  The roasty beer with vanilla undertones was the perfect complement to the sweet and bold chocolate.  Congrats to the Southwest Bistro and Jester King for an amazing dinner! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chinese Lantern Festival in Dallas, TX

I found out about the Chinese Lantern Festival via a deal site.  It wasn't everything that was advertised in terms of the vendors and food, but that could be because we arrived early in the season on a Friday night.  But whichever, I had a very enjoyable time, and I was amazed by many of the displays.  I can't even fathom how many hours and careful moving it took to set up this beautiful wonderland.  I'd highly recommend going if you like taking photos or if you enjoy trying to figure out how they rigged up all the displays. 

I really wanted one of these pandas.  Most of the displays were wire frames covered with thin fabric and lit from the inside.  Some also moved and danced, which was pretty awesome. 


This sure was grand.

The peaches.

This dragon is constructed with plates and cups that are hand-tied together. 

The discipline it takes to create this is just crazy.

The lotus lanterns on the water: some of them opened and closed!

It is amazing to think that most of these displays are just wire frames.