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

Monday, June 8, 2015

In the Heat of the Summer, You'll Wish You were at Alaska Brewing

Central Market has fun cooking classes with fun guests. When I saw that Alaskan Brewing was going to be hosting a class, I couldn't miss it. A big thanks to Central Market and Alaskan Brewing for having me as a guest.

The first course started with a seafood crostini. Crisp carbs topped with rich cheese and seafood? Yep. That's a win.

This lovely bite of heaven was served with the Freeride APA for a lovely contrast. Something this rich needs to be paired with something that can cut the fat.

For our second course, we had the orange IPA salad dressing over kale and orange segments. This was paired with a Icy Bay IPA which features a surfer on the bottle. Orange and bitter kale was a most excellent pairing for the salad and dressing. The beer was a great cleanser for each bite.

The next dish up was the amber glazed salmon served with veggies and rice. In addition to providing tasty bites and refreshing sips, they also provided us tips when visiting Alaska. There are many cruise options to Alaska. When you are there you can rent a car and blaze your own adventure. Get salmon when you arrive. It'll be super fresh if you visit at the right time of the year. Salmon breeds spawn at different times, so as long as you arrive during the correct window, you might be in for a treat. You can also go on a tour of the brewery. There are a number of ways to get to the brewery, and here are their recommendations if you aren't coming with a tour group.

Alaskan Brewing has only been in Texas for a few years, but they have been around the block and collecting their fair share of awards along the way. The Smoked Porter is absolutely delicious, and I highly recommend grabbing one of the vertical tasting boxes or keep buying the bombers when you see them available.

Central Market's Jordan Knowles and Alaskan Brewing's Terry Nance and Jon Blakley give us a toast!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Look Back at Gardner Austin

One of the new things I'm starting on my blog is the "Look Back" series in which I'll share my experiences at events and restaurants that have been opened for at least three months.  Sometimes I'll visit new restaurants in their early days, but I like to let the dust settle before diving into the menu. As my good fortune would have it, Gardner happened to be launching a new bar menu and invited some guest to partake in their offerings. Thank you so much, Gardner for having us in for a lovely tasting.

Gardner's new cocktail menu was dangerously subtle and sophisticated. The drinks were not overly forward - which is a refreshingly different from the heavy handed cocktails I typically make at home. This is a photo of the rum, turmeric, and strawberry. I'm a fan of turmeric as supplement, and I'm definitely a fan of how well it plays in a cocktail.

The spring menu has several dishes that make you welcome the warm patio weather and sunny skies. This dish with gnocchi doesn't appear to be on the menu anymore, but if you do see gnocchi on there again, you ought to order it.

This is the trout roe with celery, strawberry, chive. The drastically different textures and colors are make this a truly interesting dish. The salty gelatinous roe with the vegetative ice was a great combination.

It looks like item, named Alliums, isn't on the menu either, and I feel sad for those mushroom lovers who miss it. This umami laden dish was reminiscent of many Asian dishes that are onion and mushroom based. Photo by John M. P. Knox.