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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cruzan Rum tasting at 219 West

My wonderful photographer and I were invited to a Cruzan Rum tasting dinner at 219 West.  We've both done beer tastings and wine tastings, but spirit tasting was new to us.  Needless to say, we were both pleasantly surprised.  It was also my first visit to 219 West. I was not only blown away by the time and effort put into preparing the food, the staff was extremely friendly and thoughtful. 

We started off the night with pineapple Cruzan coconut mimosas.  Bright, refreshing, with a subtle finish of coconut made this drink unique and tasty. 

Fresh Ahi Tuna Tartare with Chipolte vinegar and cilantro oil, and mango habanero guacamole was paired with a Cruzan Mango Mojito.  The mango habanero guacamole was my favorite part of the dish.  Sweet plus spicy and the texture of avocados was fabulous.  The heat wasn't too much, and the cool minty mojito was a nice complement. 

Spinach and arugula salad topped with crimini mushrooms, hickory smoked bacon, crumbled blue cheese, candied spiced pecans and a raspberry champagne vinaigrette was paired with a Cruzan raspberry champagne martini. The bitterness of the salad contrasted with the bacon and candied pecans well.  The surprising combination of pungent blue cheese with the sweet pecans and smoky bacon was fantastic.  Props to the chef for coming up with that combo.

Next up was grilled lamb chops, roasted garlic whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus, and arbol jelly served with Cruzan Black Cherry Sangria.  The lamb was served medium, and is one of the most tender pieces of lamb I have ever had.  It was sweet, juicy, tender, and flavorful.  The arbol jelly on the side accentuated the sweetness of the lamb, and the heat at the end gave it just a little kick.  The sangria wasn't overly fruity, and it finished with the cherry note on the end.  This was quite a nice pairing.

I'm a dessert snob, and I don't try to hide it either.  I have to hand it to the pastry chef.  This dessert impressed me.  Warm blondies, vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate, and toffee served with Cruzan vanilla and cream spiced coffee.  This blondie baked in an individual serving size was perfect.  The outside was crispy and buttery, and the inside was moist, and not at all runny or underdone.  The caramel, chocolate, and toffee pieces on the side pulled this dessert together by incorporating different flavors and textures.  Also, I'll add that I hate coffee.  I rarely drink it, but I finished all of the creamy coffee paired with dessert.  Enough said. 

Here's a photo of me hanging out with @liquidaustin after dinner.