Well, it has been a while since I posted. A combination of Restaurant Week fatigue and grad school has taken its toll. We are also saving up for our second trip to Europe in a year, so outside dining is down to a minimum. That's how I found myself alone at the Mellow Mushroom, drinking my problems away on a Wednesday. Well, kind of.
This wasn't so much a pity-party as it was a chance to see if the 'Shroom can think outside the box. What we ended up with is a 'Beer Kitchen' dinner, a chance to see beer used as an ingredient. The real trick is finding a beer that worked not only as the ingredient, but also complimented the dish as the drink. Four courses of beer. If you are like me and a member of the 200 Beer Club, this was a free event. And to think they said I was just wasting my time drinking all those beers.
(I have to thank Christina from Hungry Meets Healthy for some of the pictures.)
First up is a crostini with goat cheese, almond, dates, and a honey-beer reduction. The beer was La Chouffe Petite Belgian Wheat. No lie, I could have eaten two more of these and been happy. Best dish of the night, best pairing.
Next up is a lasagna of mushrooms and béchamel, deglazed with one of my favorite beers, St. Peter's. If you have never had St. Peter's, then I feel sadness for you. The lasagna was very good, and would make a great side dish.
Next stop, Highland beer with beer-braised short rib, potato cake, lentils, and collard greens cooked down with beer and vinegar. The lentils alone would make a great veggie main. The short ribs were spork tender (thats not a typo, I mean you could use a KFC spork to eat these.) The potato cakes were passable, but unnecessary in this dish, which is already pushing the limits on how much you can eat.
Last up is pumpkin bread pudding with Framboise Lambic and cinnamon whipped-cream. Sadly, this came out at a point when I could only manage a few bites. Flavors were great but I was too done to give an honest assessment. The Lambic is more like a raspberry champagne than a beer, and something not to be drunk in public. Still, kinda tasty.
I have to admit, I was impressed. When your Chef spends every work day churning out pizzas, you don't expect him to be able to pop out quality food. The plating was a little simplistic, and the beers could have been more heavily used in the dishes, but it was a fun and informative evening with solid food. I'll sign up for the next one no questions asked.
The Scores: (This is only for this event, not for regular menu)
Overall: Get to the 'Shroom, get in the Beer Club, and enjoy their special events.
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