Sunday, May 31, 2009

Abita Beer Dinner at Graywood

I scored a ticket to a fundraiser dinner for a local Autism organization. It was held at the Graywood Clubhouse in the Evergreen Room. One reason for going was the concept of beers being matched to food. Another was the menu itself. I know the two managers and they informed me that they had a new chef. I just caught his first name even though I got to meet him in person. David is a graduate of an Austin Tx culinary school. I looked forward to his cooking. My table mates turned out to be a fun group. The guys were enthusiastic about both beer and food and the ladies delightful. I was told that Abita has a program that if you are a non-profit and want to have a fundraiser like this they will supply the beer and give the people making the food a list of what beer goes with what food. Sounds good to me. I must apologize for some of the pictures. Some were taken after I started eating. That happens when I am engaged with my table mates. Taking photos escapes my mind

Appetizer Course
Seared jumbo sea scallop with a Jalapeno cream on a seared corn pancake paired with Abita Light

The beer had great flavor for a light. It's slightly hopped and more malty flavor paired well with the perfectly cooked sweet scallop and the slight earthiness of the corn cake. The sauce was just mildly spicy
Crawfish bisque en Croute with Abita Bock Reduction paired with Restoration Ale.
It had a nice puff pastry dome before I destroyed it. As you can see it was a cream bisque. For my taste it was not rich enough. Nice flavor though with the maltness of the bock coming through. The well balanced ale with its bitter nip somewhat dominated the dish. Better if it would have had more richness to it

Pecan smoked duck on mixed greens with red onion, red and yellow bell peppers and a warm tasso vinaigrette paired with Strawberry Harvest. Another one I almost missed. The duck was lightly smoked and cooked to perfection with a med rare center. The tasso gave the dressing a slight smoky edge with intensified the duck. The greens, onion and bell pepper gave a vegetative background to the dish. The fruit forward beer mixed well with all these flavors. Not sweet but a definite backnote of fruit that brought all the other flavors together

Grilled beef tenderloin with New Orleans BBQ shrimp roasted fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus paired with Jockamo. The steak was tender as can be with a nice beefy taste, the shrimp had the right flavor profile but were slightly overcooked. The potatoes tender and the asparagus slightly smokey. The double hopped IPA went well with this. The bitterness cutting through the beefy richness of the steak and sweet richness of the shrimp. It also married well with the earthiness of the potatoes and grassy smoke of the asparagus.

Roquefort with honey served family style on toasted baguettes paired with Andygator flew by on a platter with no chance for pictures. The strong flavor of the cheese tempered with the honey made an excellent accompaniment for the double bock beer with its inherent higher alcohol and malty taste.
Abbey ale frozen souffle with a Abita Root Beer reduction paired with Purple Haze. This was a little too frozen for my taste. Once it warmed up the hoppiness of the souffle and concentrated earthiness and sweetness of the reduction was met by the slightly sweet raspberry flavor of the beer. However all that sweetness did affect the taste buds giving any beer drunk after that a weird taste
About a hundred people attended this dinner and both the Evergreen staff and the volunteers from the St Nicholas Center did a bang up job. Both the beers and the food came out in a timely manner. Except for the shrimp being slightly overcooked the food stood out. If they make this an annual event I am in.


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Anonymous said...

The chief's name is David Phillips. Great Chef!

Big Blue's Driver said...

Sorry - didn't mean to post as anonymous! The chef is David Phillips. He had been making great meals there for about a year!