Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gamlin Whiskey House

After walking by Gamlin Whiskey House many times, it took Mother's Day to get me there. This was my stepmom's pick and a perfect pick at that.

Not only is the whiskey list a mile long, there are plenty of steaks to choose from as well. We were lucky in both of these areas since they offered whiskey flights, to help us narrow down our choices, and there was a filet special for $30 that included the lobster bisque cup of soup, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. What a great deal!

But Patience and I knew we were getting something else...not much research was necessary as soon as we saw our favorites!

Bowl of lobster bisque...

Lobster Bisque
Scallops with lobster risotto...

Scallops with Lobster Risotto
And Creme Brulee for Patience...

Creme Brulee
When you first sit down, you are offered two things, tall bottles of distilled water to clense your palate before tasting any whiskey (and to mix with it), and an encyclopedia. Actually, there are three books that contain the whiskey list, cocktails, and wine. At least I knew to ask for a list of the flights since I know nothing about whiskey. There were about ten different types of flights and I was really intrigued by the international and Kentucky flights, but we ended up supporting local and ordered the Missouri flight.

Missouri Whiskey Flight
Missouri Whiskey Flight
It was interesting to taste each of the three to try and discern a difference between them all. One was definitely lighter and more floral on the nose whereas the other ones reminded us of caramel. And while the whiskey helped cut through the richness of the lobster bisque, it was way too strong to be paired with scallops.

If you're looking to start learning about Whiskey or just want to enjoy a good meal, this is definitely a winner.


Gamlin Whiskey House = http://gamlinwhiskeyhouse.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Katie's Pizza and Pasta Passport Dinner: Piedmont

After taking a month off, Katie's Pizza and Pasta resumed their Passport Dinner series with Piedmont. Luckily, I stopped by the week before for "Dining Out For Life" and got a chance to order the Eggplant Parmigiana, which was first featured at the dinner back in March!

We started off the evening with a fried squash blossom and a wine similar to a Chardonnay. Both this wine, and the Gavi up next, with its crispness, made for my favorite wines of the night.

Riori Di Zucca Ripieni
I was relieved that the first two dishes were smaller and very light, but thrilled there was so much cheese involved!
Artichoke Alla Bagna Cauda
The courses got a lot heavier very quickly as the pasta of the night was served in a cream sauce with mushrooms. Katie's pastas are just so amazing and I wish I could have had a heaping plate, but instead, I stopped myself halfway because I knew more was coming. The first red, a Barbera, was paired with this course.

Tajarin All'albese
Sure enough, Katie outdid herself again with the short ribs over a bed of polenta with carrots. Of course this was paired with a Barolo, another popular wine from Piedmont. All the big red wine drinkers loved this one. Again, I knew to only eat half of this dish and save it for later.

Brasato Al Barolo
After waiting months, finally a chocolate mousse-like dessert was served! Let's just say I informed my rather-full tablemates that I would be happy to help them out on this course and I ended up with four servings. Yes, it was incredible! I think if I ever visit Italy, I need to visit this northern area that's close to Switzerland!

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Katie's Pizza and Pasta = http://www.katiespizzaandpasta.com/

PW Pizza Woodchuck Beer Dinner

I thought it was really cool that PW Pizza decided to have a gluten-free "beer dinner" and they were able to accomplish that with their gluten-free crust and inviting Woodchuck Hard Cider to be featured this month.

I was shocked as soon as I saw the menu because I had no idea that Woodchuck made anything else besides their regular Amber hard cider. In fact, they have 13 different varieties that includes three seasonal offerings and three private reserve flavors. So while you may find that the original to be slightly sweet, there are plenty more flavors where you might find one you'd like.

Starting off the night with a salad, I was thrilled at the how easy it was to drink the first welcome cider, Hopsation. First off, it was not hoppy at all, despite the name, but even better, it was very mild and hardly any sweetness. It's a "I could drink it all day" kind of cider! I even got seconds on this one!

The first pizza  (which I forgot to photograph) had huge chunks of bacon on it so you can see where it ended up for me (on the side in the picture below), but the highlight was trying one of the reserve ciders, the Pink Private Reserve. The pink represents Woodchuck's charitable efforts to the Dragonheart Survivorship, which helps cancer survivors to get back on their feet. This cider is a little more fruity without being overly sweet.

The second pizza had a Moroccan theme, but I couldn't really taste much spice. This was paired with Gumption and was another bold tasting cider, and not too far off from the first one.

Moroccan Spiced Duck Pizza
The best pairing of the night was definitely dessert since the fruity flavor of the Blueberry cider went well with blueberries found in the dessert. This was a seasonal cider called Summer Time.

Blueberry Buttermilk Bread Pudding
I immediately wanted to know where I could get these other flavors since I had never seen any of them in the store. I hope to try Randall's or Lucas Liquors for these specialty ones since they are not your typical cider by far!

If nothing else, it gives me another good reason to visit Vermont!


PW Pizza = http://www.pwpizza.com

Woodchuck = http://www.woodchuck.com/

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cheese and Beer Pairings - O'Fallon Brewery

O'Fallon Beer and cheeses
This month's cheese and beer pairing at Dierbergs featured O'Fallon Brewery, which I didn't know that much about beyond their famous pumpkin beer in the fall and their "Wheach". The "Wheach" is exactly what it sounds like, a peach wheat beer that's very fruit forward and perfect for summer time. I thought the Manchego was a little dry to match the sweetness of the beer, but neither one overpowered the other for a nice balance. I also learned that the Manchego goes great with honey on top!

But even before the first beer, my favorite was the welcome beer, Kite Tail. As a cream ale, it's so easy drinking. Definitely a patio pounder!

The second beer was new to me, Hemp Hop Rye. To answer the first question you probably have, no, there is no THC in the beer. The amber ale uses toasted hemp seed to create a nutty flavor in the beer. There is only a mild hop flavor so this is very drinkable, and it was paired with a triple creme, LA Bonne Vie Rouge for a "bread and butter" taste together. I thought the sweet pickles on the side were a bit too overpowering though.

I had heard of the 5-Day IPA before and the five stands for the number of days the beer rests on top of hops. As per usual, the IPA was paired with a blue cheese as well as prosciutto.

Another newish beer by O'Fallon is "Zeke's Pale Ale", which again is only slightly hoppy and very easy to drink. This was paired with my all time favorite cheese, Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove. (It's about time they served this during a pairing class!!!!!!) Good thing the beer is mild enough to let the cheese shine on this one. And when it's decorated with fig paste on top....OH MY!!

I was impressed with the last beer, a Smoked Porter, since I had never tried one before and O'Fallon is among a few that make a smoked beer in the St. Louis area. The bigger flavor of this beer was paired with a peppercorn cheddar. The smoked beer did chill out the cheddar to balance it out, but the best part was the dark chocolate with the smoked beer!!

O'Fallon is almost finished with their new brewery and tasting room in Maryland Heights - should be open next month!


O'Fallon Brewery = http://www.ofallonbrewery.com/

Dierbergs = http://www.dierbergs.com/

Straub's Beer and Cheese Pairing with Schlafly

I just happened to be at Straub's, now that I work in Clayton, and saw a sign for a beer and Wisconsin cheese pairing with Schlafly for a few days later. You know I had to sign up! An extra bonus is that this class also benefited Operation Food Search.

Wisconsin Cheeses with Schlafly Beer
Cheese in the sun by Jessie Corno
Straub's was very gracious and started off the evening with a light meal consisting of pulled pork sliders, mac and cheese, charcuterie, olives, and fruit. I was relieved since I had just come from the gym and needed something before tasting beer. Also, the cheese samples were in the two-bite range unlike the classes I take at Dierbergs.

The beer instruction was led by former Brew Master Stephen Hale and for the first time I met The Cheese Impresario, Barrie Lynn. It's nice to see another "cheese champion" in the St. Louis area. Her favorite term was "cheese highway", which means to coat your tongue for the beer pairing. hehehehe

Much like Dierbergs, we started with a welcome beer, the easy-drinking Summer Lager, that we got to have with our appetizer course.

The first beer to be paired was the Schlafly Hefeweizen and the lighter beer went perfectly with an equally mild Crescenz-Stracchino cheese from BelGioioso. The cheese was so creamy!

The also popular, Pale Ale, was paired with a Roasted Red Pepper and Cracked peppercorn cheese from Wood River Creamery. I thought the cheese was a little too big for the beer, but it helped to take care of any hoppiness in the Pale Ale.

A new beer to me, the Belgian Style Golden Ale, had a bit more hoppiness than the Pale Ale so this was well paired with the Aged Brick Cheddar from Widmer's Cheese Cellars, which had quite a bite.

The other cheese from Widmer's Cheese Cellars, their Aged Brick Spread, was also paired with another hoppy beer, the AIPA.

And to mix things up a bit, instead of pairing the blue cheese with the AIPA, it was paired with the Lewis Osterweis Hard Ginger Beer! The ginger was good for cutting through the thick, creaminess of the BelGioioso's Creamy Gorg blue cheese. Pretty ingenious!


Straub's = http://straubs.com/

Schlafly = http://schlafly.com/

Operation Food Search = http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/