Category Archives: Film

Mash Files: Chicago Edition

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Chicago Mash

All Mash Cities have a certain charm, but Chicago is the city I had the most trouble saying goodbye to. Diverse neighborhoods bleed into each other ripe with unique and delectable restaurants serving fall inspired dishes with a laid back feel. I haven’t experienced this concentration of incredible eating locales in any other city but the one I reside in. The array of talented chefs that grace this town are not doing anything incredibly different than other cities we have visited along the Mash, but they are doing it consistently, creatively  and  collaboratively across the board. The “Shi” is an artistic metropolis with a true neighborhood feel, offering as many cultural perspectives as The Bean (Cloud Gate) itself. Steel bridges connect this lakeside city and add as much character as the myriad restaurants we frequented.

Lake Michigan provides a gorgeous city backdrop, but it also creates the brisk winds and chilling temps that make Chicago one of the coldest cities in the country. I think the chefs there understand this better than others and truly value the short growing season, preserving the rich bounty for the cold months to come, and honoring the fresh ingredients in a simple, yet sophisticated manner. The network of chefs that I encountered was truly inspiring, and everyone seemed to know everyone creating a culinary community that spans many bridges.

Slow supper prep at Found restaurant reminded me of Chris Sheppard’s kitchen (at Underbelly, Houston), with more preserves and pickles then I could imagine. The walk in refrigerator boasts a rainbow of pickled produce that could have easily been an installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Packed Mason jars abounded like the preservation kitchen at Blackberry Farm, as captivating as the amphitheater and BP Bridge in Millennium Park, by architect and artist Frank Gehry. Nicole Pederson might be a pickle queen but she sure knows her way around rabbit rillettes, and presses a mean goat pate that tastes of barnyard and pistachio, a perfect accompaniment for one of our Ghost Bottles of Crochet Rouge Riesling. Combined with pickled sausage, fresh made mustard, and sweet but tangy plum butter. This course and many others demonstrated the typical style of many of the chefs we encountered, with a full understanding of local ingredients and a playful, yet traditional approach.

Small Bar’s rabbit pate, marmalade, and parsley salad also accented the nuances of Crochet Rouge Sauvignon Blanc, expertly prepared by Executive Chef Justin White.  Ghost Bottles graced the tables at both of our meals, but  Carnegie Special 175th Anniversary Porter was most appropriate in capturing the essence of our 1883 World Fair Slow Supper feast, and a perfect accompaniment to the dramatic reading by Paul Durica, author of Chicago by Day and Night, as well as the delectable poached pear and sponge cake it was served with.

Our week of Mash events melded perfectly  with the intoxicating energy of Chicago, from its many farmers markets, artistic and thoughtfully designed green spaces, diverse neighborhoods, talented chefs, and impressive architecture. From Longman and Eagle, to Lula café, Nightwood, Fat Rice, Little Goat, there were more great restaurants then I could imagine, or find time to eat at. Whether sitting in a hole in the wall Mexican place on the east side, dining on Randolph street, or out in Evanston you can be sure that Chicago’s food scene will leave you satiated, smiling, and extremely impressed. I just hope your stay is longer than mine. I am in agreement with my cousin Ari, Chicago may be the greatest city in the country, at least four months out of the year. I hope your larders are packed for the remaining eight months. Stay warm Chicago, can’t wait to see you next year!

New York Comic Con 2013

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Friday night I had the honor to speak on the Beer and Comics Panel at New York Comic Con. The panel was created and moderated by Matthew Waite, and joined by Ben Abernathy of Madefire, and C.B. Cebulski of some small publisher no one’s ever heard of. We illuminated many of the interesting parallels between our two worlds so for those who couldn’t join us I wanted to write a brief recap. It will probably be too long. I love these things.

Both comics and beer have long storied histories. We here at the Brooklyn Brewery always bring up how the Ancient Egyptians had passages on drinking beer, and those passages of hieroglyphics were some of the first sequential art. The act of creating something for a consumer to experience is an art regardless if it’s something to taste or something to read. Art and beer have gone together for as long as time can remember but the modern incarnations correlations are almost creepily similar.

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Both industries have their “Big Two” which came from decades of consolidating other brands, until the 80’s when young upstarts started showing up with more adult and experimental fare. The ’90’s exploded with new breweries and publishers, leading up to the ’00’s where it’s not surprising anymore to see multiple publishers fighting for shelf space with the Captain Americas and Wonder Womans; your local beer aisle probably looks just as diverse. Breweries and comics are getting hyper local with a comic shop producing their own comics for the local markets, or a couple of homebrewers only creating one batch to sell out of their apartment. The experimentation has gotten so popular that one of the big two has started emulating the independent and craft styles, while the other is slowly trying to compensate by rebooting their message to a fresher more contemporary look, in both industries. Both industries are in the middle of a renaissance.

Few industries have the three tier distribution system or specific locations to browse and purchase that week’s latest shipments. Comic book shops and bars are staffed with a cultish elite that are uber-informed and are more excited about the rare limited releases than the standard brands that they constantly have to stock. The public can name most of the big players in the industry but there are worlds of info we could still teach them. Hopefully, Brooklyn Brewery will be the first brewery to open a movie studio because that seems to be going pretty well for the comic book industry.

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We talk a lot about how a good beer should be a story with a beginning, middle and an end. You’d better hope a comic does. We’re both products that go through multiple phases and people; you do the best work you can to your part of the process and then send it on, hoping for an amazing outcome. Whether you’re brewing a beer or producing a comic you have the lowest bar of entry in almost any creative industry. With under a hundred dollars of equipment you have the capability to make a product as well crafted as the best stuff on the shelves. The collaboration and checks and balances at the larger scale producers is an equally beautiful ballet. The variety and subtlety that can be executed in either are innumerable.

In every Con or Beer Festival panel there’s always one thing I hear over and over: There is nothing stopping you from creating either. Do it. Stopping thinking about it or dreaming about it or saying you don’t have enough time. Just start doing, making, creating. If you’re no good, with practice you will get better. Take your passion and make it your life. You and the marketplace will be better for it.

Check out all of our pictures from NYCC on Instagram under #defendbeer, and check out our store for Defend Beer Pints, shirts and screenprints signed by Cliff Chiang himself.

Mash Files: Boston

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Mash Boston reaffirmed my love for bodies of water.  This sounds strange but bays, oceans, tributaries and the beauty they encompass set a perfect backdrop for our week of events.   My past Boston culinary experiences were limited to super carnitas burritos at Anna’s Taqueria when I would visit an old girlfriend during college. Things have changed quite dramatically over the last ten years, and great restaurants are popping up all over offering interesting riffs on traditional New England cuisine along with many other styles of food.  I had one of the best clam chowders of my life at Island Creek oyster bar, New England of course, none of that tomato malarkey.

I was able to gain a new respect, and perspective on aquaculture and the vital role it plays in New England life.   The Atlantic Ocean, its tributaries, and the many rivers that lead into it have long been a source of sustenance, income and leisure, for New Englanders, playing a vital role in the areas evolution.  Much of our week was focused on maritime activity or its byproducts.  A small detour from our seafood centric meals was our Local Two Ways dinner at Poe’s Tip Tap Room with Chef Brian Poe, and many happy hour events at Stoddard’s Pub.  If you think I am busy you should check out Brian Poe, juggling three restaurants with the expert skill and precision of a veteran circus clown (the talented ones that hurl multiple flaming bowling pins effortlessly, while telling jokes). Brian and I prepared antelope tips and kangaroo tartar with a pistachio and yuzu gremolata.  I don’t know about you, but I have never eaten, let alone prepared kangaroo in my life, needless to say it was a night to remember, and as  I hop from city to city it is a flavor I will hold onto and savor.

We were back to the sea the next morning as we headed out of Boston towards Duxbury bay, home of Island Creek Oyster Co.  We arrived nursing hangovers that would make a college student proud, and were met with the sweet salty air of the ocean and Chris Sherman the Vice President of ICO, and one of the most knowledgeable, well spoken, and  downright enjoyable people I have met in a while.  Our trip began in the hatchery where oysters are bred, reared and transferred to holding tanks below the docks where they spend their first six months of life.  The algae lab is the most essential part of this process.  Multiple strains of algae (oyster feed) are grown in tanks and tubes of various sizes and pumped into the tanks that house these growing prehistoric creatures.  We boarded a small boat and headed out to the oyster beds that dot the bay, protected by a large half moon strip known as Duxbury Beach, and boarded the floating house where oysters are sorted into three different grades.  The passion and expertise of these rugged oyster farmers, and savvy business men, have made these oysters a coveted mainstay at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, French Laundry, and many other fine dining institutions across the couomtry.

Lowell’s Boat house, the oldest active boat house in the country was the setting for our Slow Supper dinner with Chef Marc Sheehan of Brasstacks (a local pop up restaurant concept). Marc honed his skills at Blue Hill, under Dan Barber before taking over some of Boston’s best kitchens.  I was thrilled to put out plates that mirrored the flowing history of the Merrimack River and work with such a young and talented chef whose historically relevant and technical approach to cooking left our guest begging for more.  Quahog bread and Black Ops pretzels where paired with Silver Anniversary Lager, and the boisterous conversation and glass clinking echoed far across the river just feet from the long wooden  planked  communal table constructed for our dinner by master boat maker and teacher Graham McKay of Lowell’s boat shop.

Our week culminated in a cyclical manner with our Togather event featuring Erin Byers Murray, author of Shucked, Chris Sherman, and Graham McKay discussing the waters that have shaped their lives, careers, and outlooks.  My sea legs felt much sturdier after absorbing bits of their passionate conversation that flowed effortlessly like the Merrimack, or the tides of Duxbury Bay.  All hands from our week of adventures were on deck for this memorable event. Sipping Brooklyn Summer Ales, and slurping oysters felt more like an outing with old friends then a literary reception. Boston I can’t wait to set sail for your waters next year. Ahoy Mattie’s!

 

 

Mash Files: Twin Cities

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Lakes, Gnomes, boats, a City rivalry, large communal feasts, outrageous storms, winding rivers, and a castle, no this is not the next episode of Game of Thrones, but the Twin Cities Mash I speak of. Our week kicked off with a dinner hosted by Monica Walch of Dinner on The Farm, on the rooftop of Solera, overlooking scenic downtown Minneapolis, and ended with our Slow Supper dinner hosted by The Brooklyn Brewery team, Jamie Malone of Sea Change and Monica Walch at Soap Factory, cyclical or what?

Our whirlwind week continued at Happy Gnome (our Mash Headquarters) where beer and cheese abounded, and I had the opportunity to get to know some Twin City beer aficionados as well as sample some local brews. Besides being home to a slew of Craft Breweries, Twin Cities has a cutting edge restaurant scene that is borderline incestual, but incredibly delicious. All the young talent of the last 10 years seems to have worked together at one point or another as they trained under their predecessors, and are now operating (or own) the best kitchens in town. I had the chance to work with two of these rising stars who are running great teams, cooking exceptional food, and inspiring those who work alongside them (and me).

Our Local 2 Ways dinner with Landon Shoenfeld, Executive chef, and owner of Haute Dish was one of the best meals I have collaborated on. Each dish not only paired perfectly with the beers selected but had incredible nuances, flawless execution, and were true visual works of art. I have never been in a kitchen where so many chefs seemed genuinely happy to be there, engaged, knowledgeable and incredibly motivated to follow the lead of their Phish loving, easy going leader. Haute Dish was a night to remember, even if the high gravity of the beers consumed made it easy to forget.
Landon is not the only talented chef in town, Jamie Malone of Sea Change not only impressed me (a far easier task), but the folks at Food & Wine, earning herself a place on the list for top ten chefs of 2013 (insert applause here) Jamie may be leading a crazy jet setter life these days ( I can sympathize) but her humbleness, composure, good natured humor, incredible skill, dedication, and mischievous smile make her a great gal to work with and learn from. Slow Supper in a giant art space, langoustine crudo, Sweet bread tortellini, potato pave seared to look like drift wood, Ghost bottles abounding, and a room full of boisterous happy guests, throw in an installation from Nuit Blanche, Stephanie Jarrett (vintage day dreams), and you have one hell of a dynamic eating experience.

Two great meals, boat trips on the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka, a specialized Found footage Fest, a king sized temperpedic mattress at Castle El Maraghy ( anything feels like a castle compared to my Brooklyn apartment), a stop at The Beer Dabbler to see my main man Joe Alton for all the copies of the Growler, the greatest lightning storm of my life, The sounds of Jonathan Toubin, and riding tandem on a tube with my favorite event producer in the whole wide world, yah you could say it was a great week, Ya-knoow?

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Comes to Boston, July 9-14

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Brooklyn Brewery is taking its neighborhood on the road. Collaborating with friends old and new, the Brewery has bundled up some of its favorite events into The Brooklyn Brewery Mash as a benefit for Slow Food USA, rolling out in Boston July 9-14. Check back for a Boston Mash recap from Brooklyn Brewery House Chef Andrew Gerson (@BKLYNhouseChef).

Mash HQ
Tue, July 9 – Fri, July 12, 5-7pm; Stoddards Food & Ale; 48 Temple Pl, Boston
Brooklyn beer specials, new and special offerings, giveaways and general info available on The Mash.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls Beer Dinner
Tue, July 9, 7pm; Stoddards Food & Ale; 48 Temple Pl, Boston – $55
Four course passed small plate dinner, hosted by Brooklyn Rep & Bostonian, Patrick Paulick.

Local 2 Ways
Wed, July 10, 7pm; Tip Tap Room; 138 Cambridge St, Boston – price TBA
Multi-course beer dinner celebrating local cuisine, interpreted 2 ways: by Chef Brian Poe of Tip Tap Room and Brooklyn Brewery House Chef Andrew Gerson.

Big Cheese vs. Big Cheese
Thu, July 11, 5-7pm; Stoddards Food & Ale; 48 Temple Pl, Boston – $55
The head cheese mongers from both Formaggio locations will face off in a battle for your taste buds. Brooklyn House Chef Andrew Gerson will present 5 beers and the two cheese heads will present their preferred cheeses.

NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance-Off with DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin
Thu, July 11, 10pm; T.T. the Bear’s; 10 Brookline St, Cambridge, MA – $8
Compete for a trip to New York for the Dance-Off championship at Brooklyn Bowl and $100 cash prize after getting warmed up with the exquisite 1960s soul 45s of world famous Brooklyn DJ Jonathan Toubin. Must be 21 years of age to win. Opening the show will be our funny friends from Found Footage Festival, showing off their most hilarious and danceable found VHS clips.

Chaos Cooking
Fri, July 12, 7pm – Free
A stalwart citizen opens their kitchen for a dinner party where all the guests are cooks. Each attendee brings the ingredients and everyone cooks together. Dishes are passed around, and there’s plenty of Brooklyn beer to enjoy. For location details, go to ChaosCooking.com.

Slow Supper with Brasstacks @ Lowell’s Boat Shop
Sat, July 13, 6pm; Lowell’s Boat Shop; 459 Main Street, Amesbury – $100
Held in America’s oldest functioning boat shop, guests will feast on a meal prepared in collaboration between Brooklyn House Chef Andrew Gerson and Chef Mark Sheehan of the underground-supperclub-soon-to-be-restaurant Brasstacks. Projection installations from Brooklyn’s NBNY. All proceeds benefit Slow Food Boston.

Books & Beer: At Sea with Erin Byers Murray
Sunday, July 14, 6pm; Upstairs Gallery @ Eastern Standard, 528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston – $10
Togather and Brooklyn Brewery present a conversation and Q&A featuring two enterprising individuals with ties to the water: author Erin Byers Murray who worked at Island Creek Oysters for 18 months to learn the business of oysters, and Graham McKay of Lowell’s Boat Shop. Your ticket includes complimentary Brooklyn beer and a percentage of ticket sales will benefit Slow Food Boston.

Mash Files: Charm City Edition

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[Flatbread Spring Salad from Slow Supper @ Cylburn Mansion.]

After a great weekend in Philly with my family I hopped into the car with Meg, our Event Producer, and my partner in Mash voyages, and headed for Baltimore. Hersh’s Pizza was our first stop on this rainy evening, but a tour of the kitchen and the 950 F Italian wood-fired pizza oven warmed us right up. After meeting Josh, Chef and Owner of Hersh’s and sampling some of his great pies, I was eager to start cooking the menu we collaborated on for our Local 2 Ways dinner. Charm City stood up to its name as the skies cleared on Tuesday, and the Baltimore Mash hit the ground running with the speed of a lookout boy from HBO’s The Wire. Max’s Tap House, just a block from the harbor, provided a perfect Mash HQ. We sat outside sipping cask ales before heading off to Birroteca to try another modern Italian take on the pizzeria. After living so many years in Italy, it is always nice to find good Italian food in a new city. (continued below)

Birrotecca may be known for its pizza, but the confit calamari and the house-cured meats were out of this world. I have never had calamari as tender in my life. The Duck Prosciutto was like stepping into a Peking duck house with subtle notes of star anise, so good I changed our Sunday Slow Supper menu to feature it as one of the courses. Another menu adaptation occurred when I tasted the passion fruit buddino. My mouth went wild with the most amazing puckering tartness, followed by a smooth tropical sweetness; I knew we had to incorporate it in our dinner.

Early the next morning I headed back to Birroteca to meet up with Executive Chef Cyrus Keefer, the mastermind behind these dishes, along with Aja Cage the buddino goddess/Pastry Chef. We tweaked the menu, adding some local ginger to the dessert (candied and as a cookie), and planned to meet at the market on Sunday morning to get vegetables for Slow Supper. Then it was off to Hersh’s to prep with his team for Local 2 Ways. I was excited to cook for a group of family members and 45 other guests all seated upstairs in the private dining room. Many beers where paired with an outstanding array of food, from pizza with to crab sformato paired with Sorachi Ace. For a glimpse at the whole menu check out BrooklynBreweryMash.com. As my mother praised her son to anyone who would listen, guests mingled and stayed long after their last sips of Brooklyn Black Ops.

After saying my goodbyes to the team at Hersh’s, we boogied over to Metro Gallery to catch the Soul Clap & Dance Off with my buddy Jonathan Toubin on the ones and twos. I can safely say that Baltimore hipsters could give our Williamsburgians a run for their money. Many a dancer was left in the dust, sipping Summer Ale as their consolation, as number 11 shimmied his way to the top securing himself a roundtrip ticket to New York to compete in the Soul Clap and Dance-off Finale. Follow me on vine to catch a glimpse of those dancing skills and some super duper outfits.

I knew Baltimore had some great restaurants but I was in for a treat at Chaos Cooking when I found out it was hosted by the executive chef of Moonshine Tavern. John and his lovely lady had a roof deck that overlooked the stadium with the harbor in the distance and a kitchen fully equipped to handle the chaos that ensued. Chefs and amateurs alike doled out delicious dishes and john made racks of lamb with parsnip puree and a rich demi-glace that left us all fighting over the last chops. We sipped Brooklyn and broke bread with new friends until late in the evening.

Saturday was the highlight of my trip as I headed over to the 15th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, one of the wildest events I have ever seen. Riders in crazy outfits took to the streets in giant whimsically constructed vehicles for a 13 mile race combining water, mud, hills and other obstacles. I watched these crazy creations hit the water then headed for The Wine Source for a cheese and beer pairing.

The Cylburn Mansion could have been a set from the Adams Family with the beautiful Nuit Blanche installation casting ghost like shadows on the walls. Instead it became our Slow Supper space. Tucked away in the Arboretum the Cylburn estate is a city landmark that inspired a meal rich in Baltimore history. Cyrus, Aja and I prepared a menu paying homage to the local bounty of Baltimore and the surrounding area. As the band played, and representatives from Slow Food Baltimore, the center for a livable future spoke, glasses clinked, and lights flickered in this old mansion a midst the background of beautiful Japanese maple trees, we almost forgot we were in a bustling city. Needless to say, it was a charming way to end our BmoreMASH.

Mash Files: Nashville Edition

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[Daddy Long Legs performs at You Can't Drown The Loud Sounds, a benefit for Norton Records.]

Epicenter of the Honky Tonk, former stomping ground of Elvis, The Man in Black, Willie Nelson, and home to Jack White (we stayed two blocks from his estate on Franklin Pike) Nashville is definitely a music town, but its budding culinary scene is nothing to stomp your feet at either. I can’t recall exactly how many “Wagon Wheel” covers I heard in my week stay, but I loved every one of them. Nashville has a sense of nostalgia that is evocative — music runs through this city whether you are at the Honky Tonk’s on Broadway like Roberts, or the three-tiered towering venue Mercy Lounge on Cannery Row. Music is not the only thing that trickles through this city. Nashville and the rest of Tennessee are home to over a dozen breweries, some of which I had the pleasure of visiting, others I settled for getting to know via a pint glass.

Our Mash Headquarters, M.L Rose Craft Beer and Burgers was the perfect spot to sample many of the local brews. My Fat Bottom Brewing Ruby Red had just the right bite to wash down the Brooklyn Burger special, with Brooklyn Brown Ale caramelized onions, crispy bacon and NY State cheddar cheese. Boasting a tap selection heavy on local and domestic breweries, I got intimate with some of my new Tennessee favorites and was eager to go visit Yazoo and Jackalope breweries, as well as Bosco’s Brew Pub where my buddy Drew prepares the daily specials to accompany their award winning beers.

Our week kicked off quickly and remained burger-centric with a Wednesday night collaboration dinner at Burger Up with Chef Philip Shyatt and his team. After four courses, seven beers, and the last bites of crispy cream bread pudding and sips of Brooklyn Black Ops, guests continued to drink and chatter long into the evening. Thanks to our new friend, a wine maker from Sonoma, so inspired by our beers that he  brought a variety case of different styles and vintages from his vineyard to share with those lucky enough to linger after the meal, it wasn’t Vin Santo but made for a nice after dinner treat. I would have stayed out and partied with the gang over at 12 South Tap Room but it was time to get some rest for our Slow Supper dinner with Brandon Frohn and his team from Mason’s, the new chef-driven restaurant in the Loews Hotel.

I met Brandon in the maze that is the back of house kitchen for Loews Hotel and got to work making minted gnocchi and my braised lamb ragu. Although we were prepping in a beautiful full-equipped hotel kitchen, we were serving on site at the Peter Nappi Studio located in the old Neuhoff meat packing plant built in 1906, six blocks from downtown Nashville located on a rock bluff overlooking the Cumberland River. This boutique, home to the highest level of Italian boot craftsmanship, was a truly magical space to host our Slow Supper event benefiting Slow Food NashvilleHolly Williams, country artist and lover of all things gnocchi, graced the stage with her husband for three incredible songs, setting a laid back and boisterous tone for the evening. Ghost bottles abounding, we served smoke-wafting boxes of deviled eggs, seared scallops with Sorachi Ace, and a dessert reminiscent of my childhood featuring Flintstone push-pop sorbet made with liquid nitrogen and a sweet potato beignet with an oat and chocolate cremoix. As diners ate their frozen ice-cream shards, we relished in the warmth of the room, and picked out our dream pairs of shoes, but the price tags made it hard to do more than dream.

After working with two young talented chefs I was starting to understand the new Nashville food scene. Chock full of recommendations, I was excited to hit up some of Nashville’s favorite digs, while experiencing some of the newer gems popping up in Germantown and other newly developed neighborhoods. Nashville is undergoing a transformation much like that of Brooklyn, and many young chefs are finding themselves running off the beaten path to spots with rustic sincerity and attention to local sourcing, simple techniques and good homestyle flavors. Nashville seems as comfortable dishing out artisan extruded pastas as they do meat and three plates, and Rolf and Daughters along with City House have the Garganelli to prove it.

But if elegant home-style Italian is not your thing rest assured Monell’s has a seat for you at a big round table with a slew of wide-eyed strangers, awaiting their southern traditional Sunday meal, every day of the week. The shear quantity of plates that began to hit the table was astounding. Our only instruction was to pass to the left, as biscuits, grits, greens, beans, collards, mash, suckatash, corn pudding, brisket, gravy, fried chicken, meatloaf, banana pudding, pickles, chutney, and many more dishes hit the table in a whirlwind of food that would give even thanksgiving at my house a run for its money (and we feed 35 people). After this special family experience at Monell’s it was time to dance off my meal to the sounds of Jonathan Toubin at his NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance-Off. Any chance I get to hang out with Jonathan is a good night. Besides being one of the kindest and most engaging people I know he knows how to spin a 45 and keep a crowd moving like no other, especially when they are competing for a free trip to NY, courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery.

The music didn’t stop there, Sandy Relief benefit for Norton Records in Brooklyn was a mash up of Brooklyn and Nashville talents Daddy Long Legs, A Bones, The Ettes and Weekend Babes. This line up at Mercy Lounge was killer and we stomped and stomped till the house came down. High Watt, on the top floor of the Mercy complex, which is also the home to a Sunday rock and roll church group (better attended then most concerts I go to) was the locale for Found Footage festival which is always a solid hour or two of laughs, and guest starring the beautifully awkward comedic genius of Kate Berlante.

Top this exciting week off with an impromptu stop at Taqueria San Luis for the biggest tamales ever (basically banana-leaf-wrapped pillows) with two scoops from Jeni’s ice cream in a Black Chocolate Stout float featured at our Togather literary series on Sunday, and I was holding my sides almost as hard as I had at our comedy event the night before. Nashville, I can’t wait to come back, my only regret, being too full for Princes Hot Chicken. Next year, Nashville. Next year!

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Comes to Nashville, April 8-14

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Brooklyn Brewery is taking its neighborhood on the road. Collaborating with friends old and new, the Brewery has bundled up some of its favorite events into The Brooklyn Brewery Mash as a benefit for Slow Food USA, rolling out in Nashville April 8-14. Check back for a Nashville Mash recap from Brooklyn Brewery House Chef Andrew Gerson (@BKLYNhouseChef).

Mash HQ
Mon, April 8 – Sun, April 14; M.L. Rose; 2535 Franklin Pike‎, Nashville, TN | Brooklyn beer specials, new and special offerings, giveaways and general info available on The Mash.

Local 2 Ways
Wed, April 10, 7pm; Burger Up; 2901 12th Ave South, Nashville, TN – price TBA | Multi-course beer dinner celebrating local cuisine, interpreted 2 ways: by Philip Shyatt and the Brooklyn Brewery House Chef, Andrew Gerson.

Brooklyn Brewery Tap Attack
Wed, April 10, 6-10pm; Flying Saucer; 111 10th Ave South, Nashville, TN | Brooklyn’s Josh Scutella hosts an evening of the Brooklyn Lineup. Core and new beers will be on tap. Beer specials all night.

Slow Supper
Thu, April 11, 7pmPeter Nappi Studio; 1308 Adams St, Nashville, TN – price TBA | Held in the captivating Peter Nappi Studio & benefitting Slow Food Nashville, guests will feast on a meal prepared in collaboration between Brooklyn House Chef Andrew Gerson and Chef Brandon Frohne. Projection installations from Brooklyn’s NBNY.

NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance-Off with DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin
Thu, April 11, 9pm; Stone Fox; 712 51st Ave, Nashville, TN – $7 | America’s most popular soul party returns to Nashville. Get down to the exquisite 1960s soul 45s of world famous Brooklyn DJ Jonathan Toubin all night long. Join the 1am dance contest for $100 cash prize and to win a free trip to New York for the Dance-Off championship at Brooklyn Bowl.

Brooklyn Summer Happy Hour
Fri, April 12, 5-7pm
; Pub 5; 104 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN – Free | Get ahead of the game and celebrate the arrival of Brooklyn Summer Ale at the brand new Pub 5. Look out for specials and swag from the Brooklyn crew before heading over to Mercy Lounge for “You Can’t Drown The Loud Sound!”

“YOU CAN’T DROWN THE LOUD SOUND!” Sandy Benefit for Norton Records
Fri, April 12, 9pm; Mercy Lounge; 1 Cannery Row; Nashville, TN – $10 advance, $15 door | A benefit for Brooklyn’s own Norton Records whose warehouse was flooded by Sandy. Norton Brooklyn-based bands The A-Bones (featuring original sax player Lars and Ira from Yo La Tengo) and Daddy Long Legs pair up with seasoned Nashville garage rockers The Ettes and new comers Weekend Babes.

Eat, Drink & Learn with the Brooklyn Brewery House Chef
Sat, April 13, 12-2pm; Whole Foods; 4021 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN – Free | BB House Chef Andrew Gerson does a pasta making demo and pairs with Silver Anniversary Lager & more.

Found Footage Festival
Sat, April 13, 7:30 & 10pm; High Watt; 1 Cannery Row, Nashville, TN – $12 | A hilarious comedy event that showcases footage from videos that were found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters across the country.

Books & Beer: Jeni Britton Bauer In Conversation With Chuck Beard & Imogene Willie
Sun, April 14, 2-3pm; 1310 Clinton Street, Suite 121; Nashville, Tennessee – $10 | A conversation and Q&A featuring Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and author of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Jeni will share memories of how her business began, what inspires her ice cream innovations, and how she tells stories through her delicious creations.

Chaos Cooking
Sun, April 14, 7pm – Free | A stalwart citizen opens their kitchen for a dinner party where all the guests are cooks. Each attendee brings the ingredients and everyone cooks together. Dishes are passed around, and there’s plenty of Brooklyn beer to enjoy. For location details, go to ChaosCooking.com.

Mash Files: NOLA Edition

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“NOLA: The Marvelous”
By Brooklyn Brewery House Chef Andrew Gerson

With the sounds of 90.7 WWOZ, the nation’s greatest station set on the dial, a perfect back drop to a week in New Orleans, I boogied my way around town soaking in the sun and NOLA’s laid back brassy balance of history, tradition and innovation in food, booze, music and festivities.

New Orleans on any given week is pretty spectacular, but combine Saint Patrick’s Day, Super Sunday with the Mardi Gras Indians, and the Brooklyn Brewery Mash tour and it’s like: listening to Rebirth at the Maple Leaf, eating crawfish etouffee, and shrimp and alligator cheesecake at Jacques-Imo’s, meeting Wendell Pierce, chatting with Poppy Tooker, sipping Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout, slurping Gulf Oysters, sipping NOLA Blonde Ale, more Smokey trumpets and saxes, crawfish Tempura and dancing, a “Treme” episode on acid in funky-fast-forward. Mash NOLA was marvelous! And that was just a glimpse of day one… [read more below the slideshow]

The Avenue Pub, way down on St Charles St. front and center for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was the quintessential Mash Headquarters. Patty and her gracious crew of knowledgeable beer aficionados and bourbon and whiskey connoisseurs hosted a week’s worth of happy-hours filled with cask kegs of EIPA, tastings of Elijah Craig and Cuvée Elijah, flowing bottles of Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager and cheese pairings from St. James Cheese (think Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout/Gorgonzola Dolce, or Aged Gouda/ Brooklyn Local 2). The upstairs bar at Avenue also provided a beautiful balcony to catch a moment’s rest, bare foot, listening to reggae, basking in the sun, Brooklyn Summer Ale in hand.

For me the beauty of New Orleans is the love and soul behind the music, food and libations. Maurepas restaurant overseen by Executive Chef Michael Doyle, and an old buddy of mine, Sous Chef Grant Waters is a great embodiment of what New Orleans is to me. Our Local, 2 Ways dinner was a true treat as I got to cook with a great friend, and a team of other talented chefs. Maurepas is known around the Bywater and the rest of the city for its cocktail list and deep-rooted New Orleans cuisine, mixing Creole, Cajun and Southern inspirations into unpretentious family style food with a sprinkle of ingenuity and freshness. Like our take on a crawfish boil, mixed with menu staples like the fried oyster cabbage salad. Diners fought over their family style bowl of duck egg and herb gnocchi in a lamb neck ragu, but were relieved to have individual heaping portions of chocolate duck egg ice cream with shortbread cookies paired with Black Chocolate Stout. This decadent spread set in the heart of the Bywater, NOLA’s hippest neighborhood felt like a summer evening in Brooklyn, with more colorful houses, and a splash of that NOLA funk that only crawfish essence and brass bands can muster.

Brass bands where abounding as second liners followed feather and bead clad Big Chiefs, Spy Boys, Wild Men queens and an array of other plumage, all clad in full regalia at A.L. Davis Park for the Mardi Gras Indian Council’s annual Super Sunday celebration. The spirits of the ancestors mixed with the drums and brass of the bands, along with the stomping of feet and the songs of the Big Chiefs.

Gary Granata, of Slow Food NOLA lead us through the crowds as music mixed with the smoke and aromas from the best of NOLA’s street food vendors, some of which I had seen at the First Annual NOLA Vendy Awards, where I was lucky enough to be a judge along with Poppy Tooker (my new best friend), Sarah Rohan, President of the board of the Southern Food Ways Alliance, and Juan Carlos Gonzales, Executive Chef of Sobou.

Helena Tubis, Executive Director of the Vendy Awards pulled it off again, as over 500 happy guests sampled the best street food NOLA had to offer, washing it down with an array of Brooklyn beers to the sounds of a twangy string band. As the votes came in, Foodie Call was the unanimous winner, but after nine tastes I am convinced NOLA street vendors can hang with the best of them. The crowd, Brooklyn cans clasped firmly in hand, sang along to the rendition of “When The Saints Come Marching In” belted over the PA system by Vance of Vaucresson Sausage Co.

Our Saturday really picked up when Tres Barnard, Chef of We’ve Got Soul treated us to Southern soul inspired dishes tucked away at a chefs table in the cozy back-room of Marie’s Bar. The best duck confit I have ever had was served with a cherry glaze over stone ground grits, and Grand Marnier roasted carrots alongside Brooklyn Local 2. Dessert was leg-quiveringly good, local strawberry and bacon cobbler with Black Chocolate Stout caramel sauce. After our feast we sat on the stoop sipping our last drops of Stout, relishing in the warm evening breeze, hanging with our table mates and the crew of We’ve Got Soul, before ending another perfect night in NOLA with a little brass.

Sunday, after my brief “Indian adventure break” from prepping for our Slow Supper Swamp Dinner, I headed to the site to set up for our final meal in what appeared to an abandoned roofless building. Tucked in the central business district, blocks from the French Quarter, this was a perfect match for our first swamp-inspired Dinner Lab-Brooklyn Brewery collaboration meal. The ambiance of this evening was magical as course after course was paired with a large array of Brooklyn Big Bottles, featuring a Wild One Ghost Bottle. The meal was swamptastic, the pairings Paco Robert and I selected where spot on, and the space glistened under string lighting as guests chatted on into the evening long after the band had packed up their instruments.

After the whirlwind of my week in NOLA I have to say my fondest memory was my very first Crawfish “Buurrrlll,” an impromptu Prequel to our Dinner Lab-Brooklyn Brewery Mashup in Paco’s backyard. Between ham hocks, potatoes, corn, crawfish and Cajun seasoning, Brooklyn Summer Ale, Sorachi Ace and EIPA, I didn’t mind the elbows of everyone else at the table rocking to the music and fending off their prized piles of delight. An evening I will never forget in a week I look forward to remembering. It might be cold and snow covered back in Brooklyn, but at least I can stream 90.7 WNOZ FM for a little taste of that NOLA warmth.

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Comes to New Orleans, March 13-16

Mash NOLA Blog Header

Brooklyn Brewery is taking its neighborhood on the road. Collaborating with friends old and new, the Brewery has bundled up some of its favorite events into The Brooklyn Brewery Mash as a benefit for Slow Food USA, rolling out in the Big Easy March 13-16. Check back for a New Orleans Mash recap from Brooklyn Brewery House Chef Andrew Gerson (@BKLYNhouseChef).

1st Annual New Orleans Vendy Awards
Wed, Mar 13, 7-10pm; The Historic French Market; 1008 N. Peters St., New Orleans, LA | After eight years in New York and events in LA and Philadelphia, the Vendy Awards – an intense cook-off between the best sidewalk chefs in the city – is coming to New Orleans to determine the best street food vendor in town while raising money for the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition (NOFTC) & Slow Food NOLA.

NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance-Off with DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin
Thu, Mar 14, 9pm; Siberia; 2227 St. Claude, New Orleans, LA – $7 | America’s most popular soul party returns to New Orleans. Get down to the exquisite 1960s soul 45s of world famous Brooklyn DJ Jonathan Toubin all night long. Join the 1am dance contest for $100 cash prize and a trip to New York for the Dance-Off championship at Brooklyn Bowl. The evening kicks off with a live performance by New Orleans’ legendary King Louie One Man Band.

Found Footage Festival
Thu, Mar 14 & Fri, Mar 15, 10pm; La Nuit Comedy Theater; 5039 Freret St, New Orleans, LA – $11 | A hilarious comedy event that showcases footage from videos that were found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters across the country.

Farmers Market Workshop
Sat, Mar 16, 10am–12pm; Crescent City Farmers Market, 700 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA – Free | The Brooklyn Brewery House Chef will be cooking up some of his favorite finds from the market. Stop by for cooking and beer pairing tips.

Local, 2 Ways
Thu, Mar 14, time TBD; Maurepas Foods; 320 Burgundy St, Bywater, New Orleans, LA – $70 | Multi-course beer dinner celebrating regional cuisine interpreted 2 ways: by Chef Michael Doyle and Chief Intoxicologist, Brad Smith, of Maurepas Foods, the Brooklyn Brewery House Chef, Andrew Gerson.

Togather Books & Beer
Sat, Mar 16, 1pm; Perestroika at Pravda ; 1113 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA – $25 | With our friends from Togather, our favorite Crescent City culinary cheerleader Poppy Tooker sits down for a conversation with our pals from Brooklyn-based Liddabit Sweets. Join their conversation about sleepless nights starting a business, inspiration and tricks in the kitchen. Ticket price includes a Brooklyn beer, Liddabit samples and The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook.

Slow Supper: “Swamp to Table”
Sun, Mar 17, 5pm – $80 | Hosted by DinnerLab and benefitting Slow Food NOLA, guests will feast on swamp creatures including crawfish, alligator, nutria and more. Chef Paco Roberts matches the spontaneity of an underground supperclub to Chef Andrew’s Brooklyn perspective. Projection installations from Brooklyn’s NBNY, ornamentation by New Orleans artist Rebecca Rebouche and music from Luke Winslow King with Esther Rose. Location is secret.

Chaos Cooking
Wed, Mar 6, 7pm – Free | A stalwart citizen opens his kitchen for a 150 person cooking party where everyone is a cook. There will be 7 cooking stations including 2 food trucks, a chandelier wok, indoor kitchen and plenty of grills. Each attendee brings the ingredients and everyone cooks together. Dishes are passed around, and there’s plenty of Brooklyn beer to enjoy. For location details, go to ChaosCooking.com.