Category Archives: House Chef

Mash Bash & The Soul Clap National Championships

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Jonathon Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance Off, the hottest dance party from the Gowanus to the Tappanzee, returns after a star studded tour through the heppest clubs our Brooklyn Brewery Mash tour saw on the road. After hours of sweat and blood poured onto 11 dance floors we’ve chosen our finalists. Each will be flown to Brooklyn and on February 22nd, we’ll be holding the Mash Bash. A multi-plated feast created in collaboration by Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson, Dinner Lab Chief Culinary Officer Francisco “Paco” Robert, Mash Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes and Dinner Lab Chef Brandon Byrd.

After the dinner we’ll be heading to Brooklyn Bowl to watch 12 contenders, (one from every city on the Mash tour.) strut their fishbones out onto the lakebed. It is going to be unstoppably fun. For tickets click here.

Why don’t we get the tunes started with Jonathon’s signature tour mix and let’s take a look at our funky competitors:

DeeDee Prescott

DeeDee Dame

Born to a powerful VooDoo Priestess, DeeDee Dame came dancing right out of the womb. It was prophesied she would be stricken by a great fever that would make her a slave to the rhythm and fuel uncontrollable wild desires within her. As a child, she was raised by primitives in the jungles of Panama and trained upon red, hot coals in the forbidden dance. When she came of age she was to be sacrificed. So, once the drumbeats started, she knew that it was time to go!

Now DeeDee Dame is here to mesmerize the world with her mystical moves!

Drew Ziegler

Drew Ziegler

Hatched from the eyeball of an old blue worm, put on this earth to wiggle and squirm.

Katie Hutchinson

Katie Hutchinson – Stone Fox, Nashville, TN

Ballroom dancer Katie Hutchinson graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a degree in communication and a fear of an ordinary life. She fell in love with dance at the mature age of 12 months when Mr. Rogers featured the Moscow Ballet, inspiring the young Katie to pursue a life of rhinestones and the spotlight. Champagne, macaroons, and Parliaments are some of her favorite things. A lover of all that glitters, Hutchinson has her dancing shoes shined and her shimmy ready to shake for Soul Clap Nationals. She’ll see you under the disco ball.

Talbot Johnson - Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Talbot Johnson – Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

An avid dancer, performer, and lover of music from Baltimore, MD, Talbot Johnson has been on a quest to live, love, and enjoy the beauty of dance and all that comes with it.  He has a unique and fresh style of movement that is carried on by his love for the groove and carefree nature.  Johnson hopes to continue to strive, grow, and excel when it comes to getting down, wherever he may be.

Wendy Petersen - Turf Club, Twin Cities

Wendy Petersen

Wendy Lea has been shakin’ to soul stompers ever since the day her grams handed her a stack of 45s from the family’s supper club jukebox. She maintains her secret identity as a groove fiend by daylighting as an English teacher, reading books to excess, and asking people questions. She hopes to one day avert space and time by actually transcending into a state of melodious acrobatics, mostly so she can avoid paying rent.

Sussan Manzo

Sussan Andrea Manzo – TT & the Bears, Boston MA

Sussan was born in a circus tent on a summer’s night in Jersey City. The daughter of a sixth generation band guitarist and head seamstress, she was born into a life of freaks and charlatans. After the circus she ran off the with LES Pirates and learned to tattoo. On one of her adventures she feel in love with a professional BMXer and has traveled the high seas ever since. Living such an adventurous life has left her to find serenity in one place: dance.

Cameron Caswell

Cameron Caswell – Black Cat Room, Washington, DC

I’m a child of the 70s, and loved Soul Train on Saturday mornings. As I got older I loved dancing to everything from punk to hip-hop to funk and soul. I love music and dancing makes me incredibly happy.

Dennis Plewa

Dennis Plewa – Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

Hello there! As you already know, my name is Dennis. I don’t think i could be any more exited for February 22! Hanging with my son Charles is the best part of my life. Beyond that, good people, good conversation, and great music is what I’m all about. I’ve got tons of Chicago pride, but I’m elated with the fact that i finally get to go to New York…paid for!! I want to be there right now gettin down in another town. Yeah, that rhymed. Not to much else to say other than i feel extremely lucky to be a part of this. Feeling great every day. Oh yeah, i like smiles too. See ya in February! Thank you! This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. I hope my feet don’t disappoint..

John Turner

John Turner – Remedy, Pittsburgh, PA

Striking fear (or amusement) in the hearts of drunken hipsters all over Pittsburgh, Sweatband John loves to dance. Traveling from dance party to dance party, he hopes to inspire others to take up the majestic call of dance!

Ashley Robb Crockett

Ashley Crockett – Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Ashley Robb Crockett danced herself right out the womb on February 7th, 1989. As a child when asked, “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Her response was, “One of the Ikettes”. In addition to gogo dancing she has a penchant for filmmaking, meditation, mini-dresses, psychedelics & peppermint puffs. She intends to boogaloo her way to the top and further still.

Serena Dominguez

Serena Dominguez – Gramps Bar, Miami, FL

Serena Dominguez was born and raised in Miami, Florida, a place where she has never achieved a tan. On her spare time, she likes studying Russian folkloric dance and the mating rituals of amphibians. She is said to dance with the vengeance of a recovered polio patient, and has the stamina of an inflatable car dealership tube thing. Like the mating amphibian, Serena will fertilize the competition’s eggs in a reservoir of water and wait 10-12 days ‘til they hatch…on the dance floor.

 

NYC Beer Week Returns

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Now under the direction of the New York City Brewers Guild, the 6th Annual New York City Beer Week happens February 21 – March 2, and will bring together 16 NYC craft breweries, nationally & internationally renowned breweries, over 100 venues with more than 300 events, celebrity chefs, and acclaimed restaurants for the premier craft beer spectacle of the year. We’re proud to be a founding member of this organization, so we planned a few fun evenings:

Opening Night Bash @ Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal
7pm, Friday, February 21
$75 Tickets Available Here

A spectacular setting for New York City’s premier craft beer spectacle of the year, the New York City Brewers Guild hosts its Opening Night Bash at the iconic Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal featuring rare and obscure beers from 30 breweries from NYC and friends around the region and across the country.

The $75 ticket gets you unlimited samples from your favorite breweries, with some of the finest food vendors NYC has to offer providing light snacks through the night. We’ll be bringing Hammarby Syndrome & 1/2 Ale.

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Bash with Dinner Lab @ The Brooklyn Brewery & Brooklyn Bowl
8pm, Saturday, February 22
Sold Out; Tickets For Soul Clap & Dance Off Nationals Available Here

Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson and Dinner Lab Dinner Lab Chef Brandon Byrd come together for the first time since their collaboration during Mash New Orleans to create a multi-course beer feast with Mash Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes.

Guests can expect pairings of Brooklyn Brewery’s most popular beers, rare brews, and some added surprises to complement each dish dreamt up by the evening’s culinary stars. The experience will be illuminated by projection artists Nuit Blanche New York.

Immediately following Mash Bash will be The National Championships of Mr. Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance Off, next door at Brooklyn Bowl (open to all Mash Bash Dinner Lab guests). At each Mash stop during our 2013 tour we crowned a different Soul Clap winner and we’ve brought them in from all 11 cities to see who will rise above the Brooklyn fray. A portion of proceeds will help support Slow Food USA, co-founded by Garrett Oliver.

Brooklyn Tap Takeover & Tasting @ Top Hops
6-8pm, Wednesday, February 26

We’re bringing out our best at Top Hops for a tap takeover. Sample our newest Brewmaster’s Reserve, Hammarby Syndrome, and our first ever Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment, Wild Streak, alongside past Brewmaster’s Reserves and perennial favorites. We’ll even be raffling off 6 bottles of a highly whispered about beer that doesn’t exist at the end of the night. Check out the beer list here.

NYC Brewer’s Choice
6pm, Wednesday, February 26
$65 Tickets Available Here

NYC Brewer’s Choice returns on February 26 from 6-10pm as a featured event of NYC Beer Week. This year’s event, which will be held for the first time at The Wythe Hotel here in Williamsburg, has an all New York focus. More than 16 NY state brewers, including our own Garrett Oliver, will be on hand to pour and discuss some of their most special beers, all of with will be served alongside a loving food pairing provided by some of the city’s best restaurants. Jeff O’Neil of Peekskill Brewery will deliver the keynote address.

Cold Comfort: Lagers in the Historic Nassau Brewery Lagering Caves @ The Historic Nassau Brewery
1-5pm, Saturday, March 1
Sold Out

Join Josh Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course and host of the NYC homebrew tours, as he hosts Cold Comfort: Lagers in the Historic Nassau Brewery Lagering Caves. These caves have remained largely untouched and unseen since their 19th century hay-day, but on March 1st, you can descend, partake in pretzels, and learn about the history of the former brewery. We will be pouring Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager,  Brooklyn 1/2 Pils, and Brooklyn Lager.

Brooklyn Tastings
Sample new releases Wild Streak & Hammarby Syndrome.

The Sampler
234 Starr Street, Brooklyn
6-8pm, Wednesday, February 26

Hops & Hocks
2 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn
6-8pm, Thursday, February 27

Stinky Brooklyn
215 Smith Street, Brooklyn
7-9pm, Thursday, February 27

Brunch Finale @ Houston Hall
12pm, Sunday, March 2
$15 Tickets Available Here

After a long and relentlessly enthusiastic New York City Beer Week complete with revelry, comradeship and delicious beer, you know need a more relaxed setting. Celebrate the awesomeness by coming to a meet-some-brewers closing brunch at Houston Hall! Beer selections from each brewery member will be available along with an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. Your ticket includes one beer plus the buffet.

 

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!

It’s a busy week in Tennessee, September 23rd – 29th

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Tennessee is the epicenter of music and whiskey. We humbly offer beer.

Knoxville
Monday 9/23, 6pm: Beer Dinner @ Sunspot
Tuesday 9/24, 6pm: Bacon 5 Ways @ The Market in Maryville
Wednesday 9/25, 4pm: Beer Tasting @ Downtown Wine and Spirits
Thursday 9/26, 5pm: 17 Tap Takeover @ Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern

Memphis
Wednesday 9/25, 5pm: Beer Tasting @ Cash Saver
Thursday 9/26, 6pm: Beer Pairing @ Local Downtown
Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th: Gonerfest

BROOKLYN, SWEDEN vol. 2 ANNOUNCED

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We’re pleased to announce the triumphant return of BROOKLYN, SWEDEN, our festival of Brooklyn for the Swedish set. Last year we rocked Scandinavia with a killer lineup of Brooklyn bands at Debaser. For our second go around we’ve decided to diversify the diversions and bring Stockholm a mashed up marquis of Brooklyn bands, food, film and art. Here’s the full schedule, and get your tickets here:

Thursday 22 Aug:
Debaser Strand:
Doors 17.00 BBQ Blowout + DJs: Fingers on The Pulse

Doors 19.00
Found Footage Festival 19.30
My Debaser Band: Humfree Bug Art 21.15
My Debaser Band: For BDK 22.15
Live Curfew: 23.00
DJs: WWDIS

Friday 23 Aug:
Debaser Slussen: Outside 15.00 – 03.00, Inside 22.00 – 03.00
Outside: DJs Karl + Vlademar 15.00 – 20.00
Outside: Debaser All Stars 20.00 – 03.00
Inside: DJs Pelle Höök + Friends
Inside: Designer Drugs 00.00
Inside + Outside: Nuit Blanche

Debaser Medis:
Doors 21.00 – 03.00
DJs: B-Line, Def
El-P 23.00
Debaser Strand:
Bar Brooklyn: Doors 17.00 Vänner & Bekante 22.00 – 03.00
Venue: Doors 19.00 Azure Blue DJ session (TBC) + DJs Fingers on the Pulse

Saturday 24 Aug:
Debaser Malmö: Doors Outside 17.00, Doors Inside 22.00
Designer Drugs + DJs (inside + outside)

Debaser Slussen: Outside 15.00 – 03.00, Inside 22.00 – 03.00
Outside: DJs Christoffer “138″ Röstlund & Pink Punk 15.00 – 20.00
Outside: Gustav Sundh & Daniel Bech 20.00 – 03.00
Inside: DJs Roller Derby
Inside: Lydia Lunch 23.00
Inside + Outside: Nuit Blanche

Debaser Medis: Doors 15.00 – 03.00
Bio BFF Movies 15.00 – 22.15
Venue: Afterparty Doors 21.00 DJs 22.00 HNNY + SVMK + Yours Truly + Frank & Ilker + DJ WWW

Debaser Strand:
Bar Brooklyn: Doors 17.00 DJs Viktor Johnsson & Friends 21 – 03.00 + Marky Ramone 23.30
Venue: Doors 22.00
Night Train Soul Clap Dance-Off med DJ Mr Jonathan Toubin 22.00 – 03.00

Sunday 25 August
Bio Rio: Slideluck

Debaser Strand:
Bar Brooklyn: Doors 17.00
Brooklyn Sweden Closing Party: DJs Ami & Friends 19 – 23

MUSIC - Oddball hip-hopper El-P, the legendary punk of Lydia Lunch, EDM dudes Designer Drugs and Soul Clap & Dance-off from Mr DJ Jonathan Toubin.
COMEDY - The accidental thriftstore genius of Found Footage Fest.
ART- Local film & photography paired with food & beer from our pals at Slideluck.
FILM - Bike madness from Bicycle Film Festival.
FOOD – House Chef Andrew Gerson has prepared beer pairings and menu’s for all of our events:

Brooklyn Sweden Debaser Menu courses to be offered Thursday – Sunday:

Brooklyn Companion Ale
Picadillo Stuffed Calamari, Herbed Yogurt
filling: ground lamb/beef, raisins, onions, peppers, jalapeno, green olives,cumin

Brooklyn Local 1
Duck Breast, Corn Puree, Shaved Zucchini Salad or roasted vegetables

Brooklyn BLAST!
Fried Jasmine Rice, House Kimchee, sunny up egg

Brooklyn Local 2
Roasted Lamb chop, potato pistachio and cinnamon foam

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Scallop, melon, ceviche with achiote emulsion

Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager
Debaser Chiliburger

Brooklyn Monster Ale
Debaser Veggieburger

Brooklyn Brown Ale
Steak Sandwich

Black Ops
Gorgonzola Cheese Cake,  Hazelnuts

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Rhubarb and roasted jalapeno crumble, vanilla

The Calexico Brunch Menu:

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Brioche French Toast Strawberry Compote, Minted Whipped Cream

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
“The Lower East Side” Family style plate of Gravlox, onions, tomato, capers, cream cheese, rye or pumpernickel, toast

Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Reserve Scorcher #366
Calexico Huevos Rancheros

And finally, the BBQ Blowout Menu:
Pulled Pork, Carolina vinegar sauce  OR BBQed vegetables
Kale and cucumber slaw (vinegar based no mayo)
or roasted potatoes
Corn on the cob with herbed butter

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!

 

 

It’s a busy week in The Research Triangle, July 26 – August 2

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The more you know.

Chapel Hill/Durham
Friday 7/26, 11am: Beer & Food Pairing @ Wooden Nickel Pub
Friday 7/26, 4pm: Cheese Pairing @ Sam’s Quik Shop
Saturday 7/27, 7pm: Beer Dinner @ Tyler’s Taproom
Sunday 7/28, 5:30pm: Brooklyn Brewery/Carolina Brewery Collab Beer Dinner

Raleigh
Wednesday 7/31, 6:30pm: Beer Dinner @The Raleigh Times
Wednesday 7/31, 9pm: Tap Takeover @ The Architect
Thursday 8/1, 4pm: Cheese Pairing @ Tasty Beverage
Thursday 8/1, 6m: Tap Takeover & Food Pairing @ Busy Bee
Friday 8/2, 5pm: Tap Takeover @ The Oxford

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?

Charleston Tour

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We swayed into the Palmetto state on Monday and arrived in Schvitz city for a week of food, beer, brewery tours, and general merriment. My first stop off the plane was the cozy little bottle shop, Beer Exchange. I arrived to find Sarah of Goat.Sheep.Cow, Cheese Shop dolling out a Honey goat Gouda paired with Local 1, the perfect combination to begin my Charleston culinary adventure.

Charleston has always been recognized for its quiet historic streets, war relics, and Cannons and artillery pointed out to sea, symbolically protecting its peninsular coastline. The true soldiers here are the chefs, restaurateurs, and brewers who not only protect, but also foster a local food system with a valor that only a southern gentleman could muster. And believe me this is not an assumption, I tried a pretty significant cross section of the restaurants that make Charleston one of the most vibrant food capitals I have been to. Charleston has a particular balance of Southern inspired cuisine mixed with great fusion spots, crafting local ingredient forward menus with a southern sensibility like, Xiao Bao Biscuits, Two Boroughs Larder, Husk and the Butcher and Bee. If it sounds like I am listing places it is because I am, we ate our faces off trying to work through all the recommendations we received. Figs Italian inspired menu was a perfect meal from start to finish, and seven of us worked our way through the entire thing. Throw in Liberty Tap Room, Tattooed Moose, The Glass Onion and you have a serious food scene mixed with southern hospitality, great beer, and a true sense of community.

I had the opportunity to eat at all of the Places mentioned above but the real highlight of the week was cooking with Todd Garrigan at Craftsmen Kitchen and Tap Room. Todd and I created a menu inspired by his cuisine, and perfectly paired with our beers. Duck Ham, a Mallard riff on southern cured ham melded perfectly with the deep cherry flavors of Our Kriek (Ghost Bottle). Guests drank Sorachi Ace alongside seared Head on Shrimp and sautéed vegetables as a typical June Monsoon poured through town. As the rain pounded down its sound was lost amongst boisterous conversation, great food, and flowing beers.

Wednesday was a much anticipated Charleston brewery tour where we got a chance to visit local legends like Westbrook, Holy City, and the ones who started it all, Palmetto Brewery. After three hours of meandering around town in the sweltering heat before our tour started, I was ready for a cold beer. Our tour guide and drinking companion from Brews Cruise explained that Charleston had a rich brewing tradition, but the reemergence of breweries after prohibition was slow to take hold. They may have started late in the game but these brewers are not messing around, and If my Lost bag ever arrives I will have some delicious bottles to remember my new friends by. We ended the day at Holy City, sitting around the bar in a large open garage and patio equipped with darts, a pool table, corn hole, and a full view of the Brew House just feet away. If it sounds like all we did was eat and drink your wrong, we sweated too, which is kind of like exercise, so I don’t feel so bad about our culinary pursuits.