Category Archives: pairing dinner

Spaten Beer Dinner @ Cook Hall

Spaten I recently had the opportunity to check out Cook Hall’s new fall menu (read about it here). It was basically bomb.com (side note: I was kind of shocked to find that this URL doesn’t seem to be registered…hmm). That being said, I was SUPER excited when Cook Hall generously extended an invitation to check out one of their signature beer dinners! Cook Hall hosts a bi-monthly 5-course beer pairing dinner, with themes ranging from the creative (whiskey versus beer throwdown!), to the educational (i.e., brewery or variety specific pairings). October featured a Spaten Brewing beer dinner. Jackpot.

Lagers

First, a little about Spaten Brewing Company: They have been around the block a time or two. This Bavarian brewery has been one of the leading exporters of German beer for over a century. Spaten is pretty much committed to kickin’ it old school when it comes to their brewing philosophy; they continue to brew in the tradition of the German Purity Law, circa 1516 (!), decreeing that beer should only be brewed using malt, hops, and water. Shocking revelation that a historic German brewery would do things by the book, I know.

Cook Hall prepared a five-course menu featuring thoughtful and creative beer and food pairings throughout the evening.

We started out sampling Spaten’s Premium Lager (Munich Helles Lager/5.2%). This crisp, balanced lager was notably drinkable, and paved the way for our delicate yet delicious starter, Roasted Beet Salad, served with blue cheese, dried fruits, and nuts. The tender, sweet beets paired nicely with the maltiness of the Lager.

Lager and Beet Salad
Lager and Beet Salad

2nd Course brought us Spaten’s Oktoberfest (Marzen/Oktoberfest/5.9%)- one of the sanctioned beers of Oktoberfest Munich (i.e. “THE” Oktoberfest…sorry, Addision/Lake Highlands/McKinney!). This smooth, full-bodied Marzen, with its malty aroma, was slightly bitter yet balanced with hints of caramel. Paired with the creamy, decadent, Butternut Squash Soup with oyster mushrooms, this duo could not have been a more perfect way to welcome fall (Seriously…this soup is everything. Please come try it before it goes away).

Oktoberfest and Butternut Squash Soup
Oktoberfest and Butternut Squash Soup

3rd Course featured Spaten Franziskaner (Hefeweizen/5.0%), the brewery’s Bavarian wheat beer. Spaten’s hefe is lightly malty with  a creamy finish, bringing lovely notes of banana and clove to the table. The Franziskaner paired nicely with our next dish, Gulf Shrimp & Smoked Bacon, with papaya mustard and avocado. The smooth, wheaty finish of the hefe was a match made in Heaven for tangy notes of chili and cumin in the papaya mustard.

Franziskaner and Gulf Shrimp
Franziskaner and Gulf Shrimp

4th Course, they brought out the big guns; Spaten Optimator (Doppelbock/7.6%). I love a good doppelbock, and Optimator is about as good as it gets. This sweet, malty offering is heavy-bodied, and features notes of caramel and licorice. It was a rich, indulgent accompaniment for our main course, the Braised Short Rib with ginger and chive spaetzle. Oh man, this was the good stuff. The short rib was fork tender, and the ginger and chive were a lovely, surprising twist on this traditional German noodle dish.

Braised Short Rib
Braised Short Rib

The 5th and final offering was Spaten’s Dunkel (Munich Dunkel Lager/5.5%).  This medium-bodied dunkel is lightly sweet and moderately, complex, with caramel and toffee flavors. If you have never enjoyed a thoughtfully selected beer with dessert, you have been missing out, my friends. The Dunkel paired beautifully with Caramel Roasted Pairs, served with brown butter ice cream. Lighter caramel notes from the beer intensified the richer caramel flavors in this dessert dish, and it really worked.

Dunkel and Pears
Dunkel and Pears

Bravo, Cook Hall. Bravo, Spaten.

Cook Hall beer dinners are hosted on a bi-monthly basis. Each 5 course meal includes one full-sized beer, and tasting sizes of four subsequent beers. The cost is $55 per person (tax & gratuities not included)- a great deal! Presently, the next beer dinner is planned for early December (firm date and menu TBD- check back here for updates). Space is limited, so make your reservation ASAP!

 

Cook Hall Dallas at the W DALLAS – VICTORY
cookhalldallas.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas (Victory Park)
214.397.4111

Mon – Thurs. 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Fri/ Sat. 11:30 AM – 11:00 PM
Sun. 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Reservations available online at Cook Hall Dallas, or via Opentable

An Unforgettable Experience: Asador’s Harvest Dinner with Cocktail Pairings

Last Friday I was lucky enough to have a seat at Asador’s 3rd Harvest Dinner. If you take anything away from this review, understand that you MUST dine here. I was quite honestly blown away with every dish and every cocktail. I was also impressed how friendly and obviously talented the executive chef and mixologist were. Asador did one of the very best executions of farm to table high-end dining I’ve experienced. With the current craft cocktails trend being craft cocktails with “everything but the kitchen sink” muddle in (where some bartenders sacrifice taste for shock value), I was happy to discover that Asador’s cocktails were inventive, but with a real purpose behind every ingredient.

Let’s dive in, shall we? The Harvest Dinner took place in the new ballroom and rooftop terrace at the Renaissance hotel, which boasts great views of the Dallas skyline. It was a perfect summer night, and I enjoyed taking in the beautiful sunset while enjoying Asador’s amuse course, which was a Bay Scallop Ceviche and the Classic Rum-Brandy Punch, with nutmeg sprinkled on top.

The full menu can be found here, but in efforts not to write a novel, I’ll just cover my personal highlights of the evening.

photo 2 (11)The second course was Octopus Carpaccio, comprised of paper-thin slices of octopus paired with pickled plums and jicama. It was a light and refreshing summer dish, but the octopus made it a bit more substantial and very flavorful. The paired cocktail was called the Air Mail, which was a crowd favorite (lime juice, honey syrup and Prosecco). It brought out the sweetness of the pickled plums and tempered the acidity of the octopus.

The fourth course was Mesquite Roasted Texas Rib Eye with corn pudding, charred corn succotash and grilled baby jewel lettuce. This was truly one of the best pieces of beef I’ve ever had–it was cooked perfectly rare and melted in my mouth. (I’m sure there’s a pun here, but I’ll skip it.) The cocktail pairing was the Bourbon Thyme Smash. I stay away from bourbon drinks normally because I’m a ‘fraidy cat (to Susie’s everlasting disappointment), but this cocktail was tangy and refreshing thanks to the clove and honey syrup and fresh lemon. I’d come back just for a cocktail.

Last but not least … dessert! I audibly gasped as I tasted the fruity yet savory dessert, Texas Grapefruit Curd, topped with toasted coconut, a shortbread cookie and just the best whipped cream I’ve ever tasted. They paired the dessert with a simple Aperitif Cocktail of Amaro Nonino. This was the perfect ending to an absolutely flawless meal.

The executive chef explained that he had created the courses keeping in mind that it was just a bit warm outside (good joke), so he made sure every course was light and refreshing. #nofoodcoma

Everyone I interacted with at the Asador was genuinely friendly and hospitable. This would be a great place to take parents or to go for a romantic dinner because you can be assured that both the service and the experience will be impeccable. Even if you just have time to stop by for a cocktail, you are in for an absolute treat. And don’t forget that it’s restaurant week, so this is a perfect opportunity to try Asador out for the first time or for a refresher evening.

Thank you to Asador for the spectacular evening!

 

ASADOR
A Modern Texas Farm to Fire Cuisine located in the Renaissance Hotel
2222 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas TX 75207
(214)267-4815
www.asadorrestaurant.com
Facebook | Twitter & Instagram: ‪@Asador_Dallas

HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS
Monday-Friday | 4pm – 7pm

  • $4 Draft Beer & $6 House Wine
  • $6 Select Specialty Cocktails
  • $1 Appetizers