The night in food: Lagunitas beer dinner

March 16, 2012


Beer dinner hosts, take note. The Blackbird Café hit it out of the park. This was without a doubt the best beer dinner I’ve been to. I don’t think it really matters that it was Lagunitas (though, Sean, Tony, Karen, your wonderful beer obviously enhanced the experience). Blackbird was just amazing. I was a little hesitant to buy into the $65 cost and would be again because as you may know, I live paycheck to paycheck, but my faith had been established with a previous wonderful Lagunitas dinner and this time I was rewarded with something even better.

Brewery people who I know, this isn’t about your beer versus their beer. You know I love you all. This was about utterly fantastic vittles in a really interesting space that was comfortable to hang out in. I should have taken some pictures of Blackbird Café itself. But I immediately became focused on the food.

So here is the visual report. Chef Chris Stevens, so, so delicious. Everything.





Meat & Greet / Pils

Yay, a pun worthy of the English to start the night. I didn’t take any of the olives or other vegetables that were available because, being a victim of my self-imposed Meatless March, I zeroed right in on the meat. THE MEAT. I enjoyed smoked salmon, beef tongue, and “pig-head balls.” Heh. The balls were the tastiest things of the night, even though in general, I try to avoid deep-fried things. 

Because of Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, I have become much more enthusiastic about trying “weird” stuff. But my mother often served tongue when I lived at home. I was excited to have some.



Warm Dandelion Greens / Maximus

I harvest dandelion greens from the yard for my rabbit when they’re in season, and every time I do that I think that I should just throw some into my own salad, too. But I never do, so I was excited to have them served to me by a fancy restaurant chef. They’re really bitter! But fortunately the bitterness was offset by a delightfully sweet poppyseed vinaigrette.



Bonus Mini-Course: Watercress Soup with Creme Fresh

Served in a cute, tiny, espresso cup! It reminded me a lot of a spinach soup that I make. Other than the opening charcuterie, it might have been my favorite of the evening. Really good.



Seared Ahi Tuna / IPA

One of the things that I’ve come to love in recent years is when non-beef meat is (un)cooked rare. I’ve always loved a bloody steak and raw hamburger (hey, I’ve lasted this long, don’t judge me). I’ve learned that other flesh varieties are also better when cooked less rather than more.



More Bonus Mini-course: Celery Root Soufflé

I hate to say that both of the two unannounced mini-courses did their best to steal the show. So, so good. Who doesn’t love fluffy, puffy stuff?



Duck Breast & Confit / Imperial Brown

With Brussels sprouts hash, parsnip puree, and crispy onions up top. I love Brussels sprouts, and one of my favorite side dishes is a “fake mashed potatoes” made from pureed cauliflower with butter and half-and-half. The whole course, again, sooo good.



Bent River Camembert & Harissa Cashews

By this time, my tablemates were feeling a little full or didn’t like the cheese or didn’t like the nuts. I won. First, because I had been eating too much bread all the way along, I dipped my fork in the Camembert then stuck a cashew on the end. Delicious. Perfect. Then I braved a couple more slices of the bread.



Burnt Caramel Pudding / Imperial Red

Gingerbread crumble + cardamom cream and shredded ginger on top, in a jelly jar that matches the beer’s Mason jar? GET OUT! I absolutely would not have needed to polish off this delicious dessert. I wasn’t allowed to take the jelly jar home, but I did take the Mason glass home. Now I have two!





Sean, those were some good stories you told. And I understand why you go to the Blackbird every month — they’re amazing!



One Response to “The night in food: Lagunitas beer dinner”

  1. Tori Says:

    That looks and sounds amazing!

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