Thursday June 23rd marked the second beer dinner at City Tavern. This time it was excellent Southern-inspired food paired with exceptional beer from both Cismontane and Taps. This dinner also included the addition of a 5th course, which meant more food and more beer. The additional food and drink slightly increased the price of the dinner, but it always felt like we were getting our monies worth. Having gone to the first dinner I had high hopes, and I’m happy to report that not only did it meet my expectations, but exceeded them. The night started with an introduction by Jessica Christensen – Chef De Cusines, Victor Novak – Cismontane, and Evan Weinberg – Taps. They went over the menu and the beer pairings. Later during the dinner each one visited the tables to see how everyone was doing. Let me start off by going over the menu:
-Ambrosia, oranges, coconut cream paired with Taps Belgian White Wit
*It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture of it…hence the empty plate.
-Pulled heirloom pork, lexington red slaw and hushpuppies paired with Cismontane Casked Citizen steam beer
– Buttermilk fried chicken, corn and fava succotash, green tomato jam paired with Cismontane/Taps Saison
– Shrimp & Grits, country ham-braised collard greens paired with Taps Bier de Garde
– Pecan pie, vanilla whipped cream, salted caramel ice cream paired with Cismontane American Double Stout
Although they were all exceptional dishes, I enjoyed the Ambrosia salad and Pulled heirloom pork the most. The Ambrosia seems like such a simple dish, but the coconut cream and hint of sea salt really brought everything together. Paired with the Taps Wit it was something I really wish I could recreate at home. The heirloom pork was expertly seasoned and the lexington red slaw was bold and spicy. I had the casked Citizen steam beer prior to tasting the pork dish and really found myself loving the creamy texture and subdued hop aroma and bite. After eating the spicy slaw and pork the beer had completely changed. I found myself tasting more Northern Brewer with an augmented aroma and bite. This is a good thing. It’s really amazing how food can transform beer and beer can transform food.
I feel like this sort of forum makes for a very personal experience. You get to enjoy your courses with your table/group in addition to receiving individual attention from the brewers and chef. Honestly, these events are fun and educational. Not only are you sampling some of the best local food and beer in the area, but you are also learning about pairings and discovering new flavors that you may not have known about before. Jessica Christensen did an excellent job modifying her favorite Southern comfort foods into full-fledged gourmet masterpieces. Cismontane & Taps, like Eagle Rock at the previous dinner, have great beer that works so well in a forum like this. If you are in the Culver City area you should definitely check out City Tavern, and if you are in Brea or Rancho Santa Margarita you should check out Taps Fish House & Cismontane. Cheers!
– Kip B.
Los Angeles Ale Works™
Update – June 28, 2011
John and I went back to City Tavern for a business meeting on Tuesday. The place was hoppin’! It’s good to see a new place like this so busy. Jessica Christensen, chef de cusine, and Matt Meiers, General Manager, have really put together something special. We looked over our beer manufacturing projections while enjoying some awesome craft beer and brew burgers. Can’t wait to go back.