Monday, August 24, 2015

Burgh'ers Beer Dinner: Inventive Southern Food Paired with Fabulous Terrapin Brewery Beer

Location Today:  Pittsburgh, PA - but mentally, I am in Athens, GA
What I am cooking:  Thai Red Curry Shrimp, Pork and Tomatillo Stew
Upcoming Recipe on Thursday:  Kale Pesto

The  beginnings of Pork and Tomatillo Stew!!!

     I love it when restarts hold special event dinners.  The meals are usually three to four courses, averages included and are usually centered on a particular theme.  Recently, we attended a Southern beer dinner at Burgher's in nearby Zelienople.  This was our fist visit to the restaurant, which gained popularity because of its spectacular burgers and Chef Fiore's passion for sourcing locally.  It is a familiar theme around this area.   While the dinner would not include hamburgers, we were excited by the Southern slant.  It has been a long time since we have lived in the Deep South.  What made the event even more of a pull for us was that the paired beers came from Terrapin Brewery in Athens, Georgia.  While we were unfamiliar with the beer, we spent many a Saturday afternoon in Athens back in the day.  Go Dawgs!!
     When Chef Fiore Moletz introduced the meal, we knew we were in for something delicious.  He stressed that with the exception of the shrimp we would be eating, everything was sourced locally.  Yeah!  The room held about thirty diners and it had an open yet cozy atmosphere.  The noise level was perfect and the music did not overpower conversation.  We settled into our seats waiting patiently for the evening to begin.
     The first course was Southern standard snack, pork rinds.  These were no regular pork rind.  These were made from  pigs that were raised less than ten miles away.  The rinds were crispy and not greasy and the spicy Ole Bay seasoning paired nicely with the Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA.  We were happy to have leftovers to munch on the following day.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese Sauce Served Over Cornbread

   The second course was perfection: two fried green tomatoes served over cornbread with a pimento cheese sauce.   It combined some of my favorite Southern foods, cornbread, pimento cheese and green tomatoes.  Unfortunately, I did not get much as DD ate most of the tomatoes, leaving the cornbread for me.  This was also paired with a Terrapin beer but for the life of me, I cannot remember which one.  Terrapin's Maggie's Farmhouse Ale, a summer brew, did a nice job alongside the tomatoes.
Pickled Shrimp

     Pickled shrimp was the third course.  Served in small drinking glasses, again, it showcased the originality of the chef and was the only non-locally sourced dish.  The pickled onions were still crunchy and paired nicely alongside the cold, pickled shrimp although the Ole Bay seasoning was a bit overpowering.  The chef decided that there was no beer that would pair nicely for this dish and that made perfect sense.

Pickled Fried Chicken and Catfish
Again, three beloved Southern favorites with a creative twist made up the main course.  Pickled fried chicken was served alongside fried catfish and a side of coleslaw.  The pickle juice permeated the chicken in a very positive way and the meat was flavorful and juicy.  The catfish was served at room temperature and would have been better at a hotter temp but it was still very tasty.  I couldn't finish the chicken but did enjoy it later in the week in a salad.  Another Terrapin IPA was served with the main, Hi-5 IPA and while I am not a big fan of IPAs, this one was quite good.

Bread Pudding
     Bread pudding was for dessert and it was heavenly.  Light and tasting almost like a cinnamon bun, it was, unfortunately for me, too much.  My stomach could not take any more.  DD indicated on several occasions that she did not like bread pudding so she did not need to try it.  We nagged her enough and then the dish disappeared...I guess she changed her mind.  I did have room for the beer pairing, Terrapin's Liquid Lunch, a peanut butter and jelly porter.  Seriously...and it was delicious.
     I loved the fact that the Chef roamed around the room many times throughout the evening, talking with friends, meeting new guests and making sure that everyone was happy.  Between courses, a lively Q & A game kept the dinners entertained.  The service was great, the food was spectacular and overall, it was a great end to a weekend.  Beginning at 6pm and ending just after 8pm, we still had time to enjoy a Sunday evening before heading back to work on Monday.
    I guess we will have to make our way over there again sometime to try the burgers!

100 Perry Highway
Harmony, PA 16037

This weeks' CSA Plan:
Tomatillos:  Pork and Tomatillo Stew - Make Ahead Dish
Heirloom Tomatoes:  Simple - just eat them
Kale:  Kale Pesto
White Onion:  Good staple to have around
Red Potatoes:  Again, good staple to have around
Jalapenos :  I have become a big fan of bacon wrapped jalapeƱos this summer
Watermelon:  Just eat!

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