No, not THAT kind of sausage-fest, you dirty birds. An actual festival of sausage, courtesy of Chef Gillian Clark and the fine folks at Colorado Kitchen!
When we visited for dinner a few weeks ago, we noticed that the table tents were advertising an event called “Bangers and Beer.” Intrigued, my boyfriend and I coughed up the $45 per person fee and got our names on the list. I must admit, I was skeptical that we’d get our money’s worth. However, when we returned on the eve of the blessed event (which was held on a day when the restaurant is usually closed), we were treated to an incredible variety of sausages and suds, the latter of which came from the Oskar Blues Brewery and were all in cans.
The first round was homemade (by Chef Clark) seafood sausage with braised cabbage. The sausage was delicious, and the cabbage was tender and mild. The second round was maharlika longanissa (a Polynesian pork sausage) with pineapple salsa. YUM–probably my favorite of the evening, the meaty sausage meshed perfectly with the sweet, slightly tangy pineapple. Both of these dishes were paired with the Ten Fidy Imperial Stout (10% ABV). I was VERY concerned about how a stout would taste with something as delicate as seafood sausage, but it was a wonderful pairing. I don’t normally like dark beers like that, but despite its motor oil-esque consistency, it was actually quite good.
The third plate of sausage was New York-style with caramelized onions and potato salad. This one was just okay for me (though the gentleman from the Bronx sitting to my right thought it was quite authentic), but the onions were sweet and tasty. The fourth plate was a boudin blanc with smoked onions. I wish I had kept some of the caramelized onions to compare with the smoked, as both were really good but very different. The boudin’s texture was out of this world, but it was incredibly rich and I couldn’t finish more than a few bites. These courses were served with the Gordon Strong Ale (8.7% ABV). It had a great amber color, was quite floral, and managed to be hoppy without being overwhelmingly bitter. Probably my favorite beer of the night.
The fifth type of sausage? Hot links, served with cole slaw. The links were just okay, and I didn’t like the cole slaw as much as the braised cabbage from the first plating. The sixth variety was andouille with curried potato salad. Hooray! The sausage was incredibly spicy, but the potatoes cooled the tongue and added great dimension to the dish as a whole. The beer for these rounds was Dale’s Pale Ale (6.5% ABV), which was similar to the Strong Ale but had a more honey-like color and a lighter, mellower, more effervescent taste. I still liked the Strong Ale the best, but Dale’s came in a close second.
The meatstravaganza closed with sausage numbers seven and eight, a venison and juniper berry version (served with baked beans) and a wild boar, black currant, and blueberry version (served with German potato salad). I liked both of these sausaged VERY much, although I think the wild boar slightly edged out the venison because you could really taste the interplay between the meat and the berries. I also didn’t really care for the baked beans (they were a little dry), but the potato salad was quite good. Our last beer was the Old Chub Scottish Style Ale (8% ABV). To be honest, I was so full and drunk at this point that I didn’t taste much of this beer–but I recall that it was way too heavy for the end of the meal (at least in my personal state). I’d like to try it again, though, as I’m sure it would have been good on an emptier stomach.
Dessert did not contain sausage, thank goodness–it was chocolate and nut stuffed tuilles, and it was the perfect finale to a wonderful evening. After sipping some coffee and thanking the chef and her staff, we ambled to the bus stop, fat and happy. If you haven’t been to one of Colorado Kitchen’s special events, you should definitely do so–you will get more than your money’s worth, you’ll learn a few things, and you’ll have a helluva time.
In a former life, I was a “regular” DC blogger–I wrote about whatever tickled my fancy, and I frequently attended happy hours organized by various individuals in the community. When my writing became unfocused and unfulfilling, I shut down my old site and made the move to food bloggery. I really enjoy writing on this site, and I love that I’m learning a lot about all things culinary, but I do miss interacting with other like-minded bloggers and meeting wonderful new people.
During a recent chat with Lemmonex (frequent commenter and writer of the highly informative and entertaining Culinary Couture), we decided that it was time to organize a get-together for the DC food blogging community. So, without further ado, we present to you…
“Blogger Buffet: A DC Foodie Funfest”
Okay, once you contain your excitement, here are the (somewhat limited at the moment) details: we would like to host a potluck where DC food bloggers can meet, greet, and eat! We can share recipes, trade tips and tricks, and gossip over which local chef we’d most like to…um…eat with. Yeah.
We were thinking early- to mid-March, and either of us would be happy to host the shindig (as long as attendance isn’t more than about 10–we have roommates and small apartments). We can dole out course assignments (which will, of course, be flexible) once we’ve gauged interest. So tell us your interest!
We think this could be really fun, so definitely let me know in the comments if you want in. If you have a big, Metro-accessible house that you’d like to offer up, all the better! We really hope you’ll join us for food and friendship. Looking forward to hearing from everyone!
Thanks to some VERY generous folks at DonRockwell.com, Vidalia, and CityZen, on Monday, December 17, I found myself celebrating the end of a trying workday by attending a Wagyu beef tasting.
For the uninitiated (which I was before this event), Wagyu refers to certain breeds of Japanese cattle. The meat from Wagyu cattle is known for its intense marbling, rich flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. Because of the Wagyu cattle’s genetic predispositions and its special diet (which, I’m told, includes sake and tummy massages), Wagyu beef contains high percentages of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It also has a superior ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats than other beef.
The quality of Wagyu beef is determined by a 12-point marbling-score scale. Using the scale of Wagyu marbling scores, USDA prime beef would have a ranking of about 5 to 6. I believe the beef we were presented with at Vidalia was scored a 10. In other words, it was the good stuff!
After Chef R.J. Cooper showed us the whole, raw slab of beef, we were treated to our first presentation–carpaccio, served with sulfuric salt and an arugula salad (both on the side). The visual was stunning, with alternating stripes of bright red meat and pure white fat. The meat was incredibly tender and rich, though the flavor didn’t blow me away (until I paired a bite with the sulfuric salt, which created a fantastic taste combination reminiscent of steak and eggs).
Next came the real treat–Chef Cooper seared the meat perfectly rare, and it was served with Chef Eric Ziebold’s famous garlic fried rice. The food on that plate was so incredibly delicious, I’m afraid I don’t have the proper words to do it justice. The flavor and texture of the Wagyu was intensified by the heat, and each bite was amazingly buttery and decadent. Imagine the best steak you’ve ever had–moist, juicy, flavorful, impeccably cooked, and infinitely satisfying. If you multiply that sensation by 100, you might approximate the perfection that was contained in those few ounces of beef. Oh, and Chef Ziebold’s fried rice was pretty frickin’ good, too.
I left the restaurant unsure of whether my happily tipsy feeling was being caused by the wine (a fantastic tempranillo recommended by some newfound friends at the bar) or the magnificent meat. Would I shell out the requisite hundreds of dollars per pound to indulge in Wagyu once again? Not at my current pay grade–but I will certainly treasure the opportunity to try such a delicacy, especially when the experience was shepherded by such a gracious culinary community as we have in DC.