I received a text from Lauren some time in July, that read along the lines of:
::Hi! I’m having a small vegetarian beer pairing dinner on August 11th, and I wanted to invite you, but I’m pretty sure you said you had something going on that night. ::
Well, I mean, only my birthday.
And why not celebrate your birthday with bloggers, veggies, and beer?
Five courses. Six beers. One special birthday cupcake.
For once, Jenn (and the rest of your lovely guests at my personal What I Ate Wednesday beer-thday party), I’m going to try and let the pictures do most of the talking.*
*Especially because I don’t know anything about beer.First course? “Summertime Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese” (provided by me and Alex)—only called that because I figured a somewhat fancy dinner concept needed a somewhat fancy dish title.It paired wonderfully with the Bison Brew Honey Basil Ale that she and I had found on our day trip to Staunton a few weeks ago…which was shocking, since after I made the Italian Gazpacho I didn’t actually taste it until we had it at the party.
Even if my gazpacho had been inedible, I’m pretty sure our course would have been given resounding applause, since the cheese straws Alex made from smitten kitchen (although subbing in some whole wheat flour) were one of the most popular treats of the night.
Second course? Second appetizer.
This one–Bruschetta Gorgonzola and Apples [from Cooking Light]–was made by Adrienne and Al to pair with Hoegaarden.I nibbled just a wee bit on the cheese–wanting to protect my vegan with benefits, lactose-averse stomach and all--but I could tell even from a nibble that it was incredible.
Next up was Brittany‘s Vegetable Tian with Allagash Curieux. As soon as I spotted this dish, I knew I wanted ‘in,’ and it definitely did not disappoint. Obviously I was so excited to eat this casserole full of zucchin, eggplant, onions, and sweet potatoes, that I was unable to take a picture of my portion. But I am now going to have to make my own tian–or, as we all learned, ‘layered, baked vegetable dish’–soon.
[Read Brittany's recap of the night here.]
Lauren and Kyle’s friend Bob brought a home brew–”Dirty Southside” IPA–to pair with a mouthwateringly delicious Quinoa Tabbouleh. He used this recipe from Epicurious, but substituted cilantro for parsley and added some seasoned rice vinegar in for the citrus. Both Brittany and I were raving and taking seconds. You’d think nothing could top what had come before, but I might argue that the last two dishes of the night were some of the best. Lauren and Kyle had picked out Cigar City Brewing’s Maduro Brown Ale for the entree pairing, and Lauren had made an incredible feast of Black Bean, Zucchini, and Sweet Pepper Enchiladas.In her recap of the evening, she gives credit to Daily Garnish’s Homemade Enchilada Sauce for making the dish as delicious as it was, and yes, it is so good I pretty much would eat it with a spoon, but I say any hostess who takes the time to make a special vegan set of enchiladas for me has a heart that must have worked its way into the food somehow.*
*I’m not sure I successfully conquered my attempt at being somewhat cheesy and hugely grateful at the same time. But I tried.Not done yet! Shannon was in charge of dessert, and she used Hardywood’s Virginia Blackberry to make Blackberry Jam Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream.I was a bit cautious around the buttercream, but I could tell from my nibble that these were incredible. And I KNOW Isaac was quite happy to eat the rest of mine. [He even asked if Shannon might consider making his and Brittany's wedding cake.]
And, as I mentioned before, Lauren was the epitome of a fantastic hostess. She even surprised me with a special vegan birthday cupcake so I would have a candle to blow out on my birthday. [And not get sick from eating buttercream....]It truly was one of those nights when the food was good, the company even better, and you feel so happy about the whole situation that you spend a majority of the drive back to Charlottesville commenting to your passenger about just how much fun it was.
“Pumpkin (Ale) + Plant (Based)” Pairing in October, anyone?