November 18, 2009

Where an amateur drinker goes to a cider pairing dinner

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A few weeks ago, I got an invitation to a dinner at Davis Street Tavern, showcasing Crispin Cider. It sounded good. And I thought, this will be a good opportunity to meet people and not say stupid things. And network. Since you are going to be unemployed like any minute. Also, to eat delicious food. Which is actually the highest priority. I mean, who cares if I ever work again, as long as I get to eat fabulous food. Right? I see you nodding your head and rubbing your belly. Of course right.

So when I got there, they were passing out cocktails - the Crispin Mule: vodka, lime, ginger and light hard apple cider. I held it in my hand, nervous to drink because 1. remember how I am a lightweight and not an expert drinker, or even really a drinker at all? 2. I hadn't really eaten all day 3. what if I get tipsy before dinner and say stupid things, which would defeat one of my major goals for the evening. So I took baby sips and chatted with some lovely people and I largely avoided saying anything stupid.

When we finally sat down, they brought out a big, tall, overwhelming glass of Crispin Brut cider and a plate of Kumamoto Oysters with apple mignonette and trout roe. The cider was very delicious and went with the oysters (oh and I was an oyster virgin before this dinner. I like them!) and the mignonette quite well. I took about two sips of the cider and set it aside with my nearly full cocktail. Around this time my head started buzzing just a bit. (Stop laughing. I'm not kidding. It can happen THAT fast. When you are like me.)

Next course: Pan Roasted Quail with quinoa and hazelnut stuffing, chestnut puree, sauteed escarole and marionberry gastrique. Oh. And another big, tall glass of cider. This time, it was the Original cider. I had never had quail before, but it was quite lovely and packed full of flavor. The chestnut puree was very hearty - I think I want to try to make it sometime. It added a bit of heft to the dainty course. Incredible flavors all merged together in my mouth and the cider was a perfect complement. Again, I set aside my nearly full cider glass next to the two other drinks by my plate. I was looking in awe at the people around me who were drinking all of their drinks. How do they do it? Ah well. Next.

Grilled pork loin with grilled figs, butternut squash and marcona almond puree. This was the star of the dinner - the juciest, most flavorful pork loin I have ever had, popped with a spicy, red-pepper flake spiked dish of butternut squash and the intense mellowness (it seems a contradiction, I know. But it's not. Just go with it, okay?) of the almond puree. Oh. And another big tall glass of cider. Honey Crisp. This cider made the biggest impression on me because I could really taste the honey and it was very nice with the pork. Very. Two sips, set aside.

My plate was now surrounded by three full glasses of cider and a cocktail. I was starting to feel bad. But I didn't want to get drunk and sloppy and unable to walk or drive just so I wouldn't hurt someone's feelings. That would be super bad form, right? I was thrilled when the waitress offered to remove my embarrassment. "It's a bit overwhelming, isn't it?" she said in an understanding voice, as she put the glasses on her tray.

At this point I was so full. So full. But dessert was next. I was enjoying listening to people around me and at some point, I started talking about Greece. But I was nervous, you know, talking to people, because that's scary and I think my voice got kind of loud and my face got red as I talked about how much I loved it. The girl next to me had traveled all over and she probably thought I was silly, getting all excited over Greece, because she talked about traveling through Europe as if it was a completely normal thing that everyone does and she clearly did not get four-year-old-giddy over it like I did, even though she was probably half my age. Okay, maybe not half. But something young. I wonder if I will ever be as nonchalant and sophisticated about traveling as she is. I'm going with NOT.

Oh and then, as I nibbled on the breathtaking soft ginger snaps with sage whipped cream, someone said something about my blog and I didn't quite hear it but I laughed anyway. Then I realized they might be waiting for a response, so I said, "I'm sorry, what did you say? I didn't quite hear you." She said: "I can't wait to read what you write about this dinner." Oh she was nice. I laughed as my face turned 40 shades of red and I filled my mouth with the cookie so I couldn't talk anymore. The drink they brought for dessert was like a hot buttered rum, but it was made with the Crispin Honey Crisp cider. One sip and I was done for. I could not eat or drink. One. More. Morsel.

A few people gave me their business cards. I had none. But I guess I should get some for my little blog, huh? Seeing as I'm going to be spending a lot more time with it in the coming months. So, I said thank you and good bye. What a delicious dinner. I will have to go back to Davis St. Tavern to taste their regular menu - the chef, who designed the dinner to go with the ciders, did an exceptional job.

**Disclaimer: Crispin Cider invited me to this dinner and paid for it. They did not tell me to write anything about it and I seriously doubt they expected me to write a big long blog post about how I'm not a good drinker. But thanks to them and Davis St. Tavern just the same.


Transformations said...

Great post, Lizzy! And I look forward to hearing you gush about Greece.. ;-}

Ellen said...

I've traveled all over Europe... and I always gush over Greece. It's definitely gush-worthy. Great post.

Genet said...

Davis Street Tavern is my absolute favorite restaurant these days. (Mark works right upstairs, lucky guy.) The dinner sounds delicious!