monk’s cafe – lost abbey beer dinner

Guest blogger Erin is back to recap her experience at last Tuesday’s Lost Abbey beer dinner at Monk’s Cafe.

Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to attend Monk’s annual beer dinner with Lost Abbey’s Tomme Arthur. I first discovered (and loved) Lost Abbey’s beers last year, and on a trip to California in August, was able to visit the brewery and sample plenty of their Belgian-inspired brews. When I heard that Monk’s was hosting a Lost Abbey dinner, I knew I didn’t want to miss out.


The dinner started off with a fluke and smoked scallop ceviche, with just a touch of jalapeno, and was paired with Devotion, one of Lost Abbey’s year round beers. Devotion is one of their more hoppy beers, and it went really nicely with the heat from the ceviche.


Next up was a duck confit spring roll with a cherry dipping sauce, and paired with Cuvee de Tomme (which was also used in the cherry sauce). This is a big brown beer, (11%!) which is fermented and then sits in bourbon barrels for a year with sour cherries and wild Brettanomyces yeast. The end product is a complex beer with strong raisin, cherry and sugar flavors coming through. I thought this was the star pairing of the night. The roll was perfectly crisp, and the flavors of the beer really complimented the duck.


The third course lightened things up a bit. Lost Abbey’s Carnevale, a bright saison ale, was paired with a chicken roulade of ham, spinach, goat cheese, pesto, and mushroom sauce. The roulade was a really nice blend of flavors, and the pesto packed an herbacious punch that was balanced by the gravy.


Course four was definitely the boldest pairing of the night. The beer was a strong golden ale called Gift of the Magi, a seasonal winter offering, and was paired with a massive lamb shank. When I say massive, this thing was HUGE. Braised with Gift of the Magi, it was served with carrot, turnips, onions, and parsnips. The beer was a good match for the strong gamey flavor of the lamb.


Next was a cheese and beer pairing. The cheeses were L’Amuse Gouda from The Netherlands, two years aged with hints of caramel and vanilla, and Lauren’s Pride, a house made raw cow’s milk cheese washed with Deliverance, the accompanying beer. Deliverance is another big beer (12.5%), and is a blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share. The booziness of this beer was balanced out by the cheese, and even tempered the pungent Lauren’s Pride.


The final course was a warm apple pie topped with extra sharp NY cheddar, and paired with my favorite beer of the night, Red Poppy. Red Poppy is a brown ale that is blended with sour cherries and aged in oak barrels with wild Brettanomyces yeast, resulting in a deliciously sour beer. The sweet apples and buttery, flaky crust complimented the tartness of this brew.

The meal was really enjoyable, and Tomme popped in around each course to talk about the pairings, his history, and love of Monk’s. If you haven’t checked out Monk’s or Lost Abbey, I highly recommend both.

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national mechanics – national veggie burger


I’ve added the National Veggie Burger at National Mechanics to my lenten burger list ever since I read about it on Mac & Cheese. Since I’ve been working in Center City a lot last week, it was the perfect opportunity to try it.


Accompanied by steak fries and a pickle, the National Veggie Burger is served on a fresh roll with your choice of cheese (I went with cheddar), lettuce, tomato, and red onion. The bun was perfectly crusty with a light, airy inside. The veggie patty consisted of julienned carrots, zucchini, broccoli, and mushrooms. It was slightly crisp and flavorful; you could taste all the veggies in it. Glad to have a veggie burger that wasn’t made up of beans, not that that’s a bad thing. You just don’t find beanless veggie burgers very often.

Also, National Mechanics has a burger special, Monday to Friday from 11 am – 7 pm. $7 for the National Burger or National Veggie Burger. Not a bad deal at all!

National Mechanics
22 S 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.701.4883

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brewer’s plate 2012


Fair Food‘s annual fundraiser, Brewer’s Plate, was held for the 8th time this past Sunday. This year’s event was held at the National Constitution Center. Like last year, everyone represented at Brewer’s Plate was from 150 miles of Philadelphia.


The VIP area was home to a cooking demo from Chef Jose Garces, a craft beer presentation by Bill Covaleski (Victory Brewing Co.) and Marnie Old (wine author & columnist), and several restaurants. Supplying some of the good eats in the VIP section was Country Time Farm. Their heritage pork was used to make porchetta sandwiches and bacon wrapped paté.


One of my favorites from last year, The Bent Spoon, an artisanal ice creamery from Princeton, NJ, returned with three new flavors: dark and storm (king) caramel made with Victory Storm King, organic ginger, and salted caramel; nugget apricot nectar sorbet made with Troegs Nugget Nectar; and a bourbon chocolate ice cream made with Yards Love Stout, 61% chocolate, and bourbon. Later on I found out that they had a secret Russian River float! You had to give them the special code in order to get it.


Across the room from The Bent Spoon was North Mountain Pastures with their assortment of charcuterie.


Several breweries and restaurants even had pairings together at the tables. Lancaster Brewing Company paired their Double Chocolate Milk Stout with City Tap House‘s chocolate custard.


One of my favorite plates of the evening was the MLT (mutton, lettuce, and tomato) from Southwark. I should have had seconds!


Bar Ferdinand had a Spanish-German pairing by serving lamb Merguez sausage topped with a Spanish onion kraut alongside Stoudt’s Brewing Co.


As much as I enjoyed the Penn Museum last year, the National Constitution Center served as a great venue to hold everyone in. It was large and it didn’t feel too crowded despite the high volume of attendees. In addition to eating and drinking, you could pose with statues of our founding fathers or dance to the music of The Hoppin’ John Orchestra.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is one of the best food and beer events, don’t miss out next year. You’ll have a great time!

Check out some other photos from this year’s event:

Here’s my recap to last year’s Brewer’s Plate.

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sketch (vegetarian visit)


My housemate has never been to Sketch. We made sure to change that fact this past weekend. Part of me was upset I couldn’t have a burger made from meat, but the other part was looking forward to trying their vegetarian/vegan options that they had to offer.


On the burger side of the menu, the only options (for me) are vegan burger and seitan. The vegan burger is a housemate patty made from several different types of beans and spices. I asked about the seitan and was told that it was like “pulled pork” and could be served as a barbecue sandwich or even a cheesesteak. As soon as she mentioned cheesesteak, I jumped at the opportunity! I’ve been wanting a vegetarian cheesesteak for the past couple days.


The orders were in, mine was a seitan cheesesteak with grilled onions and cheddar and the housemate’s was a vegan burger with cheddar and chipotle sauce. We both went halfsies so I was able to try some of the burger, too. The burger came on the same LeBus bun that their other burgers are served on. It was topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle sauce. The bean burger was tasty and very hearty. The outside had a slight, pleasant crisp to the outside. The inside had a lot of flavor and wasn’t dry. The seitan cheesesteak outshined the burger though, in my opinion. Firstly, the cheesesteak was served on a fresh roll, a definite plus. I originally had second thoughts about ordering it with the cheddar since I didn’t think it would end up as gooey as American. Sketch, however, served that cheesesteak with hot, gooey cheddar! The onions were delicious. They were grilled long enough that they had some caramelization to it. The seitan was some of the best seitan I’ve had. It was juicy and tasted like it was marinated. I’ve only had one seitan cheesesteak before which was good, but this was definitely superior.


Oh, we also got their belgian fries and an additional order of the green chili cheese fries. Yes, I’m aware it’s a lot of food, but I should mention that one of our friends joined us later to eat 70% of the fries! I won’t judge her.

Check out my last visit to Sketch.

If you’re vegetarian or just feel like abstaining from meat for a meal, Sketch has two excellent options for you!

Sketch
413 East Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
215.634.3466

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misconduct tavern – misconduct burger


President’s Day was a good day. I had the day off from work, I was able to meet up with friends for lunch, and I was able to have a burger for lunch. That burger, however, was my last before going vegetarian for Lent for the third time.

The Misconduct Burger is made up of house ground Prime Angus beef. It comes topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion between a challah roll. My modifications/additions were caramelized onions instead of the raw and Fourme D’Ambert blue cheese.


The meat was cooked to medium rare and was super juicy. The challah bread was an excellent alternative to the brioche I’ve been often seeing on burgers. I love blue cheese on my burgers and this one was great, though it was different than any blue I’ve ever had on a burger. The Fourme D’Ambert was a slice instead of crumbles and had a much creamier, almost brie like texture to it. The accompanying fries were also tasty.

Not a bad last burger to have before the fast! Also, I got $3.50 off for Burger Monday, which I believe is a new special they started!

Misconduct Tavern
1511 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215.732.5797

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