Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Get mashed

"Two tickets, please."

Every so often, membership has its privileges. Though often combined with a fun and tasty potluck meal, most of my work with Slow Food DC involves many meetings and lots of logistical planning. It was fun this past Friday night to simply kick back with a couple of free tickets to a fantastic benefit dinner for my local Slow Food chapter thrown by two amazing chefs.

Did I mention it was a beer dinner?

Not only that, but one of the chefs -- Andrew Gerson -- is also one of the driving forces behind my all-time favorite spent grain cooking blog. I was so excited to be in the same room, and listened eagerly as the surprisingly humble but knowledgeable chef explained the beer pairing as we passed around each of the six courses. So entranced was I that I almost spilled my beer. Twice. (I maybe don't need to mention that I was entirely too shy, even after five or six drinks, to approach Chef Andrew to tell him how much I love his work. I mean, he's a real spent grain chef. Me, I dabble. No need to babble.)

The food was stellar, as was the beer. But the genius was in the pairing. Okay, fine, there was quite a bit of inventiveness in the food itself, actually, as chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes mingled traditional Ethiopian flavors with globally inspired dishes ranging from a surprisingly spicy guacamole with toasted injera chips to a watermelon and catfish ceviche to beer braised lamb shanks to a custard with figs and honeyed injera. My favorite, though, was the chicken and peanut stew. (Oh, no, not because it was paired with my favorite Brooklyn pumpkin ale. No, really. That is good beer, though.) Kenton and I left the four-hour-long meal around midnight with full bellies and happy hearts.

To the Brooklyn brew crew and Slow Food DC, I must say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

It was an amazing meal, and so beautifully presented, that some of us who will remain anonymous maybe took their placemat home as a memento....

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