Food Porn: Russian River Six Course Dinner


By Pierzy - Posted on 06 April 2012

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A few weeks ago, I went to a tasting of the very rare Pliny the Younger and immediately became an addict. I would not have been surprised if the people from Intervention knocked on my door and asked me to participate in a documentary about addiction. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait an entire year for another fix.

The other night, Memphis Taproom – my happy place – offered up a limited engagement six-course Russian River dinner and beer pairing. I gladly paid for a $90 ticket. (Here it is featured on Diner, Drive-Ins & Dives.)

Here’s the menu:

After a brief introduction by the owner – in which he explained that the souvenier Russian River glasses on the table were not complimentary and asked that we please, “steal them from somewhere else” – we got down to business.


First course:

 Koolcumbers

First beer:

Pliny the Elder

The first course was very light, but it did bring out some flavors in the Elder that I had never tasted before. It was a good pairing in that the beer is strong, but light, so the food should follow suit.

Second course:

Chicken Fried Sweetbreads

Second beer:

Damnation

My dinner companion enlightened me that sweetbreads are the other, usually unused parts of the chicken, and asked if I would still eat them. I instructed him that (a) I grew up eating scrapple so nothing fazes me and (b) I’ll eat anything that was a living thing, so I was all in. It turned out to be a great decision, because they were delicious – fried to just the right crispiness – and paired with a terrific salad with just a hint of a kick to it.

Third course:

Grapefruit Duck

Third beer:

Blind Pig

Now we’re talking. The duck, paired with pistachios, was so succulent and juicy that when I touched the meat with my fork, it just slid off the bone. The grapefruit flavor was not at all overpowering, but rather provided just enough of a change from the typical duck dish. It was probably the best duck I’ve ever had and the tastes were smartly balanced with the edge from the Blind Pig.

Fourth course:

White Asparagus

Fourth beer:

Consecration

The white asparagus was actually a background character compared to the filet that really took center stage of this dish. It was red, but cooked to perfection and reminded me of the steak I had on my honeymoon in Florence last year. The addition of tiny bits of lobster added a distinct flavor that was unexpected. My dinner companion had never had Consecration before and I failed to warn him of the tartness before he took a sip. His reaction, looking like a person that just ingested poison and was experiencing a seizure, was priceless. Needless to say, he was not a fan of my favorite non-Pliny Russian River brew.

Fifth course:

Espresso Pound Cake

Fifth beer:

Salvation

By this point, I was pretty full (and a little buzzed) but we still had two courses remaining. The pound cake was very well made, but I’m not a huge fan of sweets, and the rum and burnt chocolate just wasn’t doing it for me. I stuck with the chocolate ice cream.

Sixth course:

Cheese Course

Sixth beer:

Pliny the Younger

The final course was the cheese plate, European-style, and it was paired with the rare Younger. All three cheeses were great and when the owner informed us that the lime was tequila soaked, we immediately sucked the line before taking a bite of the cana de cabra mousse. It added a completely new flavor to the cheese. Aside from one sip to pair it with the cheese, I elected to save the Younger until after I was finished so that I could enjoy it. It still went down too easily.

It’s a bit weird to say that a six-course, three hour dinner went by too quickly, but it did. The evening flew by and before I knew it, I was full and beer-less. That was my only complaint and I hope that I can attend a similar event when Mr. Younger makes his rounds next year.

Pierzy writes a weekly NBA column during the season, as well as columns revolving around other sports, hip-hop, movies, TV shows, food, beer, marriage, (impending) fatherhood, and a variety of other topics. You can folow him on Twitter here.

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