Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thirsty Business

I'm ashamed that I'm not even ashamed to admit that Amber and I have a wee bit of a stalking problem. Not in a creepy illegal way or anything. But if there were a line between being a fan and being a stalker, I believe we are playing fast and furious on that line. The object of our attention is The Thirsty Traveler, with whom we enjoyed two events this past week. Amber says we shouldn't think of it as bad-stalking since we pay for these events, therefore supporting him in his endeavours. We're quite altruistic, really.

The first event was the Beer Tasting Dinner on Tuesday night at Fynn's of Temple Bar. I didn't take any pictures of this event (dim lighting, too much drinking, eating and laughing to stop and snap). I did tweet.

  1. Beer tasting with the Thirsty Traveler at Fynns's of Temple Bar...Toast beer: County Durham Signature Ale (preceded by a Strongbow). 6:44 PM Nov 17th
  2. Soup: roasted butternut squash, wild rice and fried ginger paired with Great Lakes Winter Ale. 6:45 PM Nov 17th
  3. Mmmm must try to remember that Great Lakes Winter Ale...VERY TASTY! 7:07 PM Nov 17th
  4. Salad w/Jerusalem artichokes, chickpea fritters, feta cheese pomegranate vinaigrette paired with Hofbraeu Oktoberfestbier! 7:25 PM Nov 17th
  5. Hofbraeu a little hoppy... 7:54 PM Nov 17th
  6. Main: Asian Quail w/exotic root vegetables paired w/Fullers Extra Special Bitter. 7:55 PM Nov 17th
  7. Indifferent to the quail and the special bitters. Apparently there was a veg option! 8:27 PM Nov 17th
  8. Dessert: Chocolate mousse tarts and rosewater cream paired with Chimay Premiere... 8:51 PM Nov 17th
  9. Oh man, not as young as I once was. Feeling the pain of a little over-indulgence last night! 7:00 AM Nov 18th
This was the second beer tasting at Fynn's that I have attended, and I have attended other special events (whisky tastings). The chef, Patrick Narain, does quite a good job with the pairings; an interesting feat considering he doesn't eat meat or drink! The food is generally excellent, although I have not been terribly impressed by the mains in general, and the dessert this time was a bit 1980's in its presentation. I was super-impressed by the Durham County Signature Ale used for the welcome toast and the Great Lakes Winter Ale paired with the soup. Kevin Brauch is a true entertainer, and as usual it was a very fun evening. I was hurting a little bit the next day since I "helped" Amber with some of her beer; she was still a bit jet-lagged having just returned from Africa a few days earlier...

The second event this week was a Tutored Tasting with The Thirsty Traveler yesterday at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. This was the third time we attended this event (see past events here), and it never gets old. Entertaining, fun and informative! The line-up this year was excellent: one beer (Innis & Gunn, an oak-aged beer I am very fond of); one red wine (Crasto from Portugal, presented by Miguel whose family has owned the vineyard in the Douro region in Portugal for about 450 years or something); two very different gins (Hendrick's from Scotland and Victoria Gin from BC); two absinthes* (Taboo from BC, La Clandestine from Switzerland); and finally an infused-rum and vodka (infused with wildberry and cranberry respectively).

World of Drinks Tutored Tasting

Although I had tasted half of the items in the line-up, it was still great to hear about why Kevin chose them, and to see the contrast between the two gins and the two absinthes. I almost cried with joy when he tweeted the menu earlier in the day; we were so not looking forward to the Great Wall of China wine from last year which tasted like moth balls fermenting in soy sauce. The focus on absinthe was a special treat for me - I would have loved if the whole line-up was absinthe...but that's an event for a different day (likely in my dreams...or New Orleans).

Kevin held the absinthe up for an eternity to demonstrate the finer points of the louche and to showoff his special absinthe glass from Pontarlier (from where I sat it appeared to be a Grand Pontarlier reservoir glass with matching dripper). Of course our favourite blonde cheeseball had to worm her way into the picture! (Please notice my restraint in not making "worm" into a "wormwood" pun, as sorely tempted as I was!)

Thirsty & Absinthe & Amber

And of course, to close we have the requisite blurry-cam shot. The problem of a) having someone else take the picture, and b) having someone else take the picture after imbibing all of the above, is no doubt apparent.

Amber & Thirsty & Kelly

We completely forgot to take a photo of all the empty glasses; a tradition blown! We always find that amusing. Overall we had a great strategy this year, ate before we came, hit cocktail alley a bit hard but slowed right down, stayed away from sweet things, paced ourselves and generally came up not requiring more than Advil to get through the evening. I believe no porcelain gods were honoured this year. Good times!

*Yes, I realize that this is not a world that should be pluralized. Sue me. It's my blog and I can write what I like!


Anonymous said...

Ah, the life skills we must learn. Makes a mom proud....

Yvette said...

OK. Just a little weird. Yes, I know that Kevin has re-invented himself as a beer and food traveller/writer but when my friends stalk him? This is the fellow who hosted TVO Kids and helped raise my toddler!