Whenever you go out for a night of drinking with friends, inevitably, you’re going to get hungry; and when you get hungry & you’re drunk, you know you’re going to inhale any type of greasy/junk food you can get your hands on. Instead of going down that same path over and over, why not try drinking and eating at the same time! And not just any food or drinks, but beer that is specifically paired with said food!!!
Now I usually leave the food blogging to Mari since she knows what she is doing, but when you tell me that one of my favorite breweries (review coming soon) is pairing their craft beers with some exquisite cuisine SPECIFICALLY MADE to compliment said beer, you know I’m going to have to talk about this.
So before dinner started and while we were waiting for the other dinner guests to arrive, I had to cleanse my palette with a “Bodhi’s Last Wave Double IPA.”
And a little while later as we were seated, they started to bring out the first course which consisted of house made pretzel bread rolls with P. Swayze IPA mustard & Barley croquettes with pickled onions & sour orange aioli. Which paired great because the hoppiness & crispness of the IPA with the aftertaste of apricot (which was not overbearing) complemented each other spectacularly.
Next up on the menu was a delicious and crisp melon salad that was accompanied by crispy farro, peppers, culantro, feta cheese & cilantro dressing which was paired with the “Chet Belgian Tripel.” Which paired great because Chet Belgian was super smooth and malty and enveloped your whole palette.
Then we were served what was called “Harpke’s Petite Roots” which was carrots, radishes, turnips, greens, pickles, and beets paired with the “Nunchuck Skills” American Wheat With Orange peel which was a nice pairing because the tartness/sweetness of the wheat infused orange peel beer left a nice, crisp aftertaste that enveloped your palette.
And then it was on to the main course which was the “Avenge Me Red Roasted Pork.” Now this bad boy was served up with crushed potatoes, mustard greens, chicharron, onion soubise and of course it was paired with the “Avenge Me Irish Red” which complemented the roast perfectly because the “Avenge Me” has a nice malty, citrusy hoppy taste which are all balanced and one does not over step the other. And it has a bit of the sweetness which compliments the saltiness of the pork.
Finally, the last meal and on of our favorites, dessert; we had the pleasure of having a dark chocolate, roasted marshmallow, Big Whiskey dulce which was paired with the amazing “Big Whiskey Barrel Aged Brown Ale.” Now I don’t even need to tell you why this tasted amazing and paired so well, but when pasty Chef Amy tried the “Big Whiskey” she called dibs because she knew she was going to make a fantastic dessert. The sweetness from the chocolate and marshmallow and dulce was balanced out complemented by the Lucky Machete Brown Ale which was barrel aged for a year in Corsair Distillery casks. The tastes from the beer which were the whiskey from the barrel it was casked in, and some caramel & a hint of chocolate notes as well.
Well, while I had a food baby and was about to be put into a food coma, I had the pleasure of meeting the chef and his family. Born and raised here in the MIA, Chef Ramirez remembers back to when he first fell in love with cooking; it actually all goes back to his grandparents. He told me it all started with roasting pigs; and with Noche Buena around the corner, you know that’s a big deal! He remembers that his first adventures in cooking were that he was cutting guava wood and pulling the meat off the bones in preparation for dinner. Fast forward a couple years later and he was graduating from Johnson & Wales University- North Miami with honors in the culinary arts. Before his time spent at Michaels Genuine (for seven years) he started up at the Talula Restaurant in South Beach; and since then he has helped open up a couple other restaurants as well.
When asked why name your new spot “The Westchester?” He responded to me that “The Westchester is an expression of me, where I’ve been and where I’m going.” And I can tell you he meant that wholeheartedly. From a man that was born and raised here in Miami, his personality shines through his food; where he takes classic Miami (Latin) dishes and ads his own flare to each one. And the one thing I love most about this guy is that he is a family man. To his left was his brother helping serve dishes, while his wife and other kids were enjoying the delicious meal that he prepared. And to the right, his daughter who after dinner was served, stood up without request and helped hand out dessert to all the patrons attending the event. And in the far back, his cousin, who is also a lawyer and helping get everything settled for the grand opening of “The Westchester.”
Be on the lookout for these guys as they will be taking over “Tacos & Tattoos” space for food service at Lincolns Beard; date is to be determined, but don’t let that get you down; Chef Ramirez is there from time to time doing a pop up kitchen where I hear he serves some amazing ropa vieja sliders!
Till the next one my friends.