It might go without saying, but this beer dinner rocked my socks off. I am a huge fan of Phantom Carriage for so many reasons (decor, the beer is amazing, etc.) and for them to host The Culinary Underground is icing on the delicious cake.
The event took place behind the usual wall-o-barrels in the main tasting room, and the food was intimately prepared within view of the diners. We enjoyed a fantastic beer cocktail, prepared by the talented Jacob Cedeno who now is the bartender for Little Sparrow. Blood red and complex, it was very tasty and the perfect intro to the evening.
Course 1: Pumpkin veloute, whipped creme fraiche, toasted pecans, confit of garlic. Paired with Delores – a dark farmhouse ale ABV 7%. I couldn’t get enough of this soup. There was these little pops of salt that was so damn satisfying. I am a bit of a salt fanatic so perhaps that’s not for everyone, but it was great for me. The soup was seasonal and comforting. I think the pairing was spot on, it kept me coming back for more and didn’t overpower the food at all.
Course 2: Offal chicken liver mousse, toasted baguette, shallot beer jam, marjoram cheese and charcuterie, ECB lomo, cave-aged bleu, double cream brie, toast points. Paired with Annalee – a hoppy farmhouse ale ABV 5.4%. I absolutely love a good cheese plate and this was really tasty. My only complaint is I wanted more toast points because the pieces of cheese were pretty generous. The hoppy farmhouse was great for washing the palate between bites of rich cheese and cured meats.
Course 3: Beet granita, shaved granny smith apple, mint, sweet potato gel. Paired with Broadacres – a brett/lacto wild berliner weisse ABV 3.7%. This plate was beautiful. It was a bit hard to eat because it was melting so fast due to the heat of the place, but what I was able to get on my spoon was really good. It was light and did exactly what you want an intermezzo to do.
Course 4: BA Stout braised beef cheek, beet puree, black midnight fall farrotto. Paired with Ambler – a country farmhouse grisette, ABV 7.8%ABV. The meat really just fell apart, and it was very much like you a typical pot roast, just done really well. The garlic bombs in the farro was intense, but super tasty. The portion was pretty big, and this is one more reason I love The Culinary Underground events. It’s not one of those you-get-tiny-bits-of-food-and-get-in-and-out-on-the-way-home type dinners. The farmhouse was a nice pairing, it was slightly sour and cut the stinky garlic breath like a champ.
Course 5: Pumpkin chevere cheesecake, espresso cocoa crumble, flower pedals, pumpkin spice. Paired with Lugosi – A strong dark sour, 12.8%ABV. The cheesecake was tangy while being sweetly spiced with pumpkin notes, and the texture was well done with the crunchy elements incorporated. So holiday. Much stunning. Apparently this beer is also really hard to find and very well-renowned. It was dark and complex, having notes of stone fruit with a intense tartness that was really quite perfect. It was the best way to end a spectacular meal.
Overall I had such a wonderful time. The people working the event (both the Culinary Underground Crew and Phantom Carriage) were courteous, and very professional. I noticed a lot of strangers were freely chatting and connecting, as I did with the lovely couple sitting across from me. Another fun dinner in the books for The Culinary Underground and Chef Andrea Machuca. See everyone at the next one! Cheers.