Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second Helping: Avocado-Corn Salsa

Original Recipe
My nephew, Ryder, means the world to me, so when he turned 3 last weekend, I was eager to celebrate. His party had a Toy Story 3 theme, equipped with blue cupcakes (to resemble Buzz Lightyear) and not so Toy Story-themed Avocado-Corn Salsa, made by me.

Although the cupcakes were a big hit that day (Ryder alone ate four or five), the Avocado-Corn Salsa was also pretty popular. Being a hot, humid day, the salsa was a crisp, cold and refreshing treat.

I originally found this magazine on Food & Wine's website, but I made some alterations, per usual (mainly to save some money). For instance, the original recipe called for one ear of corn, husked, and I just used a bag of frozen corn. I also doubled the recipe so it would serve at least eight people (which it did...although there wasn't a drop left by the end of the party).

Avocado-Corn Salsa (The Economical Eater version)
Yields: 8 servings

-2 Hass avocados, cut into 1/4-inch dice
-4 to 5 tbsp. lime juice (I used bottled; feel free to use fresh if you have limes on hand)
-2 tomatoes - halved, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
-1 bag frozen corn
-1/4 cup diced red onion 
-7-8 jarred jalapeno slices, diced
-1 tbsp. dried cilantro
-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a bowl, mix above ingredients together at least 30 minutes before serving time (I usually let it sit overnight in the fridge to allow the flavors to marry). Serve with Tostitos Scoops! Tortilla Chips. 

Second Helping Recipe
Since I only used 1/4 cup red onion, and still had an avocado and some jalapenos on hand, I decided to make myself a spicy, protein-filled breakfast a few days after Ryder's party. I also had a can of black beans in  the pantry, which was calling my name (and could also be very good in the Avocado-Corn Salsa - next time). So, I picked up some Pepper Jack bread from Russo's, and made a satisfying egg sandwich before work.

I simply cooked the onions in some olive oil until they were translucent, and then I added the black beans, 3-4 diced jalapeno slices, chili powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic, salt, pepper, and a squirt of lime juice. For the egg, I scrambled one egg with some milk, salt and pepper, cooked it in some butter, then added the bean mixture. I topped it all off with some cheddar cheese and fresh avocado. 

This sandwich seriously kept me full until well past lunchtime. The fresh bread and spicy kick from the beans helped to make this breakfast extra special - and I am so grateful to have leftovers of the bean mixture. Next time, though, I'll just toast or grill the bread, to make it more crispy.

What's your favorite dish to make with avocados? 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Recap: Taste of the Nation in Portland, Maine

On Sunday, I was fortunate enough to attend Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation in Portland, M.E. thanks to a contest I won through FoodBuzz. 100 percent of ticket sales to Taste of the Nation events around the U.S. go to Share Our Strength's efforts to end childhood hunger. To date, the chefs and restaurants who participated in Taste of the Nation events have raised over $265 million for Share Our Strength's cause.

Portland's event, which was from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., featured over 20 Maine-based restaurants and chefs. The restaurants served their finest cuisine for guests, with plenty of specialty cocktails, local and Belgian beers and wine to wash everything down with. 

Not only was I fortunate enough to attend this Taste of the Nation event (and, in turn of winning the tickets, cover it for this very blog), I was also lucky enough to enjoy the evening with Z, as well as the winner of my Taste of the Nation giveaway, Juli!

Z and Josh (Juli's husband):

Juli and I:

In addition to the food, the event had an outdoor seating area where the band No Means No performed around 6:30, after the food vendors closed for the evening, and the chefs mingled with the crowd.

Now, let's go to the important stuff - like what I ate. Over the course of the evening, I gorged on a number of gourmet, high quality eats (wild boar, anyone?), but I, per usual, will only share with you some of my favorites. Before I get to it, though, I must express my only gripe of the evening: The lack of vegetarian options. There were only about three vendors who had meatless dishes (or made a meatless version of their meat dish), and, even though I am an omnivore, even I was a little sick of meat by the end of the evening. Z, unfortunately (or fortunately?) had more of a liquid dinner than anything - but he took it like a champ.

OK - now on to the highlights of the evening!

Sweet Pea Pate au Choux Gnocchi with Port Clyde Lobster & Dandelion Farm Peas - Lily Bistro, Rockland:

Talk about locally grown and completely fresh. This dish by Lily Bistro was absolutely outstanding, and perfect for a hot, humid day. The hunks of fresh lobster melted in my mouth, and mixed with the fresh peas? Divine. However...I still don't know where the gnocchi is. But I'll let that slide this time.

Goat Cheese with Beets - Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth (Blogger does not want to rotate my photo):

Despite the sideways photo, this dish was simple, yet incredibly tasty. The beets were insanely fresh, and the cold, fried hunk of tangy goat cheese proved, yet again, that sweet beets and goat cheese are meant to be together.

Pacific Rim Tuna Tartar - David's, Portland: 

You wouldn't think crunchy, salty potato chips would do wonders with tuna tartar (I sure as heck didn't). But potato chips with tuna tartar has proved to be genius. The salty chips tasted outstanding against the cold, only lightly salted tuna. Bonus: The chips also worked as edible cutlery to scoop up the tuna with.

Mini Chorizo Papusa Atop Fresh Tomato Sauce Garnished with Radish & Cabbage Slaw - El Camino, Brunswick:

After eating a lot of colder entrees, this warm, delectable puff chocked full of chorizo flavor was a welcome change. The crunchy slaw helped bring texture to this otherwise soft dish, and the tomato sauce helped to round out all of the complex, yet well married, flavors.

Harbour Wind (Chambourd, ginger, lime, gold tequila) - Natalie's Restaurant, Camden: 

Tequila. Enough said.

Maine Summer Flounder - Fore Street, Portland:

This just may have been my favorite dish of the evening. The presentation was gorgeous, and the fish was perfectly cooked - it fell apart like a masterpiece with a touch of my fork, and the skin was crispy and well seasoned. The sauce that was drizzled over the top of the fish was also extremely silky and citrusy, and complemented the fish extremely well.

Cow with Red Onion & Quail Egg on a Crostini - Primo Restaurant, Rockland:

Confession: I've never had quail egg before (or at least, not that I can remember). And believe me when I tell you, I've been missing out. This mixture of rich, grass-fed beef with the oily, runny, rich quail egg was pure decadence. Grass-fed beef makes a world of difference, too - for our taste buds and our overall health (not to mention the cow's overall health).

Coppola's Director's Pinot Noir (California):

We were high rollers this evening, and were able to order this red wine in the VIP section of the tent. I'm a big fan of Pinot Noir, and this glass made me an even bigger fan. The wine was smooth and full of rich cherry and chocolate flavors.

Brioche Grilled Cheese with Aged Cheddar & Bacon - The Front Room, Portland:

Grilled cheese will never taste the same again. The crusty, well-buttered brioche mixed with the sharp, salty cheese and bacon (with some sweet, bthinly sliced apple in there) was completely and utterly amazing. Bonus: The Front Room was one of those vendors willing to make their dish without meat. 

Frozen Zabaglione with a Rhubarb Angelica Sauce - Swan's Way, Camden:

Cold, creamy, and the perfect serving size for such an event. 

Mini Chocolate with Salted Caramel Buttercream Cupcakes - Buttercup Cupcakes, Portland: 

These bite-sized delicacies were intensely moist, and the rich chocolate cake married beautifully with the salted caramel frosting. Not being a huge sweets fan, I really liked the addition of the salt here - and the buttercream was intensely airy and not jam-packed with sugar.

Root Beer Float made with Capt'n Eli's Root Beer:

I don't know what vanilla ice cream was used in this, but it was incredibly creamy and full of sweet vanilla flavor. This batch was actually so rich, I only drank/ate about a quarter of it.

Cranberry Colata (light and dark Cruzan Rum, cranberry juice, pineapple juice) - Sean Bishop:

My final drink of the evening was just as refreshing as the previous three (or eight?). Very light and refreshing, and not overly sweet.

Finally - my non-food or drink-related highlight of the evening was the Bagpipe Salute sponsored by the St. Andrews Society. I'm Scottish, so bagpipe players are fascinating to me. 

Our evening at Taste of the Nation was packed with delicious food, tasty cocktails, and plenty of musical entertainment. Due to the large crowd that was in attendance, I am confident Share Our Strength was able to raise even more money for such an important and worthy cause. Thank you again, FoodBuzz, for this wonderful opportunity!

Have you ever attended a Taste of the Nation event? What's your review?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Best Deal This Week: Discounted Drinks, Food and Movies at The Melting Pot

Before the Fondue of Foodies Tweetup last week, I perused The Melting Pot's website to take a look at their menu and other upcoming events. When I've dined at The Melting Pot in the past, the bill is usually more expensive than what I can pay on a regular basis. So, I was happy to see on their website the specials the restaurant runs every week - in this case, their Boston location specifically.

The Melting Pot in Boston has several deals during the week, but three very notable events are the Wine Down Wednesdays, Fondue & a Flick and Bar Menu Items & Happy Hour. Here's the lowdown:

Wine Down Wednesdays: Two glasses of wine paired with food for $25 per person. Menu changes weekly, but July 1st's is Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue, Garlic Dijon Shrimp,Smoked Salmon Bruschetta, and Amaretto Meltdown Chocolate Fondue paired with Maschio Prosecco and St. Supery Moscato. Event is 4-6 p.m.

Fondue & a Flick: Cheese fondue, salad, chocolate fondue and AMC theatre tickets for $30 per person (includes Loews Boston Common, Loews Harvard Square, and Chestnut Hill theaters). You can also add an individual entree for $15 (not the best part of the deal, if you ask me). Valid all day Sunday through Thursday and for reservations before 6 p.m. on Fridays.

Bar Menu Items & Happy Hour: 50 percent off in the bar area from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. A beverage purchase is required, and the menu includes non-fondue items such as Lobster Quesadillas, Savory Sate Skewers, Seared Ahi Tuna, Smoked Salmon Bruschetta, Garlic Dijon Shrimp, Kobe Beef Sliders and several different flatbreads.

For more economical eater-friendly deals at Boston's Melting Pot, click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Healthworks, Tofu and Beer

Let’s be honest: I like to work out, and I consider myself pretty healthy and active - but I don’t love going to the gym. I’d much rather be on a bike outside, or taking a walk through the woods, or going on a hike. However, Healthworks is slowly changing my mind on the whole gym thing. And I hate to love them for that.

When I attended the StyleFixx event a few weeks ago, I scored 12 free gym classes at any of the Healthworks locations. Awesome deal, right? I would be crazy to pass it up, so my cousin and I finally took our first class late last week – and now I’m hooked. We took the 20/20/20 class at the Cambridge location, which was a mix of kick-your-butt cardio and some strength training. It was a really fun, interactive class that kept me from getting bored and staring at the clock.

After the class, we were sweaty, hungry messes. I showered quickly in the Healthworks locker room, and then we walked over to Christopher’s for some protein-fueled eats.

We started with their Southwestern Tofu Dip ($6.95), and my mouth is literally watering as I type this. This dip was incredibly delicious, and totally hit the spot after a hard workout. The dip was a bubbling, warm bowl of black beans, corn, cheddar, goat cheese, tofu, onions and jalapenos. I could easily have eaten this with a spoon, but it came with tortilla chips for dipping. 

For an entrée, I opted for the Apple Spinach Salad ($7.95) which came with…you guessed it…spinach and apples, along with red onion, walnuts, and blue cheese with a cider vinaigrette. The salad was nothing too special, but the ingredients were fresh and meshed together beautifully. There was also the perfect amount of light, flavorful vinaigrette coating the greens.

After a somewhat healthy and completely satisfying meal at Christopher’s, my cousin and I met Z and some friends at Cambridge Common, which just so happens to be owned by the same folks as Christopher’s. At Cambridge Common, I had beer for dessert (I earned those carbs!).

All in all, we had a wonderful evening - a tough workout, delicious food, and great company was an awesome way to start the weekend.

Are you a fan of the gym? Why or why not?

Christopher's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recap: Fondue of Foodies Tweetup at The Melting Pot

If there's any food you don't like, I guarantee you if you dip it in cheese or chocolate your mind will change.

On Monday evening, The Melting Pot of Boston held a Fondue of Foodies Tweetup for some of us local bloggers. In attendance were some food writers I admire and read on a regular basis, including Michelle, Tina, Alicia, Dale and Pam (to name only a few). The Melting Pot had a wonderful spread for us, including a variety of cheese and dessert fondues, with cubes of bread, nacho chips, apples, Rice Krispies Treats, and strawberries for dipping.

To wash down all the fondue, several waiters walked around with complimentary white and red Sangria, Triple 8 Blueberry Vodka from Nantucket, and Still River Winery's Apfel Eis apple ice wine out of Harvard, Mass.

The folks from Still River Winery were on hand to chat with us bloggers, and gave us information about the winery and the wine itself. The apple wine was pleasantly tart, crisp and slightly sweet, despite the fact that no sugar is added to the wine.

My favorite fondues of the evening were the Fiesta Cheese fondue and the Spinach Artichoke. The Fiesta concoction was slightly spicy and full of salsa and cheese flavor, and even had chopped, fresh jalapenos on the side for added spice and texture.

The Spinach Artichoke tasted like your regular batch of spinach artichoke dip, but was extra cheesy and bubbling hot. Thankfully, it also lacked the intense mayonnaise flavor some spinach artichoke dips can possess.

As some of you already know, I'm not a huge dessert person, but I did manage to sample some of the chocolate and dessert fondues. The Pure Dark Chocolate fondue with the fresh strawberries was pretty spectacular, but the The Original was my favorite, made with The Melting Pot's signature milk chocolate fondue with a swirl of crunchy peanut butter. 

Overall, The Melting Pot put on a great Tweetup, and I was honored to attend. Big thanks to them for putting on such a great evening!

Side note: I'm attending Taste of the Nation this Sunday in Portland, M.E. and will be covering the event in its entirety for my readers! If you'll be attending as well, let me know so we can hopefully meet up! If you're not attending, tickets are still available here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recap: The American Craft Beer Festival

400 craft little time.

The American Craft Beer Festival took place last weekend, and Z and I met some of our friends at the Saturday night (and final) session. Held at the Seaport World Trade Center, the festival featured 86 American brewers and (only) 400 beer samples.

This was my first time attending the Craft Beer Festival, and I must say - it's a damn good time. When we first walked up to the World Trade Center, the line to get inside was miles long - but moved swiftly (just like every other line that evening). At some festivals, you can spend more time waiting in line then sampling the products, and, thankfully, this wasn't the case here. I also liked how sippers were supplied with a pamphlet that included a check list of most of the beers offered at the festival - that way, you could keep track of what you tried, and take notes along the way.

I was also fortunate enough to have a beer aficianado by my side the entire evening, so we were able to visit some of the best vendors (in our minds) that evening in the 3.5 hour time span we had to sample.

I sampled a truck load of beers Saturday evening, so I'll just share some of my favorites with you:

Left Hand Brewing Co. (CO) Milk Stout - Chocolatey, creamy, 5.9% ABV goodness.

Oskar Blues Brewery (CO) Mamma's Little Yellow Pils - Beer in a can rocks. This brew was light, refreshing, and perfectly crisp.

Boulder Beer Co. (CO) British IPA - I love most hoppy beers, and Boulder Beer's British IPA was bubbling with hops, with a smooth finish.

Redhook Ale Brewery (N.H.) Live Free or Rye - Since I am a New Hampshire native, I also loved this little number. The beer had a flowery, almost herbal taste. It was really light and invigorating.

Troegs Brewing Co. (PA) Java Head Stout - The first time I had this beer, it was served with vanilla ice cream (beer float, anyone?) at the Troegs Beer Dinner at Cambridge Common. Although this brew will never be the same without ice cream in it, it's still one of my favorite beers. It's fairly light for a dessert beer, with a strong mocha flavor.

Many beers Saturday night also went undocumented (as did my "performance" of the evening, when I slipped in someone else's beer puddle), but let's just say the event was well worth the $40 per ticket. I can pretty much guarantee we'll be there again next year.

Did you attend the American Craft Beer Festival? If so, what were some of your favorite beers?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Best Deal This Week: Free Wine and Oysters for a Buck at Rialto

Not many things in life are sweeter than free wine (except for, of course, free beer or vodka), but in this case, free wine reigns - and you can slurp down the priceless juice at Rialto Restaurant & Bar every Wednesday.

Wine Director Brad Nugent gives diners a sampling of several wines every Wednesday, and the line-up changes from week to week (check Rialto's site for each week's offerings). This week, Nugent is pouring Jorge Ordonez & Co. Moscatel Seco, 2009 as well as Alvaro Palacios' Garnacha/Carinena, 2006.

In addition to the wine, oysters are a buck on Mondays, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and until the last oyster is shucked. Rialto even uses local oysters for this deal - their Island Creek Oysters come fresh out of Duxbury, Mass. Local food for a buck? I'm in.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Drinking Wine Just Got Easier

It’s always refreshing to meet people who are passionate about what they do – and are eager to share that passion with everyone that crosses their path.

I had the pleasure of visiting The Urban Grape earlier this week on their media day, a new wine shop located in Chestnut Hill – with a very unique (and extremely effective) set-up.

Husband and wife owners Hadley and TJ Douglas opened the doors to The Urban Grape just last weekend, but are already turning heads with their varied wine selection (including kosher, organic and biodynamic wines), as well as how they organize these wines on their shelves. Unlike most wine shops that display wines by region or varietal, The Urban Grape organizes their wines by weight, or body. 

The Douglas’ even have two wine tasting machines in the store to help customers choose the right body of wine for them. 

One of TJ’s goals with The Urban Grape is to make all kinds of wine approachable to wine “snobs” and amateurs alike, and I believe organizing wines by body makes purchasing a bottle that much easier. Personally, I’ve never cared which region a wine comes from or what varietal it is – I just want a wine that tastes good and is affordable. And The Urban Grape made that easy for me. 

Another bonus about this new gem? The prices. 50 percent of the wines at The Urban Grape are $15-25, and about 30 percent are under $12. Not too shabby for a wine shop right outside of Boston. The Urban Grape also loves their discounts, and gives customers special pricing on case orders. They even have a feature called Tuesday Tweets where the staff’s favorite wines of the week are 20 percent off until the following Saturday evening. 

I could go on for quite a while about the cool, unique features The Urban Grape has to offer, but I’ll just mention one more: Wine 4-pack, anybody? 

This treasure sells for $50, and the wines change every three to four weeks. The current sampler is inspired by the World Cup, and selections include wines from Italy, South Africa, and France.

In addition to wine, The Urban Grape also sells craft beer, liquor and sake. Since the store just opened a few days ago, the selection will only grow from here – TJ plans to have over 850 kinds of wine, 200 craft brews, and 30 or so sakes.

Oh, one more thing – have you ever bought a bottle of wine at a store and, when you go back, can’t remember for the life of you what the heck you bought? The Urban Grape has a magical system that remembers your wine purchasing history. Hallelujah.

When purchasing wine, what do you care about most? Taste, affordability, varietal, region? 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Second Helping: Blue and Purple Pizza

After several plane rides, a business trip to Vegas, and a wedding in Long Island last week, my body was shot - and on Monday, I was sick. I spent all of Monday morning stretched out on the couch with the TV remote in my hand - it was blissful, and the rest was just what I needed.

So, when dinner time rolled around, I was feeling almost 100 percent already, but the meal that I ended up making wasn't the best choice visually, as the colors blue and purple were vibrant in this dish. (I never claimed to be normal).

I had half a container of crumbled gorgonzola leftover from last week's Red Wine Burger, so I perused through my cookbooks in hopes of finding a recipe to use my leftover cheese. Finally, in The Frugal Foodie Cookbook, I came across a recipe for Gorgonzola Pizza with Radicchio and Asian Pears. After several revisions, I made a Gorgonzola Pizza with Red Cabbage and Red Wine Pears. And, despite the color combination, it was damn delicious.

Gorgonzola Pizza with Red Cabbage and Red Wine Pears
Yields: 4 servings

-Whole wheat pizza crust (the original recipe called for regular crust; I purchased whole wheat dough at Hannaford for $1.99)
-1/2 head of red cabbage, roughly chopped (or radicchio, if you can find it)
-1 Packham pear, sliced into 1-inch thick pieces ($1.29/lb. at Hannaford; original recipe called for 1 Asian pear)
-1/4 cup red wine (I used Yellow Tail Pinot Noir)
-1/2 5 oz. container of crumbled gorgonzola cheese (the original recipe called for an entire 6 oz. container)
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1 generous tsp. dried rosemary (the original recipe calls for fresh rosemary leaves - I recommend you use the fresh, if you have them. I only used 1 tsp. here because dried herbs are much more potent in flavor than fresh)

Directions: Put sliced pears in a bowl with red wine, and let set in fridge for at least 30 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. Brush with olive oil. Cover crust with gorgonzola, cabbage, pear slices, and rosemary. Place in 500* oven for 20 minutes.

This pizza was awesome, and really comforting - especially after being away from home for so long. My only gripes are that the pears didn't soak up too much of the wine flavor, and I used a little too much gorgonzola (despite the fact that the original recipe called for a lot more than I used). The intense flavor of the cheese really overpowered the cabbage and the pears. But, I will be making this pizza again - and I highly recommend using the whole wheat crust, for extra flavor and texture.

What's your favorite meal to have/make when you're sick?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Best Deal This Week: Cheap, Upscale Eats at Sel de la Terre

I just arrived home from a business trip in Las Vegas, and a wedding in Long Island - and now I am nursing the flu. With this being said, I apologize beforehand for the short post - but I didn't want to leave you guys without a Best Deal this week, just because I'm diseased.

This week's deal is one of those where a more upscale, downtown restaurant sympathizes with those of us who need to eat...but can't spend $25 on a piece of chicken. Sel de la Terre in the Back Bay is that eatery, and they are serving up sliders for $2 and small plates for $5 every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. Because Sel de la Terre focuses on using fresh, local ingredients, their menu options change frequently. For a taste of past options, sliders have included grilled New England ground beef with Vermont cheddar, house smoked bacon, and spicy aioli. Small plates can range from the gourmet Potted Duck Liver Mousse to the simple Potato Chips and Dip. Thankfully, the price tag makes it possible to try a little bit of everything.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recap: Chocolate + Beer at Finale

Rich, decadent desserts paired with some of the finest microbrews. Yeah. That was my Monday night.

Finale in Brookline (with additional locations in Boston and Cambridge) held their second chocolate and beer pairing this past Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., after an overwhelming response for their first tasting a few weeks prior. I was on the waiting list for the first event, and was called directly by Finale when they decided to hold a second.

The event paired five different desserts, prepared by Finale’s pastry chef, with five different brews, presented by Matt Webster, President of Drink a Better Brew. The menu consisted of:

-Ommegang Hennepin (light, citrusy, slightly hoppy brew) paired with Creme Brulee
-Troegs Nugget Nectar (intensely malty and hoppy) paired with Mexican Vanilla Cheesecake
-Dogfish Raison D'Etre (deep, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins, and Belgian-style yeast) paired with Hazelnut Cake (insanely moist, flavored with hazelnut flour and saturated with syrup)
-Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale (strong, Scottish ale with hints of cocoa and coffee) paired with Ultimate Chocolate Cake (bittersweet chocolate mousse layered with chocolate buttermilk cake)
-Unibroue Trois Pistoles (beer enhanced with roasted malt, cocoa, ripe fruit and dark spices) paired with Dark Chocolate Decadence (dense, flourless, truffle-like chocolate cake with a hint of coffee)

What makes many of Finale’s desserts different is the unique twist they put on old classics. Case in point: The cheesecake of the evening was an extra creamy, Mexican Vanilla Cheesecake, which had an earthier flavor to it versus regular old cheesecake. The hops from the Nugget Nectar also complemented the cheesecake's earthy flavor beautifully.

My favorite pairing of the evening was the crème brulee with the Hennepin. The beer itself was light and refreshing with strong notes of citrus and flower, and it paired beautifully with the creamy, not-too-sweet crème brulee. My dining companion marked this creme brulee the best she's ever had, and I couldn't agree more.

To be honest, I didn't dislike any of the pairings that evening - every brew worked wonderfully with its accompanying dessert. Finale really nailed these flavor combinations. The last two chocolate desserts were a little too intense for me, though, as I'm not a huge dessert/chocolate person, but their accompanying beers did help to cut their intense sugar levels.

The cost of the event was a mere $19.99, although the restaurant charged us over $7 for gratuity – and we were only a party of two. I didn't think this was necessary, but the staff was extremely informative, interactive, and clearly worked hard to put the event together - so I can let this one go.

What's your favorite beer to have with/for dessert?