28 February 2008

First Annual Craft Beer and Fine Food Symposium | Mike's Notes

Eighteen (I think) people showed up for Chef Neal Brown's First Annual Craft Beer and Fine Food Symposium at L'Explorateur last evening - not the most overwhelming support, but a crowd that Neal was quite happy with.

Despite our concerns with the sophistication of the menu, there was no issues once we started eating. A relaxed yet excited audience was treated to an amazing all around dining experience - one that left us all wondering when we could do it again.

Fortunately for us, Neal seemed to be thrilled with the reception - and he announced that this was just the first time for what could become a regular event. For those of you who didn't make it - you really missed out.

Looking back through a menu filled with highlights, it's hard to pick out my favorites. Here are a couple.

Czech Pilsner paired with Loup De Mere, Hot Buttered Popcorn, and King Crab Salad - I didn't bring a notebook, so I couldn't tell you which Czech Pilsner we had. A fruity nose with some definite malty elements was evident immediately, but the malt backbone was really drawn out by the buttery elements of the fish and crab.

Brugge Triple de Ripple paired with Banana Pot Crème - I don't think it's possible that I'll ever have a better dessert. The combination of the chocolaty banana Pot Crème when served with Brugge's Bananaey (new word) Triple de Ripple was so amazing that the best word to describe the combination is four letters long, starts with "F", and ends in an exclamation point.

I'd like to thank Neal and menu assistant Ted Miller again for the amazing experience.


  1. That sounds great. My partner and I wanted to go, but the date didn't work for us. I can't wait for the next one.

  2. It's extremely rare that I spend $65 on a meal, and I think the price may have hurt the attendance a little bit.

    The risk increases in spending that much money when the menu is nothing you're familiar with eating.

    But I can't stress enough how much of a value the whole thing was in hindsight.

    See you there next time, Phil. I'm sure you'll feel the same way we did afterwards.