ONE OF THEE BEST FOOD AND BEER PAIRINGS HAPPENED INSIDE A SPEAKEASY
A pop-up food and beer pairing event was to take place inside 101 Proof Speakeasy and I couldn't pass it up. Not only would this event be ocean side... ahem in Oceanside, California, but I find speakeasies to be alluring. I have never been to a speakeasy that didn't have an air of sophistication about them, knowledgeable mixologists, a secret door, and dim lighting. The location is certainly a factor that caught my attention.
Belching Beaver is a one-of-a-kind brewing company based in San Diego, California. Their craft beer has amusing names and extraordinary flavors which uphold their slogan: dam good times. Blondes, Triple IPAs, Milk Stouts, Imperials Stouts, sours and barrel-aged beers offer something drenching for every palate.
My sister loves Belching Beaver and in the summer, when she comes down to visit from Nor Cal, we drive out to the beach and stop by one of their five locations. I am not certain if this particular collab will ever reoccur, but don't worry sis, I ate and drank for both of us.
Rose & Chef Richard Bustos
Helming this exclusive event is one of my favorite chefs. I have known Richard Bustos since he opened a restaurant in Temecula, California. Let's just say its been a few years. Following along in his endeavors is a continuous gastronomical adventure that has brought me to new horizons.
The Bustos touch is marked by thoughtfulness. His style is sophisticated and seductive. Thus, he does an incredible job in curating today's menu. He truly outdoes himself.
All the titillating dishes are infused with Belching Beaver beer in ways you would not expect. De colores are edible flowers delicately adorning each plate, which simultaneously, sweep in an aura of romance into the candlelit, mystic ambiance.
The secret door to 101 Proof speakeasy is something from a cartoon—a dusty bookshelf that swings open. Inside, the room is ready and set with menus, water goblets and a welcome pour of Phantom Bride IPA. Now, if you're inclined to keep score, it's a total of seven full glasses of beer and six dishes.
I sat on a brown leather sofa with an end table, next to a steel door. Here is where I set up my foodie photo booth.
Beer: Me So Honey Blonde
Food: We begin with a Yellowtail Crudo. This delectable fish is locally sourced and presented sashimi style. The freshness is enhanced with blood orange segments, cilantro, radish and jalapeno foam. I love the lightness, freshness and acidity of this dish. I am living with seafood and cerveza!
Beer: Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout
Food: Everyone in the room could not stop talking about the Chicken Mole Sliders. I think because somehow it was unexpected. The food is brilliant and the pairing, absolutely mind-blowing. A nice balance of sweet and spicy shredded chicken is heaped between a brioche bun, then topped with pickled onions and a fried quail egg. A smudge of Busto's famous chimichuri adds a pop of color and brightness to this amazing dish.
Beer: Party Goblin American Sour
Food: Grilled cheese is an ordinary comfort food, but when Bustos gets his hands on it, expect for it to be on another level. Brie and fig spread are layered with pear, Spanish chorizo, smoked sea salt and honey drizzle. The sweetness and mouthful of the sandwich is counterbalanced with a cold sour.
Beer: Fall of Troy Imperial Orange Vanilla Milkshake IPA
Food: With the Fall of Troy comes the rise of Duck à L'Orange. Bustos brings back to life a signature dish from his former restaurant. Seared duck breast is plated with fig, arugula, IPA orange sauce and balsamic drizzle. This meaty dish plays into the orange vanilla notes in the beer. I cannot believe my taste buds right now!
Beer: Hop Hwy IPA
Food: Large succulent scallops are seared and wrapped in serrano ham. Grapefruit Hop Hwy IPA gastrique creates a pond where the scallops thrive. If you look close enough at the photo, you will see clear, white balsamic pearls. The dish has sweet-fruity notes with a tart finish.
Beer: Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Horchata Coffee Stout
Food: The final course delights us with a Pumpkin Tiramisu. Fluffy lady fingers soaked in the featured beer are layered with pumpkin icing in the Italian way. This semi-sweet dessert is complemented by the horchata and coffee notes of the stout.
101 Proof Speakeasy is located inside Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank.
980 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA 92081
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