Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The DC Food Tour: Birch and Barley

The travel gods were smiling upon my trip to DC, because low and behold nearly a month after booking my flight, Becca informed me that it was going to be restaurant week in DC the weekend of my visit! Um, hello Foodie Heaven?! (Cause people, while I love dinning in Gville, we don't exactly have a need for "restaurant week!")

Becca, being the wonderful host she is chose Birch and Barley for our special night out as they are a beer centric restaurant.We enjoyed a lovely 3 course meal each, with beer pairing for me and wine for Bec.

Restaurant Week Tasting Menu

Amuse Bouche

The beautiful bread board. 
Hands down the pretzel wins, especially topped with wonderfully grainy homemade mustard. I really could have just eaten an entire plate of those pretzel rolls.

1st Course: the Risotto.

While I actually didn't enjoy the risotto, it was a bit too bland and slightly undercooked, the zucchini flower was great, but what fried food isn't! The paired Weihenstephaner Professor Fritz Briem was excellent however. This sour Belgium is apparently "going out of style" in many large breweries, but I certainly hope that isn't the ultimate case, because I would love to sip on this light, bright beer more often. It was the highlight of the first course, and not just because I didn't love the associated dish! 

2nd Course: the Poussin

I never order "the chicken" on any menu, because I just am not a fan. I guess I haven't had good chicken that often. I won't lie though, I was torn between this dish and the Halibut but the Swiss Chard was the real seller for me. Between the greens, and the medallions with cornbread stuffing I was one happy G.R.I.T.S gal!

Becca's Halibut- I enjoyed my bite very much and would not have been disappointed with my "back up" meal. There was a bit of mix up with the beer order, and I got distracted taking any picture of my beer paring from this point on. However, my last 2 tastings were also golden and hazy in color, just like round one, so you aren't missing anything! Not missing anything visually that is; for being such a mildly colored beer the Poperings Hommel Ale packed a very full and robust flavor. It was just on the cusp of being too hoppy for my preference, but finishes so light and clean, I forgave the extra hops! Lovely, but Fritz was still my favorite.

3rd Course: the Panna Cotta

Light, creamy, and decedent. What more could a girl ask for from panna cotta? I really only ate the custard topping, because while the passion fruit cream and apricot sorbet were lovely, they were so sweet in comparison to the mild panna cotta, which was all I was craving. My pallet was getting a bit overwhelmed at this point to be honest, so I don't have any poet waxing to describe the Helios that rounded out my meal. I wasn't expecting another strong amber for a dessert beer, but I must admit that it did help cut the sweetness of the passion fruit cream.

I loved the presentation on Becca's assorted sorbet plate. So pretty and elegant. She shared a taste with me and the "exotic spices" was the winner in my book! Such an unexpected combination of flavors, the dessert chef at Birch and Barley knows what's up!

A big thank you again to my wonderful pen pal turned bestie and fellow bloggie extraordinaire for such a wonderful night out!

Love to all,
~the "can I have paired beer tastings with all my meals from now on?" gal, Jess


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