Spinoza’s

anyone who knows me know that i don’t drink beer or wine. so why was i at a dayton beer week event? for the food, naturally!

cheeks and i met with a fabulous bunch of cool people at spinoza’s last tuesday for a dogfish head tasting, paired with a 5-course dinner. mmm let me tell you, for a non-beer drinker, the event did not disappoint! you’ll have to ask cheeks about the drinks … if he remembers much from that night.

(above L: authentic italian fresh mozzarella di bufala with locally-grown heirloom tomatoes, sea salt, balsamic-port wine reduction, fresh basil and organic micro greens; above R: dogfish hesalad of little gem lettuce, organic petite greens, black corinth grapes, soft goat cheese, roasted macadamia nuts and pomegranate vinaigrette)

(above: indian brown ale, style: american brown ale)


(above L: 90 minute, style: imperial IPA; above R: 60 minute beer crust pizza with black bean pesto, smoked chicken, pepperjack cheese, sauteed red onions and prickly pear cactus barbecue sauce)

(above: midas touch, style: herbed/spiced beer)

(above L: i would hate to be the dishwasher that night; above R: saffron frozen yogurt with rose petal honey served in a pastry tart with honey dust and edible orchids)

check out their next event on september 28, when victory brewing company will be talking about craft brewing and the victory beers that will be served that evening. cost is only $26.95, and also includes a 5-course dinner. this event is by reservation only, so make sure to call before you go!

Senate

the Senate opened its doors in february, after months of delay due to some liquor licensing issues. while waiting, we were teased by status updates on their facebook page – sample menu items, photos of the space in progress, and food photos shot by Anthony Tahlier. when the opening was announced, we told ourselves that we had to go check it out. soon.

senate bar 01senate bar 02

on a saturday night in march, we stopped by for a late dinner. when we arrived, the restaurant was abuzz with all the curious customers, filling up the seats against the wall and the bar. there was no host/hostess that greeted us so we were unsure of where to wait. there also wasn’t much space for waiting customers so we stood awkwardly in the middle of a circle of other hungry people-in-waiting. the hostess finally arrived, took our names, and we decided to squeeze ourselves into the bar.

i can’t remember how long we had to wait, but i don’t remember it being too long, especially for a saturday night, until we were ushered to one of the tables against the wall. the space is long and narrow, walking towards our table was a hit and miss (sometimes hitting, luckily other times missing, someone’s back with my purse and camera bag)!

senate dining areasenate coaster

truffle friessenate menu

(lower L: truffle fries)

cheeks and i always get the big eyes/small stomach syndrome whenever we’re trying someplace new. this was no exception. we ordered truffle fries to prep our stomachs for the meal to come!

chicago dogwater bottle

(L: the chicago – beef hotdog, tomato, mustard, onion, neon relish, sport peppers, pickle & celery salt)

croque madame

(the croque madame – beef hotdog, bechamel, black forest ham, brioche bun & fried egg)

lobster mac & cheese

(lobster mac & cheese)

the senate’s concept of gourmet street food intrigued us and we both enjoyed our hot dogs; however, the hot dog itself was a bit chewy. we thought the presentation, the dogs served on accordion-folded cardboard paper over a butcher block, was creative. unfortunately, it did take up a lot of space ( i guess they did not account for 2 people ordering this amount of food! haha!). the lobster mac & cheese was creamy and yum, but i think the best part for both of us has to be dessert!

the warm pretzel beignets arrived in a paper bag. oooh, interactive! we opened the bag and spilled the contents on the butcher block. warm beignets rolled out of the bag, followed by a showering of crushed pretzels and sugar. mmm it was a bit tricky trying to get all the components together. how do you get the crushed pretzels to stick to the beignets and then be able to dip them in creme anglais without making a huge mess? who cares? we ate it the best we could and enjoyed every bite!

warm pretzel beignets & creme anglaissenate dishes

(upper L: warm pretzel beignets & creme anglais)

senate kitchen

their facebook page is updated regularly with their dog-of-the-day with names like Sophia Loren, Santa Monica or Uncle Jimmy. they are definitely trying to lure us back! and we do plan on going back to see what a few months have done to them. there were also a couple more things on their menu that we stopped ourselves from ordering that night. you know, lack of table space ;o)

Beer Tasting at The Clubhouse

Every month, a small group of die-hard beer heads (who are also my friends) get together at the Trolley Stop (where we watched Terence Simien) for beer tasting. I’ve been part of some amazing tasting events there like the Stone Brewery Vertical – Russian Imperial Stouts from 2005 to 2009 (050505 – 090909) all in one evening!  Fueled by the hours of fun and laughter at these beer tastings, we decided that it was time to host our own beer tasting event.

Picking the location was the easy part – it had to be the Clubhouse! The Clubhouse was started when in a moment of  inspiration the ‘founding fathers’ decided to rent an artist’s studio in Dayton. It was to be a space outside of their homes, where boys could be boys and the good times always rolled. Set in an old warehouse that has been converted into (loft-style) artists’ studios, the Clubhouse has been done very tastefully with beautiful posters adorning the walls all the way to the ceilings and flags from far off places hanging from the rafters. It has a lovely pool table as its center piece as well as a  darts board. It is wired up for sound and always has great jazz music playing in heavy rotation with other contemporary music. (Chubs will probably want to post pictures of her visits to the Clubhouse at some point to give you a better idea.)

Each person was asked to bring a beer (or 6!) to share. There weren’t any restrictions but everyone already had picked a style – Stout, IPA, barleywine, etc. That made it easier to co-ordinate the tasting menu for the evening. The Clubhouse hosts’ provided the charcuterie platter to nibble on.

here is the sampling list for the evening

Troegs Sunshine Pils (5.3% ABV)

Wells Bombardier English Premium Ale (5.2% ABV)

Unibroue Noire de Chambly Strong Dark Ale on Lees (6.2% ABV)

Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power IPA (7.5% ABV)

Great Lakes Imperial Dortmunder Golden Lager (7.5% ABV, aged 17 months)

Stone Russian Imperial Stout Vertical Epic 090909 (8.6% ABV)

Troegs Flying Mouflan Ale (9.3% ABV)

Dogfish Head 120 (20% ABV, aged over a year)

All the beers were either excellent or incredibly awesome! On a scale of 1 to 5, none of them received less than a 4. The Chinese moonshine was another story. You could feel your innards getting sterilized by the ‘nail polish remover’ like qualities of the ‘shine.

The evening was great fun and has probably motivated the boys to host another tasting soon. Right now its a toss up between a wine tasting – which would include the ladies and also make the boys appear more cultured or a bourbon tasting – which would just be an excuse to light up some stogies to go with the whiskeys.