Thursday evening marked the first ever pop-up restaurant in Baton Rouge, called The Truck, The Brewer and The Blogger. The event was held at the Tin Roof Brewing Company with Bite and Booze blogger Jay Ducote teaming with Taco de Paco food truck chef, Aaron Brown for a six course meal paired with Tin Roof beer.
My wife and City Social Stirring It Up blogger, Teresa, and I arrived around 7:00, and mingled while sampling some of the Voodoo Bengal pale ale. We took our seats at a table with some new friends, where the evening’s menu was listed.
The meal started with a Tin Roof BBQ shrimp served on a fried grit cake appetizer. There was a citrus flavor that somewhat overpowered the shrimp for me, but others at my table really liked it. This was followed by chile lime beef short rib chips, which were absolutely outstanding. I could have eaten these all night and left a happy camper. The Perfect Tin amber ale paired really well with the smoked flavor of the short rib chips.
Next up was a Louisiana crawfish and cauliflower soup, which was paired with the Tin Roof Blonde ale. One thing that was really striking was just how much of a difference it makes to use Louisiana crawfish in a dish. The flavor imparted is just so much more apparent than when Chinese crawfish are used. The blonde ale really countered the slight bitterness of the cauliflower making it an excellent pairing.
Next up was a small romaine salad with a Voodoo Bengal vinaigrette dressing. Oh, did I mention it had bacon? Bacon makes everything better. It also had a small piece of bread topped with grilled onions that soaked up the vinaigrette, and was oh so tasty.
That was followed by seared mahi mahi served atop a black bean puree and topped with tomatillo sauce, sliced avocados, roasted sweet corn and cilantro. I thought the pairing was excellent, but the black bean puree could have been left out or served on the side. I absolutely loved the tomatillo sauce, avocados, corn and cilantro and thought it melded perfectly with the mahi mahi. This was paired with a brewery-exclusive pale American wheat beer, which was one of the experimental brews used to make the forthcoming Tin Roof Watermelon Wheat ale. It was a light bodied typical wheat beer. I was hoping that we would get a sneak peak at the Watermelon Wheat, but it was not ready just yet. In talking with Tom Daigrepont, head brewmaster, he said that he will add watermelon puree to the boil and not to the secondary fermentation, so the watermelon flavor should be light.
Yet another highlight was the Frenched lamb chops served over sweet pea and mint risotto. All I can say is that these were the best lamb chops I’ve ever eaten. I have been a big fan of Chef Scott Varnadoe’s lamp lollipops at Stroube’s in downtown Baton Rouge, yet these even surpassed those. They were seared perfectly and cooked to a nice medium rare. The lamb just melted in my mouth and I was fortunate enough to have Teresa’s second lamb chop, since she was saving room for dessert. The sweet pea and mint risotto was nice as well, but I couldn’t finish it, since I knew I still had dessert coming. Again the meat paired well with the Perfect Tin Amber.
Finally up was a Sweet Brew-tality cupcake from Christina Stephens. It had a chocolate and coffee flavor to it with a hint of cayenne that worked perfectly and caramel drizzled over the frosting. This one got rave reviews from everyone at my table. It was outstanding and was paired with the Voodoo Bengal pale ale. It’s too bad Tin Roof didn’t have a small batch of their experimental coffee porter to serve with this one, as I think that would have been excellent.
All in all, this first time event was a resounding success. Thanks to Jay Ducote, Tin Roof Brewing and Taco de Paco for putting on such a great event. It was really nice to have a date night and do something different, even if it meant taking my wife to a brewery for dinner. What changes would I make? Well first, since it was warm outside, it made it warm inside. So, this kind of event may only be able to happen in the more mild months. But that’s to be expected. I would suggest to Tin Roof to make a few specialty beers to be served exclusively at this event, and then whatever is left over could be served on the regular brewery tours in the weeks following. I know they have brewed a coffee porter, a red ale and a black IPA in the past, and it would be great to get a chance to try these at an exclusive event like this. The food was fantastic, and Jay and Aaron did an outstanding job. Teresa and I both look forward to the next pop-up restaurant event.