>> Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Shortly after we were seated the amuse was served. The one bite Flat Iron Steak Skewer were made with medium rare steak with a semi sun dried tomato and topped with chimichurri sauce, an Argentinian garlicky herb sauce packed with a nice tangy zing. It was a really great way to wake up the taste buds for our upcoming meal.
Our first course was the Lengua Tacos. Lengua is Spanish for tongue and braised alberta beef tongue was used for the preparation. For those who have never tried lengua, although scary sounding, the flavours are truly sublime. Coupled with tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, pickled red onion and dashes of hot sauce, it had amazing bursts of flavour. A must for any taco or Mexican food lover! Paired with the tacos was the White Owl Whisky, the world’s first clear Canadian rye whisky. Aged for 10 years and charcoal filtered to produce a sweet citrus taste that’s clean and crisp. Perfect for the spicy tacos.
The use of beef was ingenious in the Romaine Wedge Salad instead of your typical bacon, dried Alberta beef bresaola was used instead. It still gave the salad the briny flavour enhanced by the blue cheese, mint and cranberries. The fig vinaigrette was slightly sweet and helped mellow out the pungent cheese and provided additional levels of flavour. We had my favorite rye of the evening with this course. The White Owl Spiced Whisky contained a mixture of vanilla, clove, ginger and nutmeg flavours formulating a smooth aftertaste with trails of warm spice and lingering butterscotch. This would be a dangerous whisky to have on hand at home.
The showstopper that evening was the Heritage Angus Pastrami made with wagyu corned alberta beef. It was probably one of the best pastramis I’ve ever had and probably the first wagyu version. I did find it a bit overseasoned, but the texture of the beef was outstanding. Served with sides of carrot, apple and cabbage sauerkraut and toasted sourdough, all I wanted to do was to form it in to a reuben sandwich. I am secretly hoping that it’s available in that form. The Ninety 20 Year Old Whisky was poured to accompany this course. The oldest Canadian rye whisky with lots of oak and cedar notes to stand up to the hearty flavours of the pastrami and the lingering of orange peel to really clean the palate.
As a finale to our fabulous meal we were presented with the Gooseberry Crumble with a savoury Alberta beef jerky crumble base, gooseberry compote and topped with vanilla bean ice cream. I’ve never been a huge fan of salty and sweet, but the combination here was perfectly balanced. The strong flavours of the gooseberry stood up well against the saltiness of the jerky and the bit of salt that I did taste only elevated the dessert overall. I was quite full at this point but I had to finish the whole crumble. It was too good not to. The crowd favorite of the evening, the Sweet Sippin Maple Whisky was given as an ode to the dessert wine. In this version, rye whisky is combined with pure Canadian maple syrup to produce a lovely warm woodsy rye with a nice sweetness that is perfect for dessert. A warm Mint Tea and velvety Earl Grey Truffles were provided to all the guests to wrap up our amazing dinner as a symbol of thanks; similar to various cultures around the world which offer the drink to welcome them to their home and thank them for their time.
We truly ended our evening on a high of Alberta beef which probably had something to do with all the whisky we consumed, but in all seriousness I really enjoyed all the amazing techniques used by Chef Brett McDermott who conceptualized all the spectacular dishes, you can visit him at Our Daily Brett on 14 St SW. Plus a special thanks to both Alberta Beef and Highwood Distillers for a wonderful evening and showing me that rye and beef truly are made for each other and where else to do it than in Alberta!