If you think walking into Vindalho here in Portland a couple of night's ago and seeing the above laid out as you walk in the door isn't a good sign, then you'd best stay home and enjoy that TV dinner. Me, I'll take the glass of the above refreshing malted beverage....several of them, please. The occasion was a beer dinner sponsored by Vindalho and Beer Northwest Magazine that somehow I got comped to. Okay, it was through the good graces of my sister and her generous friend Lindsey. Vindalho's chef de cuisine David Anderson is not only a kick-ass creator of nouveau and traditional Indian food, but he's also a big beer fan. He and Beer NW publisher Megan Flynn got together and decided to put on what turned out to be a food and beer lovers paradise, with nary an IPA in sight. Four courses of David's sub-continental creations paired with four different beers, mostly local brew with the exception pictured above. How good was it? Pretty freaking good as you'll see. Here's the menu.....
Classic Indian snacks, these were all outstanding, with the accompanying dipping sauces providing a mouthwatering compliment. We had these with the above mentioned beer, a Krait Prestige Champagne Lager from Britain that was nothing less than fabulous. This is a beer that could cause some serious problems for me. Light, elegant, rich, it went incredibly well with all the different flavors. This is brewing greatness!
These were really nice, not too unusual in their preparation, but the fruity-spicy dipping sauce made it. I'm not a big fruit beer guy, but the Laughing Buddha Mango-weizen from Seattle was pretty restrained, which if you're smushing some mangoes into your beer is a good thing.
This was an awesome dish, the slow-braised pork shoulder fall-apart tender and bathed in an intensely flavored sauce (god, I love pork shoulder...it is the perfect piece of meat, always delivering huge rewards for so little money), the rice perfect, the naan bread just right for sopping and scooping. I have the recipe for the vindalho, too, so stay tuned for details! Oh, and the Southern Oregon Brewing Porter out of Medford was absolutely spot-fucking-on, its smoky-chocolatey flavor pairing with the spicy heat of pork vindalho like they were made for each other. As good as a food and beverage match can get!
I could've eaten about ten servings of this, and I was looking around the table praying someone would drop dead so I could steal theirs. No such luck though, so I had to content myself with scooping every last molecule out of my dish. The chocolate and orange were in that just right proportion you always hope for, but rarely get. With the strangely tart Cascade Brewing Cuvee du Jongleur was this tart-fruity concoction that cut right through the sweetness of the dessert. I'd tell you more about the beer, but frankly in the haze of dishes and drinks I kind of forgot.
This was my first beer dinner, and it nailed it. It was a nice break from all the wine dinners I've been to, which can run a little dork-centric. David's cooking at Vindalho was really something special this night, and this place is right back on my radar!