City Tavern & Ladyface Ale Companie End Of Summer Picnic and Beer Tasting Re-Cap
City Tavern in Culver City teamed up with Agoura Hills’ Ladyface Ale Companie to curate an end of summer picnic and beer tasting last night.
Chef Jessica Christensen of City Tavern created a five-course tasting menu of innovative versions of picnic classics from deviled eggs to watermelon; perfectly pairing them with five of Ladyface’s wonderful beers.
The evening began with an introduction from chef Jessica and Ladyface brewmaster Dave Griffiths. They walked us through the pairings and the inspiration behind the menu and to follow was a very satifying meal that synched harmoniously with every craft brew. First up were the deviled eggs paired with the Trois Filles tripel. These eggs were incredibly comforting; topped with mustard-marinated asparagus and caviar. The tripel paired well with these as its dry finish and light body balanced the creaminess of the egg and the slight acidity of the mustard.
For the second course, we were presented with a beautiful play on a macaroni salad. This version featured orzo pasta, avocado, Dungeness crab, and roasted beets. The salad itself was delicious. Paired with the Chapparal Saison, which was a textbook Saison through and through, this dish was vibrant and very memorable. The crab was fresh and had just the right amount of saltiness and the orzo mixed with avocado was rich.
One of my favorites for the night was definitely the potted duck confit which was decadent and fatty in the most amazing ways. Perfectly seasoned duck confit in a small jar served alongside crisps had the right balance of sweet and savory. The duck skin chicharrone was a great touch. The fat in this dish envelops your mouth, so naturally the Chesebro IPA provided the perfect combination. This double IPA packs quite a punch at 10.9% ABV, but is surprisingly toned down and slightly sweet with a long finish. Formerly a seasonal brew, the Chesebro is now available year-round and goes great with super rich foods, helping to cleanse the palate.
The fourth course of the meal was City Tavern’s interpretation of a steak sandwich paired with the Picture City Porter. Chef Jessica lightly smoked a coffee and cocoa nib rubbed tri-tip and assembled a sandwich with thick bread, arugula, and an out-of-this-world coffee aioli. The meat was tender and the rub was subtle. For me, the aioli really made this dish stand out served alongside the porter, which was delicate and creamy.
Lastly, no picnic would be complete without a dessert course. Pairing spiked watermelon from her own garden with a peppered strawberry shortcake and Ladyface’s sazerac-oaked Red Rye, chef Jessica was able to utilize the whiskey theme in a clever way; infusing similar flavor profiles into this savory-sweet dessert that really let the wood in this beer shine. We were also surprised by one more treat to cap off the night: hop-infused cotton candy. Probably the most daring offering of the night, this cotton candy was spun with sugar that was infused with dry hops (hops were filtered out of the sugar), resulting in an interesting take on this childhood favorite.
Overall, I was impressed by how carefully this menu had been prepared. The beers were top notch, coming from a relatively young brewery, and although City Tavern barely hit the scene in the past few months, the crowds on a Thursday night,their impeccable service (Cara was our server and she’s amazing), and events like these will definitely make them a Culver City institution.