ALL of my favorite things
A year ago I would have turned up my nose at a whiskey tasting. 'Let someone else who enjoys it have my spot,' I would have said. Since attending Whiskey Fest in March my palette has opened to wonder that is uisce beatha. Balvenie was doing a tasting event at newer than new restaurant Red Door (slated to open this weekend in the old Duchamp space on Damen). The interior screams urban farmhouse; reclaimed wood, bare vintage light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and rough yet refined finishes and simple, clean design characterize the space. But this is not your standard pub fare. Yes. There is a burger. No, I didn't get to try it. But I got to stuff my face with plenty of other amazing dishes and a fantastic unique twist on an aperitif cocktail, plus lots of Balvenie to boot. How else would Team Boice spend an evening?
Awesome thing #1 about last night: I got to wear 'my going out wellies' (the pretty fancy patterned ones, yeah those), 'cause it was raining cats and dogs when I left the house.
Awesome thing #2: a new gin I had not yet tried. Edinburgh Gin, a dry Scottish gin went into my Luna Rossa cocktail along with Cynar (not my fav) a little soda and a caramelized blood orange.
Awesome thing #3 is probably the whole whiskey tasting itself. From learning how to smell a whiskey (not like wine, don't stick your nose in the glass as your teeny little nose hairs will not thank you) to getting to try the Balvenie 17 year Peated Cask. If you get me a birthday present, a bottle of that won't go wrong! Like Laphroig but smoother, so much smoother. We got to learn about the distillery and listen to the brand ambassador's Scottish accent. When talking shop it doesn't hurt to have a good accent.
Awesome thing #4: THE FOOD. A restaurant has my full attention when it starts off with oysters on the half shell. Then the ambassador told us to drop a bit of the 17 Peated Cask into the shell before eating. OH SWOON. Not only did we get oysters, but their chicken confit poutine which had a slight not overwhelming curry gravy and fresh spring peas, bacon wrapped artichokes (which I almost like better than bacon wrapped dates), ramp tempura, ricotta gnocchi, soy cured salmon, buchot mussels that melted like butter in your mouth, and a fava bean toast with strawberries and burrata and mozzarella. Oh boy was my tummy and taste buds happy.
Awesome thing #5: the company. Besides my dear husband we dined with two others who were as passionate about food as us.
Awesome thing #6: a long walk home in the tail end of the rain with my better half
Awesome thing #7: Black Dog Gelato has switched to summer hours and was still open when we walked past. Meaning, I got dessert. Salted peanut and sea salt caramel by the way.
It was an evening filled with my favorite things.