Cognac Passion at the Pourhouse Bier Bistro
Two of my strongest passions in life are food, and charities. I don’t settle for the ordinary in either. Food needs to be an experience. Any charity that I support needs to be supporting youth or animals in need, and, needs to provide a lion’s share of a donation to the cause and not to administration.
Chef Daniel Huber managed to combine two of my favourite things into a fundraiser; food with proceeds going to YESS. YESS stands for Youth Empowerment and Support Society. They help get homeless youth off of the streets and back into productive, healthy lifestyles. I highly encourage anyone reading this article to contact them and go for a tour of the main shelter facility. I could go on for days explaining the programs and what they do. To keep it short – they are phenomenal. With one of the volunteer organizations I work with, we have a young man that is a YESS graduate and he says he wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for YESS.
Chef Daniel Huber is half of the culinary team that is the Pourhouse Bier Bistro. They are a gastropub located in Old Strathcona. One of the many places you can go for some great eats and a wonderful selection of craft brewed beer. Since he works in the same neighbourhood as the shelter, he has seen the struggle of the youth with homelessness, gangs and abuse. Chef Daniel decided to try and make a difference and use his culinary talent to hold a fundraiser with proceeds going to YESS.
This was a five course Remy Martin themed food and cognac pairing. It was also a date night for myself and my wonderful husband!
Our first course was smoked salmon and miso mousse, topped with toasted capers and minced pickled ginger. It was paired with Remy Martin VSOP Brandy.
This dish was DIVINE! Creamy, flavourful… This was our favourite dish from the evening hands down! I am sad that this isn’t something available on a regular menu. I may have to bribe Chef Daniel to make it for us again!
The second course was blitzed candied bacon and peppered rosemary goat cheese atop beer spritzed homemade crostini and pickled red peppers. This was paired with a Houblon Chouffe IPA (last minute substitution)
This dish was also fantastic. The goat cheese is a favourite taste for me, this was almost like a cream cheese texture. All of the flavours went so well together.
The third course was curried jumbo prawns atop honey cumin apple trio. This was paired with Remy Martin XO.
Another group of flavours and textures that went very well together. The Cognac really brought out the subtleness of the curry and cumin. My only complaint from the evening was that my prawns were a bit tough.
Our fourth course was Ruby Alberta Rib Eye with peppered cream bourbon mash. This was paired with Remy Martin Coeur de Cognac.
Our neighbour was the wonderful Mark Bellows from the Local Omnivore. The smell wafting from the dish was overwhelming. Mouths started to water immediately! I think Mark may have been a little jealous that we got our plates before he did! The meat was incredibly tender and juicy. The bourbon mash was wonderful, creamy.
The fifth and last course was dessert. As with all of the previous courses, creative and a great mix of flavours. Strawberries marinated in champagne, Sambuca and basil. It was topped with St. Remy Whipped Cream. This dish was paired with St. Remy a la Creme Liqueur.
I am always up for an adventure so didn’t flinch with the addition of the Basil. Keep an open mind when it comes to culinary creations and you can discover some really neat flavour combinations. This was one of them. The Basil made it a more savoury flavour experience and it was quite enjoyable.
Throughout the event, Chef Daniel was giving us an explanation of each pairing before we were to taste it. I found this to be a big help as I am not much of a cognac connoisseur. I am also a little bit of a people watcher by nature, and was able to watch Chef interact with the patrons and make sure that everyone was taken care of. He was a gracious host.
One of the reasons why I love to try new restaurants and share my experiences is because of my passion for food, and that next “experience”. I have a few friends that are chefs or line cooks and my day job is in the catering industry. I have seen the passion go out of many a chef for various reasons. Chefs like Chef Daniel are the reason why I love to blog! You can see (and taste) the love and attention that goes into each and every dish that leaves his kitchen. He is imaginative and creative, and like any other artist, it comes out in his food.
I felt honored to have experienced this wonderful evening with my husband. There are many other bloggers that are doing recaps on what their best meal was in 2013. I can honestly say – this was it!
Many thanks to to Chef Daniel and the rest of the staff at the Pourhouse Bier Bistro for a delicious evening supporting YESS. I am very much looking forward to the next time.