Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Beer, Dinner and a Documentary - Guess What the Highlight of My Evening Was . . .

Yesterday, my lovely spouse and I departed work a bit early, so as to make the 5:00 showing of "Food, Inc." at the Tivoli, and to follow it with cashing in a gift certificate dinner at McCoy's Public House.

Food, Inc. tackles the food industry, and does a pretty effective job of it. We see dead chickens and nasty beef processing facilities and even legislators making laws, in an unacknowledged nod to the age-old claim that the legislative process is akin to making sausage. The movie is just okay; close-ups of farmers talking about soybeans and pigs are not the best way to convey factual information. Further, the information conveyed was not particularly groundbreaking - corporations control agriculture for profit, meat-making is a filthy business, and veggie libel laws are unAmerican. The best part of the movie came right before the credits, when they ran suggestions of what you can do to eat healthier and more sustainably. I suppose that if you somehow walked into the movie without any understanding of agricultural issues, the movie might be eye-opening, but I don't think anyone who doesn't already care is likely to fork over money to see a documentary about food.

McCoy's was a lot more enjoyable.

Service started with the waitress seeking our drink order literally before we sat down. I don't like waiting half an hour before getting served, but her haste was a bit extreme.

Fortunately, the beers were better than the service. I tried the milk stout, which was full-bodied and approachable, the way a milk stout ought to be, and a kolsch. I was particularly impressed with the kolsch, which is kind of like Germany's version of cream ale. The beer should be a light, dry, somewhat hoppy ale that leans toward a lager style. I thought the McCoy's version was one of the best I've ever tasted. While the beer was perfectly balanced, I fell in love with the hops. They were floral, almost perfumy, but had a bit of peppery spice to them as well. It packed a lot of subtle flavors into a beer that would be easy to overlook, because it doesn't have huge flavor components screaming for attention.

As for the food at McCoy's, we ignored the movie we had just seen and ordered lobster spring rolls. The chef must have taken the movie more seriously, though, because we found no evidence that any lobster had died to make our spring rolls. Instead, the filling presented a mushy, bland paste of cabbage, with same taste intensity as the bed of styrofoam noodles they were served on.

My wife's mac cheese looked great, and my bite was enjoyable, though she maintained that Cafe Trio's version is far better, and I defer to her expertise. It was a fine entree, if not superlative. Because we had to reach a spending minimum for the gift certificate to apply, I went ahead and ordered a rib-eye steak, which came in the thin-cut style favored by chain steakhouses, and dominated by a dollop of assertive cilantro butter that had not been mentioned on the menu.

Of the three elements of the evening, the beer stood out as the best. In keeping with the "think local" theme of the movie, it was also the element that originated where we drank it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you went to Murray's for dessert!

8/06/2009 1:39 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

What a great idea! But we were stuffed, so we did not make the stroll down to Murray's, alas.

8/06/2009 6:16 AM  
Blogger bigsmithdude said...

mccoys oktoberfest last year was very good as well. how did your milk stout turn out? or it finished yet?

8/06/2009 12:10 PM  

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