by Eric Doksa
I have a profound love for all things food, beer, wine, and cooking related. On a typical weekend you can find me at a local bar drinking a craft beer out of a fancy glass, downtown selecting the perfect zinfandel to pair with a juicy steak, or practicing my egg-poaching technique in the kitchen. Let me loose in a kitchenware store and I'll be occupied for hours.
A couple weeks ago, I was sent to a foodie paradise, The Coastal Cupboard. The store is filled with just about anything and everything you want in your kitchen: All-Clad frying pans, Le Creuset dutch ovens, Vitamix blenders, and even nifty gadgets you'd never thought existed.
In the back of the store there's an open kitchen where Chef Stephen Harman puts these gadgets to use. He teaches participants how to prepare a wide variety of meals from grilled pizzas to sushi, and he does it in a way that makes it fun, cracking jokes a long the way and fully captivating the audience.
I had the pleasure of attending the Bell's Brewery dinner, where Chef Harman cooked up some hearty food to pair with five different beers from a stellar brewery. He served up dishes like maple bacon mac and cheese with Bell's Lager and Rahmschnitzel of veal and roasted red potatoes with Pale ale. I particularly enjoyed the braised lamb shank and mustard greens paired with Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Not only is Two Hearted one of my all time favorite beers, but the lamb was fall-off-the-bone tender and full of flavor and the greens were equally as good.
The night ended with a decadent chocolate stout cake and molasses stout ice cream paired with Kalamazoo stout, followed by a food coma.
Attendees received packets that included all the recipes and space for notes, as well as a full bottle of each beer during the event.
The Coastal Cupboard offers both lunch and dinner classes. The lunch classes typically only last an hour, which is convenient. I'm thinking about checking out the Classic Paella class coming up in a few wees for 30 bucks - value.