We’re still reeling from Saturday night’s Beer, Wine + Cocktail Dinner at Edmund’s Oast. And it’s not just because of the 12 (yes, 12!) beverages that were served during the six-course extravaganza. Each dish was paired with a unique cocktail and, for good measure, with either a wine or a beer, too.
And that’s Edmund’s Oast for you: they like to pile it on. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of the acclaimed meat-centric Los Angeles restaurant Animal joined Edmund’s co-owners Scott Shor and Rich Carley, chef Andy Henderson, and brewer Cameron Read. That team alone would have been more than sufficient to ensure a big night of impressive evening.
But why stop there? They also invited Micah Melton of Chicago’s The Aviary to create the cocktails, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of the gypsy brewery Evil Twin to pour a few beers, and, to select the wines, Paul Grieco of New York City’s Hearth Restaurant and Terroir wine bar.
The six courses that followed built one atop another into perhaps the most mind-blowing meal of the festival.
It started with a single pristine Caper’s Blade oyster accented by mint and English pea and paired with a cocktail called simply “Celery” — a sneaky blend of lime, chartreuse, and Riesling that tasted just like, well, celery. Next up, from the guys at Animal, were firm slices of hamachi topped with thin-shaved slices of radish and sprinkled with finely diced Pink Lady apples and chewy radish sprouts, all tied together by a dark, tangy galbi vinaigrette.
Melton’s cocktail for this one was named simply Cider, but it came in two forms, each in a tiny glass cylinder: the first, a pale yellow version that was just the base cocktail of black tea, hibiscus, and apple brandy; the second, a rose-colored infused version that had been steeped with apple slices, orange peel, and spices. Sweet, mellow, and infused with warm spices, it was a perfect partner for the hamachi, as was Evil Twin’s Ryan & The Beaster Bunny that also came alongside.
Andy Henderson layered two slices of Ossabaw pork — from hogs raised down in Savannah by Bradley Taylor of LJ Woods Farms, who was in attendance at the meal, too — over a bed of farro laced with sweet onions and fava beans. The fruit and acid of Grieco’s pairing of a 2011 Selbach-Oster Riesling Spätlese layered splendidly atop the rich fat cap on the pork, while Melton’s barrel-aged Colonel Carpano cocktail — a bitter blend of bourbon and cynar — provided a dark complement.
The Animal team draped paper-thin black radishes over crispy sweetbreads and surrounded them with a spicy black sriracha that was as thick as a mole and spiked with little orbs of finger lime that exploded with bright citrus pops. That was followed by the most substantial dish of the evening and also the simplest: Andy Henderson’s two roasted spring carrots topped with a dollop of tender, intensely beefy head and shank daube, a simple pool of jus lining the plate. The little bits of micro cilantro added perfect minty accents that popped out randomly as we dug into the sweet carrot.
The cocktails for those courses were head-turning. The “Ginger,” Melton’s deconstructed version of a Moscow Mule, started with a rocks glass filled with ginger snow over which the server poured a shot of vodka. The diners then used swizzles fashioned from stalks of lemon grass to blend the mixture to a consistent whole, creating a sweet, creamy liquid spiked with spicy bits of red and green pepper. The Michelada went in a different direction, a savory blend of shisito hot sauce, sour calamansi, and Evil Twin’s Femme Fatale Yuzu pale ale.
As impressive as the first five courses were, the biggest wow came at the end, in the form of a "Pina Colada [El Bulli]", another cocktail mixed table-side. First, a tall martini glass arrived, half-filled with a thick white mixture and topped with a soft-ball sized sphere of white cotton candy. Next, the server poured fresh pineapple juice over the top, which dissolved the candy away to nothingness, creating a rich, sweet pineapple-infused liquid. But the best surprise came with the first sip: hidden away inside were little orbs of gel filled with Gosling’s, which exploded against your tongue with flashes of dark rum. We just shook our heads, dumbfounded.
Taxis were called, shuttle buses summoned. We stepped out into a brilliantly clear March night, having just experienced the crescendo of a brilliant three days of food and drink.