• 17Jul

    Trappist Beer Travels is a new book for those who love Belgian Trappist Brews and are interested in the eleven Monasteries/Breweries that produce them. This is a great coffee table book for those who appreciate Belgian Trappist beers and their history. The book is well written and includes history, travel tips, information on the beers themselves, and beautiful photos.

    Included in this book are Orval, Achel, La Trappe, Rochefort, Chimay,  Westvleteren, Westmalle, Zundert, Stift Engelszell, Tre Fontane, and Spencer.

    Wait, Spencer? Yes, Spencer Brewery (Saint Joseph’s Abbey) in Spencer Massachusetts (6o miles from Boston) is even included. It is a shame the Abbey does not permit tours of the brewery or jam factory, but there is a gift shop, and you can join in mass services and walk the well-manicured paths. I actually didn’t know that we have a Trappist brewery here on the East Coast.

    Saint Bernardus Brewery has a bed and breakfast and is only a 25 minute drive from Westvleteren? That’s perfect for us beer nerds! The research trips “required” while writing this book must have been amazing!

    -JAY

  • 17May

    Chef Bart has just (soft) opened B Too, which like his other restaurant, Belga, is a fine Belgian restaurant. B Too’s menu is available here. We were in attendance at the soft opening, and got to try some great food and beer.

    We ordered the:
    • Baby grey shrimp ($15) with krupuk, tomato confit, and basil. These tiny shrimp are both sweet and briny and are delicious. This dish had two preparations of the shrimp, one of which included mayonnaise.
    • Frog legs ($9.50) with tomato, cream, garlic butter, tarragon, and Ricard (French anise liquor).
    • Josper grilled hanger steak ($26) with root vegetables, Belgian frites, and both the 5 Pepper Sauce  and the Béarnaise sauce. The Josper Oven was used on this tasty steak. The 5 Pepper Sauce had to be ordered without mushrooms due to an allergy.
    • Mussels Marieniere ($21) with white wine, shallots, garlic, parsley, and frites. Although everything I tried was very good, the mussels and frites were my favorite items of the evening.
    • Chocolate Eden and Vanilla Waffle for dessert, both of which contain various components and are tasty.
    What is a Josper Oven? “The Josper Oven is brand new to our market, and is a unique combination of a traditional oven and charbroiled cooking. The use of the charcoal greatly influences and enhances the flavor of the food.”

    B Too has an extensive beer list (which will be expanded soon). I had a Deuce (which is like beer champagne), a cocktail made with beer, and the two beers CY talks about below.

    CY‘s Beer Tasting Notes: We drank the St. Bernardus Tripel, which is from his favorite brewery. His description: “Sweet malts, Fruity esters, complex, and yummy.” With dessert we had the Kasteel Rouge, which “is like eating cherry candy while riding a cherry boat in the cherry river.”

    This is definitely a restaurant you want to dine at for delicious Belgian food. There were many other items we wanted to try, but our stomachs could only hold so much before we explode like overfed goldfish. The soups and the rabbit sounded really good, so maybe we will try them next time.

    The service was very good as well. The decor was certainly interesting–it has some artwork and pieces I’d expect to see in an upscale Argentine steakhouse, such as well-placed cow/bull hides and horns. The downstairs bar has a nice vibe to it (and has a curtained painting of a pig snout).

    -JAY

    B Too on Urbanspoon

  • 25May

    In my inbox.

    -JAY

    ——————————

    Et Voila! Hosts Belgian Beer Festival Featuring Complimentary Beer Tastings, Beer Flights and More from June 15 – 19, 2011

    DC’s authentic Belgian bistro brings on the brews and celebrates all things Belgian Beer at 1st annual Belgian Beer Festival

    WASHINGTON, DC (May 19, 2011) – Long known as DC’s  secret gem for Belgian Beer lovers, Et Voila’s is taking Belgian Beer to a whole new level. From June 15-19th 2011, Et Voila! Belgian Bistro will celebrate the rich, unique flavors of Belgian Beers with food, flights and tastings at the 1st Annual Belgian Beer Festival. In addition to Et Voila’s already expansive selection of Belgian Beers, the festival will feature dozens of unique beers rarely tasted in the USA.

    The five day festival offers beer lovers as well as the Belgian beer newbie a multitude of ways to sip, taste, exlpore and enjoy Belgian beers.

    Belgian Beer Happy Hour. From 5 to 7 p.m. each night during the festival, a unique selection of Belgian beers will be offered for $4 each, giving patrons a chance to try out new beers and enjoy a multitude of new brews. During the happy hour, Et Voila! will also offer complimentary tastings of unique Belgian beers. Tastings will be offered to happy hour patrons and the beers being tasted will change daily throughout the festival.

    Daily Belgian Beer Flights for the indecisive drinker. For $15, customers can imbibe samplings of three different Belgian beers. This is the perfect opportunity for beer fans to discover and learn about small batch Belgian brews such as Straffe Hendrik Bruges Triple Ale, Grimbergen Blonde Ale and Kasteel Rouge.

    One of the best ways to learn about new beers is over some excellent food! On Wednesday,

    June 15th, Et Voila will host a special small batch Belgian Beer Dinner featuring five courses of Chef Claudio Pirollo’s mouthwatering cuisine accompanied by a host of unique Belgian beers rarely seen in the US. The meal will feature lesser known Belgian beers and a brewer will be on hand to discuss each pairing and answer questions. The meal will cost $65 per person and reservations may be made by calling Et Voila at 202.337.2300.

    There’s Beer in my Food! Throughout the Belgian Beer Festival, Et Voila! will offer a special menu of foods prepared with beer. Sample dishes include Chef Claudio Pirollo’s, Flemish Beef Stew simmered in dark beer and served with Belgian frites ($19.95) will be served as well as the

    Belgian Endive Salad prepared with Bleu and Chimay Cheese, Pecans and sliced Gala Apples ($8.95). Pastry Chef Mickeal Cornu’s Hoogarten ice cream is a sweet way to end the hoppy meal.

    Et Voila! is a 40 seat, charismatic Belgian bistro located at 5120 MacArthur Blvd NW in Washington, DC’s Palisades neighborhood.  Owned by Belgian Chef Claudio Pirollo and French Pastry Chef Mickael Cornu, Et Voila! presents authentic Belgian fare with French influence.  Pirollo was named “Best Young Chef in Belgium” in 1994 and served as the personal chef to the Irish Ambassador for six years. Chef Pirollo’s partner, Chef Cornu, is an established pastry chef with an extensive background in catering customized cakes and desserts for the White House and pastry Research & Development at Federal Bakers. Et Voila! serves lunch, dinner and brunch. Additional information available online at www.etvoiladc.com or by calling 202.237.2300.

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