Beer dinner coming to Varanese
Varanese Restaurant, 2106 Frankfort Ave., is teaming up with New Albanian Brewing Company to host the restaurant’s first-ever beer dinner on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The four-course dinner includes six NABC beers: Hoosier Daddy, Elector, Black & Blue Grass, Solidarity, Hoptimus and Tunnel Vision.
Varanese has long offered wine dinners. But “over the years, we have had many requests to offer bourbon and beer dinners,” says owner John Varanese. The first bourbon dinner, held in November, was “a huge success.” Another in January sold out. He decided to add alternating beer and bourbon dinners to the monthly wine dinner series at the restaurant.
“Beer is food,” Varanese says, “so it was very easy to put together a great menu based off the different nuances each beer displayed, very similar to how we create menus for our wine dinners.”
The menu begins with crispy fried chipotle barbecue quail legs and beer battered onion rings, followed by a salad with bacon lardons and poached egg. Beer braised short ribs (a dish Varanese is especially excited about) and house-made sausage follow. For dessert: a chocolate-orange cheese cake with pretzel crust.
NABC owner Roger Baylor will be on hand to discuss the beer. The dinner costs $49, plus tax and tip. Reservations are required: Call (502) 899-9904. More information: www.varanese.com.
365 days of chocolate
Cellar Door Chocolates owner Erika Chavez-Graziano has launched 365 Days of Chocolate, “a yearlong project where we make something brand-new every day for one whole year,” according to Chavez-Graziano. “I did this project in 2009, and it was such a hit that I brought it back.”
Themes will change each month. She began with chocolatey beverages in January, and February’s creations are inspired by cookies. Chavez-Graziano says she and lead chocolatier Kate Lyons mapped out the year on a long road trip. Upcoming months will feature “chocolate oddities” and creations inspired by literary characters.
When a day’s work sometimes includes tasks like making 3,000 bourbon balls, Chavez-Graziano says, “It kind of becomes mundane. But this brightens up the day.”
“What I really like about this project is one flavor inspires another, so we have to be flexible,” says Chavez-Graziano. “Sometimes it turns out terrible, and that’s the fun part. We learn from our failures. It’s fun to see what works and what doesn’t.”
For example, they tried a chocolate, rosemary and lemon creation. “It was the most evil thing ever,” Chavez-Graziano says with a laugh. “Then Kate paired it with white chocolate, and it was delicious. It’s really a discovery project. That’s why it’s so fun for our customers but also for us.”
At the end of the year, Chavez-Graziano says, she hopes to publish a cookbook with all the recipes, which she has carefully designed to be accessible to the home cook.
Chocolate-lovers can check Facebook for the creation of the day. Today, it’s a chocolate-chip cookie dough-inspired truffle.
More information: www.facebook.com/cellardoorchocolates or (502) 561-2940.
Foxhollow Farm to open cafe
Foxhollow Farm, 8905 Ky. 329 in Crestwood, will open Foxhollow Farm Cafe — a farm-to-table Southern-style lunch restaurant and local specialty food shop — early this spring.
Foxhollow is a “biodynamic farm community that provides healthy food, hands-on learning and a place where people can experience an earth-friendly working farm.”
It will host a series of Farm to Table dinners this upcoming season, according to Kelly Brown, media contact for the farm, “turning the farm-to-table movement upside down by bringing the table to the farm! Chef Colin Simmons will use what we grow here, and the menu will be unforgettable,” she says. “The produce is grown by fourth-generation owner and gardener Maggie Keith, and the grass-fed beef is raised here on our 1,300-acre farm. The farm cafe will be a unique destination to add to the growing list of great eats in the area.”
The opening date has not been set for the cafe. More information: www.foxhollow.com/cafe.
Jim Gerhardt will hold a three-course demonstration lunch at Limestone Restaurant, 10001 Forest Green Blvd., Feb. 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The theme, “You Make Me Melt,” focuses on “making a nice meal for your sweetie,” according to Gerhardt. The inclusive cost is $25.
Doc Crow’s, 127 W. Main St., has started opening on Sunday when there is an event at the KFC Yum! Center. Upcoming dates include Feb. 3, 10 and 17.
La Coop, 732 E. Market St., will offer for one night only a special three-course Italian prix fixe menu for $25, plus tax and tip, with Italian wine pairings available for an additional $25.
Mike Linnig’s Restaurant, 9308 Cane Run Road, has reopened for the season (its 89th).
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