July 6, 2011

Niman Ranch Dinner - Abacus Dallas

We're suckers for food and wine pairing dinners.  Sometimes we miss (*ahem* The Grape's attempt at "gnocchi" that tasted like mushy potato soup at their "Tuscan" wine dinner, gross!) and sometimes the tasting dinner is a major hit. Well, the Niman Ranch Dinner at Abacus was one such hit!

We went into the dinner expecting to get a superbly prepared meal accompanied by some nice wines -- if you're not familiar with Abacus, the restaurant is one of the most important establishments in Dallas.  How often do you get to be hosted by an Iron Chef?!  What we took away from the event was knowledge about sustainable farming and how a simple choice to support sustainability benefits more than just your taste buds.

In a time where corporate farming systematically treats their livestock inhumanely, Niman Ranch looks to produce a superior product that was cultivated using humane, traditional farming practices.  The Niman grassroots movement faces its challenges when it comes to scalability and consistency.  To ensure that the livestock are treated in strictly humane practices, Niman uses tough evaluations of adherence to Niman protocol with lucrative rewards as motivation.  The result is consistently superior quality meats.

Via NimanRanch.com

Host Chef Kent Rathbun kicking off the dinner

Host Paul Willis - He is such an amazing advocate for sustainable farming

Menu for the evening

First Course
Shiner Bock Beer Braised Niman Ranch Pork Cheek
Creamy Smoked Onion Brussels Sprouts
Stephen Vincent, Pinot Noir, California 2008

Second Course
Jalapeno Beer Battered Lobster
Niman Ranch "Ham Hock Mac"
Castello Banfi, Rosso di Montalcino 2008

Third Coursed
Hickory Grilled Niman Ranch Lamb T-Bone
Toasted Garlic-Balsamic Glaze, Carnival Cauliflower Puree
Ferrari-Carano, Siena, Sonoma County 2009

Fourth Course
Niman Ranch Prime Ribeye Filet, Crispy Morel Mushroom Sauce
White Cheddar Smoked Bacon Twice Baked Potato
Caravan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2008

Fifth Course
Tart Washington Cherry Cheesecake
Mint Chocolate Fudge
Ferrari-Carano, Eldorado Gold, Sonoma County 2007

Yours truly and Iron Chef Kent Rathbun
We had an amazing time at the dinner.  Do you ever do wine dinners?  I'd love to hear your suggestions on wine dinner locations!

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