Food And Beer Pairing Project English Language Essay

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Our group had decided to visit the Lazy Dog Café. We were interested in this restaurant due to the variety of selections in both food and alcoholic beverages, and its chic décor. The Lazy Dog Café is a restaurant chain which has ten locations in California and a new location to open in Brea this autumn. The restaurant that we had visited is located at 1440 Plaza Drive, West Covina CA 91790. In our visit, seeking the complementary pairing of savory dishes with beers was our mission.

The origin of the restaurant's name is said to have come from the founder Chris Slimms' account of witnessing his dog lying next to the fireplace on one cold winter evening. The dog, seemingly relaxed and cozy in the warmth of the fire, struck a chord with Mr. Simms. He envisioned bringing the same level of comfort to his restaurant guests so that they could experience, for that moment, what the lazy dog did. Moreover, he wanted his guests to feel like a part of the family and eat like they are at home.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were impressed by the sophistication and spaciousness of the community that it was in. Once inside, we were greeted by a nice relaxing ambience with dark wooden features. There was also an open kitchen in the back of the facility to feed the guests' curiosities. We noticed that the restaurant was packed even during late hours. Therefore, it is a good place for family and friends to dine out late, or hang out and watch sports together. Moreover, there are two entrances in the front: one for dine-in guests and the other for take-out. The seating area consists of the bar section, great for happy hour, and a more intimate section where you will find booths to accommodate couples or larger parties.

During our visit, we were introduced to Robert, who is a server at this restaurant. Robert was very gracious and answered our questions enthusiastically. He seated us in the bar section and acquainted us with their menu. The alcohol and food are presented in two separate menus, alongside a happy hour menu. While looking at the alcohol menu, one may see that all the draft beers are on the first page. They offer a total of thirteen beers on tap and also six of their own specialty lazy dog beers. There is also a large selection of bottled beers. All of their draft beers come in 16 or 22 ounce pint glasses or one may purchase a pitcher. One of the marketing strategies they have is that their selections of draft beers are displayed in the center of the bar, on each side, while being flanked by bottles of hard liquor. The draft beers are very visible to guests. Another way of marketing their beers is that they have both the food and bar menu on the restaurant's website to enhance customer convenience. All in all, our group enjoyed pairing up the food and beers and to apply the three C's to it, which are cut, complement, and contrast. This helped us understand more about the uniqueness of beers and its taste as well.

One of the six top-selling items is the Spicy Thai Chicken salad. Lazy Dog Café serves the salad at $8.25 per dish. It is made with hand-shredded chicken breast, chopped Napa cabbage, fresh mint, cilantro, carrots, cucumbers and sweet red bell peppers tossed in a spicy Thai Peanut vinaigrette. There are so many flavors bouncing off one another in this dish. There is citric acidity and it is spicy from the peppers and spicy vinaigrette. There are also herbal notes from the fresh mint. The next best selling starter would be the mouth-watering Cajun fries. It is sold for $4.95 per order. The Cajun fries are house-made, deep fried, and served with chipotle ranch. They are seasoned with Cajun spices and pair perfectly with the dipping sauce. They bake up crisp on the outside and are hot and tender on the inside. The barbeque bacon cheeseburger is also not to be missed, and it is served at $9.75 per dish. The burger is made with hickory-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and barbeque sauce, and grilled to perfection. It is nice and juicy, and with the melting cheese and crispy bacon, it takes the burger to a whole new level of greatness. With the barbeque sauce, it brings the smoky flavor out of the patty. Our favorite dish out of everything would be the Penne Carbonara pasta. It is sold at $12.95 per dish. The pasta is made with hickory-smoked bacon, sweet peas, and garlic and parmesan cream sauce. It is flavorful with a nice creamy texture. Even with the hickory smoked-bacon, the pasta has a good balance between the saltiness and sweetness. All the ingredients and the creamy sauce make a rich and tasty dish. Our next favorite would be the garlic-butter glazed flatiron which is served at $18.45 per order. It is a 10 ounce USDA prime flatiron broiled steak served with mashed potatoes, burgundy wine sauce, and sautéed broccoli. The steak is juicy and tender with a scoop of garlic butter melting on top. The burgundy wine sauce was very tasty but it did not cover the flavor of the steak. The sauce actually makes the dish much more enjoyable. Last but not least, there is the ginger soy salmon that is sold at $16.95 per dish. The dish is made with grilled salmon filet, sweet soy glaze, stir-fried veggies, steamed rice, and Asian Vinaigrette. The salmon is served with steamed broccoli and sautéed mushroom on the side. It is a healthy and good tasting entrée. The flavors are all nice together.

The spicy Thai chicken salad needs a hop-heavy pairing to create feedback. The hops amplify spice and a little bit of bitterness go a long way. The Samuel Adams Boston Lager makes a great pairing with this salad. Malty richness helps to calm the heat and brings out the flavors of the meat and the citric lime sauce. The Fat Tire Amber Ale goes great with the Cajun fries and they complement each other very well. The beer has a heavy smell of malts and a hint of floral aroma can be picked up. The roasted malts can be tasted, most heavily in the form of burnt caramel, toffee, and light milk chocolate. The beer is easy to drink, and the sweetness and subtle hops flavors counterbalance the fried and oily fries. To cut through the barbeque bacon cheeseburger's richness, we selected a lightly hopped pale ale like the Lazy Dog Pale Ale to go with it. It is appropriate to be a little bitter since the carbonation and bitterness will suitably scrub the palate. Our favorite dish, the Penne Carbonara makes the perfect pairing with the Blue Moon Belgian white. These two items complement each other with their creamy textures. The Blue Moon Belgian White is an unfiltered wheat ale spiced in the Belgian tradition for an uncommonly smooth taste. The aroma is a bit hoppy but sweet and extremely easy to drink. We had the pasta and the beer together, and the Blue Moon made the flavors of the pasta stand out even more. The overall pairing was very enjoyable. We then paired the Ginger Soy Salmon with Lazy Dog's Bavarian Hefeweizen. The spicy ginger and garlic came out strong, and it turns out that the lemon juice and soy gave the dish a delicate fruitiness. Yeasty and fruity wheat beers are perfect companions to this dish. The mouth feel stands up to the oily salmon and the ginger soy glaze and yet is light enough not to overpower it. The high carbonation from the Hefeweizen works well to cleanse the palate. At last, the Lazy Dog Chocolate Porter was chosen to make a good contrast to the garlic-butter glazed flatiron. The Lazy Dog Chocolate Porter delivered its promise of silky, smooth chocolate character, and yet has the dark and bitter flavors. The sweet burgundy wine sauce and the steak made a good contrast with the silky yet bitter flavors of the beer.

We believed there were some beers that were not offered at Lazy Dog that would pair great with these popular dishes. Saison Farmhouse Ale would be a great pair with the Spicy Thai Chicken Salad. It contents a variety of spices which add more heat to the hot chicken. Moreover, with its nice fruity aroma, Saison Farmhouse Ale brings out the flavor from the salad. This beer is a good complement to the Spicy Thai Chicken Salad. Red Rocket Pale Ale is recommended to pair with Cajun Fries. The caramel aroma, sweet and slightly bitter flavor from Red Rocket Ale is a great combination to go with the salty fried sweet potatoes. In addition, the very creamy head of this reddish American Amber Ale enhances the flavor of the thick creamy sweet and sour chipotle ranch sauce which comes with the Cajun Fries. Victory Prima Pils is recommended to pair with the Barbeque Bacon Cheeseburger. This German Pilsener beer has a beautiful clear gold color with a thick layer of white head. It has a touch of citrus, grass aroma, and bitterness from hop. The medium carbonation content with a bitter finish is a great way to cut through the cheesy and fatty taste of the burger. Cream City Pale Ale is a wonderful combination with the Penne Carbonara Pasta. This beer is very accessible and has a short sweet tail. The creamy and buttery flavor of the Pale Ale goes well with the parmesan cream sauce of the pasta. In addition, a light touch of the orange aroma and toffee aroma in the beer can brings out the flavor of the crispy smoked bacon. Hitachino Nest Ginger Beer is an herbed and spiced beer that is a good match with the Grilled Ginger Soy Salmon. This hazy brown beer has a slight ginger aroma at the beginning with a clean and wet finish. The beer is sweet and has a touch of caramel in flavor which enhances the sweetness of the soy and the smokiness of the grilled salmon. Maredsous 8 is a great choice to pair with the Garlic-Butter Glazed Flatiron. This dark brown beer has a wonderful combination of sweetness, bitterness and tart. The creaminess and sweetness of the beer complement the flavor of the garlic butter sauce. In addition, the smell of olive oil and fruit enhances the flavor of the medium rare juicy steak while slightly bitter and sour taste help balancing out the fatty taste of the beef.

Beer and Food Pairings

Menu Item

Beer from the List

(Brand and Style)

Our Suggestion

(Brand and Style)

Spicy Thai chicken salad

Samuel Adams Boston Lager/ Lager

Saison Farmhouse Ale/

Saison Farmhouse Ale

Cajun Fries

Fat Tire Amber Ale/ American Amber, Red Ale

Red Rocket Ale/ American Amber Ale

Barbeque Bacon Cheeseburger

Lazy Dog Pale Ale/ Pale Ale

Victory Prima Pils/ German Pilsener

Penne Carbonara

Blue Moon Belgian White/

Witbier

Cream City Pale Ale/ Pale Ale

Ginger Soy Salmon

Lazy Dog Bavarian Hefeweizen/ Bavarian Hefeweizen

Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew/ Spiced Ginger Ale

Garlic-Butter Glazed Flatiron

Lazy Dog Chocolate Porter/ Chocolate Porter

Maredsous 8/ Belgian Dubbel

The restaurant could market these new beers by displaying a picture and description of the beers on the table tents that are placed on each table. Each table tent would have a different beer and it would suggest a specific dish that would pair well with it. This would lure the guests into ordering these pairings and it can help servers up sell and increase their guest checks. For example, one table tent would show the Cream City Pale Ale right next to the Penne Carbonara. Another way the restaurant could market these new beers is to put them in the food menu. Next to certain dishes, the menu would suggest a special beer to go with it. For example, the menu would list Barbeque Bacon Cheeseburger and next to it, it will say, "Pairs well with our Lazy Dog Pale Ale. The little but detailed marketing strategies will help sell these new beers.

Our group went into this project with an open mind and in search of the perfect pairing of food and beer. We believed we accomplished this by experimenting and trying different delicious entrees and appetizers with the suggested beers on Lazy Dog's drink menu. The input we received from the servers contributed in our learning experience and finding our pairings. We were able to apply our knowledge of beer, beer terminology, and beer components and use them in our project. It also allowed us to suggest new beers to pair with food and ways in which to market these beers. We will now apply what we learned from this project into the rest of our lives and into our future dining experiences.

Appendix

Our Thoughts

Overall, I thought this project was very fun and interesting. It gave our group a chance to visit the Lazy Dog Café and learn how to do beer and food pairings, which is something I have never done before. In the past, I never really looked into the art of pairing food and beer. I never knew there were beers with hoppy flavors and other beers with creamy textures. Now that I know how to do pairings, I can really start to enjoy my meals at a whole different level. Although our server at the restaurant was a bit clumsy and forgetful, he made an effort to be helpful with pairing recommendations. There was a great selection of bottled beers and draft beers, and the Lazy Dog craft beer samples were also very fun to drink. With the good variety of beer and tasty food, I would definitely pay this restaurant another visit. -Stephanie Lau

Doing the Beer and Food Pairing project is a great experience for me with my awesome team members. We chose to explore the beer and food at Lazy Dog Café to do our project in which we can both study and enjoy at the same time. Besides the class, we learned a lot from each other about the amazing world of food and beer. It is a very interesting feeling when we have a sip of the beer then take a bite of the food, and slowly feel and enjoy how they go together. It was not the same as we used to go to the restaurant where we eat and drink whatever we want until we were full. Instead, we took more time to feel the beer, the food and discussed about them. I used to like drinking beer and eating food separately because I did not want the beer's bitterness to make my food less tasty. However, now I know beer has a variety of aromas and flavors such as bitterness, sweetness, sourness, buttery, smokiness, fruitiness, etc. that I can pair up with a lot of food. Thanks for the class and my friends that brought me to a new wonderful world of beer and food. -Mytran Dang

Prior to taking this beer-tasting class, I admit that I was not the one to appreciate beer all that much. In fact, I did not enjoy the taste of beer due to its hoppiness and nuttiness. However, taking this class gave me the opportunity to taste a variety of beers that includes sour, fruity, bitter, and sweet flavors. For some people who do not like the taste of beer, beer-tasting class is a good way to discover what kinds are more palatable to individual tastes. Also, learning the compatibility of certain beers with certain foods can enhance the experience. Through this project, I have gained more knowledge on how beer can pair up with food and the importance of the 3 C's, which are cut, complement and contrast. For instance, I noticed when eating buttery dishes such as pasta, it is good to drink dark beers because its bitterness cuts through the buttery taste of the pasta. I found out that most beers could complement many different kinds of food, such as barbeque with fresh and crisp beers. Lastly, contrasting beers and food is a way to find out the uniqueness of taste in the beer and also the food. Overall, I am glad that I had the opportunity to go out and have dinner with my group members. We not only enjoyed each other's company with great food and drink, but also explored how to mix food and beers together. - Michelle Wu

I admit that beer was not always my favorite drink to have when I dined out or had a night out at the bar. However, after taking this class and completing this Food and Beer pairing project, I have learned to appreciate beer more. There are so many different styles and flavor components to beer and there's a variety of food that can pair perfectly well with them. I never liked drinking beer with my meal, but now I am more excited to experiment with all the flavors and make my own special pairings. I have also learned to pay attention more to the taste of the beer and to really have an open mind when it comes to trying new beers. Now, when I go out to eat at a restaurant, I actually pay attention to how well my beer pairs with the food I am eating. It amazes me how one project can change my perspective on food and beer. This project also introduced me to some great group members. We had an awesome time preparing this project and experimenting with the different flavors. I can honestly say this project was a good learning experience. -Melissa Ramos

List of Lazy Dog's Beers

Brewery

Brand/ Style

Draft/ Bottle

Size

Menu Price

Anhueser Busch

Michelob Ultra/

Light Lager

Bottle

12oz

$3.95

Anhueser Busch

Budweiser/

Pilsner

Bottle

12oz

$3.95

Anhueser Busch

Bud Light/

Light Lager

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.25/5.75

Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash White/

Witbier

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

Bayhawk Ales

Lazy Dog Red Ale/

Red Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Bayhawk Ales

Lazy Dog Chocolate Porter/ American Porter

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Brasserie Lefebvre SA

Blanche De Bruxelles/

Witbier

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

Brouwerij Bavik

Wittekerke/

Witbier

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

Brouwerij Affligem

Affligem Blond/

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V

Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple/

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Bottle

12oz

$8.95

The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Newcastle Brown Ale/ English Brown Ale

English Brown Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$5.00/7.95

Coors Brewing Company

Blue Moon

Belgian White/

Witbier

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$5.00/7.95

Coors Brewing Company

Coors Light/

Light Lager

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.25/5.75

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

90 Minute IPA/

Imperial IPA

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Firestone Double Barrel Ale/ English Pale Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$5.00/7.95

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Lazy Dog Honey Blonde/ American Blonde Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Lazy Dog

Bavarian Hefeweizen/ Bavarian Hefeweizen

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Lazy Dog Pale Ale/ American Pale Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Lazy Dog Red Ale/ Red Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Lazy Dog

India Pale Ale/ India Pale Ale

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.95/6.50

Green Flash Brewing Co.

West Coast IPA/

American IPA

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

Green King Morland Brewery

Old Speckled Hen

English Pale Ale/ English Pale Ale

Can

14.9oz

$6.95

Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.

Corona Extra/

American Adjunct Lager

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

Guiness Ltd.

Guiness Extra Stout/

Irish Dry Stout

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$5.00/7.95

Heineken Nederland B.V.

Heineken/

Euro Pale Lager

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

Lost Coast Brewery & Café

Alleycat Amber Ale/ American Amber Ale

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

Maui Brewing Co.

CoCoNut Porter/

American Porter

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

Miller Brewing Co.

Miller Lite/

Light Lager

Bottle

12oz

$3.95

Mission Brewery

Shipwrecked Double IPA/Imperial IPA

Bottle

12oz

$6.95

New Belgium Brewing

Fat Tire

Amber Ale/American Amber Ale

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Rasputin

Russian Imperial Stout/Russian Imperial Stout

Bottle

12oz

$5.95

North Coast Brewing Co.

Scrimshaw/

German Pilsner

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

Pabst Brewing Company

Pabst Blue Ribbon/

American Adjunct Lager

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$4.25/5.75

Selin's Grove Brewing Company

River Rat Triple/

Tripel

Bottle

12oz

$8.95

Shipyard Brewing Co.

Monkey Fist IPA/

American IPA

Bottle

12oz

$5.95

Stella Artois

Stella Artois/

Euro Pale Lager

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$5.00/7.95

Stone Brewing Co.

Stone IPA/

American IPA

Draft

16oz or 22oz

$5.00/7.95

Uinta Brewing Co.

Hoodoo Kolsch Style Ale/Kolsch

Bottle

12oz

$4.95

Picture of Michelle Wu, Mytran Dang, Stephanie Lau, and Melissa Ramos taken by Lazy Dog's server

Pictures of Penne Carbonara on the left, and Lazy Dog's Draft beer sampler on the right taken by Mytran Dang

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