Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mikkeller Bar

One evening, to celebrate a visiting co-worker from out of the country, my co-workers decided to go to Mikkeller Bar.  I didn't join them for the dinner part (I had other dinner plans), so I can't comment on the gastropub aspects of the establishment (sausages abound), but I don't think the place is particularly known for their food.
Spontancherry. $16.
What they are known for, as I found out once I was already en route, is the beer.  When I reached a few blocks away, I sent my drink request in to someone who was already there.  "Anything but a beer!" I said.  "Be creative, any cocktail you see fit!"  He replied, letting me know that um, they don't have cocktails.  I thought he was joking.  A bar without hard alcohol?  And then I looked the place up.

Indeed, a bar without hard alcohol.  They have a couple token wines by the glass as well, but, this place is about the beer.  The selection on tap is insane - 42 options.  The draft menu even breaks the beer down into serving temperature.  Some are served at 45 degrees, others at 40, others at 55.  I had no idea this was even a thing.  The bottle list was even crazier.

I looked through the list, and, actually, perked up a bit.  There was some unique stuff on tap.  In the end, I was drawn in by the "Spontan" series: Spontancherry, Spontanapple, Spontanpear.  Sour beers, with fruit.  I didn't think I'd love these, but, there was hope.

I opted for the cherry version, Spontancherry.  It was ... well, still a beer.  A sour beer, with some hints of fruitiness, but, still a beer.  I didn't really care for it.

But my co-workers really, really enjoyed their selections.  The variety of colors, thicknesses, and aromas were a surprise to me.  Like I said, not a beer drinker, so I had no idea such a world of options existed.  I tried a few sips of a couple selections that almost tasted like milkshakes or mochas.  Serious chocolately tones, and, actual coffee in them.
Bread Pudding. $8.
"Sour cherries.  Bitter-sweet Chocolate.  Chantilly".

A bit sad by the drinks, I decided to order dessert.  This was a kinda stupid move on my part, as I had just come from dinner that included dessert myself, and I wasn't hungry, but, I just wanted to enjoy ... something.  My first option was crème brûlée, which you'd think I'd go straight for given my love of crème brûlée (and entire blog label devoted to it), but, it was made with beer, so I assumed that the flavor would not appeal.

Instead I went for the bread pudding, another dessert I do love (although, have strong opinions about).

There were two things about it that I immediately appreciated.  First, the bread pudding was served warm.  This is a requirement for me in the bread pudding department.  Second, the volume of whipped cream.  I generally would prefer some ice cream with warm bread pudding, but I'll take excellent whipped cream any day.  They did not skimp on the whipped cream, providing a larger portion of whip than the bread pudding itself.  Also, the dish looked pretty good, visually.  Hmm, maybe this place did have something to offer me?

But ... that is about where my accolades end.  The bread pudding was the style I never like.  A big, dense, block.  For me, bread pudding is all about the individual chunks.  I want it moist inside, crispy on top, with visible chunks of whatever bread is used.  Here, it was just a homogenous chunk.  The interior lacked all the moisture I like; not that it was dry, but, it was just like any cake, no real custard going on.  The exterior edge on top was a bit crisp, but, it was also burnt.  I think they may have pan fried it to warm it up?  I could taste the bitter burntness.  It wasn't actually *bad*, as it was almost like a caramelized taste, but, clearly had been left on a bit too long.

Ok, so a point for warm, but minus several points for the lack of crispy exterior, the burnt edge, the lack of moist interior, and, the solid lump that it was.  How about the flavor?  I didn't really like that either.  The base didn't have much flavor at all.  On top were a few rehydrated sour cherries.  The chocolate was minimal, I thought there would be a chocolate sauce, or pockets of chocolate inside, and instead I only found maybe 2 bites in the entire thing that had any chocolate.

The whipped cream however was pretty fantastic.  I eat a lot of whipped cream, and this really was a step above most.  Nicely sweetened, thicker than usual, and delicious even on its own.

I tried to give this away, but no one else wanted it.  They were happy with their beer.  I didn't like it, and, besides the whipped cream, found nothing redeeming about it.
Waffled Bread Pudding.
So I brought most of it home.  I can't handle food waste.  I guess I thought that maybe Ojan would want it?  But ... he never got a bite.  Because I discovered how to make it delicious.

For those of you who read my waffling leftovers series, I suppose this will come as no surprise, but, I waffled it.  I just sliced it and stuck it in the waffle iron.  A few minutes later, magic happened.  The exterior was crispy, the inside stayed moist, and all of a sudden, I had something with fun textures.  I drizzled on some caramel rum sauce (which yes, I just happened to have) and piled on the whipped cream, and, I really enjoyed it.  Waffle iron saves the day!
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