Chicagoist Food Pr0n: Pan Fried Pretzels at Blackbird

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 9, 2010 9:40PM

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With all the tastings, tappings and events happening around town related to Craft Brewers Conference, it's wise to formulate a plan of attack. The first step to putting together a successful plan is to recognize you aren't going to hit every event. Your wallet and liver will thank you later. Blackbird put together two sold out special beer dinners this week. Last night's beer dinner featuring the beers of Stone Brewing, Jolly Pumpkin and Norwegian brewery Nøgne-Ø (pronounced "Noon-yeh") made the list for three reasons - 1) It's Blackbird. that's always money well spent. 2) Chef de Cuisine and Food & Wine 2010 Best Chef winner Mike Sheerin's revamping of the Blackbird menu has been nothing short of astonishing. 3) The most intriguing brewery of the three was Nøgne-Ø. Brewmaster Kjetil Jikiun intimated last night that they're pretty much the vanguard for Norway's craft beer movement. That these three disparate breweries became comrades speaks volumes about the way good beer — like music, art and food — can bridge seemingly unbridgeable gaps.

Neither Sheerin's cooking nor the inspired pairings disappointed. The highlight of the dinner was this dessert pictured. Pastry chef Patrick Fahy was responsible for this gorgeous plating of a pan fried pretzel served with maple mustard and fluff (marshmallow), oat granola and an apricot kernel sherbet. It was a gossamer-like balance of sweet and savory, tied together perfectly with a pairing of Jolly Pumpkin's Oro de Calabaza ale, that served as a fitting sendoff to the rest of the evening. By the time the checks were settled from this dinner, the night had only started.