Ah yes, yes, y'all. A double dose of Food Friday in one week! Last Thursday, I made my way to Hotel Palomar's Dirty Habit restaurant for an evening of southern charm with Kentucky-based Bourbon brand, Blade and Bow. Now, full disclosure, I know just as much about whiskey as I do calculus. (I majored in English Literature back in my Bruin days, in case you couldn't tell.) But, just because my knowledge of bourbon isn't as strong as my mastery of the English language doesn't mean that I can't appreciate and recognize a good drink when I taste one. But of course, because this is Food Friday, this stack will be stuffed with plenty of food porn to feast your eyes on, so don't you worry. Now, let's get to it, shall we?
My evening with Blade and Bow started like any other - I was welcomed into a beautiful dining room with live music and an outdoor patio where specialty drinks were being served one right after the other. Just kidding about the night like any other bit - as soon as I walked into the private dining room, I wondered if I was in the right place because surely such a beautiful sight was meant for someone cooler, right? But, lucky me, I was in the right spot, so I waltzed on over to the cocktail bar and grabbed my first drink of evening - The Blade and Bow Presbyterian (more on that later). After a couple sips, it was time to get seated and learn about Blade and Bow's rich history. What I learned: Blade and Bow's name comes from the two parts of a skeleton key - the blade shaft and the ornate bow. The brand is a tribute to the five keys that once hung on the door of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. The five keys represent the five steps of crafting bourbon—grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation and aging. These keys now adorn each bottle of Blade and Bow, and, if you're game enough, you might just collect all five. (It's safe to say that I am not yet game enough for this challenge, but I am happy with the one key I received at dinner.) During dinner, we tried four distinct pours, including one special, limited-edition 125% proof taste! After trying each pour, I learned something else: I can't drink whiskey straight. Luckily for me, Blade and Bow is great for cocktails.
Now, on to the food. Each pour was accompanied by some delicious dishes. I am a crazy person and will tell you upfront that my favorite part of the meal was actually the biscuits with red pepper jelly, but I promise the rest of it was good, too. So what did we have? To start, we nibbled on Butter Lettuce "Wedge" Salads adorned with avocado ranch, pancetta, pickled onions, and heirloom tomatoes. I loved that the salads were actual bite-sized wedges -- definitely taking a note out of Dirty Habit's recipe book and serving mine up this way at my next feast. Next came the Oysters Rockefeller - oysters on half shell baked to perfection.
After a few oysters, it was time to move on to my favorite part of the meal - the biscuits! But because you guys have definitely had biscuits before, I won't bore you with how melt-in-your-mouth buttery and soft they were. Instead, let's talk about the Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder glazed with peach preserves (yummmmmmmy) and the Baked Flounder with okra and bread crumbs. Talk about some scrumptious main dishes, right? Now imagine those with some bomb biscuits...mmmm. Finally, we ended with mini Lemon Meringue Pies (not my favorite, but I'm not too much of a pie gal), and Stone Fruit Beignets (more my style) topped with Whiskey Ice Cream! Whiskey ice cream? Yeah, I can get down with that.
With every bite of food and sip of my cocktail, I felt like I was transported to Kentucky without ever having to leave my seat. Blade and Bow created a truly charming evening for its guests and I can't wait to start practicing my bartending skills with my new cocktail recipe (copied below, so you can get started on those summer drinks, too!). Thanks to Blade and Bow for the wonderful evening.
Blade & Bow Presbyterian
1.5 oz. Blade & Bow Base
.25 oz. Lemon Juice
Top with Ginger Ale