Monday, December 18, 2006

When it comes to eating out, there are just certain things that should be paired together. Just like peanut butter and jelly seem to be made for one another so do certain entrees and the drinks that should accompany them. Steak always goes well with a nice glass of full-bodied wine and beer helps a nice juicy burger go down easy.

I really feel that it is necessary for some food staples to be paired with a specific drink and only that drink- no substitutions, please.

For this reason, when people dine out in order to fully enjoy the experience, they should know what drink goes with what food and practice this. For instance, when going out for a nice, thick tenderloin one should definitely not opt for a margarita.

It causes me to cringe when I see patrons dining out and not knowing what to drink and I feel that it ruins the meal- or at least detracts from it. The flavors just don’t mesh as well as they could.

Now, I understand that not everyone likes every kind of alcoholic beverage, but there are certainly ways around this.

For instance, if you’re going out for a nice hearty Mexican meal, fully equipped with refried beans and rice- a glass of wine would certainly not taste best with the meal. But instead one could order a lime margarita on the rocks (or blended) or of course, a Corona paired with its signature slice of lime. The lime flavor in both the margarita and Corona would bring out the intense flavors of the meal, and taste delicious with the fresh chips and spicy salsa. I guarantee you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Plus, by doing this you also partake in the culture behind the dish. Margaritas have traditionally been paired Mexican dishes- they’re made for each other. Just take a trip to Mexico, and you’ll see.

Some great places to enjoy a margarita and Mexican dish in Milwaukee are La Fluente, and La Perla in addition to many others on National Avenue.

Additionally, when going out to a nice steak or seafood restaurant, it is customary to get a glass (or even a bottle) of wine. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive glass on the list – especially if you’re running a little short on cash, but rather any kind that sounds best. For red meat, it is best to have a red wine, whereas seafood often goes with white.

Just as a traditional Mexican meal would taste horrible with wine, an entrée with either steak or seafood wouldn’t taste so great with a margarita. The flavors of the dishes wouldn’t pair as nicely. Steaks are often accompanied with a hearty sauce that needs to be balanced out with a wine (or perhaps a martini if you’re not partial to wine).

And I don’t think anyone can argue that the best drink to go with a hearty burger would be a nice, cold beer. Any beer would be well suited for a burger and fries because they all finish off the meal perfectly. You can’t live in Wisconsin without being able to enjoy a thick cheeseburger and a pint glass full of fresh, frothy beer.

Once people learn to compliment their meals with the right drink, they will certainly enjoy them more. Plus, if you’re really craving something that doesn’t compliment your meal, you can always get one for your after dinner drink. That way you can have the best of both worlds- a perfect drink to compliment your meal and a drink you’ve been craving all night for dessert.

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