|The Lansdowne Pub|
It seemed quite appropriate that this Mystery Meet, on the 12th of March, took place at The Lansdowne Pub in Boston’s Fenway district. Just a week shy of St. Patrick’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to get the green engines turning than by raising a few glasses of whisky with some jovial folks at one of Boston’s best Irish pubs. And, despite the cold, rainy weather outside, Fenway Park’s monster shadow on the restaurant was a nice reminder that Spring Training was just around the corner and soon this quiet Lansdowne Street would be alive with sunshine and tens of thousands of Red Sox fans.
But baseball and leprechauns aside, the conversation at hand is about food and whisky, and to me that’s much more exciting.
Whisky: Our dinner started off with a sampling of four whiskies which most people took part in, and sipped on throughout the course of the meal. The lineup started with two Highland Single Malts, Glenlivet 12 and Dalmore 12. Of course the former is a Scotch standard that can be found nearly everywhere Scotch is sold. It’s mellow and light, perhaps not all that exciting, but an easy dram to welcome in the night. The latter, Dalmore 12, brings a little more of an interesting character to the table, but still a light Highland Malt that most can enjoy (and most did enjoy), and not surprisingly a nice sipper for the first dinner course.
Crispy Crab Cakes, Arugula and Mustard Aioli: The menu in front of the diners presented three courses in total, each with a selection of options. For the appetizer, I selected the Crispy Crab Cakes with Arugula and Mustard Aioli. Some of my fellow diners selected the Onion & Ale soup or the Sticky Whiskey BBQ Chicken Wings. Everyone seemed to enjoy the bold flavors and generous portions, and of course, the whisky accompaniment certainly didn’t hurt the overall enjoyment factor.
Mustard Glazed Salmon, Boxty Potato Cakes and Green Beans: With the second course, most of the whisky drinkers had moved onto their third glass, Talisker 10. It’s a common misconception that Talisker is from the Islay region in Scotland, but in actuality it’s from the island of Talisker, and therefor, considered an Island whisky. I’m a big fan of Talisker, especially their 18 year expression, and in this context the briny peat smoke character of the Talisker 10 went especially well with my Mustard Glazed Salmon with Boxty Potato Cakes and Green Beans.
Peaty whiskies don’t always go well with food, but at least for me, I found the Talisker to be a nice compliment to all of the flavorful Irish-inspired dishes on the table. My neighbors ordered a mix of food including the very traditional Lamb Shepherd’s Pie, Flat Iron Pepper Crust Pork and Fish & Chips. The portions were large, but everyone did their absolute best to make the Irish proud. All around, the second course of food and the third glass of whisky was well received.
Apple Crisp: The final whiskey of the evening was Makers Mark. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Makers – there are plenty of other bourbons in that price range that I’d prefer (say, Weller 107 if you want to stick with wheated bourbons). But, nevertheless, as a compliment to the final dessert course, I’d say the sweetness went along rather well with the massive (and massively delicious) apple crisp with scoop of vanilla ice cream that I ordered. Of course, it would have gone equally as well with the Bread Puddings that also surrounded me.
The diners started dropping off one by one after the decadent dessert and bourbon that concluded the meal. But, I can’t really blame them – it was after all a Tuesday evening – and if they stayed longer they probably would have wound up matching me glass for glass as we started to dip into the plentiful selection of other whiskies that The Lansdowne offered. There were a number of folks, however, that stayed and enjoyed a last beer or whisky with me – I ordered a Jura Superstition, while others kept on track with their Irish beers and ciders.
All in, it was a great evening. It was my first Mystery Meet, and the first for many others at the table as well. We had some newcomers to Boston, and others just out looking to meet new people, try new food, and drink some whisky. A big thanks goes out to all who came, drank and enjoyed, as well as a hearty Irish thanks to the great folks at The Lansdowne Pub who served us up some great food, and let us take over their private dining room. Until next time, cheers… and drink your whisky!
For more whisky articles and reviews, check out my blog: drinkinsider.com