Yep, you read it right we went on a fieldtrip this month.
Veteran’s Day was a beautiful Sunday afternoon when a small group of Gulpers got on a bus hired for the day with a driver. Let me just say now how wonderful it was to have a driver for the day. It was a real treat I recommend highly. Coreen made sure there was plenty of cold water in the bus to enjoy between stops. Our driver Johnny was great. He was funny and charming and made sure we got everywhere on time.
Our first location was a funky little place called Barrel & Grain. This new gastropub is located behind E.R. Bradleys on Datura Street in downtown West Palm and overlooks Meyer Amphitheatre. It reminded me of a couple of pubs I visited in Ireland. When we walked in we were immediately greeted by the man behind the bar who invited us to come sit. When we explained we were meeting people he directed us to the hightop tables. Our waitress, Cass was friendly and attentive. She pointed out the brunch menu with johnny cakes, smoky devilled eggs, and fresh baked corn bread. They also had specials on the blackboard behind us. She mentioned another brunch special; for $9.00 you could have unlimited Bloody Marys or Mimosas. Coreen ordered the devilled eggs and Johnny had the B&G burger, both from the brunch menu . I ordered the pumpkin, feta and almond soup from the blackboard. We all ordered the unlimited Bloody Marys. They used a jalapeno vodka and garnished it with a pickled celery. They were delicious and strong. When the food came we ooohhed and ahhhed over the pretty presentation and did it again after tasting. The eggs were super creamy and the bacon was a perfect touch giving you breakfast in a bite while the paprika oil gave an extra punch of flavor. Johnny’s burger was also delicious and the pickled green tomato lightened up the rich burger with a nice tartness. It is important to note: the sign of a good restaurant isn’t just how great the food is but what happens on occasion when things aren’t quite perfect. The bottom bun was very soggy and falling apart making the burger not so easy to eat. When we let Cass know she insisted on replacing the whole plate! Johnny got a fresh meal toot suite and this time everything was perfect. My pumpkin soup was luscious and silky. The feta gave a wonderful tang to an otherwise slight sweet soup. The almonds were a crunchy element so I got crunchy, sweet, tangy and creamy all in one slurp. Damn near a perfect bite. The only criticism would be I would have liked it hotter in temperature but I didn’t put my spoon down long enough to ask to heat it.
After a short pickup stop to gather the rest of our group we headed to BX Beer Depot where a homebrew competition was under way. You all know how much we love Sally and the crew, many hugs and laughs were exchanged. It felt like a homecoming. Out behind the store various tables and awnings were setup hosting the brewers’ and their hoppy goodness. For $10.00 we became judges and tasted over 20 different brews from Rum Cake Brown Ale to a Pumpkin Porter to a Bourbon Imperial Stout. Steve said, “$10 is terrific for tasting all these brews. I love the Maple Brown Ale!” I, your friendly blogger loves BX Beer Depot! It is always filled with interesting and passionate people talking about and sharing their brew obsessions. Every contestant loved their creation and were so proud of their accomplishments. First Place in the Open Judging, aka, people’s choice was the Siracha Honey Ale followed closely by the Cream Soda Ale which I think was Adriel’s favorite pour of the day.
Back on the bus with two more Gulpers we headed to a late lunch at Serenity Tea Garden House. Boy, Audrey Farrelly I love your place! It is a slice of whimsical, Beatrice Potter and English Rose Garden all rolled into one. This quaint and picturesque location is tucked away just off Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. My experience began upon walking up to the door. A small front garden welcomed us, inviting me to sit at a cozy and brightly covered garden table for a spot of tea and crumpets. Why did a bunch of winos and beer drinkers stop at such an unusual place for grub and what does this have to do with the field trip? Well, I’ll tell you. Gulp isn’t just about drinking. We are about pairing food and libations. We love new experiences and we believe in supporting each other in new ventures. Our fellow Gulper Audrey just took the tea house over in 2013 and we wanted to share her amazing place! Walking through the door it is like entering a Victorian home with cabbage rose fabric, lace doilies, tiffany style lamps and tea pots….everywhere! I just wanted to pull out my book, order high tea and read for the next five years. Audrey made us box lunches containing a duet of pork sandwiches, a Mediterranean pasta salad, and a blueberry scone with clotted cream and jam. We made ourselves at home at one of the larger tables. As we sat we noticed the lovely touch of Sunday hats. Audrey invited us all to wear them as we enjoyed our meal. Bryan looked especially Jackie O in is pillbox hat. We tucked into our sandwiches while Audrey served a selection of iced teas. The pulled pork sandwich in smoky sauce included a special crunchy element with pickled cucumber and it paired wonderfully with the green tea lemonade. The slow roasted pork sandwich was savory and then amped up with pickled onions. Dang delicious. I liked the mango tea with that one. The best part of the meal though was the blueberry scone with clotted cream. It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture! (Desserts are very distracting to me. I grabbed the picture below from Audrey’s facebook page). With my first bite I was back at Dromolond Castle in Ireland having high tea with my sister Margaret. I loved it with the cardamom berry tea. I took some of that with me when we left.
After waving our goodbyes to Audrey we headed Due South, pun intended. Due South Brewery is a new comer to the brewery scene in South Florida. Opening in May of last year they have been mixing it up ever since. Located in Boynton Beach this busy brewery also touts a taproom where visitors can come in and taste what they are cooking up. For $6.00 you can order a sampler flight and taste 4 different brews or select from the blackboard any of 11 Due South brews and 4 guest taps. Coreen had the Coastalisious Apricot Ale which she loved. If anyone else wants to add what they liked best from Due South please feel free to add a comment here. Next to the seating area was a corn hole court where a few of us sipped our libations while tossing bean bags at boards with holes in them. I loved it! Johnny and Michelle kicked me and Tracy’s butts. We will get you next time guys!
Well that wraps it for November my friends! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Hanukah and I will see you in December! If you are looking for some pairing ideas for the holidays stop on back and check out our wine list. I really like a Gewürztraminer. Its spicy notes go really well with the turkey and gravy. A sangiovese would be a lovely pairing with the cranberry mold and stuffing.
Next month is the annual Holiday party and pairing competition. Get your teams together and start making plans for December 7th @ 6pm. The location is the warehouse in Lake Park. Can’t wait to see what you all create this year! Who will top the tomato bacon jam crostini’s?