November 12, 2010 at 12:29pm
TEXT BOOK NOSH LEAGUE NIGHT >>>
For those who've never had the pleasure of attending a Weekly Volcano Nosh League event, here's the main concept at its most basic: We gather a bunch of people with an interest in food and drinks, and then see if we can have some fun and learn a little while discovering the affinities between particular foods and various beers, wines or liquor. Nosh League events are a chance to sample a range of a restaurant's menu offerings along with a variety of different libations, at a price that would be ordinarily impossible to pull off. That's because the restaurants and distributors are a) awesome, b) hope to build long term relationships with Nosh Leaguers, c) know Nosh Leaguers arrive early and stay late thereby spending more money, and d) they're really awesome.
This is exactly what went down last night at the Nosh League's Don Julio tequila tasting at Masa restaurant on Sixth Avenue. First, a shout out to the ownership and staff at Masa. The room setup, service and food were above and beyond the call of duty. We felt like VIPs. Second, Don Julio Ambassador Tierney Milton - who spreads Don Julio love across six western states - taught us the history, process and products of Don Julio in a lively atmosphere while pouring us five times the amount of tequila we expected - including a surprise Manhattan cocktail with a tequila base. The evening was ideal.
The Nosh League has developed a dinner party atmosphere so smiles appear when regulars walk through the door. We took turns taking trips to the food table to load up on goat cheese and chorizo stuffed arepas, steak and roasted yellow tomato crostini, bacon wrapped mesquite grilled dates and spiced candied pineapple skewers before Milton's class provided an opportunity to catch up on lives, and laugh over last month's conversational topics. This month sex and dating weren't the main topics of discussion - as they were last month's Nosh League event at TWOKOI Japanese Restaurant, which was also a very fun night.
Now I don't know about you, but I don't encounter tequila every day. I'm not an expert, and Milton discussed how most people's perception of tequila was formed during wild college years. That's part of the appeal of Nosh League dinners: You'll get to sample food and drinks that you might never consider ordering in a restaurant or buying in a store. These dinners expand our palate and knowledge at the very minimum by simply exposing us to the cuisine or libations, in this case high-end tequila, that we might not otherwise bump into.
Ultimately, tasting dinners are only as good as the expert in attendance - since he or she is essentially your host for the evening. So far, our hosts have been magnificent, including Milton who shared the process and secrets of Don Julio tequila without boring us to death with three hours of flowcharts. We learned in 2013 the price of tequila will rise due to a shortage of blue agave; baking the piñas longer at low temperatures produces the best flavor; Don Julio sells tequila in squatty bottles so Don Julio himself can see his family over the bottles at the dinner table as he must constantly sit due to a stroke; Don Julio products just went through a label design change; and Don Julio 1942 sells for $25 a shot and the smooth caramel and toffee flavor with vanilla fragrance is worth every penny. More details, which Milton covered last night, can be found on the Don Julio website.
Needless to say, I'm a Don Julio tequila fan now. While I wish I could shelf bottles of the $100-plus 1942, I'm happy to call Don Julio Anejo - the product used to make the Manhattan mentioned above - my new tequila of choice. It's butterscotch taste with light spices, coupled with a slice of orange dipped in cinnamon, will be my new go to drink for fireside chilling.
The next Nosh League event will be Thursday, Jan. 13 (too many holiday parties during December). Details will be posted on the Nosh League Group page soon.
Off duty rules.
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