Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not Your Typical Wednesday Night Supper Club

I had just gotten home from work yesterday, put on comfy clothes, and dived into bed for a quick nap before my second run when Gary (of Ask Asheville and G Social Media) called asking if I could come photograph an event that evening. Of course, I immediately began crafting an elaborate excuse, but then he told me more about this event; a rooftop dinner at the Social Lounge and Tapas Bar. Chef Anthony Cerrato of Strada was to prepare three special dishes (appetizer, entree, and dessert) to pair with three cocktails featuring new, special liquors. Oh, and Gary would pay for my dinner. Well, you just don't say no to a free dinner, especially of this caliber, so of course I said yes. And was very glad I did!

That's Gary and his phone in the background. It's pretty funny attending a dinner with  [multiple] networking and media people because just as much of the dinner happens online as it does in person.

To say that the Social Lounge is known for their cocktails is an understatement. Voted the #1 Cocktail Bar in Asheville by the Mountain XPress, as a freshly-21-year-old I was interested to try their drinks. I had a workout the next morning, so I only sipped each, but it was a fun experience tasting each special cocktail with its respective delicious dish.

We started of with a one of my favorite types of upscale restaurant appetizers - prosciutto-wrapped figs.  Stuffed with basil whipped goat cheese and topped with a chianti glaze, each savory-sweet creamy bite melted in my mouth. Social Lounge's signature "Butter Cup"  (Vanilla vodka, pineapple, rosemary, lemon and cinnamon ) played sidekick to the figs, and this was definitely my favorite drink of the dinner. Its fruity sweet and sourness paired nicely with that of the fig, and only left me more excited for the next plate.

Purus Vodka (100% Italian wheat) is becoming the talk of the town around Asheville, and our second drink featured this special liquor. With its recyclable glass, soy ink, and water-based glue, this Go-Green company has obviously found its niche in Asheville.

I was expecting good pasta - it's a renowned Mediterranean restaurant, after all - but I was not prepared for the creamy, wonderfully starchy noodles topped with rich pork jowl that I immediately scarfed down. Paired with a "Moscow Mule," (Purus Vodka, lime, fresh ginger) an adult limeade in my opinion, this dinner was a little better than the leftover stuffed peppers I'd planned on heating up.

Dessert has a special place in my heart (and stomach) so I impatiently waited for our hazelnut pana cotta. If you're a fan of Nutella, this is your dessert - perfectly sweet and rich pudding topped with whipped cream, and a couple nutty garnishes. Our dessert cocktail featured Mystic Bourbon
(represented among the eaters on the rooftop.) The elderflower and honey bourbon with a hint of orange paired nicely with the chocolate (orange and chocolate sure do know how to tango together.)

 Brooklyn did what I only thought about - licked the whole ramekin clean! The pana cotta was simply that good.

Great food, great views, and a beautiful evening (60s in July, who'd've thunk it.) Thanks to Chef Anthony, Gary, and the Social Lounge for a wonderful dinner!

Check out Ask Asheville to read more about our dinner and the Social Lounge's future events!