While we were planning Dario’s, Amy and I had several discussions about what type of restaurant it should be. We kept coming back to the fact that we didn’t want a café or bistro, it had to be special and unknown to Omaha. We would talk out our ideas over bottles of Belgian beer and the brasserie was born. A brasserie is defined as a welcoming & warm restaurant that serves drinks, especially beer, and simple or hearty food. Good food is good food, it doesn’t have to be fancy.
To celebrate Dario’s being open for a decade, we’ve decided to bring back some of our favorite dishes from menus past. Every week in January we will be featuring a different dish. This week is Duck Shepherd’s Pie, we’ll also have Carbonnade a la Flamande, Tenderloin Stroganoff Crepe & Lamb Steak later this month. We’ve got so much fun planned for this year, we’ll keep you posted!
Summer weather is perfect for beer. It’s always so exciting to plan beer dinners, but looking forward to a nice cold beer after a hot shift in the kitchen, makes planning them extra special. There’s nothing quite as inspiring as that first sip of a good beer on a hot day.
Thank you to everyone that was able to join us on Tuesday. Also, thank you Ryan Penke of Arbella Distributing for presenting and educating us on those wonderful beers!
First course was pork cheek blanquette served on Le Quartier sourdough rye toast with pickled carrots and puffed basmati rice. Paired with La Guillotine.
Second course was a mussel & potato salad with a lemon balm pistou vinaigrette, grilled romaine heart and some confit lemons. Paired with Saison Dupont.
Third course was a grilled guineafowl breast glazed with molasses & apricot, crispy fried guineafowl tenderloin, mashed navy beans and an arugula & pickled cabbage salad. Paired with Kasteel Blond.
For the dessert course, we served peaches & beer. Fresh Georgia peaches in a Scaldis Peche Mel reduction, pancrepes, and some beer malt ice cream. I made the ice cream in the party room with some liquid nitrogen and our KitchenAid mixer. You’ve never had such smooth, creamy ice cream. Paired with a blend of Scaldis Peche Mel & St Louis Oud Gueuze.
Thanks again to everyone that came and enjoyed the dinner, we’re looking forward to the next one!
Towards the end of April, some staff & I snuck away to eat as much as possible in Chicago! We packed nine restaurants into two days, we sampled so much good food.
Thanks to our strict itinerary, we managed to hit every stop. Five of us piled in Amy’s car after Dario’s brunch service one Sunday and off we went. We had the soothing voice of Joe Bastianich to inspire us throughout the trip. When we got to Chicago, we immediately went out for pizza. So I guess we hit 10 restaurants while we were there.
Monday morning we began at Eataly. What an inspiring place! So much to look at and take in, it’s a little overwhelming. There are two floors dedicated to all things Italian: wine, beer, pasta, salumi, cheese, bread, dry aged steaks, and much more. So much of Italy to purchase and enjoy at home! We had a light snack to start at La Birreria, a few Italian beers & some salumi. Our next stop was the Bohemian House. It was delicious! The star of their menu was the Chicken Paprikash, I highly recommend you visit there while in Chicago & eat this dish. Next up was a relaxing afternoon on the patio of Little Goat Diner, we just grabbed some drinks and some sun here – a needed pick-me-up for the afternoon. Then we headed to Au Cheval for some burgers. Wow, are these some good burgers. The restaurant is super chill, their music is a custom playlist on a reel-to-reel at the host stand. Very cool. We also managed to have their house-made fried bologna sandwich, it was also amazing. For dinner we headed to The Publican. What a feast! We had charcuterie, beef tongue, wild mushrooms, pork belly, skate wing, coconut budino & sticky toffee pudding. A little house-made amaro after the meal and a tour of the kitchen rounded out our visit. For a night cap, we headed over to Three Dots and a Dash, a swanky little tiki bar. Very inventive drinks, definitely a bar to visit. That’s all the damage we were able to do on Monday.
Tuesday started with a quick espresso at Eataly before heading to Xoco. Chicharrones for breakfast? Yes, please. We sampled tortas, caldos (soups), and a little tres leches cake too. Up next was hot dogs. Devil Dawgs is quite the hot dog experience, just about anything you could want – on a dog. We dined al fresco, there’s no other option, they were great! For our next stop, we visited The Purple Pig. Their small plates are exactly what we needed. Octopus, nduja & a nutella and marshmallow fluff filled crepe. The pre-dinner snack happened at Graham Elliot Bistro, truffle parmesan popcorn, pea risotto, Caesar salad, potato soup, and of course banana split. Graham was there and we even got a picture with him. (I may have almost given him a heart attack by sneaking up on him in the kitchen, may have.) Dinner was at Nico Osteria, what a beautiful restaurant. We sampled some bruschetta, meatballs, several of their house made pastas, the chicken entrée, creamy polenta and a little tiramisu. It was a fantastic meal, but it did make us a little home sick for the Bolognese Bianco at Avoli. I don’t think we could have eaten another bite or another drink at this point so we headed back to the hotel to sleep for a few hours before leaving Wednesday morning.
Recently I got to spend some time with my mother & sister in the kitchen. It reminded me of where I found my passion for cooking, my mom. She has always been my inspiration in the kitchen. Some day I hope to be half the chef she is…
From the time I could walk, I was under my mother’s feet in the kitchen. I was fascinated by what she was doing & for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a part of what she was doing & creating. My favorite memories are being with her in front of a stove.
Last week we hosted the Edible Omaha spring issue release party, none of us were entirely sure about what was going to happen and it was a blast! What a great turnout. Thank you everyone that showed up to show support for this great magazine and local food.
We offered a few different small plates that showcased items from local farms. Plum Creek Farms chicken liver mousse with black truffle, house made pickles, toasted brioche & beer mustard. Shadow Brook Farm gouda croquette with aged balsamic, sorrel pistou & chile. Of course plenty of people enjoyed our frites with a smoked local tomato ketchup & dijon aioli.
It was really nice to see so many people interested in producing local food as well as the folks that care where it comes from. It was fun to introduce Dario’s to people that had never been here, I’m pretty sure we created a few new Belgian beer fans. Thank you so much to everyone that came, we look forward to seeing you again!