FOOD+TRAVEL: It’s All About Pulpo (Octopus) and Estrella Damm Beer for this week’s Chef’s Choice Experience

Estrella Damm, the beer of Barcelona
This past week, I was invited to indulge in the Estrella Damm Chef’s Choice experience, a specially crafted three course culinary tasting featuring Estrella Damm beer and a pulpo (octopus) dish as the main course. 
 
The menus, available from June 20th to July 5th, range in price from $30-$52 and will allow chefs from participating restaurants  to showcase their talents when it comes to creating a savory pulpo entree. The three course menu also pairs perfectly with Estrella Damm, the beer of Barcelona. 
 
“We selected pulpo because it is representative of Mediterranean cuisine and because we think it is an intriguing ingredient Miami foodies will love and who better to prepare these dishes than Miami’s most inventive chefs,” said Floris van Neerrijnen, Estrella Damm Brand Manager. 

 

Sangria Drunken Fig Brûlée
Coincidentally, the tasting happened to land on our eight year anniversary and we decided to make it a celebratory affair! We picked participating venue and neighborhood eatery, Bin 18 Bistro and Beer Loft, located across from our apartment building. We also happen to like their pulpo presentation the best. 
 
Bin 18 chef, Alfredo Palino, put together a decadent yet tasty presentation that had us enjoying each and every bite. Kudos to him for his meticulous attention to detail and for creating dishes that fused together different flavors and textures that were never overpowering and just the right amount of spice. 
 
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the service. There was one lonesome waiter handling the whole restaurant. It was several minutes before he came to take our order and when I did let him know we were here for the tasting, he was very apologetic. The inadequate service wasn’t a reflection of him per se, but because he was spread thin, we were left waiting for our food and drink order (we never even got bread for the table) for lengthy periods of time because he was all over the place. 
 
My husband, Coco, was a big fan of the Estrella Damm beer. I’m not a beer drinker but I did have a few sips and I found it refreshing and light. He said it was smooth enough where he never felt it was too heavy when had with each of the selections. Our appetizer was a delicious Sangria Drunken Fig Brûlée stuffed with toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese. It was out of this world! The fig paired with the Gorgonzola cheese was mouth-watering. It was the perfect combination of sweet and salty. 

 

Portuguese Pulpo a la Plancha

 

Portugues Pulpo a la Plancha

Our main dish, or as I like to call it, the piece de resistance, was a Portuguese Pulpo a la Plancha. It was really one of the best octopus dishes I’ve had in a long time. It was succulent, tender, and very balanced in flavor. Octopus can be a hard dish to master, due to the long cooking progress and can run the risk of being too rubbery. That was not the case with Chef Alfredo’s masterpiece. The pulpo’s taste was elevated by the chorizo, zucchini, roasted garlic, herbs, candied orange that it sat alongside. The fig reduction gave it another layer of flavor that made it extra scrumptious. 

Key lime pie
No meal is complete without dessert and we feasted on a tradition key lime pie with an almond and graham crust topped off with whipped cream. Each bite was creamier than the last and I devoured the whole thing in seconds! It was delicious. 
 
I give the food portion of the experience two very thumbs up because you instantly knew it was cooked with passion, detail, and love. The service needs major improvement. But overall, the chef’s choice experience is not one to pass up this week! Make those rezzies, Miami foodies! 

 

Exterior of Bin 18 Bistro and Beer Loft.

Participating restaurants include: Barceloneta, Bin 18, Bulla Gatrobar, Cena by Michy, Dolores but you can Call Me Lolita, Fooq’s, Jimmy’z Kitchen Wynwood, Joey’s Italian Cafe, Klima Restaurant and Bar, La Mar by Gaston Acurio, Morgans Restaurant, Novecento, Ortanique on the Mile, Perfecto, Segafredo Brickell, Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill, Tapas y Tintos, The Embassy, Tongue and Cheek, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Xixon. 

Visit www.chefschoicemiami.com for more info and make your reservations through your restaurant of choice! 

To learn more about Estrella Damm Beer, visit www.estrelladamm.com.

Bin 18 is located at: 
1800 Biscayne Blvd. 
Miami, FL 33132
786-235-7575
www.bin18miami.com