Community Pop-Up Dinner Review

By: Alex Gonzalez

This past Thursday evening, Community Beer Company hosted a pop-up dinner prepared by Matt McAllister, a local favorite. McAllister is the owner of FT33, a restaurant in the Design District whose menu is daily-changing with different items as they become in-season.

“Nature is usually my inspiration,” Matt McAllister says of his ingredient selection process. “I get ingredients from whatever the farms are growing and that’s what I base our menu off of.”

Because of FT33’s ever-changing menu, McAllister does not associate the restaurant with a signature dish. “We’ve done 1100 dishes since we’ve opened FT33 and we haven’t repeated one,” McAllister says.

The dishes from Thursday night’s pop-up dinner were vegetable-based, and paired with beers from Community Beer Co.’s taproom.

The first course consisted of an arrangement of salad turnips with kohlrabi, smoked kale, brewster oats, and malted rye, and was paired with Community’s “Bad Hombre” Mexican style lager.

“When I heard Donald Trump say ‘Bad Hombre,’ I just knew I had to brew a beer under that name,” Jamie Fulton, the head brewer at Community Beer Co., said. Fulton describes Bad Hombre as a very drinkable beer. “It is 4% alcohol by volume and about 115 calories per serving,” Fulton said.

The first course kicked off the dinner with a bang. Most notably, the sauce’s pesto-like flavor and consistency complemented the vegetables phenomenally. The Bad Hombre beer was also very light, however, contained just the right amount of flavor.

The second course consisted of roasted cabbages with a lemon, dill, and anchovy butter, and was paired with Silly Goose Tart German Wheat Ale. Personally, this was my favorite dish of the night. The cabbages had an Oriental noodle-like texture, similar to that of dumplings or potstickers. The Silly Goose Ale was also packed with flavor.

The third course was a soup-like dish, containing brassicas and garlic immersed in a chicken broth with chile oil. The soup was paired with a Witbier Belgian-Style White Ale with Orange peel and coriander. Overall, this dish was a close second for the best of the night, proving that soups don’t need carbs or meat to give one that warm and comforting feeling that a regular bowl of chicken noodle soup would provide. The beer, albeit strong and heavy on flavor, was a bit too tangy for my taste.

The fourth dish consisted of grilled beets and bordelaise and an onion soubise and was paired with Barrel Aged Witbier with Wild Yeast. The beets were soft, hearty, flavorful, and cooked to a consistency to which they were able to cut like butter. The bordelaise and onion soubise complemented the beets very well. Personally, I’m not a big fan of beets, however, I would gladly eat this dish if it were to be presented to me in the future. The Witbier it was paired with was also quite favorable.

For dessert was a pecan and jujubee tart with lemongrass cream, topped with coffee pecan toffee ice cream. The tart had a cake-like consistency and the ice cream was very thick and creamy. The Mosaic IPA with which the tart was paired was also heavy and sweet, with cinnamon-like after tastes.

Throughout out the course of the night, a boyfriend-girlfriend musical duo called Honey Folk played an acoustic set using nothing but a keyboard, an acoustic guitar, and their voices. Their musical set allowed for a personal, intimate mood throughout the event, as they played original material, along with covers of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” and Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”

Overall, I was very impressed by McAllister’s pop-up dinner. The portions were just right enough to the point where I was completely satisfied without feeling uncomfortably full, nor insisting on more rounds of food. McAllister and crew proved that dishes do not need to be heavy on meat or carbs in order to be satisfying and absolutely delicious.

The Community Beer Co. Pop-Up Dinner was produced by Sunnye and Ryan Childers, in affiliation with RVC Promotions. Be sure to check out their page to stay on top of the best food-related events in Dallas.