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Boston Food & Drink Website|Sunday, December 21, 2014
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Wine and Cheese, Beer and Burgers 

Burger Breakdown
Tuesday night marked my first ever experience at The Salty Pig. I’ve drooled over their menu. Read others’ rave reviews. Suggested it several times but the cards never fell. Until Tuesday I was looking for places to go before heading to an event at The Beehive.

The Salty Pig proves to be a convenient location, just across the street from the Back Bay orange line stop, and waking distance from Copley Square. A friend and I stepped into a casual space with high ceilings, lots of chalkboard art (like a pig drinking a martini), and got situated at the bar.

Assuming we would be ordering cheese, I looked over their white wine menu and was kind of happy to see nothing I really recognized (I’m trying to branch out with my wine selections). The bartender was more than happy to make a suggestion based on wines I normally enjoy, even pouring a sip so I could taste it before committing. This simple gesture is one I always appreciate!

Once our drinks were in hand, we looked over the menu and decided to go with two cheeses, one meat and a few accoutrements. Again, the knowledgeable bar tender offered suggestions and we ultimately settled on Stilton (Tuxford & Tebbutt, Leicestershire, ENG: cow, blue, strong; $6), the Moses Sleeper (Greensboro, VT: cow, bloomy rind, moderate; $7) and the Salametto (Fra’ Mani, CA; dry cured course ground garlic sausage; $7).

The Moses Sleeper really hit the mark. I’m a huge Brie fan but find the rind a little too rank for my taste buds. This casing was much more mild and very enjoyable, while the cheese was soft and spreadable like Brie. I was a little disappointed with the Stilton; it just didn’t have that bite to it that I look for in this type of cheese. The salametto, on the other hand, was my favorite item on the plate, served with a well-paired mustard and delicious, sweet pickles. Four slices is toasted bread was served with the plate, and for the two of us, it wasn’t quite enough. Perhaps next time I’d just ask for more. I was otherwise impressed with the portions of both the cheeses and meat, perfect for the two of us as a hardy bar plate.

Word of caution for cocktail imbibers: Salty Pig has a cordial license. This I had always suspected, but the word “cocktails” appears on their online menu (which I find deceiving!).

Still wanting a true cocktail before heading to our event, we stopped at Kitchen and again sidled up to the bar. My friend went to a classic Vieux Carre, which has recently become one of my favorites thanks to The Hawthorne. While having a hard time deciding myself, the bar tender offered up a suggestion of “Don’t Give Up the Ship” with gin, Dubonnet Rouge, Fernet Branca and Curaçao (view recipe here). In trying to acquire a better appreciation for Fernet Branca, I went with his suggestion. It was nicely put together, well-balanced and with just enough Fernet Branca to carry the flavor without being too overpowering.

Finally it was time to head over to The Beehive for Break Down the Burger presented by Amstel Light. The dynamic Boston duo of Chefs Will Gilson and Jamie Bissonnette teamed up to create burgers that pair with Amstel Light and Amstel Wheat.  A grilled turkey burger was sandwiched between a Martin’s potato bun and topped with Kewpe mayo, green curry and mango slaw, while the beef burger was served in a Nigella bun with a charred onion mayo, arugala and turnip kimchi.  While both of these burgers hit the mark, a third burger made with lamb and topped with some kind of mint sauce was my favorite.  Live music and Amstel Lights flowing behind the bar set the tone for a very fun evening.

And if you don’t already, I highly recommend following these two (dare I say Boston celebrity) chefs on Instagram for a very humorous and personal look at the daily work (and shenanigans) of Jamie (jamiebiss) and Will (wdgilson).

For more on Kitchen, check out our prior visit here

I was invited to The Beehive as a guest of Amstel Light; burgers and beers were complimentary, opinions are my own.

What are your favorite combinations at The Salty Pig?

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