August 7, 2011

My Beer Friends-We've Only Just Begun...

A random BYO hibachi experience on Friday reminded me that

we've only just begun. 

I was having a chat recently about craft beer at large.  We see new beer after new beer released, more and more cans all the time, so many beer dinners- you sometimes have to wonder- or honestly- at least I do- is this going to get old?  I mean it doesn't ever get old for me- but for others? Will we hit a ceiling?

My Friday night dinner at Ooka in Willow Grove illustrated that no we have not hit a ceiling- we might even still be on the ground floor, still at the beginning of our crusade.

I met up with my friend Megan after her Ommegang sampling at Wegmans in Warrington. She grabbed a 750 ml of Hennepin and we headed to byo "Ooka" for sushi.  The dining room was full with a forty-five minute wait. I had zero patience and Megs was starving. The host offered two seats for Hibachi instead in the adjacent dining room.
Barbecued Squid
We went for it. I haven't been entertained by a Hibachi chef for sometime- maybe about 7-8 years? We sit at the community table next to a Huntingdon Valley couple (my guess is mid-60s). The woman must have had a $%# ton of work done to her face. The husband was nice enough but mild-mannered while the wife kept talking about just getting back from two months in Ventnor.
I was thinking to myself- I don't know how I'm going to enjoy dinner with her next to me.
Then they noticed our bottle. And the questions started "What IS that?" "That's beer?"
Then the young couple to our right asked the same thing.
Here we are flanked by two different generations, with a disposable income, that enjoy eating out- and they had no idea that beer could come in big bottles.  They told us that we enlightened them and they might seek it out in the future. I told her that there's a lot of holiday beers available in big btls and they're a nice switch up on the hostess gift for open houses during the season. She listened intently. Yes! They ate the whole thing up.

We ate a bunch too. We stayed with a seafood theme. And ordered barbecued squid and soft-shelled crab as first courses (which we probably didn't need in hindsight) and scallops, lobster, and shrimp to be cooked on the Teppanyaki grill. This style of cooking started in Japan in 1945 focusing on "western foods."  The Terppanyaki experience became increasingly popular through the years with tourists. Benihana launched the first one in the States in 1964. 

It's a great outing for families as children would enjoy the "show" put on by the hibachi chef.  Our chef tossed eggs in his hat, created  flaming onion volcanoes, squirted water at us and even threw zucchini at us seeing if we could catch them in our mouths. I got it on the second try;)

It was a great meal. Satisfying in more ways that one. We walked out of there - knowing that we have so much more potential.  I don't think we'll ever reach a ceiling.  It's so exciting. Think about it- in a bad economy craft beer is an industry in the gain all the time. As I read on the tagged wall every time I enter  the POPE's ladies room, "I have all the hope in the world."

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