lights and beerWhen the amazing people behind Wellington on a Plate offer you tickets at the last minute to the very popular and sold out collaboration between La Boca Loca and Parrot Dog  Brewery, you might be surprised at how hard it is to find someone to go along with you, because apparently there is a plague in town, but then you might remember that your poor public servant father is having a shit of a time lately and deserves a special treat, so all is well.

Wellington’s ParrotDog Brewery plays host to a delicious evening in partnership with Miramar’s La Boca Loca Restaurant.

They are serving up several hot and fresh Mexican dishes, prepared on-site at the brewery amongst the shiny stainless steel tanks. Each dish will be matched with its own flavoursome craft beer.

There will even be some Mexican music courtesy of DJ Chefito and local beer with locally made Mexican cuisine: Vamos!

This would have been a gorgeous event to be at in summer, with little stalls set up for each food & beer pairing, and keg tables set up to rest your glasses on. The bunting and the lighting was lovely (though not suitable for taking photos with your phone), but with concrete floors and big stainless steel tanks, even with the number of people around, we were all wearing our coats. Me being me, when Will took the microphone and told us there were five things to taste and we could have two each (at least), I wondered if that would be enough to eat, but I had forgotten the filling power of beer!

ceviche and beerSo, on entry we were each given a taster of a specially brewed beer made with a Mexican herb that is as yet unnamed (the beer, that is, the herb has a name which I have very usefully forgotten EDIT: but now they’ve told me on Twitter, I can tell you it’s Epaozte), then each of the five dishes were matched with another beer. Steak & mushrooms served on thick polenta-ish pancakes was served with a Bitter Bitch IPA, wild boar was shredded and matched to a Dead Canary Pale Ale, dessert which was like a deep-fried crunchy whoopie pie came with a Dogg dark Ale, and the Bloodhound red IPA came with a slightly odd but still delicious Kina soup, done in a chili sauce with a special kind of corn. That one definitely left a spicy tingle. My favourite beer and food though was the butterfish ceviche topped with crunchy grasshopper salt (actually made from grasshoppers), served with the Flaxen Feather  blonde ale. The grasshoppers were really tasty. My dad got tipsy and requested Mexican songs from the guitar player/singer, who obliged, the brewers and the chefs floated around answering questions,  and all together it was a super pleasant evening. I’m pleased the ladies got to use the inside toilet while men were relegated to the portaloos outside in the wind.

What surprised me though was that there was also a beer & food event at Garage Project tonight as part of Wellington on a Plate (where they were keeping all the beards normally associated with craft beer) which surely would have made it a bit of a Sophie’s Choice for hop heads – except that the Garage Project do was with Monsoon Poon, and you know how we feel about that.

But while we’re on that subject, last week, we were at the Localist Jam at the City Gallery, and in between bacon donuts, we were astonished to hear Mike Egan from Monsoon Poon and also head of the hospitality association (EDIT) Restaurant Association say there is no Mexican restaurant scene in Wellington. That would probably come as a bit of a shock to La Boca Loca. And Viva Mexico. And Caliente. And Tequila Joe’s (even if that’s Tex-Mex). And Sweet Mother’s Kitchen.  And Hot Like a Mexican. Perhaps what he meant was he has yet to open an expensively designed venue to serve a  bastardised version of the cuisine at inflated prices to cater to the Churton Park crowd? But there’s already a Flying Burrito Brothers, so we’re mystified…