Sunday, February 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Peanut butter and jelly, a childhood favorite that hasn't lost its luster (like hot dogs or bologna) can be as simple as you remember it or it can be complex and mind-blowing beyond your wildest dreams. Food cart PBJ's Grilled has been whipping up sandwiches of the latter variety since 2010 and last night they held a first ever pairing with Upright Brewing.

PBJ's has a cart tucked into NW in the 23rd & Lovejoy area (in addition to a mobile cart that can be tracked following them on Twitter) and like much of the food that is coming out of many micro-kitchens, it is amazing and creative. Before last night I'd only had one happy run in with PBJ's - a day when their mobile cart was in Beaverton - but right away I was hooked. Last night introduced me to four more of their creations off of their 14-item menu.

Pairings, Plate I

  1. Betty with Upright Four - Although the sandwich was probably my least favorite, with the white pepper coming across a bit too strongly for me, the pairing worked well. Besides, there were pickles on it!
  2. Spencer with Upright Six - Six is one of the Upright beers I'm not a fan of, however, paired with this sandwich, I really enjoyed it. The Spencer is on the more savory end of the menu spectrum and that, combined with the use of rye in both the sandwich and beer, contributed to the success of this pairing.
  3. Oregonian with Upright Five - This was one of the sandwiches I'd had previously and although it might sound odd, the blue cheese flavor combines most deliciously with the nut butter and jam used. The hoppiness of the Five was a great compliment.
Pairings, Plate II
  1. Spicy Thai with Upright Seven - This was the favorite sandwich of one of the folks we met at the tasting. I found it to be reminiscent of the Lucky Lab's spicy peanut sauce (Hawthorne location), just spicier. As a lover of spice, I was thrilled with the bold flavors of the sandwich which were mellowed by the 8% Seven.
  2. Hot Hood with Upright Pilsener - This was the other sandwich I'd had before. The sandwich is very flavorful and rich. The beer is clean and light but in a way that instead of being overpowered by the sandwich, helped to clean and freshen the palate between bites.
  3. Pumpkin Pie with Upright Scotch Ale - The smokiness of the beer, created in part by scorching the wort, worked very nicely with the pumpkin pie-ness of the sandwich. After tasting this paring I'd be quite interested in seeking out the Scotch next Thanksgiving to have with dessert.

After making it through all six pairings my tastebuds were doing all sorts of happy dances, to the music of the Ascetic Junkies which provided pre- and post-tasting music. It was a thoroughly great evening all around and although I'd like to think I could recreate some of it in my own kitchen I think I'll just look forward to the next tasting.

For full details on the sandwiches check out PBJ's menu.

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