It’s already over but I still wanted to talk about Negroni Week, which happens every June and this year ran from the 5th-11th. Last week, a friend of mine posted about it on Facebook and I commented that I’d never had a Negroni. So i was invited to Motor Supply Company to have my first Negroni and see what it was all about. In addition to showcasing that particular style of drink, each bar that participates in the international week chooses a charity of their choice to donate to with each Negroni ordered. Motor Supply’s cause of choice is one of my favorites in town, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands.
On that particularly chilly for June evening, we bundled up and headed out to the Vista for an evening of new experiences. Motor’s bartender (though that seems like too plain a word for what he does) Josh Streetman came over to tell us about Negroni Week and about their different options.
I started off with a classic Negroni just to get a baseline for what the drink was: Beefeater gin, Campari, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and orange peel. Patrick went for the Barrel-Aged Boulevardier which features Woodford Reserve, Campari, Aperol, cream sherry, and a charred orange.
For a deep ruby-red drink, it’s not sweet like you might imagine. It has a drier bitterness to it thanks to the vermouth and the Campari.
But we didn’t only go to get swizzled on Negronis, we also enjoyed dinner and the art of dining, something we rarely actually do — usually we just eat. Out from the kitchen came a swirl of dishes that filled out table: a basket of bread, a cheese and charcuterie board, a tomato-gazpacho salad for me and a fried oyster salad for Patrick, and all of that was before our entrees.
The tomato gazpacho salad was listed under the soup and salad section and from the description I couldn’t tell if it was in fact a soup or a saladso I inquired, only to discover that it was kind of both. The gazpacho lined the bottom of the bowl, serving as a dressing for the stack of tomatoes and cornbread crouton garnish, and the leftover amount served as a delicious soup. It was truly the best for someone who likes both soup and salad.
In the midst of our first and second courses, I ordered a second Negroni, the amusingly named Wheezin Tha Juice, which is comprised of Campari, Espolon Blanco tequila, dolin blanc, grapefruit and cucumber peel. Josh described this as the most accessible of the Negronis on the menu for someone who may not be into the drier, bitterer flavors of the others.
The cheese and charcuterie board was, as always, a fantastic way to get an array of flavors and textures. It includes three mouth watering cheeses, the most amazing tomato jam that I’d like a gallon of please, an intriguing deconstructed mustard, and a selection of meats, both sliced and in pate form. I tried some of the charcuterie slices, preferring some more than others. The pate was an interesting experience, the smell of it can be a bit off-putting but the flavor and texture wasn’t at all.
We absolutely devoured the contents of the board, trying to be sparing with the bread as to not run out of room for our actual entrees. Patrick went with the flat iron steak that was accompanied by mashed potatoes so smooth that I swear they had to have silk whipped into them. I also went with a steak, but of the cauliflower variety. That’s right, a cauliflower steak. A big head of cauliflower was cut into a stick slice and roasted to give it a nice crisp caramelization on top. The steak was placed atop a bed of sweet corn pudding dotted with baby squash, butter beans, radish, and more of that house tomato jam for a true feast of the fields. By this time in the meal we were both slowing down on our consumption, choosing the most favored bites to finish just in case the moment of being unable to eat just another tidbit came over us.
Also, want to know something funny? I stopped eating meat when I was 11 so I never really learned how to cut food very well with a knife and a fork. I gave it a shot with this steak to see how I did. Still awkward.
Being that stuffed, we had to forgo dessert even though the strawberry panna cotta sounded like something that shouldn’t be passed up, especially now with strawberries in their prime of ripeness.
It was an incredible meal and a fun experience to try the classic Negroni cocktail, plus the various versions that Josh came up with. In honor of their efforts to support STSM, I went home and made an additional donation, and you should too.
If you also would like to try a Negroni, I bet Josh would be willing to mix you one up, tell him I sentcha! Thanks for having us for a lovely evening, Motor!