Abnormal Dinner Series: Saint Archer / The LAB Dining

 Photography by Kim Marcelo

Photography by Kim Marcelo

What's the furthest you've ever traveled just to eat a meal? Thirty minutes? Maybe an hour?

Last month, on a regular ol' Monday, I drove 2h 45m to eat dinner.

Yeah, you read that right — nearly 3 hours!! It was by far the most amount of time I'd traveled for a meal. And I didn't even bundle my trip with another errand. After filling up my tum tum, I simply drove back home (only 2 additional hours) and went to bed.

So, you may be asking me via imaginary conversation: "Are you crazy, Jay? What the heck did you eat? And why make a 5-hour round trip on a freaking weekday?!"

Answer: this guy (see above).

If you're knowledgable of the San Diego beer scene (or maybe even craft beer on a national scale), you may have heard of Derek Gallanosa. Derek is the head brewer at Abnormal Beer Co. and is the beer curator at The Cork & Craft, one of San Diego's best new restaurants.

Derek also happens to be one of my best friends, which answers that last question you asked me in our imaginary conversation a minute ago.

For a long time he was inviting me to check out some sort of special dinner down at his brewery, but instead of saying "yes" I would put on a lame, pouty face and respond with "LA".

After missing the first dozen offerings, I finally made it a point to attend the 13th installment of the Abnormal Dinner Series, a monthly dinner event that features a multi-course menu with carefully thought-out beer pairings.

*All photography by Kim Marcelo. Click the links below any photo to see more of his beautiful work on his Instagram and website.

 Each Abnormal Dinner Series event is unique in that it features a collaborative effort with a guest brewery. The collaborating brewery for the most recent dinner that I attended was  Saint Archer Brewing Company , headed by Nick Marron.     @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

Each Abnormal Dinner Series event is unique in that it features a collaborative effort with a guest brewery. The collaborating brewery for the most recent dinner that I attended was Saint Archer Brewing Company, headed by Nick Marron.  
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

  In addition to a guest brewery, a guest chef takes part in the menu. Chef Mike Arquines  (owner of   The Lab Dining Sessions   and co-founder of   Mostra Coffee  ) concocted a myriad of taste-bud-tingling flavors over the course of 8 beautifully-looking/tasting dishes (plus a bonus starter and dessert).     @kmarcelo  /  kimmarcelo.com

In addition to a guest brewery, a guest chef takes part in the menu. Chef Mike Arquines (owner of The Lab Dining Sessions and co-founder of Mostra Coffee) concocted a myriad of taste-bud-tingling flavors over the course of 8 beautifully-looking/tasting dishes (plus a bonus starter and dessert).  
@kmarcelo / kimmarcelo.com

  Seated and ready to be feed-ed!! All guests enjoy a Welcome Beer in the bar area before congregating in these cozy, communal tables (or grab a booth if you don't feel like making new friends).      @kmarcelo  /  kimmarcelo.com

Seated and ready to be feed-ed!! All guests enjoy a Welcome Beer in the bar area before congregating in these cozy, communal tables (or grab a booth if you don't feel like making new friends).  
@kmarcelo / kimmarcelo.com

 Ze menu for ze night!! In case you want to Google all the esoteric ingredients that are about to invade your mouth, a menu slip is provided for reference.   @kmarcelo  /  kimmarcelo.com

Ze menu for ze night!! In case you want to Google all the esoteric ingredients that are about to invade your mouth, a menu slip is provided for reference.
@kmarcelo / kimmarcelo.com

  Course Zero: E  gg Tart with Flowers & Carrot Curry Turnip — a   nice surprise starter to warm up the senses.    @kmarcelo  /  kimmarcelo.com

Course Zero: Egg Tart with Flowers & Carrot Curry Turnip — a nice surprise starter to warm up the senses.
@kmarcelo / kimmarcelo.com

  Before each course, the brewers and chefs speak about their creative processes.   L-R: Derek   (Abnormal Beer Co)  , Nick   (Saint Archer Brewing Co)  , and Chef Philip Esteban   (The Cork & Craft)  .     @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

Before each course, the brewers and chefs speak about their creative processes. L-R: Derek (Abnormal Beer Co), Nick (Saint Archer Brewing Co), and Chef Philip Esteban (The Cork & Craft)
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

   COURSE:  Squid Ink Vinegar Chicharrones, Whipped Salted Cod, Garlic Purée, Tangerine Powder.  BEER PAIRING:  Saint Archer Hoppy Pilsner.    @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Squid Ink Vinegar Chicharrones, Whipped Salted Cod, Garlic Purée, Tangerine Powder.
BEER PAIRING: Saint Archer Hoppy Pilsner.

@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

  COURSE:  Saba, White Asparagus, Vermouth, Trout Roe, Pea Tendril.  BEER PAIRING:  Saint Archer Mosaic IPA.    @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Saba, White Asparagus, Vermouth, Trout Roe, Pea Tendril.
BEER PAIRING: Saint Archer Mosaic IPA. 
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

   COURSE:  Foie Gras Au Tourchon, Cucumber Sisho Gelee, Green Strawberries, Brioche, Umeboshi, Chamomile.  BEER PAIRING:  Saint Archer Nelson IPL.    @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Foie Gras Au Tourchon, Cucumber Sisho Gelee, Green Strawberries, Brioche, Umeboshi, Chamomile.
BEER PAIRING: Saint Archer Nelson IPL.

@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

   COURSE:  "Smoked Spring Garden" — Beets, Turnips, Cau  liflower, Asparagus, Spring Peas, Verjus Raisins, Caramelized Cocoa Nibs.  BEER PAIRING:  Saint Archer Scottish Ale.     @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: "Smoked Spring Garden" — Beets, Turnips, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Spring Peas, Verjus Raisins, Caramelized Cocoa Nibs.
BEER PAIRING: Saint Archer Scottish Ale. 

@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

   COURSE:  Pickled Peach Tart, Umeboshi, Etrog Citron Confiture, Candied Pistachio.  BEER PAIRING:  Abnormal Beer Co  + Saint Archer Nick's Purple Surprise (Imperial Berliner Weisse with Tart Cherries and Black Currants).   @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Pickled Peach Tart, Umeboshi, Etrog Citron Confiture, Candied Pistachio.
BEER PAIRING: Abnormal Beer Co
+ Saint Archer Nick's Purple Surprise (Imperial Berliner Weisse with Tart Cherries and Black Currants). 
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

 Bread made using the spent grains from Saint Archer beer + creamy butter that tasted like bacon ice cream.   @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

Bread made using the spent grains from Saint Archer beer + creamy butter that tasted like bacon ice cream.
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

   COURSE:  Quail, Black Trumpet, Foie + Currant Jus, Potato Purée, Miners Lettuce.  BEER PAIRING:  Saint Archer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Vanilla + Mostra Coffee.     @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Quail, Black Trumpet, Foie + Currant Jus, Potato Purée, Miners Lettuce.
BEER PAIRING: Saint Archer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Vanilla + Mostra Coffee. 

@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

   COURSE:  Dry Aged Lamb, Grits + Kale, Smoked Celery Root, Dill, Black Truffle.  BEER PAIRING:  Saint Archer Barrel Aged Imperial Porter and Coconut  .     @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Dry Aged Lamb, Grits + Kale, Smoked Celery Root, Dill, Black Truffle.
BEER PAIRING: Saint Archer Barrel Aged Imperial Porter and Coconut

@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

  COURSE:  Burnt Orange Sorbert + Yogurt Swirl, Raz en Hanout Crumble, Honey Bricohe, Basil.  BEER PAIRING:   Abnormal Beer Co Bee Juice (Belgian Style Pale w/ Honey  ).     @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

COURSE: Burnt Orange Sorbert + Yogurt Swirl, Raz en Hanout Crumble, Honey Bricohe, Basil.
BEER PAIRING: Abnormal Beer Co Bee Juice (Belgian Style Pale w/ Honey). 
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

  BONUS COURSE:  Crunch-Dusted Choco Ball and Soft Stick 'O Salted Caramel (err... I made those names up).    @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

BONUS COURSE: Crunch-Dusted Choco Ball and Soft Stick 'O Salted Caramel (err... I made those names up). 
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com

  A wonderful job by a wonderful crew!! Thank you  Saint Archer , Derek at  Abnormal Beer Co , Chef Mike Arquines, and everyone at  The Cork & Craft .      @kmarcelo  /  www.kimmarcelo.com

A wonderful job by a wonderful crew!! Thank you Saint Archer, Derek at Abnormal Beer Co, Chef Mike Arquines, and everyone at The Cork & Craft.  
@kmarcelo / www.kimmarcelo.com