Dining in the rearview mirror

By Posted on Oct 29 2016 | By

Tailgating is ultimate “eating out” experience 

For denizens of I-66, tailgating conjures up the nerve wracking experience of a heavy-footed driver six feet off your rear bumper at 60 mph. There’s no quicker way to engender road rage in the heart of the tailgatee.

But wait. It’s also a word associated with the fine art of feasting from the back end of a car, minivan or pickup. Same word. Polar opposite experience.

So drop the former image and focus on the good times the fall season offers for outdoor dining. Downhome style.

Be it either point-to-point races, football games, or even post soccer game revelry, tailgating embodies what makes America great; good food and good times in the open air.

Here are some libation and food pairings well-suited for back bumper dining:

Long considered the innocuous beverage of the masses, today’s beer selections are seemingly endless. Craft brewing has taken a bottle of suds to heights not previously known. The exciting new offerings pair nicely with a wide variety of picnic foods.

Pilsner: The easy sippin’ brew nestles nicely next to salads, fried chicken, smoked salmon or brats. Lemon shortbread or berries with ice cream put a wrap on the meal.

Pale Ale: Burgers, potato salad and cole slaw make for a crowd pleasing all-American menu. The medium weight beer continues performing with a finishing act of pumpkin or lemon meringue pie.

India Pale Ale: The hop-centric brew yearns for spicy and robust dishes to tame the beast. Try Buffalo sauced chicken wings, gorgonzola and cambozola cheeses and carrot cake for dessert.

Porter: The dense, dark beer longs for roasted meats, barbeque or blacked fish. A plate of chocolate peanut butter cookies will seal the deal.

Croftburn wine
With over 26 wineries in the county and California backfilling when needed, choosing the right wine can be both easy and difficult; simply too many choices. Here’s a few suggestions:

Sauvignon Blanc: Not widely grown in the Old Dominion exceptional examples are coming out of New Zealand. A chilled bottle of the light, crisp white matches perfectly with most salads, grilled chicken or lamb and a dessert of Italian ice.

Pinot Noir: The ruby beauty with mouthwatering acidity is a cinch match with roasted pork tenderloin or salmon filets with mushrooms. Consider chocolate-covered strawberries or chocolate mousse for a finishing touch and you’ll have the crowd smiling all the way home.

Cabernet Franc: As Virginia’s red grape you’ll have no problem tracking down a local bottle of this medium weight red that exhibits raspberry and cherry notes on the palate. Almost anything on the grill will work here but pepperoni pizza comes to mind if you are pressed for time in preparing the meal. Cherry cheesecake will have your guests hovering close to the bumper at the end of the repast.

Cabernet Sauvignon: The noble red is a cinch choice if grilled steaks, roasted potatoes and corn on the cob are on the menu. If there is any room left in the tummy, a raspberry or chocolate cake will pair well with the lush red.

And finally, for those folks who like a full throttle adult beverage, have gin and tonic in reserve. The libation will love the company of cold cured smoked salmon, cured meats, strong cheeses and lemon tarts as a closer.

And perhaps the most important part of tailgating is having designated drivers at the ready who will be the partygoers heroes.

Drinking responsibly is the mantra of the tailgate crowd.

Enjoy the fall season!


Published in the Fall 2016 edition of inFauquier magazine.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES