Two nights, two event reviews....

Rogue Ales' Sausage Extravaganza
Tuesday, June 17
Rogue Ales Public House
1339 NW Flanders St., 222-5910

Miss Dish wasn't sure how this one would play out. She had two scenarios in her head: One involved rounds of sausage stabbed by cocktail toothpicks and passed by waiters; the other recalled fat men deep-throating tube steaks while hoisting beer steins. What actually unfolded was more like the Naked Chef meets a Pillsbury Bake-off. The food was more ambitious than expected--each of 10 rounds of sausage was prepared in a different style--and arrived in a taster's portion accompanied by a carefully selected Rogue brew in a three-ounce pour. An announcer offered up commentary on why certain beers were paired with certain sausages. Craft-beer people can be as picky as know-it-all wine snobs--some were arguing about the choices. Particularly contentious was the pairing of linguisa (a spicy Portuguese sausage) with Rogue American Amber rather than Rogue Brutal Bitter. Music accompanied each course, and there was a seven-course stretch. The whole thing had the chaotic feel of being at a last-chance auction.

* Favorite: German smoked sausage with Rogue Smoke beer--like Cheech and Chong.

* Not-so-favorite: Alligator Andouille with Rogue Kells Irish Lager--this one probably instigated tummy chaos the next day.

* Made friends with... the newish owners of the Rose and the Raindrop bar, who were seated at our table.

* Event analysis: Fun, energetic, informative. Could have used some Tums as palate cleansers.

* Scoop: Miss D. found out that the Rogue Ale House had just started serving burgers made with American Kobe beef (it comes from that super-fancy breed of cow imported from Japan). Too full from sausage, she returned a few days later with a friend to try the $9.50 burger. We both loved the juicy half-pound patty; it was charred on the outside and meltingly pliant and juicy on the inside. Even though the burger is marbled beyond belief, it never felt greasy or lardy.

Eric Ripert Tribute/ Antica Terra Winemaker's Dinner
Thursday, June 19
Heathman Restaurant
1001 SW Broadway, 790-7126

There was a lot going on at this one. This dinner was both the kick-off for the Heathman's Summer Winemaker Series, which lets you eat with local vintners and a dinner in honor of hotshot New York (by way of France) chef Eric Ripert, who was in town promoting a new book. Miss Dish enjoyed chatting with Marty Weber, one of the winemakers from Antica Terra, which makes only pinot noir; it was fun to compare the different vintages. In between courses (the food was from Ripert's book), a newly divorced older gent tried his game on Miss D.'s dewy companion to no avail. Soon Chef Ripert himself (Miss D.'s friend aptly described him as "Mattel's new French Ken doll") came tableside. He's certainly sweet--Miss D. brought with her his previous cookbook, and he gallantly signed it.

* Favorites: The halibut with port sauce was a perfect pairing of downy white fish and tart, sharp sauce. The pungent artisan cheeses for dessert were amazingly assy.

* Not-so-favorite: The duck was tough and tasted too beefy.

* Made friends with... two lady stockbrokers seated at our table.

* Event analysis: Wine dinners are inherently interesting--
especially when they feature small producers who get their hands dirty rather than marketing people who just talk numbers.