Well, my minions, I’d like to introduce you to a new series.
This here’s “Eat Like a Victorian.” In it, I aspire to introduce you to some of my favourite takeout meals paired with a local beer.
Every week or two, I’ll have a new installment.
Tonight’s installment? Oh, ho, ho. A fine place to start. Noodle Box and White Bark beer, baby.
It’s a pairing made of win six days a week and twice on Sundays.
I first fell for Noodle Box as a Vancouver girl, trying the Spicy Thai Peanut after an ex raved about it, and I got hooked.
The next year, I spent months trying to perfect a knock-off of it at home, and actually managed to do so. One day, I’ll share that recipe with you. If you’re like me, you’ll probably leave it to the pros most of the time.
After all, I destroyed a blender once, trying to make the Spicy Thai peanut butter sauce base. Whir-whirrrr-whirr-whirRRrRRrrr-KAPUTSKI.
So I often take the path of least resistance and order from the ‘Box.
When I first moved to Victoria, I quickly discovered one of my favourite “comfort food” lazy splurge nights would be picking up some Driftwood White Bark and a box of Noodle Box Spicy Peanut Thai. Works out to about $20 for the two.
I’ve only had Noodle Box Victoria from the Douglas and Fisgard locations, but tonight’s was the latter. (In Vancouver, I approve of both the 4th Ave and Robson locations.)
For full disclosure, I got the Spicy Thai with Chicken for free.
For even more disclosure, it’s not free because I’m a high and mighty blogger. Wishful thinking, that!
It’s because they screwed up my order last time and put it on noodles, not rice. I didn’t notice till a half-hour later at my friend’s place, and his wife said I should give ‘em a call. I did, and they were mortified.
Next time, the Noodle-Boxer said, it was on the house. I was “in the book.” So lest you think “A-HA. A SCAM I CAN USE FOR FREE TASTY NOM-NOMS,” know this: There is a book. A BOOK, I say. They even write down details. DE-TAILS.
There actually has to be a screw-up for your crafty ploy to work, there, bucko.
So tonight I called up, a month later, and she quickly found the entry, was thrilled I called to redeem it, and had it ready exactly upon pick-up.
I think that’s just awesome. I don’t care if you screw up, I care if you DON’T fix it. And giving it to me free the next time? A friggin’ great fix, especially if you get it right. I think they snuck some extra “Will you still love me tomorrow?” chicken and sauce in there.
Yes, Noodle Box, I’ll still love you tomorrow.
(Incidentally, they turned me onto noodles by getting it wrong, but I still dig rice too.)
In that box is a perfect mix of heat and spice, sweet and salty that combines so well to make their Spicy Peanut an institution. That fatty peanutty, coconutty sauce needs a good sharp beer to get through it, and that’s where Victoria’s Driftwood Brewery’s White Bark Witbier comes into play.
An unpasteurized wheat beer, it’s got this incredibly snarfable balance of yeasty, hoppy, citrussy flavours that cut through all that rich peanutty goodness that coats your mouth, and you get this fresh clean palate after every sip, waking your mouth up so you can shovel in more of that awesomeness.
It’s the notes of orange and coriander that really let the beer work WITH the food, not against it.
And THAT is what pairing is all about. The right beer really makes the right meal sign, and that’s why White Bark & Spicy Thai Peanut are exactly how you Eat Like A Victorian. Or how I do, anyhow.
Come on, campers! Get your fat pants on, grab the remote control, and dig right in. One 650ml bottle of White Bark will get you through your Noodle Box food coma. Pity they stopped delivering.
Note: Noodle Box gets some flak for their extensive hierarchy of spicing. I get “medium” which is supposedly a western “hot.” Some folks nitpick that the spicing is inconsistent, but I generally find it’s “good enough”. If you have issues with that, just be really clear, or let them know they didn’t get it right, since I’ve established that they actually give a shit. Otherwise, quit your bitching. Most boxes are enough for leftovers, unless you’re a greedy pig and eat it all, kinda like I did tonight.