Ballast Point's Little Italy location welcomes first timers who come because they're familiar with the famous craft beer. But after a glance at the food menu - no doubtedly in addition to a good beer or two - many wind up staying for a meal and rave about what they eat almost as much what they drink. The reason is that Executive Chef Colin MacLaggan's menu is outstanding and, of course, he infuses the famous beer into the food where fitting. If you're wondering what to order, these are the five most popular dishes at this location paired with beer recommendations from Assistant General Manager, Michael Craig. Tip: Plan on dining around a brewery tour (book in advance) which takes place at noon and 3 p.m. Blue Cheese Duck Nachos If the name of this dish isn't convincing enough, rest assured that this appetizer alone lures people into the brewery. Tortilla chips are made epic when they are topped by duck confit, a blue cheese sauce, pickled onion and arugula in addition to a port reduction finish. Beer pairing: American Wheat with Tart Cherries (formerly known as Coral), a refreshing beer for any occasion that leaves a touch of pucker. Fried Fish Street Tacos To single out a good fish taco in a city renowned for the dish is a serious testament to quality. At Ballast Point, guests have the option of ordering a grilled or fried fish street taco, but fried is the most popular way to go. The fish is whatever the catch of the day is and served with cabbage, guacamole, cilantro and lime crema. Beer pairing: Pescadero Pilsner which is light in color with aromas of bready pilsner and a touch of citrus. Ballast Point Burger Chef MacLaggan places an emphasis on locally-sourced and sustainable food practices and this means the Ballast Point Burger's Meyers All Natural beef patty is of the highest quality available. Top that with blue or white cheddar cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato sandwiched between a brioche bun. A side of truffle fries won't hurt, either. Beer pairing: California Amber, the brewery's beer with the most awards because it's bold and fruity with a heavy boast of malts. Organic Kale Salad Salad and beer? Yes, those seeking a bit of balance should try the organic kale salad complete with pickled onion, hominy, avocado, feta, savory granola, chipotle lime vinaigrette. You can also top it with catch of the day, grilled chicken or shrimp. Beer pairing: Wahoo White which is brewed unfiltered, with un-malted wheat and oats. It has a touch of orange peel and coriander. Wahoo Beer Steamed Mussels The unfiltered Wahoo White with its hints of citrus is considered a perfect beach beer. Perhaps that's why it compliments this popular mussels dish so well. Ginger, jalapeno, garlic, onion, Spanish chorizo, and shishito peppers round out the flavor. Beer pairing: Grunion with its strong hop kick, summer melon aromas, herbal flavors and soft caramel malts that hold it all together.
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