Fish and Beer, Casino-Style
It is eye-popping.
Push open the doors of the Ilani Casino in Ridgefield, Wash. Walk under the five giant, multi-colored chandeliers shaped like traditional Cowlitz Tribal hats. Take a lap around a gaming room housing a couple thousand slot machines along with dozens of card, craps and roulette tables. The lights, the sounds make it feel like George Clooney and the cast of another “Oceans” heist movie could come bursting through at any moment.
But we’re not here for gambling. In fact, we’re after a sure thing.
Chef Ryan Ziegler runs the kitchen in the casino’s Line & Lure restaurant. He planned a recent dinner with Burnside Brewing. “It’s spring. I want to do something on the lighter side,” Ziegler tells me as we stand by the floor-to-ceiling windows that face Mount St. Helens. “Something that complements their beer, their seasonal beers, and that also showcases the great seafood we have here.”
As Burnside co-founder Jason McAdam notes, beer is great with fish and chips, but this is different, “I would definitely say, yes. It’s more delicate.”
The first beer comes to the table before the first course. It’s called Sweet Heat, a wheat ale made using apricot puree and imported Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers. Head brewer Chip Conlon says it’s tricky to get consistency in such a concoction. “You never know because of the nature of a pepper — how hot it’s going to be or how long the beer should sit and condition on top of that.”
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