By The Weekender
All over Lewis County, restaurants and bars are preparing for the deluge of sometimes rowdy, always hungry and thirsty patrons coming this weekend.
Because St. Patrick’s Day — always on March 17 — falls on a Sunday this year, the festivities will likely be spread out over the weekend, so wear your stretchy pants and prepare to eat and drink your fill.
Many businesses are offering a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, but not all versions of the dish are created equal, The Weekender learned.
“We’re going to use an all organic cabbage (and) our beef is a local company, so we give a locally made corn beef,” said Falisha Christen, back of house manager of Jeremy’s Farm to Table in Chehalis.
The move is partly an effort to support local businesses, but also often results in better flavor, she said. Jeremy’s relies on a local specialist to brine and cook their corned beef, but Christen gave an insight into what makes their green cabbage — not the most exciting of vegetables — stand out.
“We’re going to do ours with a mustard sauce,” she said.
Without giving away any of the kitchen’s secrets, Christen revealed the sauce includes dijon mustard, stone ground mustard, sugar and sour cream. It’s important to cook the cabbage on low to avoid scorching the leaves, she added.
Meanwhile at O’Blarney’s in Centralia, corned-beef is already a staple of the Irish-themed establishment, and the exact recipe is held close to the vest.
“We do it every day,” said Jeff Malloy, owner of O’Blarney’s at the Gibson House. “You’ve got to find the right cut (of beef) the right marbling, and then you’ve got to go slow and low … We braise it with Guinness.”
Aside from the classic, they have a variety of other Irish eats, such as shepherd’s pie. A special often added for “the big day,” Malloy said, is a reuben egg roll appetizer.
Dicks’ Brewing Company’s NW Sausage and Deli will serve their regular corned-beef reuben, but also plans to put bangers and mash — another staple from the British Isles — on their menu for St. Patrick’s Day.
With all that salty corned beef or sausage on your plate, you’ll no doubt need something to wash it all down. And as ubiquitous as corned beef is on the Irish feast day, green beer will be everywhere you look. It’s popular, but not the only way to go, bartenders and restaurateurs said.
“What they drink is Jameson, Guinness and green beer … and not necessarily in that order,” Malloy said, of his O’Blarney’s clientele on the big day. “I like Guinness even when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day.”
Market Street Pub owner Tara Bird looks forward to St. Patrick’s Day every year — not just because it’s a fun holiday, but because it’s also her birthday.
“No matter what day of the week it is, everyone’s out celebrating,” Bird said.
The Pub’s popular St. Paddy’s drinks will include the classic green beer and green jello shots as well as Irish death beers and Irish car bombs — a mixture of Guinness stout beer, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Irish Whiskey.
At Coconuts Island Grill, bartender Clarissa Keele said a popular holiday-specific drink is the shamrock.
“It’s kind of like a shake,” she said.
The drink is a mixture of vanilla ice cream, creme de menthe, whipped cream flavored vodka and Baileys, or another Irish cream.
Meanwhile at Dick’s Brewing Company in Centralia, beer is always the staple. Dick’s brews it’s Irish Ale year-round, but it started as a seasonal favorite. Irish stouts, like Guinness, are popular St. Paddy’s Day offerings, but the Irish Ale is a lighter red beer, more similar to an amber ale, owners Julie and Dave Pendleton said.
The Irish Ale stands out because of its ingredients, they said, including milder British hops and Melanoidin malt, which gives the beer a toasty flavor.
“It’s by far one of our most popular beers,” Dave Pendleton said.