Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Uno, Dos, Tres: Benji's Cantina to Host Pairing Dinner Series - Austin, Texas

Benji’s Cantina to Host Pairing Dinner Event Series:
Uno, Dos, Tres Dinner Series Includes Multi-Course Feasts
Paired With Beer, Wine or Tequila    

 Benji’s Cantina, downtown Austin’s “it” spot for inspired Tex-Mex and West Sixth Street’s only rooftop dining space, is hosting a unique dinner pairing series titled Uno, Dos, Tres that will highlight fresh, farm-to-table dishes paired with a variety of local beers, wine and spirits. The series begins with the Uno dinner event on Oct. 15, featuring Executive Chef Blake Keely’s four-course Tex-Mex meal paired with beers from Austin’s Thirsty Planet Brewery, presented by Brewmaster Brian Smittle.

The Uno dinner will begin with a selection of appetizers. Choices include Shrimp Diablo, Gulf shrimp stuffed with goat cheese and chiles, wrapped in pecan-smoked bacon and served with a poblano vinaigrette, which will be paired with Thirsty Planet’s Buckethead IPA, an aggressively hopped India Pale Ale; or Benji’s Guacamole, made with fresh avocados and mixed tableside with traditional accompaniments, and paired with Thirsty Planet’s Yellow Armadillo Wheat, an American-style wheat ale. The salad course will include Chef Keely’s Spinach and Watercress, a light salad of leafy greens, corn, queso fresco and toasted pepitas tossed with a honey-chipotle vinaigrette, paired with Thirsty Planet’s Yellow Armadillo Wheat. The Uno dinner entrée will be Chef Keely’s Chile en Nogada, a poblano chile stuffed with picadillo, almonds, apples and green olives, served in pecan crema sauce, and paired with Thirsty Planet’s Thirsty Goat Ale, a medium-bodied amber beer with a sweet, malty taste. The final course features a dessert of decadent Cheesecake Sopapillas.  ($60.00 per person)

Benji’s Dos pairing dinner event will take place Nov. 5, and feature four courses of Chef Keely’s time-honored Tex-Mex dishes with a modern twist, paired with a selection of wines. The meal begins with an indulgent Lobster Sope with sweet corn crema and wild mushrooms, followed by savory Green Chili and Butternut Squash Soup served with duck carnitas and bunuelos. The main course includes Chef Keely’s Blackberry Mole-Braised Beef Short Ribs with crisp sweet potatoes and sesame shallots. The dinner event will conclude with a mouth-watering Chocolate Tres Leches cake.

Benji’s Tres pairing event, featuring Chef Keely’s four-course Tex-Mex dinner paired with a selection of elite tequilas, will take place Nov. 19. The first course includes a delicate Scallop Ceviche served with blood orange, mint and serranos, followed by a dish of Seared Panela Cheese with Local Greens served with avocado and toasted pepitas. The main course includes Jalapeño-Basil Shrimp with Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas served with mango butter, arbol glaze and tequila sour cream. Chef Keely completes the meal with the perfect Key Lime Pie.

Each Uno, Dos, Tres pairing dinner event ($50–$85 per person) is limited to 30 guests, and attendees are encouraged to RSVP for the dinners at

Benji’s Cantina is located at 716 W. Sixth St., in downtown Austin. Benji’s is open for dinner service from 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and from 4 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about Benji’s Cantina and the Uno, Dos, Tres pairing dinner series, visit

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