I was up in Omaha last weekend to attend the Jacobson Symposium on Teaching with Technology at Creighton Univeristy. Cheryl Ball was this year’s Jacobson Lecturer (Steven Krause was the Jacobson Lecturer last year). This year’s theme was From Word to Image: The New Literacy and my talk, “Old Practices and New Literacies: Composing with Words and Images,” began with a discussion of the Franks Casket (well, really, I began with Hrothgar reading the hilt in Beowulf) and ended with a discussion of two student new media projects,1 tied together through Mary Carruthers’ discussions of monastic rhetoric (with a particular focus on ruminatio and the distinction between memoria verborum and memoria rerum) and Kristie Fleckenstein’s concept of imageword. (More on this later, I think. Inspired by Kathie’s recording of our CCCC round table, I used my iPod and iTalk to record my presentation.)

What I’m really writing about is a visit to Dario’s Brasserie in the Dundee neighborhood of Omaha. Well familiar with my love of Belgian beer, Gina and her husband took me to Dario’s. We thought about going for dinner, but since Cheryl had dinner plans and we were really going for the beer, we went to Dario’s about 9:00 PM. Story has it that Dario, the chef and owner, opened his own place in January because he wanted a restaurant that featured beer. Belgian beer.

As should be the case everywhere, the drinks menu had beer on two of its three pages as well as an insert page with a selection of temporary offerings. I’m told there was wine listed on the back of the menu, but I didn’t look. I was hoping for gueuze or Duchess de Bourgogne, but neither was on the menu. I didn’t despair, though, because Huyghe Brewery’s Delirium Tremens wasn’t on the menu either and I saw boxes of it in the back. I asked our server if they had gueuze and he’d not heard of it. He then asked another server, who said they did have it in the back, and they explained to me that they wouldn’t be serving it for a few more weeks. Since I can now buy gueuze in a couple of stores here in St. Louis, I didn’t press the issue and went up to the bar to look at the selection of bottles they did have.

The second server and I started talking Belgian beer. She explained that Dario’s been teaching her about it and wanted to know more about gueuze and what my other favorite Belgians are. She also told me a bit about Dario and Dario’s, and when I ooohed over the fact they have Lindemans’ Framboise on tap, she told me that they use it to make ice cream floats. (If you’ve never had Lindemans’ Framboise on tap, get yourself to Dario’s or to Chicago’s Map Room or where ever else you can get it on tap.)

At some point Dario came out to get a bottle of Lindemans Pomme for a pheasant ragú he was cooking and the server I was talking to asked if they did inded have gueuze in the back. He asked why, she pointed to me, and he asked, “You want a gueuze?” I said yes and a few minutes later he brought back a bottle of Oud Beersel‘s Old Geuze. The server and I continued talking as she cooled it in a bucket of ice water. As she poured it, she asked if she could smell it, and I tried to convince her it’d be okay to taste it, but she didn’t. After the gueuze, I tried to help Cheryl finish off her 750 ml bottle of fig beer (I forget the name), but couldn’t get into it. And, of course, I ordered a Framboise. I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than drinking Belgian beer with friends.
I hope Dario’s is still around next time I get up to Omaha because I really should try the pommes frites and the Framboise float. So, if you’re in Omaha, do your part to keep Dario’s open. I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed. Especially if you have a Framboise float.

  1. Nothing fancy, we’re not set up to do fancy stuff at SLU and the audience ranged from high school teachers to Creighton and U of Nebraska Omaha faculty from various disciplines — I spent much of lunch talking with a Creighton law librarian. []