This weekend I went to a new pal's birthday bash and wow does she know how to entertain! The table had a nice spread of local quiches, breads, meats and more, but my favorite nibbles - the ones I literally had to tell myself "STOP. BACK AWAY. YOU LOOK LIKE A PIG!" - were the Clairesquares - a delicious three layer concoctions consisting of buttery shortbread, smooth caramel and fine Belgian chocolate. I've had combinations like this before, but these were amazing. They're made with 100% preservative free ingredients and contain no trans fatty acids. If you like chocolate, caramel, shortbread and all things delicious, then do yourself a favor and order a pack. Actually, you should order two, you'll thank me later. A pack of five squares is available for $12.
If you'd rather make your own, we've got a recipe for something similiar, to check it out, just read more
English food is not a joke because...
Any cuisine that combines meat with ale gets gold stars in my book.
That's the answer I'm giving for Sam's Fish & Quips challenge. She's asked food lovers everywhere to help her prove that English food does not have to be a joke. After reading about it, I immediately wanted to participate. I lived there for almost a year and had plenty of amazing food (I have crazy fond memories of the cheese guy in my local outdoor market), however I couldn't come up with one dish that I wanted to make. So I called in the brigades - actually I just IM'd my friend Johnny and asked what he thought I should make:
me: What is your favorite British meal - like quintessential British?
Johnny: Meat pie! Like steak and onion pie!!!
I think this is a nice idea, a nice project - British food has a huge inferiority complex for a few reasons.
me: So what should i make?
Johnny: You should try steak and ale pie if you can manage it. I think it is pretty easy really and tastesome.
me: Why'd you choose that dish?
Johnny: It is the thing I like best that is "English"
Make a nice round pie - with leaves on the top of course.
me: Of course
Hrmm... a steak and ale pie. Funny, I never actually had one of those while I was out there - but I figured it was the time to start. So I hunted down a few recipes and cobbled together a pretty decent pie. I cheated and used puff pastry, but I didn't forget the leaves on top.
The end result was pretty tasty, like a stew with an added pastry crust - and it was definitely not a joke. To see what recipe I used, and to see a bunch of step by step pictures, read more
On Sunday night I had the lovely opportunity to meet a few wonderful food bloggers face to face. From left to right we have Catherine of Food Musings (who was delightful and funny), the secretive couple from BunRab (who's site I didn't know but have since fallen in love with their photos and their wild story about how they were the first couple married at the French Laundry back when it just opened), Kristen of Give Me Some Food (who actually went to college with Adam, proving my theory that foodies somehow attract other foodies), and the visiting Adam of the The Amateur Gourmet (who's working on a book right now). Also present were Sam & Fred of Becks & Posh (who arrived soon after the photo was snapped and were even more charming than I imagined them to be).
We ended up at Place Pigalle over in Hayes Valley (a neighborhood here in San Francisco). I'd never been there before and wasn't 100% sure where it was - that is, until I got there and realized I'd walked past it a bajillion times. It was a low-key bar with lots of beers on tap, a decent wine selection and a great happy hour price (pint of Stella less than 3 bucks). Plus it got bonus points for big booths and a foosball table.
So, what does a table full of food bloggers talk about? If you said food you'd only be partly correct. We also, somehow ended up talking about American pop-culture and American Idol for much longer than I'd like to admit. However we did talk a lot about food. Adam is visiting from New York and has a large list of places that he's hoping to make it to. In fact, the night before we met, he drove out to Yountville to visit Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc. Talking to him made me realize. Wow, I live here and I've never been to half the places he's going to make it to - this has got to change. I'm going to have to start going out more often...
Our conversation also made me realize the funny lengths we go to for a good meal. So tell me everyone, what's the furthest distance you've ever gone for a good meal?
And hey Adam, next time we meet I will (a) have a gift for you and (b) take you up on that foosball challenge.
- In Italy dancing and singing pasta and vegetables are as excited about Parmigiano Reggiano as I am. I dare you not to get the song stuck in your head after watching. - Serious Eats
- Don't miss this list of 50 wines you can always trust - and bonus, almost all are under $20. - Food & Wine
- Think British food is terrible? Think again. Sam is out to prove that English food is not a joke. - Becks & Posh
- I meant to post this earlier, but thought most of you may have heard. But just in case, Cadbury says that their Creme Eggs haven't gotten smaller, but you've gotten bigger. However, The Office's BJ Novak proves that they have indeed gotten smaller. - The Consumerist
- David Beckam's not on the "daughter diet" to help conceive a girl. - Chow
- Meeta manages to mix three of my favorite things into one delicious salad: spinach salad, goat cheese and avocado. - What's For Lunch, Honey?
- And from the news of geeks + food = awesome... A computer is helping calculate how to make a perfect bacon sandwich. - geeksugar
- Discover the difference between Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's Chocolate Truffle Kisses. - Candyblog
- The Discovery Health channel is giving Nathan Lyon, from last year's The Next Food Network Star, his own show: A Lyon in the Kitchen (oh and it starts tonight). - Serious Eats
- I've recently discovered that I really enjoy parsnips and now I have a new recipe to try: parsnips boiled in sap. - Cookthink
- I love lamb. I love tagines. I especially love lamb tagines - Spiceblog
- Maybe I'll skip the baking this week and make some tasty, tasty salted butter and chocolate caramels instead. - Tartelette
- Now you can take your drink wherever you go, introducing liquor flask sandals from Reef. - Liquor Snob
- Unless you're a vegetarian, you're probably going to want a drool guard before looking at these German Beef Roulades. - What's For Lunch Honey
- Learn how to make Hot Cross Buns just in time for Easter. - Becks & Posh
- And finally, for weeks I've been meaning to point out the bacon alarm clock - now you can wake up to the smell of cooking bacon. - Daily Olive
- I obviously need to go to Japan, or have someone in Japan send me a package (hint hint!), because where else am I going to get Red Bean Kit Kat? - Candyblog
- Sorry that the rest of you are suffering through winter, but here in San Francisco we've got weather so warm that Shuna's Lemon Sherbet is going to hit the spot. - Bay Area Bites via Eggbeater
- Sam over at becks & posh, tackles one of Heidi Swanson's granola recipes. This one looks amazing and simple, give it a go you guys. - Becks & Posh
- Table Manners ponders whether or not vegetarians have the right to demand meat-free environments. Sorry veggies, in my opinion, if you demand meat-free environments, your friends are going to stop calling you. - Chow
- There's a motion to get more women involved in judging and testing, and since women do most of the buying shouldn't the industry know which wines women want? - Cheap Fun Wines
- Since commercial nut butters (like peanut butter) contain extra sugar, salt and shelf-sustainable chemicals, why not make your own homemade nut butter? - The Daily Tiffin
- Want better tasting coffee? Clean your coffee maker with vinegar every so often. - lifehacker
- Everyone has those go to recipes that only get better with time, I only wish mine was as gorgeous as this Coconut Chicken Curry. - Hooked on Heat
- Author Michael Pollan and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, don't exactly see eye-to-eye. This evening they'll be in conversation at UC Berkeley, you can watch the whole event live via webcast. - Becks & Posh
- Better watch what your kids eat, else the government will take your fat children away. At least, that's what British officials are threatening to do with a 218 pound 8 year old. - Slate
- This weekend I was looking for a gluten-free cake. I didn't have time to make this whole orange cake, but I really wish I did. - Mental Masala
- I strangely enjoy mentos. Mostly I think it's because I love certain flavors (specifically ones not available in the US). Outside of the US there are a ton of different flavors, including Ice Pomelo flavored mentos. - Candyblog
- With cooking magazines available online and everyone sharing their recipes, you have to stop and wonder, are cookbooks becoming obsolete? Please say it ain't so... - Serious Eats