Archives for September 2013

Bone Marrow Guacamole

Fat on fat is generally a good thing. Think bacon on cheeseburgers. Sour cream on chili. Whipped bream on…well, everything.

That’s what she said.

Anyway, that’s where the idea came from for this guacamole. Today, September 16, is National Guacamole Day. Well, in honor of that, I simply HAD to concoct something awesome. I love me some traditional guac, but come on, let’s mix it up a little!

And what better way to mix it up than with marrow?

I sing my praises for marrow here, and they are sincere. I simply love the slippery, soft texture and the wonderfully fatty taste. It is reminiscent of foie gras, but guess what? Since it isn’t technically an organ meat, that fat is unsaturated! So what could be better than pairing it with my other unsaturated fatty favorite, avocado?!

This uses traditional accompaniments to bone marrow like shallots and parsley and uses avocado’s best friend, a hit of acid. This is unlike any guac you have ever had.

Bone Marrow Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

1 tbsp. bone marrow (roasted until brown on top and totally opaque)

1/2 shallot, roughly chopped

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

1 splash champagne vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

IMG_0341 1. Combine the avocados, shallots, parsley, and a splash of white wine vinegar.  IMG_0345 2. Add the warm bone marrow. Mix the marrow with the avocado mixture, add salt and pepper to taste, and keep on tasting. You may need a touch more acid or salt – the fat eats up those flavors.  IMG_0349 3. Serve immediately.

Yes, it’s really that simple. Just cut a few produce items, cook a coupla cow bones, and there you have it. The shallots and white wine vinegar are the unsung heroes of this dish – they tie together the fatty, creamy components and add both crunch and brightness. The marrow will likely melt into the avocados, which is why you should serve this immediately – no one wants a cold, congealed hunk of marrow. This is elegant and a bit more subtle than the traditional jalapeno laced version. Even if you are making this for 3 or 4 people, only use the one avocado at first – this is so rich that you won’t want more than a few bites on a tortilla or pita chip. IMG_0350 And now you know that the only thing that makes fat better is: more fat.

Icelandic Skyr Whipped Broccoli and Cauliflower – Sponsored Post

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When you think of Iceland, I’m pretty sure that the first thing that you think of isn’t “food.”

You probably think of sweaters. The Olympics. President Clinton eating that hot dog.

Okay,so maybe you do think of food.

But you might not think of it as having a totally awesome food that is going to take your mashed cauliflower to the next level.

Let me explain:

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This is Skyr.

Skyr is commonly called yogurt a lot, but it isn’t.

Skyr is actually a very soft, whipped cheese that is so dense and thick that it might as well be creme fraiche. It isn’t as tart as Greek yogurt and it has a really buttery, smooth taste. It actually tastes French, but without the “you stupid Americans” attitude.

I don’t’ know about you, but I’m starting to like Iceland more and more.

The below recipe is one invented out of necessity – as in, I NEEDED something comforting and hearty and I also NEEDED to stop eating so many potatoes.

Catch my drift?

Icelandic Skyr Whipped Cauliflower and Broccoli

2013-09-11 skyrr and stuff

Ingredients:

12 oz. cauliflower and broccoli florets

About 2 cups water

1/2 cup skyrr  (I used the Siggi’s provided to me by the campaign)

1/4 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese (I used horseradish cheddar and it was magical)

Splash of milk

Salt and pepper to taste

3 scallions, chopped

skyrr and stuff 071 1. Put the veggies and the water into a large stockpot and set the water to boil. Then, turn the heat down to medium low, cover the pot, and steam for about 15 minutes or until the kitchen stinks and the vegetables are REALLY soft. You want baby food consistency. (and if you boil up some water with a bunch of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon thrown in, it will get rid of that broccoli smell right away).

skyrr and stuff 072 2. Remove the veggies from the water with a slotted spoon and dry them off WELL with a paper towel. You may need to really push down on the towel and switch towels to get rid of some of that moisture.

skyrr and stuff 073 You don’t want any extra water or that will make the puree runny. You want it really thick and creamy.

skyrr and stuff 075 3. Toss the veggies in there with the… skyrr and stuff 080 Skyr, cheese, and salt and pepper. Add about 1/4 cup of milk too – you may need more but it’s good to start with just a small amount.

skyrr and stuff 082 4. Whiz away until the mixture is smooth, then taste! You may need more mil k or more skyr. I always prefer an extra heavy hit of pepper. Just taste as you go and pretty soon…you are going to be in heaven.

skyrr and stuff 083 5. Top with scallions and serve.

skyrr and stuff 088
Oh, so this is why skyr is awesome. Because it turns plain broccoli and cauliflower into a silky smooth puree that tastes buttery but not greasy. Because it adds heft without making it actually heavy. Because it is mild enough to balance sharp cheese and pungent scallions.

I am now a skyrr addict. And I have to say…when I think of Iceland, I will now always immediately get hungry.

Learn more about Nordic cuisine at the NORTH Festival 2013 in New York City. This post is a collaboration between the blogger and NORTH Festival 2013. 

NORTH Festival

Chocolat Africain at Angelina

I am going to try not to cry as I write this blog.

I’m going to try really hard.

But it’s going to be so difficult not to break down into pathetic sobs as I am sitting here sipping lukewarm diet Coke and reminisce over this lovely Parisian lunch.

france day 1 and 2 041 Angelina has been a staple on the ritzy Rue de Rivoli since its opening in 1903.  It is a salon in the truest sense of the word – it’s long, sunlit room has beautiful turn of the century decor with a crystal chandelier, pastoral murals, and servers actually wearing French maid outfits. It hasn’t changed much since it opened – the menu is filled traditional, light food and the specialties are desserts. Pastries, cookies, cakes, ice creams, and anything sugary that you might crave around teatime. However you might, as we did, grow hungry and not want to make 2 stops for lunch. I am delighted to say that you won’t be sorry if you take your main course here.  france day 1 and 2 045 Steak Tartare

Some of my favorite in Paris. The meat is hand-cut, so it retains its toothsome, steak like texture. The meat is so rich and iron-y that it barely needs the luscious, creamy egg yolk – but don’t worry, I ate it anyway. The sharp onions, fresh parsley, and restrained seasonings compliment the meat’s natural flavor. I added a touch of Tabasco, but that’s just because I’m a glutton for punishment. This didn’t need a thing…

france day 1 and 2 046 Except, perhaps, for some textbook-perfect frites(not these frites of course, but nothing is).  Impossibly creamy inside its thin, shatteringly crisp crust. The salad served alongside is fresh and well dressed, but really…how can it stand up to raw meat and fried potatoes? france day 1 and 2 048 Gazpacho

All those who think that gazpacho is a watery diet food, prepare to be turned on your ear. This decadent version of the dish is absolutely amazing. Juicy, earthy, full of garlic strewn with a verdant pesto. Best of all – it is mixed with cream. It’s served with a lump of rich creme fraiche in the middle that makes the dish incredibly thick and rich without being heavy. The creme fraiche complements the tomatoes much the way that mozzarella does in Caprese salads. It’s served with a sliver of crunchy fried chorizo on top. It’s rich but light and totally perfect for lunch. I am surprised by how great it was – who woulda thunk it? The French really can cook anything perfectly.

france day 1 and 2 052 Chocolat Africain

The main event. The best hot chocolate in the world. No questions. Whatsoever.

Don’t get the chocolat chaud – get the chocolat africain. This one is darker, creamier, and incredibly better. It’s literally like a Cadbury bar melted and mixed with just enough super heavy cream to clot your arteries instantly.  france day 1 and 2 054 I, of course, think one can always use a little whipped cream atop chocolate liquid cream, don’t you?

france day 1 and 2 055 Just look at how thick and luscious that is. It is the best hot chocolate ever. I mean, we drank it in 90F heat and wanted more, if that tells you how insane it is. 

france day 1 and 2 059 Better than molten chocolate cake. Better than high end chocolate. Better than anything chocolate that you can even imagine.

It’s honestly the best hot chocolate on earth.

The service is, indeed, Parisian and the prices are on the high side, but for a chance to dine in a gorgeous salon and have the world’s best gazpacho and hot chocolate, it is so worth it. 

What  I wouldn’t give for just one sip of that hot chocolate now.

Ok, now I’m crying.

A Croque Monsieur at Chez Francis

When you are in Paris, don’t just eat at stately bistros and well known restaurants. Make time to drift along the banks of the Seine and walk the beautiful bridges.

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Stop into any riverside cafe you see (we chose Chez Francis) and gaze out at the water while the wind rustles through the trees and French school children walk by you, babbling away in french so easily that you could die of jealousy.

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You may catch a glimpse of the flame of liberty, our Statue of Liberty’s twin flame. You know, a huge hunk of gold sitting basically on the street. Totally normal.

end of trip 029 If you order so much as a coke light (diet coke is SO American) you get a small ramekin filled with salty, juicy herbed olives. This is a practice in many Parisian cafes and it’s much appreciated  – who doesn’t like a little nosh with their afternoon drinks?  end of trip 032 Croque monsieur

These are good almost everywhere in Paris. Thinly sliced, lightly smoked ham on tart, spongy Poilane bread. Layers of creamy, cheesy bechamel sauce that is broiled until golden and lightly crunchy on top. It’s just a ham and cheese sandwich but it’s so much more than that – just like nachos with cheese sauce are a million times better than nachos with melted cheese.

Why yes, I did just compare this croque to nachos. Now you know how much I loved it.  end of trip 033 Steak tartare

Because what is more French than inhaling others’ cigarette smoke as you eat raw beef liberally spiked with capers, onions, and Worcestershire sauce? Some very hot and tasty fries accompany on the side, of course. The steak tartare here isn’t anything out of the ordinary  just very well prepared, fresh beef whose grassy flavor is complimented by the piquant garnishes – but it’s the whole effect that makes it charming.

The service can be rather…Parisian (lengthy wait for food and you are treated as an annoyance) and the prices are high, but the experience is memorable. It’s a respite in a city so packed with must-see tourist attractions that you rarely get a chance to sit and relax. Go to Chez Francis or any of tis twins along the Seine and get lost for a n hour or two in the magic that is Paris

Experience Indonesia at Tempoe Doeloe

I know that European Imperialism gets a bad rap. Manifest destiny and all that jazz, you know the drill.

However…putting aside all social responsibility and serious discussion…

It led to some pretty banging food in other parts of the world. Think afternoon tea in Hong Kong. Indian food in London. And – one of my favorites – Indonesian food in Amsterdam.

During the time that the Dutch occupied Indonesia, these cheese-centric Europeans learned how to makes some of my favorite Asian food.

Indonesian food’s intricate spices and layers of texture remind me of other favorite Asian foods of mine, especially Thai and Indian. If you like garlic, coconut, and layers of flavor, you will totally be into Indonesian food.

Oh yeah, and if you order rijsttafel, you also get to try it all. Because this traditional “rice table” means that you get 18 dishes delivered to your table.

That’s right…it’s a buffet at your seat.

My dream.

amsterdam day 2 123 Tempoe Doeloe is one one of Amsterdam’s most highly regarded Indonesian restaurants. It is a small, very crowded restaurant that is decorated with a few mirrors, some colonial Indonesian furniture, and so many tables that you will become best friends with your neighbors whether you want to or not.  amsterdam day 2 125

Where the magic happens.  amsterdam day 2 126

Don’t even look at the menu. Go for the biggest rijstaffel that they have. You want to try it all.

amsterdam day 2 127

These tabletop burners are brought to your table to keep the many small dishes warm. As your stomach starts grumbling, you are brought some tender pork satay swathed in a nutty, tangy peanut sauce. It’s tender and savory – like Indonesia’s answer to hot wings. Just be sure to save some room for… amsterdam day 2 129 Coconut turmeric ricCreamy and strewn with crispy fried shallots. The perfect accompaniment for the many fiery, creamy sauces that are to come.

amsterdam day 2 131 Though you are advised to eat the trays from mild to spicy, let’s start with the medium spicy tray. The small ramekins are filled with shrimp in a garlicky butter sauce, tofu in a coconut chile stew, and green beans cooked with yet more garlic, red peppers, and fragrant lemongrass. The beef in the back is crisp and on the sweeter side, while the chicken has a more fiery taste. The spices in Indonesian food are lip-tingling and zesty, so be sure that you can handle the heat. 
amsterdam day 2 132 The mild buffet is tasty too, from the coriander-spiked beef stew to the warm cabbage salad. The warm cucumber in its vinaigrette is a little weird, but hey…when in Indonesia, right? These dishes are all great for kids or adults who are adventurous but don’t love super spicy or garlicky food. They are similar to Thai food but with way less fish sauce or salty flavors.  amsterdam day 2 133 Whoa, Nelly. It’s getting hot in here. From pretty hot to the absolutely fiery and fearsome  daging rendang, this plate is not for criers. This is for people who love the slow burn from your tongue to your forehead. Who relish dabbing heir heads with napkins. Nothing here is as punishing as phaal, but it gets pretty darned close. However, the subtle nuances of flavors like coconut, cilantro, and caramelized onions to shine through.

amsterdam day 2 134 That daging rendang is a beast, though. It doesn’t taste hot, then as you continue to take bites, you realize that your lips have slightly swelled. That your temples are sweating. And that your ears have the faintest ringing sound echoing through them The tender beef is wonderful and earthy in that spicy, faintly sweet coconut and chile paste. And yes, your lips will be stained red for the next 24 hours.

But what you take away from this meal isn’t just heartburn, a rather sizeable bill, and the memory of a great meal. It’s the experience of eating a food that is rarely seen in this country. It’s the realization that there is a whole new cuisine that you want to explore. It’s Amsterdam’s history in the tastiest way possible. 

Great Hotel Meals

Recently, I have been eating a lot of hotel food.

If you are imagining limp Caesar salads and flabby prime rib, get out of 1980s Duluth! This is NYC, center of all things luxury, trendy, and tasty! If you have the money to spend, NYC hotels can offer you one hell of a lunch.

pics 093 Steak and Blue at  South Gate

This Essex House restaurant delivered on all levels. On service, when I spilled my water and it was instantly cleaned with a smile and a laugh. On price, when our lunches arrived in large portions and of excellent quality. And of taste – this is a fantastic steak sandwich. The meat is tenderloin steak cut into 3 large filets and cooked like the excellent beef that it is – medium rare and buttery inside and charred, smoky brown outside. It arrives with sautéed spinach and sweet red peppers with enough Stilton cheese to add a salty, funky edge. This is definitely for lovers of the funk – it’s an aggressively flavored sandwich. But, when dipped in the savory, slightly sweet steak sauce and served with a mound of addictively salty fries, it’s also the answer to all of your iron-craving prayers. Oh, and the bread it is served on is exemplary – hearty enough to stand up to all of the juices but soft enough to eat without tearing the roof of your mouth.

photo_2 (6) Burrata and Tomato Salad at 2West

Nothing unique here – just the best of some very standard ingredients. Burrata so silky and creamy that it rivals the best I hav eever had. Tomatoes so juicy and firm that it seems impossible that tomato season is nearing its end. A few shards of crisply fried basil, some syrupy balsamic and scattered grains of sea salt complete this incredibly simply and utterly delicious dish. Nothing that makes this spot a dining destination, but an absolutely stellar interpretation of a commonly prepared salad.

montmartre 027 Pretzel bread at Jean Georges

I didn’t get a chance to cover this in my JG review, and…honestly…it is fantastic. The crust is thick and dark and the inside is doughy but not dense, with a slightly sour taste. It is simple, but great bread – served warm, might I say – truly pushes a meal from great to extraordinary. And a whole tray of soft, creamy butter doesn’t hurt either.

What are some of your favorite hotel restaurant dishes?

Five Foods to Avoid in NYC

I have lived in NYC for 7 years. And I love this city – I do. From its grimy subways to its (now defunct) MOMA button-tickets to the way that Riverside park smells after it rains…I would kiss its sidewalks if I wouldn’t get some unspeakable disease.

I especially love the plethora of delicious food that ranges from holes in the wall to 3 Michelin starred eateries. It has more good restaurants per square foot than almost anywhere on earth (scientific data provided by my mom).

But we don’t do everything right, do we?

If you are a visitor or a recent transplant, there are a few pitfalls you can make.

Just follow this list and you will avoid all that is unworthy of your stomach space.

Tacos

I have eaten tacos in the city. And I have enjoyed them. I admit this. However, not one taco I have had can go toe to toe for value and taste with the lousiest taco on any street corner in Tucson, AZ. Those greasy flattop trucks with their grimy Tupperware containers filled with incendiary salsa, roughly chopped cilantro and onion, and lime wedges. Those thick, lumpy tortillas that are obviously handmade and that caramelized, crispy, beefy carne seca. It’s, like, 3 for a dollar. And whether it’s 1 AM or 5 at night, it is always super delicious.

Polynesian food

Chicken in foil, rumaki, pineapple on everything and drinks served in a coconut. I LOVE 1950s inspired Hawaiian and Polynesian food – the sweet, sticky sauces, the succulent meats, the conspicuous absence of any vegetable not coated in sugar. And they do it well a lot of places. Just not here – the L + L is a pale comparison to its Pacific counterpart). Could you imagine what a good plate lunch would do to the food frenzied citizens of NYC?

Moroccan food

Similarly to generic fast food, this is sadly lacking in the NYC restaurant scene. I ‘m not talking about small, casual affairs that offer merguez sandwiches. I’m talking about places like Dar Maghreb, where an expansive restaurant tiled with turquoise and gold is filled with pillows on the floor and elegant belly dancers who entrance you as you lick powdered sugar from your finger and tear into sweet and savory pigeon pies. 

I mean,  is that so much to ask?

Generic fast food

It’s not that it’s done badly here, it’s that there is none here. Where are the multiple Taco Bells? Why is Wendy’s just in midtown? And for the love of all that is holy, SONIC, WHERE ARE YOU? I am a Shake Shack devotee, but damn it, sometimes a gal just wants tator tots and a diet limeade!

High Tea

Because nobody does it like the Brits. Here, it is too often served with whipped cream instead of clotted cream, with sandwiches far too thick, and with tea that is the equivalent to bathwater. Worst of all, it’s often served in a casual manner. NO, NO , NO! That’s not what high tea is about! It’s about dressing up in clothes that you never wear and look somewhat dated. It’s about the ritual of spending 3 hours taking smack in low whispers. It’s about getting a sugar rush right before dinner time. It’s fancy, damnnit, and it should stay that way! (sidenote – the only place I have been for tea that has even approached my totally snobby standards is The Carlyle).

I realize that this post is heavily slanted towards the West coast, and don’t think that my allegiance lies there just because of my birth certificate.

I love NYC. I live in it, and for it.

Just avoid these foods. Focus on the incredible Italian food, wonderful bakeries, and  outstanding brunches, and you will be forever obsessed with NYC food, just like me.

Barn Joo – A Fantastic Korean Happy Hour

The flatiron district is really lucky. It has awesome cocktails, upscale Italian, and now a totally tasty Korean gastropub with an awesome happy hour.

Come on, share the love, downtown!

Barn Joo is a casual, cook Korean influenced pub that is just awesome. It is large and modern-industrial with a long table up front, a private lounge in back, and even karaoke…

that’s right, kimchi AND karaoke. Why isn’t this place mobbed every single night, again? I would come here on a date, with friends, or by myself for the happy hour.

And it really is an awesome happy hour.

photo_1 (6) Fried Oysters

What a simple name for a complex dish! Delicately friend oysters, are battered then fried until JUST cooked, so they are briny and sweet inside their whispery thin coating. They are served atop a sweet, sour, viscous sauce that is so addictive I could have eaten it whole. Don’t forget a swipe of kimchi mayo that emphasizes the crunch of the batter with its creamy texture. These are the perfect bar food – tasty, eaten by hand, and fried (though not at all heavy).

photo_2 (7) Chicken meatballs

I thought I knew meatballs. Oh how wrong I was. These meatballs, made with chewy Korean rice cakes, have a totally unique texture. They are crispy and nutty without and pleasantly toothsome within – they are tender but don’t fall apart. They are heavily spiced with aromatics like ginger and coriander that make the rice cake’s natural, earthy flavor stand out. The dipping sauce was, to may tastes, way too sweet, but mys sister loves it, so if you have a major sweet tooth, you might be a fan, too.  photo_3 (6)

Roasted Mushrooms

The sleeper hit of the menu. Roasted mushrooms I have had, but roasted mushrooms like these? Never. Assorted mushrooms – some soft, some hearty, some delicate, some fiercely woodsy…these are exceptional. They are roasted with soy, butter, and a touch of garlic. And they are…addictive. They satisfy my craving for meat completely. And that salty butter sauce…yeah, that is liquid gold.
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BJ Burger

One of the best burgers I have had since Corner Bistro. It’s heavily grilled with a thick, charred crust and a beautifully pink, juicy center. It’s topped with melty cheddar cheese and a myriad of toppings. A sharp scallion slaw, that wonderful kimchi mayo, and minty perilla leaves. The grilled kimchi is inspired -ti turns the pungent, salty kimchi into sweet, slightly crispy, caramelized cabbage topping. Its’ aon a squishy bun and served aside a plethora of thick, fresh cut fries.

The best part of this review is that most of these dishes are on the happy hour menu! They are under $10 each and can be enjoyed with beer , wine, or cocktails.

The service is exemplary, the price is right, and the food is awesome. Sitting at the bar with a burger and the fun bar staff is a great way to spend the night.

Aww, flatiron…some hoods have all the luck!

Foie Gras Salad and Aligot at Chez Flottes

I rarely forget a meal.

I can remember skipping to the local Chinese restaurant with my father, ordering crispy, greasless spring rolls and dishes of milk chocolate ice cream for dessert as I told him about the trials and tribulations of life as a 3-year-old.

I can remember eating poached eggs with my mother as clearly as if it happened yesterday instead of 25 years ago.

I remember sneaking Kit Kats from home into the movie theater with my sister and chomping them, layer by layer, until the sweet chocolate paste gave way to crunchy wafer cookies.

But I have already almost forgotten the meal I am about to describe.

It happened the night I got engaged, and – to sound like every sentimental schmuck on the planet – everything for the next 12 hours was a blur.

We dined at Chez Flottes – a reliable brasserie smack in the middle of the touristy and pricey 2nd arrondissement. I have been there any times before, but it appears to now be under new management. It has lost some of its beaux-arts charm, but still retains its all day service, extensive menu, and penchant for putting any and all tourists in the back room.

france day 1 and 2 029 We had these glasses of champagne, which were wonderful. Champagne is France is usually, if not always, less expensive than it is in the US, and always tastes better. More bubbly, more crisp, and more complementary to food.

Because you are in France, y’all. france day 1 and 2 031 Escargot

Not the best that I have ever had, but very tasty. Juicy and tender, with no rubbery texture or muddy taste. Bathed in a parsley garlicky buttery sauce, they are really good introduction type of escargot. My (brand new, at that point) fiance tried one and was surprised at how mild and soft the escargot was. Then he promptly used the excellent house baguette, his spoon, and eventually his fingers to get every ounce of that über garlicky sauce.

What can I say, I did the same thing.

france day 1 and 2 032 Hamburger with seared foie gras

This disappeared way too fast for me to take a bite. But one has to wonder what came first…the Parisian chicken or the Daniel Boulud egg?

france day 1 and 2 033 Salad

But not a normal NYC salad. A salad loaded with smooth, rich foie gras torchon. A salad tossed in a light, champagne vinaigrette that is only slightly acidic so it doesn’t compete with the foie. A salad that includes crispy, delightfully gamy pieces of duck confit, tart green apple slices, jewel-like cherry tomatoes, and lettuce that is so flavorful and earthy that it puts the bagged stuff I use at home to absolute shame. This is the thing about Paris…even a simple salad in a touristy part of town is made with integrity, excellent ingredients, and attention to flavor and texture.  france day 1 and 2 034 Aligot

Only the best potaotes known to humankind. Mashed with butter, garlic, and Cantal cheese, the stretch upwards at least 6 inches when you try to soon them onto your plate. I would have gotten a picture, but we were too busy eating. No, inhaling. Super creamy and smooth with a faint garlic note and a definitive cheesy tang. Rich, creamy, incredibly smooth and – shockingly – not ultra heavy.

That’s what I told myslef, anyway…”it’s a nice, LIGHT potato dish…”

 I guess I remember this meal better than I thought I did! It isn’t the greatest meal in Paris, but it is very good food with good service and fair prices. The aligot is not to be missed.

And if I can remember that awesome, meaty salad even in the haze of engagement…I guess it’s a pretty good spot, after all.

Pieminister – Merry Olde England in Amsterdam

You know how you can’t get a decent burger in Amsterdam to save your life?

Well, as it turns out, you can get a meat pie so perfect that Katie M herself might mistake it for one of her country’s own.

amsterdam day 2 093 Indeed, Pieminister is a UK based company, but its outlet in Amsterdam exactly follows the model that you might see in merry olde England. Choose your pie filling, choose your toppings, and choose your side (if any).
amsterdam day 2 095 Then, sit at one of the modern tables and wait for your food to be delivered. As you can see from the decor, it’s a modern, hip place that has taken the British classic and updated it with local, seasonal ingredients that come almost entirely from Great Britain.

amsterdam day 2 097 I especially appreciate the rather English accompaniments of nasal-searing Coleman’s mustard and pungent Worcestershire sauce. And, of course, the not-so-English inclusion of Tabasco.
amsterdam day 2 098 The Motherlode Chicken of Aragon pie with tarragon, smoked bacon, and free range British chicken

So good that it made me sit up and remember tarragon. Why don’t I use it more often? Its faint, sweet, licorice-y taste goes so well with tender chicken. Especially in this rich sauce, loaded with crispy smoky bacon, creamy potatoes, and fork tender chicken. If you get it Motherlode style, it comes topped with mashed potatoes, gravy, cheese, minted mushy peas, and fried shallots.

And if you don’t get it Motherlode style, you must be certifiably insane.

amsterdam day 2 101

She isn’t the prettiest girl in town, but wow is this dish tasty! Salty gravy, tangy cheese, crispy shallots, and lightly minted peas (no mouthwash overload here) add brightness and texture to an otherwise rather heavy, creamy pie. I also recommend adding a shot of Tabasco to uplift the flavor profile.

Oh, and there were just-like-mom’s mashed potatoes, too. Because one can never have to many potatoes.

amsterdam day 2 100 Heidi Pie with Somerset goat cheese, sweet potatoes, spinach, and red onion

 Dare I say that I enjoyed this pie even more? It is a totally out-of-left-field flavor combination. Goat cheese and sweet potatoes? Wouldn’t’ that be too heavy or sweet?

No, it’s pretty much perfect. It’s creamy and earthy, with a hearty minerality from the spinach and the sweet tang of red onion. The caramelized onion highlights the more savory taste of the sweet potato and the warming the  goat cheese mellows  it from grassy to buttery. This I got plain, though I would get it with gravy next time.

When in doubt, go with gravy. 
amsterdam day 2 103
Spicy sausage roll

Simply a zesty, vaguely spicy sausage that is so soft it almost melts in your mouth. Oh, and it’s wrapped in an impossibly flaky dough that is so light that it has no calories.

That’s what I told myself.

Pieminister may not be the most Dutch establishment, but it’s one of the tastiest. The price is fair, the service is helpful but not overbearing, and the food is so delicious that it is worth losing an hour in the afternoon when you sink into a food coma.

Just remember…it’s Motherlode all the way or I will have to pretend that I don’t know you.