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Keeping Austin Weird!

13 Mar

In October, I visited Austin for the first time. (Thanks to Matt and Ciri for getting married.) I loved it! It was just weird enough not to completely weird me out. I loved the food. I loved the heat. I loved the humidity.

The food. All we did while we were there was eat. Well, and celebrated a Holy Matrimony, but we still did a lot of eating… and dancing. This lovely plate of goodness below is from Juan in a Million. Once again, I love puns. This plate is simple – eggs, cheese, onion and bacon. Wrap it up in a tortilla and you have yourself a brepast burrito. And they give you two tortillas, but ask if you’d like more. Loved it! And finished it!

Don Juan – Eggs. Cheese. Bacon. Onion. Eat.

When we arrived the first day, we had a nice lunch with an old friend (friend for a long time, friend isn’t old) at Elizabeth Street Cafe – where Vietnamese cafe meets French bakery. We started with a french loaf of bread and a few different jams, and JAM it was good! I had the Kaffir Lime Fried Chicken Bahn Mi. It was fantastic. I thought the lime would be too much, but it was just enough, just a little hint. Stud Muffin had a big ole bowl of Pho. He ate it all and slurped it to the end! The wedding was held at the Pecan Grove, which is owned by Salt Lick BBQ, so we had some fantastic Texas BBQ for dinner. I ate so much that I had to dance it off. (pictures at end) I am so glad we got to experience Austin with such an awesome crew. We will definitely be back.

Give me them ribs. (Lisa Woods Photography)

Give me them ribs. (Lisa Woods Photography)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An event that I have always wanted to attend is SXSW! It always seems like such an overwhelming experience, but so fun as well! One day, I will attend. Suaza Tequila sent over a few recipes for some SXSW-themed cocktails. I thought they sounded pretty good and wanted to share.

Keep Austin WeirdKeep Austin Weird

¾ part tamarind concentrate
2 parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
1 ¼ parts freshly squeezed lime juice
½ part simple syrup
½ part freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
ice
1 stick cinnamon ( for garnish)
For the rim

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cayenne
½  tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Preparation: Mix sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then pour onto a saucer. Pour 2 tablespoons lime juice onto a second saucer. Turn serving glass (martini glass or old fashioned) in lime juice to coat the outer rim. Then spin glass in cayenne mixture, rotating slowly to coat.

Add tamarind concentrate, tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, lemon juice, and Cointreau to mixing glass. Fill with ice and shake well, about 30 seconds. Strain into serving glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick if desired.

*We used tamarind concentrate, which comes as a thick liquid in a plastic jar. If you can only find tamarind blocks, don’t worry. Submerge an inch or so of the block in a few tablespoons of hot water for fifteen minutes. Mash to loosen, and discard any seeds or undissolved solids.

The AustiniteThe Austinite

1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
½ parts orange liqueur
2 parts Passion Fruit Jam
2 parts Club Soda
½ part Agave
1 part lime juice
Lime wedge(for garnish)
Chili-salt to rim
Preparation: In a shaker filled with ice combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice and prepared with a chili-salt rim. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Southwest Sunset Margarita

2 parts Sauza® Blue Reposado TequilaSouthwest Sunset Margarita
2 parts orange juice
2 dashes grenadine
Lemon wedge for garnish
Preparation: In a glass filled with ice, stir together orange juice and tequila. Pour the two dashes of grenadine down the side so that it settles to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

And if you don’t have all the fixings for these drinks, just pour some tequila in a glass and drink!

 

 

Single Ladies Dance Off with the Groom.  (Lisa Woods Photography)

Single Ladies Dance Off with the Groom. (Lisa Woods Photography)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe Michael Jackson?

Maybe Michael Jackson? (Lisa Woods Photography)

Happy Birthday to FatMan

13 Jun

That’s right. It’s Fat Man’s birthday. Even though he hasn’t made an appearance on the blog in awhile (frankly, neither have we), we still love him.

So here’s a big birthday shout out to the one and only Fat MAN! We hope your 40th isn’t too much of a CLAM-ity! And we wish you a year of happiness and joy – but who couldn’t with those cute little munchkins and your awesome wifey (whose birthday is tomorrow. So happy birthday to Mrs. Fat Man a happy as well!)!

These guys also say Happy Birthday:

And finally, here’s your bday cake:

Quest for the Best (BB)Q.

16 Apr

Newsflash: I’m from South Carolina.

Newsflash: I like pork – more specifically, pulled pork and BBQ.

Newsflash: I’m not an expert (though sometimes I annoyingly act like it).

Those aren’t really newsflashes are they? Maybe not, but it needed to be said. Since I moved to Boston, I have been on the quest for the best BBQ in town. Now, I know what you might say, “Have you been to Redbones?” The answer is yes. Then you’d say, “Well that is the best, isn’t it?” And I would say, “Meh. It’s decent, but not the best.”

In the South, BBQ is a buffet, where for $10-$12 you can eat as much BBQ and fixins’ as your little (or big) belly can handle. (This may also have a direct correlation to the obesity problem in America. But that is besides the point.) In the South, when you say, “Let’s go get BBQ,” you know they are talking pulled pork – and this says it the best

The No. 1 thing you need to know about Carolina BBQ is this: it is the other white meat (aka Pork). Carolinians stress that BBQ beef is just that; but “BBQ Pork” is redundant. BBQ is Pork! More specifically, BBQ is pulled (or shredded, or chopped, or sliced) pork that has been low and slow roasted and served with a sauce that varies depending on personal taste and somewhat on geography.

So, my favorite BBQ place in SC is Palmetto Pig… believe me, it is nothing fancy, but it is the best. Why? Because Palmetto  Pig has just enough options and the food is always above average. The pulled pork was always cooked perfectly, never burnt or undercooked. Another thing that makes SC BBQ stand out is the sauce. Mustard-based BBQ sauce is FAN-TASTIC to say the least and I couldn’t do without Tomato-based BBQ sauce. I never thought I was a fan of it, until I moved up here and realized that no one really has this bottle of awesome – most sauces around here are mostly, if not entirely, vinegar-based. The SC sauces, as I like to call it, sweetens up the BBQ just enough to balance out the saltiness of the pork. It’s something you have to experience to understand, I think.

This is not from Palmetto Pig, but is a fine plate of BBQ from Dukes BBQ.

This is not from Palmetto Pig, but is a fine plate of BBQ from Dukes BBQ.

So in all fairness there are a few good places in Boston that I would recommend. Additionally, my recommendations are based on the pulled pork that I have had from these different places.

Blue Ribbon BBQ – I found this place to be the most authentic of the BBQ, in terms of pulled pork. They also have fried chicken, ribs and all those other BBQ options. The pulled pork was good and they give you a heaping portion. I was beyond full by the time we left. I went to the Arlington location, but another BBQ enthusiast (and what I would consider an expert because she is from Texas) told me that I need to try the Newton location. So, I will. You don’t have to tell me twice.

Sweet Cheeks Q. – Being a huge fan of Top Chef and Tiffani Faison, I was beyond excited to try out Sweet Cheeks Q on Boylston Street in Fenway. I was pleased to be served my fancy cocktail in a mason jar. Some people may be turned off by this, but it made me feel like I was back in the South at a friend’s BBQ enjoying the summer and the sweltering heat and humidity – when really I was in Boston, in Fenway’s backyard, on a 50-something degree, cloudy day. Having been here recently, I have a lot to say…

The portions are massive – so order cautiously. Being there for the first time, I had to try a few appetizers – HUMONGOUS biscuits with honey butter. Two words – Freaking Awesome. We also had the hush puppies. Not as awesome as I was hoping. There were six of them, and they were huge. Hush puppies are supposed to be as there name intended, puppy-size, small… They also didn’t have the sweetness that southern hush puppies have. They were served with a honey mayonnaise but it didn’t do the trick.

The “trays” come with one meat and two sides – hot & cold. I got the pulled pork, mac-n-cheese and a farm salad that was pretty delicious. The pulled pork was good. It had a nice smoky flavor and was cooked pretty nicely. The sauces I was a little disappointed with. They had the NC vinegar based sauce and then they also had a jalapeno sauce that was really good, though I’m not sure it mixed well with the other sauce.

I would definitely recommend that people try it. It is a little pricey for BBQ, but that being said, we had leftovers so in reality, we had two meals. I am looking forward to going back on a nice day when the patio and doors are open – so we can smell the sewer-y sweet smells of Boston.

Other BBQ places in Boston worth trying at least once.

Red Bones – Like I said, not my absolute favorite, but they have a great beer selection and cool atmosphere.

Blackstrap BBQ – I had high hopes for this little, quirky joint in Winthrop, MA. I know, who goes to Winthrop? I do, in the name of BBQ. Anywho – this place was started up by two guys from East Coast Grill, which I love and made me think this place would be great.

So here’s the scoop… the BBQ was served in tin foil in a styrofoam box. I wouldn’t usually have a problem with this, but it made the food sort of soggy or over-damp… the pulled pork was drenched with some sort of sauce. It was a good hot sauce, though I would have liked the opportunity to choose how much and what kind of sauce I wanted. I had mac-n-cheese, which was actually really good. I also had sweet potato salad, which was ok. The cornbread was overcooked to the point of being burnt.

There was one thing that I was upset I didn’t see until we were leaving… they have BBQ fries and they sounded absolutely amazing.

Firefly BBQ – I haven’t actually been here, but had their Q at a music festival I went to last summer. It was good, but I can’t give it a fair judgement.

Does anyone have any other places I should check out? Please name them in the comments and add your thoughts on what I said up there. Like I said, I’m not an expert, so school me, if you will.

I would also not be a nice sister if I did not say that my brother Steve roasts an awesome pig!

 

#YouGottaTryBoston – Help bring Top Chef to Boston

9 Feb

You know that little show on Bravo called Top Chef? Yeah the one in its 9th season and the one that keeps me glued to the TV week after week waiting to see what awesome challenges and dishes they come up with… well, Digitas Boston, a integrated digital brand agency, has started a campaign to get the next season of Top Chef to be filmed in Boston! Yep, that’s right, good ole Beantown, The Hub…

How can you help spread the word and get Top Chef to come to Boston? Check out the YouGottaTryBoston Facebook page and tell them why Top Chef should come here. Check out the Twitter hashtag (#yougottatryboston) and add your thoughts to the conversation. Don’t forget to mention @BravoTopChef to really get their attention.

Print this off, take a picture of what you love about Boston and tweet it or post it to FB!

We truly have some great restaurants that should be shared with the world and if you agree, I hope you join in! Here are some of our reasons.

The list goes on and on, but I’ll stop here and let you add some of your favorites…

Why should Top Chef come to Boston?

Digitas posed a challenge, I say “Challenge Accepted!”

happy international beer day 2011

5 Aug

that’s right folks, today Aug. 5, marks international beer day. while we can argue the case that every day is a good day for international beer day, we will let this one stand as is. and if you don’t believe me – http://www.internationalbeerday.com/.

in honor of international beer day, mashable published a list of 8 social websites for beer lovers. http://mashable.com/2011/08/05/beer-websites/ check them out, they are good stuff. do you know of any others that didn’t make the list?

what goes better with beer than bbq… well grubstreet put out a list of the best bbq in big cities… and a few boston joints are on the list. i’m not sure if i totally agree with all the ones chosen, but that’s fodder for another blog post.  http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2011/08/big-city_barbecue_101_places_t.html

 

so if you find yourself craving an ice-cold brewski, you should drink one. and if you need some good bbq to go with that beer, you should hit up a place on the best bbq list. indeed, that would make for a good weekend.

as for me, this weekend, i will be getting plenty of beer and bbq by attending two different bar-b-que extravaganzas. if i said i was excited, that would be an understatement.

in the words of the most interesting man in the world, “stay thirsty my friends.”

-kteb out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe Wed: Cdog’s Dry Rub Recipe

6 Jul

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating my BBQ you know there are a few things I take VERY seriously.

One, is the cut of meat that I buy. Here’s a small tip, if you’re at the grocery story and looking for something specific but don’t see it – ASK. Most grocery stores have butcher shops in them and unless you’re grocery shopping at the end of store hours or at the end of a busy weekend, chances are, they will be able to butcher whatever you’d like. (I experienced this last weekend – thanks Danvers Market Basket for being so accommodating with my brisket). My favorite meat choices as of late have been split chicken breasts (bone-in), brisket (duh) and pork butt.

Two, is the dry rub that I use. I like to use a dry rub, even when I know there is going to be sauce involved later. There is just something about the flavors really getting baked into the meat that makes it that much more special. Another great thing I’ve found with dry rubs is that they are really versatile – I can use the same rub for beef that I can for pork – umm yes!

Cdog's ribs - ok not really my ribs, but you know what I mean

Three, is the sauce that I use. Personally my favorite kind of sauce is Carolina style (vinegar based) BBQ sauce. Of course this is best with pork, although I’ve tried it with chicken and still loved the results. For beef, I have found that I actually prefer Texas style BBQ – no sauce needed. Just enjoy the dry rub and the flavors of the smoke and meat.

Now that you know what is important to me and my BBQ – I will give you my tried and true rub recipe. Use this on ribs, pork butt, brisket and even chicken and enjoy! This should be enough for 8-10 pounds of meat, but it also keeps nicely in a jar, so make it and keep some for later or use it up!

Cdog’s BBQ Dry Rub:

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup cumin
  • 1/8 cup chili powder
  • 1/8 cup fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of cayenne (optional – you can reduce the amount to your liking)

Mix together in a stainless steel bowl and apply a generous coating on the meat. Allow meat to refrigerate, at least two hours but can be up to 12 hours or more, then prepare however you like best – smoked, grilled, baked, crock pot – you name it. It all works! After cooking, your meat should have an amazing flavorful crust that will surely not disappoint!

Happy BBQ’ing!

~cdog

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