Tag Archives: Beer

{ Wishbone in Brixton } ***

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Unit 12, Coldharbour Lane
London SW9 8JX, UK
+44   20-7274-0939

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Fried chicken is quintessential American food. As a tourist in London, I was on the hunt to experience all things un-American so I was pretty disappointed when my friend–a London native–suggested we visit a fried chicken joint for my final lunch in the city. However, in my effort to be a low-maintenance visitor, I kept quiet and braced myself  for some dirty, deep fried, dude food.

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When we finally arrived at Wishbone, I was pleasantly surprised by the modernized, no-frills, hipster vibe. Could this be posh fast food? Fuck yea. I was now pumped for some fierce hot sauce and finger-lickin’ fun.

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All-natural, free-range chicken is the Wishbone hallmark, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that this stuff is healthy or good for you food. No, no, no….these are meaty chicken thighs, double coated in bread crumbs, deep fried to a rich golden crisp, served in the style of your choosing: Korean, Thai, traditional Buffalo, or the Moorish Salt N’ Pepa.

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I kept things simple, opting for the traditional Buffalo style with tangy hot sauce and served with side of creamy bleu cheese dressing. The buffalo sauce was blatantly rich, with pools of butter collecting at the bottom of my paper lined wing basket. And although I thought the chicken itself was moist and delicious, I found the sauce a bit too tangy–it begged for the blue cheese to tone down the vinegar.

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To “cleanse” my oil-saturated palate, I nibbled on bites of Fried Mac ‘n’ Cheese. They sound aggressive and trust me, they are. After eating just one square–and four come to a serving--I knew they were a bad idea.

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It never ceases to amaze me how extreme hipsters are when it comes to their food habits. Either they’re preaching vegans or absurd junk food artists, creating unique delicacies by combining multiple bad-for-you items using only the best artery-clogging processes (i.e. deep fried oreos, french fry burger buns, chocolate covered bacon strips, and poutine pizza). These fried mac ‘n’ cheese squares are the epitome of a hipster snack–highly indulgent and bordering on sickly.

Although I enjoyed the meal while seated at Wishbone, I can’t say I enjoyed the 10 minute walk back to the car. I felt extremely lethargic and downright greasy from the inside out. It wasn’t until 3 cigarettes and an espresso later that my body returned to normalcy.

Overall, I think that Wishbone is a great, simplified, food concept but I opt for chick food over dude food any day. And how posh can a piece of fried chicken really be after all?!

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Filed under Bars, Brunch, Cafe / Bistro, Cocktails, Fast Casual Food, Gluten Free, London Restaurants, Lunch Spots, Markets, Take-Out

{ The Crabtree in London } ****

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020-7385-3929
Rainville Road, London
W6 9HA

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I arrived in London around 11 am on a Sunday morning after a long 10-hour traveling experience without eating any food. Needless to say, I arrived in London hungry and ready to begin my food chronicles. My first meal was a proper Sunday Roast from The Crabtree in Fulham, which is a quaint and cozy little spot with a traditional English menu. The three roast options included: chicken, beef, and pork belly. I went for the beef with horseradish sauce, while my friend opted for the heavier pork belly with applesauce. Each was served with a Yorkshire pudding and gravy, roasted root vegetables, a stewed red cabbaged, and pureed butternut squash.

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Unfortunately, I was so hungry that I devoured mine without actually taking the time to process all of the flavors, so there isn’t much to say other than the fact that it was delicious. I cleared the plate within a few short minutes, excited to cross Yorkshire pudding off the “to-eat” list for London. One down, and twenty or so to go!

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I did love the atmosphere of the place though, especially as it was fitted out for Christmas with a beautiful tree and all sorts of lighted Holiday decorations. The bar seemed like a cozy place to grab a drink in the winter and during the summer months, they have a gorgeous outdoor patio equipped with grills for barbequing.

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Filed under Bars, Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe / Bistro, Cocktails, International Restaurants, London Restaurants, Lunch Spots, Take-Out

{ The 2013 Gluten Free Expo – Seacacus, NJ }

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I LOVE food trade shows, it’s all about shootin’ the shit with people and sampling free food!! And if a particular vendor really takes a liking to you, you might just get some party favors to take home with ya (…l’m considering an investment in a rolley suitcase for the next show!).

This past weekend was the 2013 Gluten Free & Allergen Free Expo in Seacacus, NJ and I had the opportunity to attend with my friend and co-worker, Liz, who happens to be gluten intolerant. Although I have not been diagnosed with any sort of gluten intolerance, I have been trying to omit gluten from my diet over the past couple of weeks, in an attempt to resolve some chronic stomach troubles. Unfortunately, I am still struggling with tummy troubles, but I have noticed a significant decrease in joint/back pain since cutting back on my gluten intake. I am also not nearly as bloated and who doesn’t want that?!

My experience at the GFAF expo was thus kind of unique because I was unfamiliar with many of the products since I was new to the gluten free community, but since I had consumed gluten products in the very recent past, I had something to weigh these gluten free substitutes up against. Liz on the the other hand, was very knowledgeable about the different vendors product lines and really there on a mission to research egg-less gluten free products (her pet project is to make a vegan pizza crust for Jules!).

So what vendors were the highlights for Liz and I?!?!

{No. 1}   HAIL MERRY - Pre-packaged desserts

Most Knowledgeable About GF Baking & Best/Biggest Samples

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Like I mentioned earlier, Liz was on a hunt for egg substitutes in gluten free baking. Majority of the vendors used egg in their products, but the woman working the Hail Merry table, Claudia, was so knowledgeable on egg alternatives….and not only was she knowledgeable, but she was willing to share a wealth of information on the topic with us! She told us that chia seeds and flax meal are both good binding agents to use in place of egg, but that chia seeds are better for breads that you want to rise like banquettes, while flax meal is a firmer binding agent that is better for flat breads, crackers, and pizza crust!!!

She also gave each of us a bag of delicious macaroons to take home with us, as well as a super cute tee shirt with their logo on it! The caramel sea salt macaroons were my favorite out of the four different flavors , followed by the chocolate mint miracle tart, which was melt in your mouth goodness that I will certainly be buying in the near future!

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Merry, I hail you as my favorite vendor at the the GFAF Expo!

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{No. 2}   OMISSIONGluten-Free Beer

Best Brand Ambassadors & Best Gluten-Free Beer

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After working our way around the large room of vendors, Liz and I arrive at the final aisle of tables. We are stuffed, we are tired, we are five seconds away from calling it a day, and then we realize we are at the gluten-free beer aisle!!! Suddenly we perk up because it is time for happy hour!

Beer has never been my drink of choice, and I have absolutely zero experience with gluten-free beers, but Liz loves a good cold one and is rarely satisfied by the variety available in state-controlled Pennsylvania (as I am rarely satisfied by the wine selection!). She was all sorts of excited for this aisle and definitely hit it off with the sales rep at the Omission Beer table. She was so passionate about the brand and knowledgeable about the product. We learned that the beer is made with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, which is specially crafted to remove–or shall I say, omit–the gluten. It actually breaks the chains in the protein bonds, making it safe for gluten intolerant people to consume.

The company offers two different brews: a Pale Ale (5.8% ABV) that is bold and hoppy, and a Lager (4.6% ABV) that is much lighter but still very refreshing and crisp. Between the two, I definitely preferred the pale ale, although the Lager is the one that took the gold medal in the 2012 International Beer and Cider Competition for the Gluten Free category.

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Liz said that this beer tasted the most similar to real beer that she can remember. She noted that it didn’t have a funny after taste, which is her most frequent gripe with GF beer.

{No. 3}   THE CAKE OVERGluten-Free Bakery

Best Tasting Gluten-Free Desserts

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Liz and I ate a lot of sweets while at the expo, but I think we both agreed that the desserts sampled by The Cake Over, were by far the best! They had cookies, and cupcakes, and brownies and all of them were equally as delicious. The owner, Allison Teperman, is originally from Moscow, Russia and her bakery which is located in Lake Hiawatha, NJ, specializes in gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-fat desserts.

The stand out treats for me were the almond crescent cookies, which my grandmother always makes during the holidays. I would have never known that these European bad-boys were gluten-free if someone hadn’t told me!

Of course, Liz instantly reached for the chocolate stuff, as she is a self-proclaimed choco-holic (and I am her witness!).  The chocolate brownies were incredibly rich without being too dense or overly sweet.

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And I loved the chocolate fudge cupcakes topped with chocolate mousse!! They were outrageous and dairy free, might I add!!

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If I ever needed a gluten-free specialty cake, I would definitely go out of my way to get it from The Cake Over. Not only is the product amazing in it’s flavor and texture, but the bakers are tasteful in their cake decorations as well!

{No. 4}   GLUTENBERGGluten Free Beer

Best NEW Gluten-Free Product

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All of the household names in the gluten-free market were at the expo (i.e. Udis, Glutino, Glutenfreeda, ect…), but Glutenberg is a newer addition to the market….well, the US that is! Proving successful in the Canadian market since 2011, Glutenberg is available for purchase in the United States, and has already won the gold, silver, and bronze awards in the “gluten free category” at the World Beer Cup!

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There are three different brews available: (1) a Blonde Ale (4.5% ABV) with notes of pepper, floral hops, and fruity citrus, (2) an American Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) with hints of apricot, grapefruit, orange, and caramel, and lastly (3) the Red Ale (5% ABV) which is the winner of the gold medal and much more like a stout beer, with notes of coffee, caramel, and toasted nuts.

My favorite?

The Red Ale without doubt. And best of all, Glutenberg is 100% gluten free. May sound shocking that this a bragging point, but most other gluten free beers do in fact contain very small traces of gluten, at less than 5 PPM.

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{No. 5}   EVERYBODY EATS – Gluten free & Nut free bakery

Best Gluten-Free/Nut-Free Breads

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Gluten free desserts are no longer that hard to find, but good gluten free bread is another story. Heck, it’s even getting hard to find good artesian bread with flour these days! But the tides are a changing, thanks to Everybody Eats bakery in Brooklyn, NY.

The multi-grain high-fiber loaf  that they sell is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Not amazing because you’re thinking of it as a gluten free product, but amazing because its just a top quality bakery product. In fact, it was so good that I couldn’t help but buy a bag of the deli rolls to take home–6 come in a bag for just $10! And each roll serves up a whopping 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein!

Check out their website to order bread online if you can’t locate a good gluten free bakery near your home. Apparently, they freeze great too!

{No. 5}   OLA GRANOLA - Gluten-Free Granola

Best Gluten-Free Breakfast Cereal

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I eat Greek yogurt at least once a day, whether it be for breakfast or as a snack, but either way, I like it to have a little crunch which means granola! Finding a delicious granola is easy–who doesn’t love oats roasted in honey with clusters of nuts and dried berries?!? But finding a healthy, low-calorie granola that still tastes good is a bit more challenging. Now tack the gluten free requirement onto that list, and you’ll be reading package labels at the super market all afternoon! But Ola Granola has filled the gap in the market, providing a delicious Gluten-Free, 100 calorie per saving, low glycemic, non-GMO, Vegan, soy-free, kosher, 0 trans fat, whole grain granola that is 100% all natural!

They offer four different flavor varieties, but my favorite is the Chocolate Banana Chip, which is a tasty combo of crunchy banana chips and semi-sweet chocolate chunks melded with oat clusters. 1/3 of a cup is 100 calories with only 15 calories from fat!

I will say that although I was impressed with the product, I was very disappointed by their sales rep at the show. She was rude and apathetic about the product. Fortunately for the company, their product is good enough to sell itself.

My other favorite granola that was NOT at the convention (sadly) is Living Intentions Superfood Cereal in the Raspberry Detox flavor. It is all organic, raw, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and is fortified with Zeolites, milk thistle, hemp, cranberry, artichoke, and red beet root. You can order it online or buy it at Wegmans or Whole Foods.

{No. 6}   San-J - Gluten Free Salad Dressings & Sauce

Best Gluten Free Cooking Sauces

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It comes as a surprise to many that soy sauce contains gluten, but it is true that regular soy sauce contains about 40%-60% wheat! Thankfully, there is an alternative sauce called tamari, which is a richer, smoother sauce composed of 100% soy beans. Personally, I find tamari to be saltier in flavor than regular soy sauce though, so I’d use caution when putting on sushi!

The San-J company has been making traditional tamari sauce for nearly 200 years, but they have more recently introduced a line of gluten free cooking sauces in their product offering. Many other Asian cooking sauce brands will use soy sauce as their base instead of tamari, since it is cheaper, but San-J keeps all of their sauces tamari-based.

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My favorite of their cooking sauces, in order of preference are: (1) Thai Peanut Sauce — perfect for grilled meats or pad thai noodle dishes (2) Spicy Szechuan Sauce — a spicy but delicious sauce that would be great on skewered beef and (3) Orange Sauce — which begs for some grilled chicken and fried rice!

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Overall. the expo was a success and I look forward to attending another one in the future! As for the egg-less pizza crust….well, Liz and I experiment with Flax Meal on Thursday. I will keep you posted on our findings!

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Filed under Bakery, Food Expos, Gluten Free, Tradeshows

The Black Horse Tavern ****

215.579.6152
101 South State Street
Newtown, PA 18940

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Happy Hour--a time, usually between the hours of 6-8, when drinks are offered at reduced prices, encouraging co-workers to mingle outside of the office setting.

This is what Happy Hour used to be–back in the 1990′s when people had jobs and could afford to keeping purchasing cocktails long after the drink specials had ended. But with the unemployment rate ticking ever higher, the definition of Happy Hour is changing: it is no longer only a place for the over-worked to release steam, it is also a valuable networking tool for the unemployed to try to find work. And bar/restaurant owners are recognizing this paradigm shift caused by the economic recession, offering better drink prices, extending discounts to include menu items, and even beginning their Happy Hours earlier in the day (before the 9-5er’s are released from their cubicles).

As an unemployed college graduate (or stay-at-home-daughter, as I prefer to say), I recognize the valuable opportunity that Happy Hours provide for networking (and budgeting) and I try to make it out to one each week. Of course, I also need to vent my frustrations of failed interviews and wasted cover letters!

Right now my favorite Happy Hour hands-down is The Black Horse Tavern in Newtown. They do it all right:

  • Starts at 5 pm, ends at 7 pm (Mon-Sat)
  • $3 drafts, $4 wines, and $6 martinis
  • 1/2 price menu items
  • Trivia on Friday nights (for free drink prizes–I won one last week!)
  • Free bar food available during Happy Hour (usually their delicious flatbreads!)

In my opinion, it’s the best deal in town and like all good things, it draws a consistent crowd. Aka: If you get there after 5 pm expect to sip your delicious martini while standing! They have an extensive speciality martini list, but I recommend the Grapefruit Bubbling Cosmo with Ruby Red Vodka, Cointreau, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice, all topped off with a splash of Champagne. It has a perfect blend of citrus without tasting artificial.

As far as bar food goes, YOU MUST GET THE TRUFFLE FRIES!!! They come topped with Parmesan Cheese and Belgian Aioli and they are to die for!

I also really like the flatbreads at this place. The Margarita is very simple but delicious made with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, oregano, olive oil, and spicy marinara sauce. It’s tasty finger food that is easy to share, and I’ve got to admit that it is better than some of the pizza places I’ve tried in these neck of the woods.

Last but not least, I also tried the Caesar Salad with crisp hearts of romaine and a garlicky brioche crostini, dressed to perfection with a Caesar drizzle. It was a great portion for like $4, which is definitely recession-approved pricing!

Although I have only been to the Black Horse Tavern for Happy Hour, I hear from my neighbors that the kitchen also makes fabulous burgers and steaks for dinner. In fact, one of my neighbors said it was one of the best steaks that he has had in years (and this guy is a credible foodie in my book!).

Bottom line: if you are looking to avoid the rather pretentious cougar scene at La Stalla, and you want better bar grub than Isaac Newtons can offer, head to The Black Horse Tavern! You won’t be disappointed.

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Sugar Bar ****

Costa Rica 4619 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Palermo SOHO
(+54) 11.4831.3276

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Those of you that know me, know that my favorite spot in Miami was a place called Greenstreet. It was a bar by night, an amazing cafe for lunch and dinner, and the best brunch spot in South Florida on the weekends. Today, I am thrilled because I have finally found the Greenstreet of Buenos Aires–Sugar Bar. It is owned by American entrepreneur, Martin Frankel, who has managed to bring a small piece of the US bar/culinary culture to Argentina. And on behalf of all us expats, thank you, Mr. Frankel.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love eating traditional Argentine food (parrilla, milanesa, empanadas, ect…) but man do I miss thick juicy burgers, spicy chicken wings, and club sandwiches sometimes. Sugar Bar offers all of these aforementioned menu items, serving each dish with a glorious variety of American condiments. For example, The Blue Cheese Burger made with 200 grams of freshly ground beef, grilled portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and creamy blue cheese spread served with a side of fried potato wedges (44 pesos). The quality of the beef is absolutely amazing (which goes pretty much without saying in Argentina), but the topping combination takes the burger to the next level. The blue cheese adds a nice bite to the earthy flavor of the portobello mushrooms, and the french fries (which are more like steak fries) are also greasy finger-licking good.

If you’re in the mood to get a little messy, I suggest the chicken wings at Sugar Bar (available in buffalo, spicy buffalo, and terryaki). They compete on the same level as the wings at Casa Bar and The Alamo, although I must admit that I still think Casa Bar takes the prize for the best wings. That being said, these are pretty damn good  too. They just have a thicker, more non-traditional, flour coating on them than Casa Bar and they aren’t as spicy. None-the-less, I enjoy them with my liter of beer almost every night I go there.

If your not into eating wings off the bone but still want the buffalo flavor, I recommend trying the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is boneless grilled chicken breast smothered in buffalo sauce, topped with a crispy fried onion ring, lettuce, and tomato, served with a side of creamy blue cheese spread and heaping of fried potato wedges (42 pesos). I have never tried this dish myself, but I saw my friends get it for lunch the other day and they went crazy for it. The onion ring looked divine and the blue cheese was mild and whipped into a very light, spreadable consistency.

Additionally, Sugar Bar serves (drumroll, please) SOUP! All of you expats living here in Argentina know just how big of a deal this is! They have an amazing Chicken Noodle Soup that is packed with large chunks of all-white meat chicken and chopped vegetables (23 pesos). Clear broth soup is a rare find at a restaurant in Buenos Aires, and this one is New Jersey diner style! Delicious…

They also serve a hearty Black Bean Chili (25 pesos) and French Onion Soup topped with oven baked gyuere cheese (20 pesos). Anyone looking for a taste of American comfort food in Buenos Aires, should head to Sugar Bar!

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Filed under Buenos Aires Restaurants, Cocktails, International Restaurants