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Beer and food matching is back on the menu

Beer and food matching is back on the menu

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By Jonny Garrett of the Craft Beer Channel

Beer and food matching is nothing new. Tweed-wearing, pipe-smoking gents with bad teeth have sung its virtues since the 70s without much of an audience. But in the last decade things have changed.

It all stems from the simple fact that beer has got better. Objectively better. There is that tired saying that, if you put 1,000 monkeys in a room with a typewriter each, eventually one of them will write Shakespeare. Without implying that brewers are monkeys, something similar has happened in the brewing industry.

In 1974 the beer industry was in crisis. Closures and mergers meant that there were just 150 breweries in the whole country, owned by just 87 companies. Now there are over 1,000. Most are independent brewers producing less than 2,500 barrels a year. And quite a few of them are writing Shakespeare.

This incredible growth is down in part to the Small Brewers Relief – a tax system brought in by Labour in 2002 to help start-up breweries. But it’s also down to a shift in what drinkers want. Instead of pale yellow lager that has more in common with soda water than malt, yeast and hops, we’re looking for big and bold flavours, heady aromas and lingering aftertastes. And because all these small breweries were founded by people looking to drink and brew exactly that, it’s great news for the tweed-wearing pipe smokers. Finally, beer is trendy, and so is matching good beer with food.

So we’ve got porters for roasts, IPAs for curries, whisky-aged beer for cheeses, Pilsners for salads and pizzas, bitters for stews, and weiss beers for seafood – check out our wheat beer clams on youtube. In fact, the range of flavours beer offers is far, far wider than it is for wines. And with every style comes lots of little differences than you can fine tune to meet the food – the carbonation, the texture, the temperature, the aftertaste, the aroma. You don’t want a room-temperature beer with a curry, and you certainly don’t want lots of fizz with fish.

Of course, we’ve also slowly gained access to the world’s beer supply too. Where world beers once meant a stubby bottle of Bier D’Or from Tesco, now we get casks of Sierra Nevada’s (the brewery that pretty much started the American beer revolution in the 80s) incredible Torpedo, perfect for lamb roasts or barbecued meat, or the almost Belgian-tasting Saigon beer from Vietnam, influenced by the nation’s time under French rule and perfect with all kinds of Asian flavours.

In fact, keeping like with like is a pretty good rule for beer matching. Crisp, lemony lagers with a pizza, Indian pale ales with curry (even if we invented the beer), or a Belgian witbier with mussels. Some restaurants are even working with breweries to produce their own craft beers to match their menus perfectly. Jamie’s Italian has Liberta – a floral, crisp lager made with acacia honey – and burger chain Byron works with Camden Town Brewery to produce its own Byron lager, as well to create an amazing US/UK beer list that alone makes the restaurants worth visiting. Tim Anderson, MasterChef winner in 2011, worked with Scottish punk brewers BrewDog to create a miso-based dark lager for Japanese food – an idea I’m totally down with. Why he called the beer Mr Squirrel, however, is a mystery.

Beer has become part of a renaissance in British food. Just as local, sustainable ingredients grown and cooked with love and passion is on the rise, the same can be said of beer. Everyone’s a winner from better beer, right from the farmer, to the brewer, to the pub or restaurant, to the drinker. Here’s to them all.

Best Drink Pairings With Pulled Pork Barbecue

Pulled or shredded pork barbecue sandwiches are great anytime, but their casual presentation makes them a summertime favorite when barbecue grills are out in full force.

This seemingly simple barbecue dish is, in fact, complex in flavor. A good pulled pork barbecue meal is deserving of a world-class cocktail, wine, or beer pairing. There are many ways to prepare pulled pork—centering on regional differences, there are Texas, Memphis, Carolina, and southwestern styles, to name a few.

For the wine, cocktail and beer pairing suggestions here, the inspiration was a slow-cooker pulled pork barbecue recipe that uses your preferred, favorite barbecue sauce as the base.

Recipes to Pair with Wines of Tuscany

Just above Italy&aposs midsection, above Rome&aposs home region of Latium, we find the beautiful rugged hill country of Tuscany. The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home to several of Italy&aposs most breathtaking cities (Florence, Sienna and Pisa), Tuscany is also the land of Sangiovese, the primary grape of violet-scented Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Chianti is an appellation within Tuscany that is itself further divided into seven sub-appellations, including Chianti Classico and Chianti Ruffino. Besides Sangiovese, Tuscany is gaining respect for wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are often blended with Sangiovese and sometimes marketed as Super Tuscans. Trebbiano is the traditional Tuscan white grape. It makes dry wines, but is often used to make Tuscany&aposs signature dessert wine, Vin Santo, made from semi-dried grapes.

Sangiovese&aposs refreshing acidity and nice tannins make it a terrific friend of food, with flavors and aromas of cherries and violets. Sangiovese-based wines like Chianti are classic partners with pizza and tomato-based pasta dishes. Sangiovese-based wines also pair great with grilled meats and poultry, particularly meats that are seasoned with red wine-friendly herbs like rosemary and sage. Broiled T-bone steak and wild boar are two classic regional dishes from Tuscany. Try Tuscan reds with seasonal produce and soups made with dried beans like cannelloni and toscanelli.

Favorite Red Wines of Tuscany: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (all made from Sangiovese grapes) Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Favorite White Wines of Tuscany: Vernaccia di San Gimignano

More Recipes to Pair with the Wines of Tuscany:

Plenty of beer and duck fat pretzel balls at the new Karl Strauss brewpub in downtown L.A.

San Diego’s Karl Strauss Brewing Company has opened a brewhouse in downtown Los Angeles. This is the 10th brewpub for the company, which was awarded the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year honors at the Great American Beer Festival in October.

The 12,000-square-foot downtown L.A. space features an on-site 7-barrel brewhouse that shares a head brewer with the newly-opened Anaheim brewpub. In addition to the 35 experimental “small batch” beers brewed on-site throughout the year, the house-made offerings are supplemented with a long list of Karl Strauss beers brewed at the San Diego production facility. Favorites such as Mosaic Session Ale, the seasonal Peanut Butter Cup Porter and the venerable Red Trolley Ale are available in 4-ounce tasters, 9-ounce half-pints, and full 16-ounce pours.

The menu is extensive and covers ground from bar snacks (duck fat pretzel balls) to Prime cut steaks, alongside a dozen burgers and sandwiches, entree-sized salads, and many dishes that feature the house beers in the preparation (carnitas brined in Mosaic Session Ale shows up in a few dishes). Pairing beer with your food is a focus, and Karl Strauss makes it easy with on-menu suggested pairings and a staff trained to offer suggestions for beers to match with your order. The staff actually takes the pairing recommendations a step further and will deliver a small taste of a brew that they think will pair with whatever food you order, and their suggestions are often spot-on.

On the corner of Grand Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, the main entrance first leads into a bar zone with televisions and 24 taps of Karl Strauss beers. There’s a main dining and also a separate dining room concealed behind a roll-up door that opens into the main restaurant for private parties or special events. The brewhouse is tucked into the back corner behind a glass wall and is surrounded by windows. It’s visible from the sidewalk along Grand Avenue. There’s Karl Strauss merchandise and beer to-go available in six packs, large-format bottles, and 2-liter growlers filled on-demand.

How to Create a Tasting Menu

Tasting menus are the hallmark of many upscale restaurants. After all, what patron wouldn't want to nibble her way through the entire menu when everything sounds so good?

Thankfully, there are multicourse tasting menus -- meals composed of several small servings that showcase a chef's culinary skills. The dishes may include luxurious components, such as caviar or truffles, and usually vary according to the availability of seasonal ingredients.

For those of us with knife and fork at the ready, a restaurant's tasting menu offers a delectable window into a chef's gastronomic philosophy. More to the point, we're able to sample four to 20 courses (or more!) that feature fantastic cuisine -- something just not possible when ordering regular servings a la carte. A half-dozen full-size courses would be cost prohibitive and more than most appetites could handle.

Spice up your next dinner party by creating your own tasting menu. (Wouldn't it be more exciting than the same old roast beast?) The fancy menu is sure to make your guests feel special. Plus, it won't be much more work than usual because you can choose recipes and plating styles to suit your strengths. Simply organize the tasting menu by region (Mediterranean), theme (Cajun) or ingredient (Kobe beef), and keep portions small so guests aren't satiated before the final course arrives.

You can ensure that the tasting menu stays manageable by limiting it to five or six courses. Save difficult recipes for just one or two main dishes, and stick with simple dishes that use only a few ingredients for the remaining courses. Prepare as much as possible ahead of time, leaving only the sauces and salads to the last minute.

If planning a multicourse menu seems overwhelming, remember: You don't need to cook solo. Recruit a sous chef in the form of a friend who loves to cook or even an off-duty expert who owes you a favor. Or, you could really take the pressure off by inviting guests to bring a sampling of foods that fit within your party parameters.

A tasting menu doesn't need to focus on food alone. Instead of putting all your energy into edible fare, pair carefully crafted flights of beer or wine with simple foodstuffs, such as artisan cheeses or fresh fruits.

Great Recipes from Famous Movies

SAVEUR magazine takes a look at all the great recipes to come out of famous films from Eat Pray Love and Babette’s Feast to Big Night and Julie & Julia.

Eat Pray Love: Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

As Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Italians take every ingredient they know and make a feast of it.” According to her, “there are few ways to create happiness more efficiently than by cooking for yourself and others.” In honor of the movie staring Julia Roberts, we chose perhaps one of the most famous simple Roman pasta sauces, made with black pepper and aged Pecorino Romano. It is sure to restore your appetite for life! Buon appetito. See this Recipe

Chocolat: Chocolate Truffles

Romance, political uprising, and lust are all part of what Chocolat portrays on the screen. This recipe for rich, dark chocolate truffles gives you a small taste of life’s little passions. See this Recipe

Soul Food: Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Meals help keep families together. That message is evident in the movie Soul Food, where Big Mama creates mountains of goodness that her entire family enjoys on Sunday evenings–dishes that even one of the greatest Southern cooks, Edna Lewis, would praise. Taylor Takes a Taste celebrates both of these Southern cooks with his version of macaroni and cheese. See this Recipe

Tampopo: Special Ramen

Deliriously joyous and seductive, Tampopo is a rush to find the perfect noodle, blending sex, food, and comedy what more could one want? Here is Nibbledish’s ramen inspiration. See this Recipe

Like Water for Chocolate: Veal Chops with Rose Petal Sauce

The movie Like Water for Chocolate has been called “seductively delicious.” While it may not make you jump enraptured from the dinner table into the arms of an awaiting bandit, this movie-inspired recipe for veal chops with rose petal plum sauce from Eddybles will certainly leave you smiling with delight.

Big Night: Timpano

Inspired by the movie Big Night, Proud Italian Cook decided to make this famous dish herself. The rich and filling dish may consist of 10 to 20 layers, and some Southern Italian towns hold competitions to decide which cook makes the best one. As it was in the movie, the dish is the star of any meal. See this Recipe

No Reservations: Scallops with Saffron Sauce

An American remake of the movie Mostly Martha, this film, set in New York City, delivers one of the most important lines found in any food movie: “It’s the recipes that you create yourself that are the best.” Here, Start Cooking re-creates No Reservations’s signature dish of scallops in saffron sauce–and it’s surprisingly quick and easy.

Tortilla Soup: Sopa de Tortilla

In the movie Tortilla Soup, the father cooks elaborate meals that his adult daughters reluctantly attend. However, in their search for fulfillment his children discover that sometimes their own family gave them the completion they sought. Often made with leftovers, this recipe for Sopa de Tortilla from Seasoned Fork finds the perfectly spicy equilibrium that we all seek.

Ratatouille: Ratatouille

Traditionally, ratatouille is a French Provençal dish of stewed vegetables that, while tasting marvelous, often look somewhat muddy as the colors bleed together. Not so in the movie Ratatouille, where the dish is presented in Technicolor glory. Smitten Kitchen has created a ratatouille that is as beautiful and tasty as the one in the film. See this Recipe

Vatel: Oysters with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

This movie’s over-the-top sensuous culinary feast reaches gastronomic heights. My French Kitchen serves up these beautiful oysters with pomegranate vinaigrette as an homage to the Sun King that we can all enjoy at home. See the Recipe

Jamon, Jamon: Figs with Jamon and Goat Cheese

In the movie Jamon, Jamon, love, infidelity, and a duel to the death using legs of ham might cause you never to look at pork in the same way again. But let Nami Nami’s elegant, delicious, and deceptively simple appetizer combining rich figs, creamy goat cheese, and salty ham erase any bad memories. See this Recipe

Eat Drink Man Woman: Taiwanese-Style Clams

The bounty of Eat Drink Man Woman was incredible: more than 100 different recipes were used during the film, many of which required years of kitchen training to prepare. However, this delicious Taiwanese recipe from Rasa Malaysia shows that making gourmet Chinese cooking doesn’t have to be difficult. See this Recipe

Babette’s Feast: Quail in Puff Pastry

Almost impossibly expensive and difficult to re-create, the title meal in Babette’s Feast was a grand gesture of gratitude. Molly O’Neill, writing for the New York Times, simplified the movie’s main dish so that a home cook could relish the experience.

Boeuf à la Bourguignonne (Burgundian Beef Stew)

The secret to this classic Burgundian stew—that distinctive, almost velvety sauce—is not in the prestige of the cut of beef or the bottle of wine, it’s all in the cooking: marinated overnight and then simmered long and gently. See the recipe for Boeuf à la Bourguignonne (Burgundian Beef Stew) »

Willy Wonka: Chocolate Sauce

Sweets for the sweet, and a decadent end to a meal, this rich chocolate sauce is perfect drizzled over cake or ice cream–or, in Willy Wonka’s case, used to captivate his audience. See this Recipe

Dim Sum Funeral: Pork Bao

Celebrations of the stages of life bring us together in Dim Sum Funeral, estranged siblings reunite over food. Here, former SAVEUR kitchen director Corinne Trang shares her family’s recipe for delicious pork buns. See this Recipe

The Joy Luck Club: Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

The focal point of The Joy Luck Club is the strength of women and family, and this spicy Sichuan dish, which is delicious either hot or cold, will keep your own family coming back to the table. See this Recipe

What’s Cooking?: Thanksgiving Turkey

The flick presents four multicultural Los Angeles families who create and consume the quintessential American Thanksgiving meal. As in this brined turkey recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kapser, the movie had depth of flavor and surprisingly pleasant tartness. See the recipe for What’s Cooking?: Thanksgiving Turkey »

Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?: Duck Pate in Pastry

Rich yet delicate and buttery, foie gras is often named by foodies as one of the ultimate delicacies. In the movie Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, each chef creates a spectacular high-caloric dish. Our duck pate in pastry crust recipe is a heart-stopper and could warrant you the title of greatest chef at your own table. See this Recipe

La Grand Bouffe: Jacques Pepin’s Apple Tart

This classic comedy, in which four friends arrange a weekend of indulgence and gastronomic decadence, is a must-see for any film foodie. During the weekend they enjoy an enormous apple tart baked in the shape of a voluptuous woman’s rear. We present master chef and arbiter of true French cooking Jacque Pepin’s own apple tart recipe. See this Recipe

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken Tenders

Brian Macdonald/Photodisc/Getty Images

Is your family eating gluten-free? These easy, tasty, incredibly light and crunchy chicken tenders with a crunchy cereal coating, and dried spices for added flavor, are totally gluten-free, and taste just like your favorite childhood treat. Try the delicious breading recipe on fried fish, too!

30 Best Mediterranean Diet Breakfast Recipes to Keep You Full All Morning

From avocado toast to poached eggs, your next breakfast is going to be so satisfying.

By now, you probably know just how great the Mediterranean diet is. It consistently ranks among the top diets to follow&mdashperhaps because instead of outlining strict calorie or carb requirements, it&rsquos centered on picking filling, nutritious options. Research has shown that following the diet can lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure, and it might even prolong your life.

But the best part of the Mediterranean diet might be that it allows indulgence: Favorites like eggs, olive oil, and fresh fruits and veggies are all fair game for breakfast. (Can you imagine a better breakfast spread?) Here are the basics of the Mediterranean diet, plus tips and tricks for sticking to it each morning.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Unlike other diets, which can dictate which types of foods aren&rsquot allowed, this diet is really more a way of life. &ldquoThe Mediterranean diet is almost rich in everything,&rdquo says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., a New York-based nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet. &ldquoWe talk about it as a special diet, but it&rsquos basically well-balanced, healthy eating where all foods fit.&rdquo

In the Mediterranean diet, certain foods are emphasized and others are limited (but not cut out entirely). Fruits and veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds, seafood, whole grains, olive oil, low-fat dairy, poultry, and eggs are the staples of the diet, Gans says.

Limited foods, meanwhile, are the ones that you should probably be avoiding anyway: refined grains and oils, red meat, processed foods, and foods with added sugar. &ldquoRed meat, [for example,] isn&rsquot avoided,&rdquo Gans explains. &ldquoJust eat more fish, poultry, and legumes, and gear your meals more plant-based. Focus less on the saturated fats.&rdquo

By loading up on the foods listed above, you&rsquoll get tons of nutrients at every meal. &ldquoThe Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and monounsaturated fats&mdashthose are the healthy fats, the nuts, the seeds, the olive oil,&rdquo Gans explains. These nutrients may play important roles in reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, &ldquoone of the biggest benefits&rdquo of the diet, according to Gans.

How to build a healthy Mediterranean breakfast

The laidback nature of the Mediterranean diet is good news for home chefs, but figuring out how to create a healthy breakfast&mdashand sticking to that plan as much as possible&mdashcan be a challenge. Thankfully, it&rsquos almost like a game of mixing and matching, depending on your cravings.

&ldquoAn ideal breakfast would be two slices of 100% whole-grain bread with two scrambled eggs sautéed with some spinach and tomatoes, and maybe a little avocado,&rdquo Gans explains. &ldquoYou&rsquore getting healthy fats, protein from the eggs, and whole grains.&rdquo

But Gans emphasizes that you should feel free to experiment with different veggies, fruits, proteins, and basically anything else. If you&rsquore mindful of your ingredients, you can make just about any meal to the standards of the Mediterranean diet.

With the right combination of protein, fiber, and carbs&mdashwhich you&rsquoll get from all of the staple foods in the diet&mdashGans says, Mediterranean breakfasts will also keep you feeling full, satisfied, and attentive until lunch. &ldquoWhat&rsquos beautiful about the Mediterranean diet is that you don&rsquot need any fancy formulas, you don&rsquot need any math skills [to count calories],&rdquo Gans says. &ldquoIt&rsquos just common sense.&rdquo

Is your stomach growling yet? Make your way through this list, which includes recipes that pack in all of the Mediterranean diet&rsquos top foods. (Spoiler alert: You&rsquore going to see a ton of eggs and veggies, plus staples like olive oil, cheese, yogurt, fruit, and whole-grain bread. Yum!)

Food Cost Formula Frequency

When it comes to how often you should run the food cost formula for your restaurant, you can run the numbers every week, month, or year. It’s up to you and your operator to determine a frequency that works best for your business

However, due to fluctuating wholesale food prices, it’s recommended to run your food cost formula at least once per month to effectively budget for your business. Track your weekly inventory and purchases so those numbers are available when you’re ready to use the food cost formula.

The food cost formula is also an effective way to find potential savings on your menu items. At least once per year, run the formula on each ingredient of your signature or high selling dishes. As the prices of certain products rise, you can make adjustments with more cost-effective substitutes.

Chocolate Pairings

Coffee and chocolate are an amazing pairing, so you might want to consider a chocolate treat with your afternoon coffee. While a regular cup is delicious, these pairings can be even better when you use that brew to make espresso drinks.

  • Brownies: Full-bodied coffees from Indonesia or Guatemala pair beautifully with dark chocolate brownies.
  • Chocolate Cake: Chocolate cake is great with most medium- or dark-roasted coffees, but it is especially tasty with chocolaty Guatemalans. Chocolate mousse cake is delicious with most Arabica coffees. Vanilla bean-iced chocolate cupcakes are wonderful with Colombian coffee.
  • Chocolate-Dipped Fruit: Chocolate-dipped fruit is good with most African coffees. Try tart chocolate-covered cherries with citrusy Ethiopian Sidamo for a real treat.
  • Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is ideally paired with Indonesian, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Guatemalan, and dark roast coffees.
  • Milk Chocolate: It's hard not to pair milk chocolate with all types of coffee, but Colombian, Kenyan, Sumatran, Yemeni, Ethiopian, and Kona work best.
  • White Chocolate: White chocolate's milder flavor pairs better with Colombian, Costa Rican, and Yemeni coffees.

Ask George: Why don’t some restaurants list drink prices on their menus?

Ask George: Why don’t some restaurants list drink prices- alcoholic or otherwise-on their menus? Kevin R., St. Louis

Congratulations. That’s an issue that never occurred to me but it's a very good question nonetheless, especially considering the follow-up comment… “I know it’s probably not to scare people, but when they list prices of food items, plus upgrades, side dishes, and add-ons, but not even a single price for beverages, it’s just irritating.”

One industry consultant said he’d never thought about the practice, either another restaurateur (whose cocktail prices were not listed on his to-go menu), said he never noticed their absence, plans to add prices with the next menu printing since it is apparently of concern.

I see the issue as part of the larger, “prices or no prices” dilemma: some restaurants do not show prices on their in-house menu (Al’s Restaurant) while others avoid listing prices on their online menus (Annie Gunn's, Cardwell’s at the Plaza, 1111 Mississippi, Vin de Set). Still others list each price, but often add “prices subject to change” just to cover themselves. So while the lack of online menu prices may turn some diners off, Paul Hamilton, who owns 1111 Mississippi and Vin de Set, says that for him the opposite is true: his customers are pleasantly surprised when they discover that, all things considered, his restaurants’ prices are quite reasonable.

In the case of beverage prices, several elements come into play:

  • Space - Too much menu real estate is required to note the price of every cocktail and brand of beer, so restaurants often use category pricing—Premium Beers are one price, Classic Cocktails are another, etc--if they show any prices at all. And now there’s a tendency to keep pricing even simpler: at restaurants like The Libertine, all craft cocktails are $10, so the customer focuses on the cocktail, not its price.

In regard to non-alcoholic drinks, several factors affect pricing:

  • Sticker Shock - Soft drinks are a high-profit center for a restaurant and there’s a temptation to take advantage of that, so often prices are absent. If a customer sees that a Coke costs $2.50, it may be a no sale.
  • Competition - The reason some coffeehouses, for example, don’t list drink prices is the apples-to-apples factor. To most customers, a latte is a latte, no matter the source. If you don’t want to be known as the place that’s a quarter more expensive than your competition, then leave the prices off.
  • Hassle – Changing online prices for items that tend to fluctuate can be problematic, and depending on the provider, expensive. If you don’t list your prices, you don’t have to change the prices.

Prices notwithstanding, one thing I've never understood is the dearth of online ancillary menus--cocktail, beer, and wine lists plus martini, dessert, prix fixe, and kid's menus--any of which are capable of reeling in an undecided customer. I know these things menus change, but still.

Watch the video: Crazypap - Μπυρόνι Ύμνος της μπύρας


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