Beach Paella

At a recent beach gathering, instead of bringing the common potato or pasta salad to accompany burgers and hot dogs, we decided to really go for the wow factor with a one-dish meal: Paella.

We used a recipe that we adapted from an old friend from Spain. The dish is a burst of colors, flavors, and textures that can be made ahead of time, enjoyed at room temperature, or thrown on the grill to add a bit of heat. If you have the paella pan, it is quite the display and the handles on the pan allow for an easy transport. Because you can eat it at room temperature (it does not have to be super hot), you can place it on a picnic blanket or table for people to dig in!

Seated in beach chairs and covered in blankets, with a fork in one hand and a glass of sangria in the other, we dig in.

Beach Paella

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The Endless Road Trip: Not All That’s Euro is Trash

Portland is known for its incredibly diverse food cart scene, with over 700 of them clustered around town in various Food Pods. As I browsed one of the larger pods downtown, Brett Burmeister of Food Carts Portland (the definitive expert on Portland street food) strongly recommended one called Eurotrash. While it wouldn’t have been my first choice based on the name, I had to give the inventive menu—Portugese-influenced with pan-Euro touches, a hint of Indian spice, and a generous helping of good old fashioned American gluttony—a chance.

And glad I did. Above: “chorizo and chips,” a serving of thinly-sliced, golden-brown fried potatoes mixed with slivers of grilled chroizo, cilantro and a creamy curry aioli. Yep—potatoes, curry and pig—all that’s good about food in one bite. Alternatively, they’ll top your chips with a heaping serving of foie.

More after the jump.

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The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 10. Scrambled Eggs, Meet Rice and Beans

Obviously ES couldn’t leave San Diego without eating tacos. And by “eating tacos,” of course I mean trying every last tortilla-based product our hungry little mouths came across.

One place in particular, Las Cuatros Milpas, a hole-in-the-wall in the far-flung Barrio Logan neighborhood, came highly recommended. The line stretches out the door, the wait is 20+ minutes, and there are only five things to order. Surprisingly though, we were less-than-wowed by the tacos, which came out of the deep fryer dripping in grease. Off day? Unclear. But it didn’t matter, because most of my attention was focused on the other item we ordered—chorizo con huevos:

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Not Your Typical Burger

 

We have to say that with all of our travels, there’s nothing better than returning home to an all-American burger. Whether you’re indulging in a juicy beef burger hot off the grill, or an extravagant veggie burger stocked with funky toppings, the first bite is pure bliss.

To add a Spanish spin to a summer BBQ, we created a burger featuring three of our absolute favorite tapas staples: Manchego cheese, chorizo and roasted red peppers. The finely-chopped chorizo adds a smoky intensity to a classic Angus beef burger, and we sprinkle a layer of sharp Manchego cheese on top. Finely, we substitute classic ketchup with a staple in Catalan cooking: romesco sauce.

We are obsessed with romesco and will put it on anything. If you find yourself with extra sauce, try spreading it on a grilled baguette for a quick and impressive appetizer, use it as a spicy dip for cocktail shrimp, or drizzle it atop grilled chicken or fish. You can’t beat this fiery pesto!

Spanish-Style Chorizo and Romesco Burgers with Manchego Cheese

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Octopus Hot Dogs. Seriously.

Earlier this week I attended an event called Foodportunity (don’t read that as Foodporntunity as I originally did), a networking party for Seattle-area food journalists and restauranteurs. I had an enjoyable time mingling and chatting, but let’s get real. I was there for the food. Washington restaurants, farms, and local markets were catering the event and handing out generous samples. Clearly I could not pass up the chance to stuff my face with a bunch of snacks I wouldn’t ordinarily get to try.

As we’ve already covered here on ES, I love unusual hot dogs. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw what James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Douglas was offering: Octopus chorizo & pork belly hot dogs with pickled fennel and lemon aioli!

How were they? Do you even have to ask? They were spicy, sweet, and slightly oily. The buns were soft and buttery (ugh, I feel like I am writing about actual food porn now). That doesn’t come as a surprise since Tom Douglas is known to have some of the best baked goods in the city, at Dahlia Bakery and all his other restaurants. Would I have guessed the meat was made from octopus? And how do you make octopus into chorizo? I don’t know the answer to these questions, I just know this was one of the best damn dogs I’ve ever put in my mouth.

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Torta Reform

Due to the nature of my regular nine to five six seven whenever-I’m-done job, I am what you may call a Road Warrior. I spend 80% of my time traveling throughout the wonderful state of Pennsylvania. As an added bonus, this has led to some really great food finds that I would not otherwise have known about.

I found myself last week without a lunch and only about 15 minutes away from a small Mexican restaurant a friend of mine had recommended.  This friend grew up in southern Texas and is pretty stringent in his standards for Mexican food. He will rail against the evils of pre-packaged taco shells and refuses to even say the words “taco” and “bell” in the same sentence, so I felt that I could trust his opinion. Pulling up to the restaurant, I was a little unsure. The GPS told me I had arrived but the fact that I had pulled up to a small storefront with no signage was a little concerning. Once I stepped out of the car though, I was comforted by the fantastic smells of coastal Mexico.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I had come to a seriously tasty place.

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