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: 6. Uni Everything

We were excited enough to eat live sea urchin at the farmers’ market in San Diego, but that wasn’t the end of our uni adventures. At Sea Rocket Bistro, those salty, meat-y, rich little bites of pink flesh come served in a sea urchin shooter, submerssed in nothing else but our liquid obsession of the moment—ginger beer—plus chili flakes and lemon juice.

A seafood smorgasbord…and and even crazier sea urchin usage…after the jump.

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The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 2. Tostada Loca

As has been mentioned many times previously on ES, I have a crazy addiction.

Because I am so obsessed with bringing you, dear readers, news of the outrageous and over-the-top food world, I always, always, always have to order the craziest thing on the menu. If the item actually has the word “crazy” in its name, it’s just over.

The well-reviewed Mariscos German Taco Truck (that’s pronounced her-man, they’re Mexican, not some kind of weird Bavarian taco truck) in San Diego had tons of exciting, classy menu items on the day that I went. There were smoked marlin tacos. There was shrimp ceviche. There was calamari. There was also something called “tostada loca,” so I pretty much had no choice.

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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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Gridiron Grub: Polenta Crab Fries

Starting Monday, you’ll hear all about the dining/debauchery that went on when the entire ES crew descended upon Philly for a weekend. To ease us into that, here’s a Gridiron Grub dish inspired by my favorite football-related Philly food stop: Chickie and Pete’s Crab Fries.

Chickie and Pete’s is a local restaurant that started in the late 70’s and has grown to include locations in all the city’s stadiums, Philadelphia International Airport, southern New Jersey and more. It sounds like a chain and out-of-towners grow even more perplexed by the fact that these “crab” fries don’t even contain crab. Despite this obvious omission, for locals they are synonymous with hot summer nights watching the Phils and cool fall afternoons with the Eagles. That being said, if you are not from Philly and you saw ES  put up a recipe about sprinkling some Old Bay on french fries, I know we would get even more complaints than we do about our potty mouths. So, here’s my updated take, with some much needed crustacean added in.

Polenta Crab Fries w/Horseradish Cream Sauce

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Killing Our Guilt: Seafood Stock From Start To Finish

I have a soft spot in my heart for southern delicacies, and last weekend my brother Eric and I ventured into uncharted territory: étouffée and jambalaya. Eric is an enormously talented cook who just graduated from culinary school, so we weren’t going to do this meal half-assed. We started as authentically as possible: freshly made seafood stock.

And when I say fresh, I mean fresh.

Aha! I saw boxes of live crawfish all over the sidewalks in front of restaurants in Louisiana, but I didn’t realize I could find them in Asian seafood markets in south Seattle. Excellent. We grabbed a bag full of these bad boys (with our bare hands, which was quite the exhilarating experience), along with about a pound of jumbo whole shrimp and we were ready to begin.

Seafood stock is a bit time consuming, and I’ll be frank: it’s not pretty. If you are uncomfortable with shrimp brains all over your hands, and boiling little freaked out creatures a la Chef Louie in Les Poissons, this might not be the ideal activity for you. But hey! I’m squeamish and I did it, because I knew in the end it would be so worth it. Anything for the sake of my jambalaya.

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Pop-Up Filipino

Everyone in the foodie world is always looking for the newest, coolest cuisine, and these days that usually means the weirdest. Well in terms of far-out food, it’s hard to beat Filipino. If you think Korean tastes are funky, wait ’til you try Filipino. These folks eat every part of their animals, they marinate their pig in soft drinks, and they prefer their eggs, um, shall we say…developed. More on that later.

So predictably, Filipino food is having a bit of a moment, with trendy new restaurants like Brooklyn’s Umi Nom and San Francisco food trucks Adobo Hobo and Senor Sisig. But it’s not a food trend until it has a pop-up restaurant. Enter Maharlika, which started a few months ago as a Saturday and Sunday only pop-up restaurant, serving brunch at Resto Leon in New York. This week it moved to the larger 5 Ninth, still serving only brunch.

The dish above is arroz caldo — a traditional Filipino rice porridge with shredded chicken, ginger, garlic and omasum (the third chamber of a cow’s stomach, if you must know). Hungry yet? Oh we’re just getting started.

 

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