Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pub Grub

Doesn't this look like a happy picnic of all of your favorite fried foods, fresh from the pub, all laid out on a blanket of glee and sunshine? Don't be fooled, it's rainy and sardonic out there. This new lamp burns my retinas until I see only magenta and green splotches, and I can't adjust the white balance on my camera if it's on the macro setting. The bloody fuck?

When Scott and I quit smoking a year ago (next week), we knew there was only one place that we'd miss terribly: the Horse Brass. We had our commemorative send-off into ex-smokerdom there, to add one last wisp to the raw umber patina on the walls and to engage in what would be our last blissful respite in overt self-destruction. Not being ones for doing things half-assed, we had to order the halibut fish and chips (Scott's favorite) and the Scotch egg (my downfall).

In case you haven't surmised, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg that's been wrapped in sausage and deep-fried. I made bite-sized ones with quail eggs. It was a total hassle, but worth it. I made a honey-horseradish dip for them and it rocked me like a hurricane.


Just as big a hassle, but similarly worth it, were the halibut fish and chips (in a Boddington's ale batter) and sweet potato fries. With plenty of homemade tartar sauce (store-bought mayo thinned with a little red onion vinegar, Dijon, lemon zest, chopped homemade pickles and S&P). The fries were alright, not awesome - they could've been a little crispier. We joked about making onion rings too, but there was so much golden brown on the plate already. To be honest, after eating the first perfect Scotch egg, I wanted to eat only those and didn't need anything else.

I also made a batch (actually, a restrained bowl) of simple slaw by finely slicing savoy cabbage and scallions, and whisking together a dressing of mayo (opting again for store-bought), Dijon, white balsamic, honey, lemon juice and zest, salt and lots of pepper. It would've benefited from a denser crunch in retrospect, and I wish I'd added some apple or kohlrabi to the mix.

My cravings for fried, crispity goodness having been thoroughly slaked, it'll be a long while before I wreck my kitchen again doing this (and at $18/lb., halibut was a real once in awhile treat to buy fresh). Besides, bars are smoke-free now. Horse Brass here we come.

36 comments:

Peter M said...

Amen to fried foods, Spanx and quitting smokes. I'm coming up on 3 yrs...working on men's Spanx!

peter said...

im in ur br0g reading ur f00ds

abadeeboddingtons said...

that's what i'm talkin bout... and what i've been waiting for. well done.

Peter G said...

Bring on the deep fried goodness! Yumm...for me this is perfect leftover fare! (as for your White balance...I'm not sure it can be adjusted using the "pre-set" modes on the D40...the camera will choose for you. Please start shooting manual!)

Peter G said...

i meant "hangover fare" not "leftover fare!....d'oh!

Alex Rushmer said...

That is some awesome pub foodage. Glad to see you got the HP sauce out as well, an essential addition. Oh and Happy Noo Year and all that jazz.

Matt said...

Seriously, haven't seen anything at a pub here that has looked that good.

And spot on with the HP sauce. Yes, I said spot on.

Foodycat said...

Nice. Very nice. I may have to get some scotch eggs for lunch now... And congratulations on the smoke-free year.

Stacy said...

I love this quote from the owner of Horse Brass about the new smoking ban (via the Mercury):

Question:
How the hell is the Horse Brass going to get the nicotine off of their walls? Will they have to rent a power washer?

Answer:
"I'm going to make no effort," says Horse Brass owner Don Younger, who's headed up the smoky neighborhood icon for 32 years. He says the state will have to "pass another law" to make him change the carpets or clean the smoke-stained walls.

Nicebroom said...

I would happily donate a kidney for one o' those Scotch eggs. Seriously, you can't get those in Jersey. Anywhere. At all.

maggie said...

congrats on your smokeaversary! amazing food, what a project!

Manggy said...

If you had any doubt as to the constitution of my blood, when I first read that you'd do "Scotch Eggs" last time, I thought you were referring to what are actually Cadbury "Creme Eggs." So, yeah, there's maple syrup running in my veins ;) Though I'd gladly ditch the sugar for now for some o your pub grub.
The only time I liked sweet potato fries were at My Father's Office in Los Angeles-- they were cut shoestring-size, and well-seasoned. Very crispy of course.

Brittany said...

Come on.

Seriously.

Would ANY of that keep in the mail?

Heather said...

Peter the Greek - Spanx. Gotta get some of those. Or just not get fat. (Gratz on your three years of success!)

Jube - Foodie br0g is foodie.

Debby - Are you happy now? Can I go back to Asian greens and pork?

Petah - The white balance can't be adjusted on pre-set modes. I'm embarrassed to admit that it hadn't occurred to me that I can just use the manual setting for everything. :P

Alex - I love HP sauce. It's like our A-1 steak sauce. Happy Noo Year to you too!

Matt - Spot on? Oh no you di-ent. Oh wait, oh yes you did.

Alicia - They are so damn tasty. I'm glad they're a hassle or I'd eat too many of them all the time.

Stacy - I love that he straight up said, "I'm going to make no effort." That place is so great. It's our Winchester.

Nicebroom - Well you don't have to quite donate a kidney. You can just make your own. But if you're on the market, I might know a guy...

Maggie - Oh, you have no idea...

Mark - I usually love them, I just don't know how long to fry anything, and was freaking out about how much oil they must've been absorbing. :\

Brittany - Considering it barely kept in a 200-degree oven for 15 minutes, I'd say signs point to "no". Actually, that's what the Magic 8-Ball would say.

Syd said...

I got a nice deep fryer for Christmas, so I can finally try some stuff like this. Well, maybe not those eggs.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

That's my girl! Fried stuff!!!
Did you know today is National Tempura Day"? I'm thinking Tempura Venison Liver. Or not.
I'm so glad you're done with the smoking! Good for you guys!

Brooke said...

I've never heard of those eggs. I am both intrigued and frightened. I must try them. I love the spread of brown, with just a speck of ruffage.

Is Peter a lolcat?

Heather said...

Syd - Ooh, you're gonna fry me up Milky Way, aren'tcha?

Catherine - That actually sounds very Japanese, even though I know you were just joking. I ate chicken liver yakitori in a tiny joint in BC that was to DIE for.

Brookie - As goes for everything with Peter, it's an inside joke. I don't think I was in on this one, though.

Lo said...

Mmm. Pub fare.
And good call on the Scotch eggs. One of my favorite little brekkie places in Hudson, WI does amazing things with Caribbean style Scotch eggs... drooling just thinking of it.

Congrats, too, on a year of non-smoking. I know what that takes... and it's a good thing.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I have yet to eat scotch eggs. Someone has to make them for me, or I'll have to take the plunge and make them myself. They always look soooo good. I wonder if it would be to my waistline's benefit to make them wiht quail eggs, ,or if I would just eat double the number of them.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

...oh and congrats on the nonsmoking thing.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Love your pub grub. I thought only crazy Canucks knew to fry Halibut!!! I am dying for some fish and chips. Guess I'll have to make some. Too cold up north to go and get it!

cookiecrumb said...

Bleedin' 'ell! Scotch WEE eggs. Beauty.

Jonny said...

nice work - both on giving up the gaspers and the pub grub - two issues I like to feel I'm an afficianado of. Hey, now that you're knocking out scotch eggs, you should go for a whole "buffet bar" - sausage, coleslaw, branston pickle, egg, and chopped ham rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. I've never had homemade, only the super-nasty-yet-surpisingly-delicious-after-10-pints kind sold in highway rest-stops in the UK, but I think they'd be a lot of fun.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

I've seen scotch eggs pop up here and there and every time I see them I'm like "I have to make those". Are they breaded after you wrap the meat around the eggs?

Heather said...

Lo - Scotch eggs are truly a thing of beauty.

Rachel - Well if you use chicken eggs you only need to eat one. :)

Judy - We have great Pacific halibut here, and it just begs to be battered and fried.

Cookie - They are delicious beyond their wee size.

Jonny - Are you fucking kidding me? Is that all one thing, rolled together and fried? Cuz I just squeed my pants a little.

Marc - Yes, I rolled them in bread crumbs before frying. In retrospect, I'd probably use more sausage, too - it pulled away from the egg a bit and left a gap.

Heather said...

holy christ. i have never heard of a scottish egg. HOW have i never heard of them?! they look amazing. my heart literally skipped a beat when i saw these pictures.

Brittany said...

I'm with my sis on the scotch eggs...I love eggs. I love deep fried anything.
Why do I feel fear?

Congrats on quitting for a whole year. I've been on again off again since I was 18 (I've been in "off mode" for almost a year now too!)

The fact that smoking is bad for you is one of god's cruelist jokes on humanity.
Dick.

James said...

Nice munchies! After having that last beer just now, I could use a few of those scotch eggs.
It's a lifelong struggle and commitment to quit smoking. I smoked for 18 years. Congratulations!

Jonny said...

yeah, i'm serious. it goes like this (imagines science class-esque cross-section) from middle out: halved boiled egg, coleslaw and chopped ham, thin-layer of breadcrumbs (sometimes pastry), branston pickle, sausage, outer breadcrumbs, heart attack.

glamah16 said...

You used to smoke? Me too. Sometimes I fall off, but great work! I have alwayswanted to try a scoth egg, but havent.

we are never full said...

i know my hubz already commented on this but i need to as well b/c this post is all too much.

1. peter m: someone already beat you to it - male spanx is coming out!!! now that would be hot to find during the heat of the moment.

2. congrats on the 1 year anniversary. being a smoke free bar city helped us really kick the habit. trying to smoke in 10 degree weather is just plain stupid.

3. scotch eggs. whoa. love em. so good but so bad. my first one was one jonny bought me on a visit to his motherland from tesco - yes a grocery store. even that was good. but they are kind of a dirty treat.

amy

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

Horse Brass! Wow. Small world. I lived only a few blocks away from it on 43rd & Morrison!

Maybe we know each other but don't even know it?

I do miss the Scotch eggs! Not the smoke though. I remember what it was like in the old days before the no smoking laws.

I'll have to e-mail this post to my best friend, who also now lives in California. She'll also get a nostalgic kick out of it!

Traci said...

I just have to add -- the first time I went to the Horse Brass was TWENTY years ago. Damn I'm getting old.

schwartz said...

My favorite restaurant here in NW OH makes scotch eggs and I always get a double order of them before I order my dinner.
Healthy food doesnt really happen around here. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get going out to eat to get my double order!

April said...

good god woman, PLEASE COME VISIT ME!