Calçots are a variety of green onions that are unique to Catalonia. They have an extra long white part which is cultivated by re-covering the onion with soil every time it peaks out of the ground. These overgrown scallions are harvested at the end of winter into the early spring and are only eaten at this time of the year. We are lucky to be in Barcelona in prime Calçots season, and so my friend Adria takes us to Can Cargolet, a great steak and snail restaurant, where they serve this speciality. The calçots are charred over a grill and served with a special red sauce comprised of tomatoes, almonds, olive oil, vinegar and garlic. Adria demonstrates how this is eaten: remove the charred skin in with one gentle pull, dip in the sauce and drop the whole white section into your mouth. The flavor is indescribably good. The inside gets steamed and soft and melts in your mouth with the delicious sauce. It is truly an exciting food experience. Enjoy the demonstration video and check this link to get your own calçots (not sure if they deliver international).
Minnesota knows their brats, and a trip to the small town of St. Joseph Minnesota would not be complete without hitting up the St. Joseph Meat Market for some of the best. They have a ton of varieties, and I have faithfully stuck with the Wild Rice Brat. I’m not sure what the wild rice does for the flavor, but the smoked sausage speckled with little bits of black rice is truly glorious. I am here in St. Joseph visiting my girlfriends family and I am lucky to receive these local delights. I top my brat with some killer homemade pickles (see refrigerator pickles recipe) and some yellow mustard. The meat market also carries the essential “brat buns”. The meal is not complete, however, without Grandma Betty’s “Betty Bars”. These bars are a family tradition and the recipe has been perfected over the years. The Betty Bar is basically a peanut butter chocolate bar with crispy cereal. The sweetness and texture are unparalleled in the bar category. Unfortunately the recipe for the bars will remain a family secret for now.
In Detroit, hot dogs with chili, raw onions and mustard are called Coney Islands or Coneys. This concept is brought to its late night perfection at Lafeyette Coney Island in Downtown Detroit. Their chili is more of a secret sauce than a chili. Its unusually tasty and it complements the mustard, onions and dog perfectly. Perhaps even better than the Coney Island is an item i have never heard of — the “Loose Burger”. The somewhat off-putting name fits the item pretty well; it’s basically loose hamburger meat on a hot dog bun with mustard, onions and chili. The pattern here is clear; its all in the chili, mustard and onions. This spot is definitely in my top 10 late night food excursions.
For a slightly more refined experience, try O’Betty’s Red Hot Dogs and Sausages. Its based in Athen’s Ohio but I visited their stand at the Nelsonville music festival. They were out of brats so I got the Dixie, which is a spicy hot dog with onions, mustard, cheese, and chili. The Lafayette Coney Island wins on overall experience, but this dog is nothing to be passed up. Next time, however, I’m getting a brat.
Chef Ria Pell greets the band with some true southern hospitality as we enter her delicious and innovative restaurant “Sauced.” I am very excited to be returning to my favorite spot in Atlanta. The meal begins with a gift from the boss — a little paper bag filled with crunchy pieces of bacon peanut brittle. Oh lordie! This is followed with an array of appetizers; I order the daily canapé special, which is a drop biscuit filled with thick country ham and some brie. I also share some chicken livers cooked on a sprig of Rosemary served with onion jam, and some pork rinds. The liver is too good. For my main dish, I have perfectly roasted half chicken served with succotash and warm fingerling potato salad with olives. This succotash is so good, I’m gonna have to try my hand at it when I get home (any recipes?). My tablemates order confit spare ribs, which truly fall off the bone and biscuits with homemade blackberry jam. Everything at this restaurant is supremely delicious. The atmosphere is casual and welcoming. I can say nothing but good things about this place and i will be coming back next time I’m in town.
Hello again! My apologies for the long silence, but i’m back on tour with the Dap-Kings and I’m food blogging again. I’m in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and there is only one place to go for late night food here, and that’s Time-Out Restaurant. The speciality here is the chicken sandwich; It is simply a fried chicken breast and a piece of cheddar on a biscuit and it is pure heart stopping delicious. It is a very simple concept but executed perfectly. When you order one of these babies, the counter guy takes a whole breast of fried chicken, chops the breast off the bone, places it on a chicken breast sized biscuit and tops it with a slice of cheese. The whole process takes about 30 seconds. The biscuit is a little less crumbly than a normal one and holds together nicely throughout the whole eating experience. Finally, add a touch of hot sauce if that’s your thing and you have a perfect late night delight.