Quite a bit of time has past since my last post, but my food experiences have continued. I am now working in the food industry and the best part of my new job is getting paid to do what I love…experience food.
Last year I joined a group of food bloggers, I should say more accurately a group of foodies most of whom blog about food. The group generally gets together once a month at Creative Culinary’s house to chat, discuss food, blogging, share food, and have a fun time. A couple of weeks ago several of bloggers were invited to stop by, Fado Irish Pub and Restaurant in Denver. The group was greeted by Glen Eastwood, the general manager.
Glen took us through a paired tasting of beer and food from the menu. We started with Smoked Salmon Bites, a traditional cold oak smoked salmon on a boxty blini with capers, onions, and a very light horseradish sauce. I had never heard of boxty…and Glen, who is from Dublin, confessed that he hadn’t heard of it until he started working at Fado. He explained that boxty is an Irish potato pancake that comes from the northern region of Ireland near Ulster. It makes sense that a country known for its potatoes would have potato pancakes! While I’ve never made boxty I’ve made many variations of potato pancakes, mainly Latkes. I provided a recipe below if you’d like to try boxty.
The salmon bites were paired with with Westmalle Trappest Ale, a golden ale. The light ale, with its subtle effervescence, complemented the rich almost buttery texture of the salmon. The beer cleansed the palate of the flavorful oiliness of the salmon.
Next came a traditional Shepherd’s Pie, with ground sirloin, diced veggies in a rich beef sauce topped with colcannon (mashed potatoes and cabbage).
The pie was paired with a beer from the famous Guinness brewery. The Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is a full-bodied stout is not available in Ireland but only in foreign markets. I’m always a fan of Guinness and this version did not disappoint.
Next up was a Bleu Cheese Slider from the appetizer menu. The slider was served with a side of broth for dipping…the sauce was good just by itself. The slider was made of tender, locally sourced, Colorado lamb. It was garnished with caramelized onions and bleu cheese. The paired beer was Celebration Double Bock Beer which is only seasonally available. Again the pairing worked wonderfully.
While originally Glen hadn’t planned to serve dessert he was excited to tell us about the Black & Tan Brownie with Guinness Ice Cream. The ice cream is made in house and the combination of the chocolate in the brownie married together nicely with the Guinness ice cream.
After our tasting, Glen talked about how Fado’s is a gathering place for people who support European Football. Many times, the restaurant stays open all night so fans can watch the live feeds from matches taking place in Europe. Glen did say the place gets rowdy, but what would you expect from football fans?
Recently, my daughter, Allison, traveled to Ireland for a few days, including New Year’s Eve. She blogs about her experiences while living in Europe and talks about her food and beer experience including her trip to the Guinness factory to learn to pull a Guinness. Check out her blog posting, My Adventures in Europe for a fun tour of Dublin.
So you want to make something traditional for St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a recipe for boxty…an Irish potato pancake. As with many traditional foods there are hundreds of recipes with slight variations. Also try Bubble and Squeak with Wow Wow Sauce and a hearty version of Irish Soda Bread from my earlier posts.
Boxty recipe courtesy of Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland’s Heritage by Darina Allen/Kyle Books, 2012.