Thursday, 20 April 2017

New York Day Eight

Bar Bacon

Bar Bacon: it does what it says on the tin. A classic New York City bar, serving up some excellent beers and a food menu specialising in bacon. It's over in Hell's Kitchen, so not far from Midtown.

We stumbled in late afternoon and were warmly greeted. Perusing the menu was difficult, but one thing had to happen- the beer and bacon flight. ($21).

Four local beers were bought to us- all American craft beers; light and refreshing and perfect with the salty bacon.

About that bacon...

There were four types- two cured, one maple and one jalepeno. The two different cured bacons were salty and tasty enough but the other two stand out in the memory more. It was great fun trying the different bacon and beer.

At this point in the holiday I'd been over-indulging rather a lot and wanted to try and pick something lighter from the menu. Difficult as you can imagine, but I went with a lovely salad with lots of bacon (of course) and pancakes. It was still massive but at least I got some greens in there.

Meanwhile, Edd chose a giant Lamb Bacon Reuben sandwich, which came with 'potato chips' too.

It was hard to resist having a bacon infused cocktail. Yes there was a meaty, smokey note, but both were complimented by the alcohol used. You wouldn't want more than one but it was good fun.

Top of the Rock

When visiting New York, there is an understandable urge to get to the top of a very tall building. There are a number of options: a rooftop bar, the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock. I went for the Top of the Rock as it's cheaper than the Empire State Building and you can actually see the Empire State!

You have to book your time slot on the website. I booked for around 6pm which was a good time as it wasn't too busy. It was an overcast day but the view was good.

Bar Bacon

Top of the Rock

All food and drink paid for ourselves.

Photos by Helen and Edd. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Boca Grande Tacos at The Plough

The Plough is a massively popular pub on Harborne High St. Known for their excellent pizza, booze selection and wine tasting classes, they also have some other excellent food on offer. I went to a whisky tasting a while ago and had a fantastic vegan chilli beforehand. It's a lovely cosy pub which has been extended back, including a popular beer garden.

On Wednesdays, you can now get tacos at The Plough's 'Boca Grande' night. I love how tacos are more widely available these days. In a taco I like some crunch, some heat and simple ingredients. I was excited to see how tacos at The Plough would shape up.

We started with a tequila cocktail- Tequila Sangria, made with your choice of blanco, repasado or anejo tequila (basically from roughest to smoothest). As there were four of us we were able to try each, with two of us going for the most expensive anejo. I wouldn't say one was nicer but they were certainly different, giving varying fruity notes to the drink. The maximum you will pay for one of these is £6.50.

Of course there is Pip's Hot Sauce on the table, including a 'very hot' Boca Grande, but I needed to investigate the others they have available.

Great names there.

Onto the tacos!

Four tacos are £12.50 and there are five on the menu. I see what they are doing there...!

The menu does change slightly but they always seem to have some kind of fish, some kind of veggie option, buffalo chicken and some red meats. (See the menu above)

I chose: spiced pork, smoked salmon, mixed bean and buffalo chicken (of course).

The hot smoked salmon had plenty of chilli but was cooled by the yoghurt.

Pork belly was moist and tasty from the apple and surprisingly spicy.

Buffalo chicken had a good amount of acidic heat but I did not feel it needed as much blue cheese cream as it had.

The veggie option of chilli with feta and avocado was tasty and had great texture but I don't know if I would have wanted four of them as a vegetarian. However, I understand they do accommodate dietary requirements the best they can.

Tacos at the Plough had everything I wanted- texture, heat and flavour. I'd definitely recommend.

The Plough, Harborne

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.

Photos by Helen and Edd.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

New menu at Bodega

Last week, Bodega launched their new menu. They've stuck to their classic South American dishes: burritos, tacos and some more unusual items you may not have heard of.

Talk to most people about Bodega and they will likely mention the nachos. These aren't your standard dry nachos from a bag with some guacamole dumped on the side. Bodega's nachos are huge, pleasingly greasy, while still retaining crispiness. Topped with cheese and jalepenos and served with sour cream, guacamole and salsa, these are perfect for sharing with friends over a cocktail or two.

Speaking of cocktails, Bodega also have a new cocktail menu. The cocktails are mainly tequila and Mezcal based. Many people panic at the mention of tequila, thinking of student union nightmares involving lemon and salt. I shall not deny that tequila is strong and has a specific taste but it's worth exploring through the medium of cocktails. The Blueberry and Elderflower Margarita (£6.50) is a good place to start. It's strong but softened by the sweetness of the elderflower cordial.

Sweet potato fries...! (£3.95) Bodega do and always have done these well. Crispy and moreish.

Mexican slaw (£2.75) is fresh and crunchy, no sign of mayo or limp cabbage here.

Tacos have been upgraded: you now get four and they come in snazzy taco stands. New flavours include the Dr Pepper marinaded pork (£6.25). Don't expect a mouthful of Dr Pepper- it's more there to make the pork moist.

The vegetarian option is black bean, roasted veg and confit tomato (£5.95). The roasted veg adds the crunch and texture necessary in a taco.

Plantain salad (£6.50) is a lovely bowl of goodies: avocado, plantain, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate and chilli. This is on the small plates section of the menu so would be lovely to share with some tacos or the Mexican cola wings I've been eyeing up for some time.

One of the most controversial items on the new drinks menu is the Mezcal Gin and Tonic. Mezcal is the umbrella term for distilled alcoholic drinks made from Mexican agave plants, which means Tequila is a type of Mezcal. Mezcal has a strong, whiskyish taste so isn't for the faint-hearted or for those new to spirits. The Mezcal Gin and Tonic treats Mezcal like gin, soaking botanicals in the Mezcal for some time and finishing with tonic. Don't expect it to taste like gin and you will be in for a new experience.

Bodega has been a stronghold in the Birmingham food scene for many years now and is always busy whenever I visit, presumably because they keep experimenting and trying new things like this. If you haven't been for a while, it's time to give it another go. Always worth it for the nachos.

Bodega, Bennett's Hill

Photos by Edd.

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.