Tag Archives: Offal

Holeman & Finch Public House – Atlanta, GA

I have been eager to try Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta after reading about all the hype from Food&Wine, GQ, Travel & Leisure, and the Food Network. I was curious to see if the restaurant touted to be the # 10 bar for cocktails, Best Thing I Ever Ate: Burgers, and the best new chef of 2009 could live up to expectations – and it did.   In a big way.

Check out the meat case! (This Photo: http://blogs.ajc.com)

It’s known for a gourmet selection of animal parts that one wouldn’t typically find on a menu and edible delights not for the faint of [seared cow] heart, such as marrow, sweetbreads and veal brains.  I know a certain someone who has a fondness for lambs brains, chicken feet and tongue so he might be willing to tow the line (and hopefully pick up the tab) to get me back to this fantastic restaurant.

Seared Cow Heart

When my former boss came to town and suggested that we eat somewhere ‘cool with good food’ I knew we had to try this place.  We sat at the bar, which I highly recommend because the bartender, excuse me – mixologist, was more attentive than any waiter could have been and so fun to watch!  I could tell that he knew his stuff when I asked him to elaborate on the cocktail called Fruit, Booze, Soda and he proceeded to tell me how he had cooked down some farm fresh apples that day with a hint of cinnamon for the juice which he then mixes with tequila and soda…I was sold. Throughout the night he mixed up cocktails with interesting things like egg whites that looked frothy and delicious, and countless others – taking meticulous care with every detail.  He suggested that we try some of the offal on the menu so we started with the seared cow heart which tasted just like a seared steak encrusted in peppercorns – who knew?  We decided to just order up a smörgåsbord of food so we ended up trying a third of the menu.  The plates are small – slightly bigger than tapas, so the best way to tackle this menu is to order up a variety of plates and share.

After 2 hours of constant munching and just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more I told my former boss about the 10:00 burger craze that has put this place on the map – a restaurant tactic/craze that some have referred to as restaurant ADD.  Before I knew it he had the bartender put one of the coveted 24 burgers that they make each night on hold for us and ordered up 2 coffees with baileys for the 45 minute wait that ensued.  It wasn’t long before the room became packed with restauarant ADD burger-cravers and smells of burgers on the griddle started filling up the tiny restaurant. Then a  man came out with one of those old school megaphones to announce that the burger frenzy had begun!  Luckily, there was no trampling to get one of the coveted 24 burgers and we already had our order secured 45 minutes in advance – perks of sitting at the bar for 2 hours.

When we finally got our burger it was pure heaven.  Two freshly made and perfectly seasoned grass-fed beef patties with cheese on the bottom, in the middle, and on top with house made bread, ketchup, and fries.  This burger has been described as ‘impossible to overhype’ and I agree.  I think that the wait and knowing that I got one of THE 24 burgers that night made it taste even better.  It was like that ebay feeling when you win something!  I’ll have to put the taste theory to the test by going on Sunday when it’s on their regular menu and no fighting is necessary to get one of these irresistable burgers.

Now that's a burger!

Needless to say, I will be going back.

Here’s how to find them: 2277 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30309

HF Blog: http://holeman-finch.blogspot.com/

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Barbados Saturday Special – Pudding and Souse

I consider myself to be pretty lucky in that the client whose project I’ve been working on for the past few years is based out of Barbados.  I’ve been able to visit the island a few times over the course of the project and on my first visit I stayed over the weekend to explore.   I had two objectives– scuba diving and eating all the local food I could get my hands on.  The client was nice enough to cater our meeting with an amazing local spread of fried flying fish, rice and peas, and a delicious bread pudding with Mount Gay rum sauce.  After seeing how enthusiastic I was about dousing my food in the local Bajan hot sauce they thought I was ready for the ultimate in Bajan cuisine – Saturday pudding & souse!

I learned that pudding and souse is a special meal in Barbados that’s only served on Saturdays.  The pudding is made from pig intestines that are cleaned and stuffed with a hash of sweet potatoes, pepper and several seasonings that are boiled to cook.  I was a bit wary when I learned that historically pig’s blood was included in the pudding and was called ‘black pudding’  due to the color the blood gave it, but was put at ease when I was told that blood is rarely used in the pudding these days, hence the reason it is just called ‘pudding’.  The souse is made of boiled pig’s head or feet that are chopped up and served with pickled onions, cucumbers, limes, peppers, and parsley.

The dive guides at Roger’s Scuba Shack (highly recommended if you are ever in Barbados!) were so excited that I wanted to try pudding & souse that they rode their bikes to a stand and brought back enough for all of us to eat.  I could tell that the pudding was definitely not black pudding just based on the color and it tasted just like a well seasoned sweet potato hash – delicious!  The souse looked more like pickled and cooked pork loin than pig’s head and feet to me so it was a lot easier to eat than I anticipated.   It all went down pretty easily with a Banks beer while watching the Mr. Barbados Strongman Competition!

If you want to try this at home, here’s a recipe from Home Style Recipes from Cooks in Barbados book that I picked up while I was there:

For the Souse you will need:

  • A pigs head and feet (or just several pounds of pork loin)
  • 3 juicy limes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large ripe cucumbers
  • 1-2 bunches parsley
  • Hot red peppers (scotch bonnet preferred)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • Salt to taste (go easy)

For the Pudding you will need:

  • 2 ½ lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbl Sugar
  • 1 or 2 onions according to size
  • Small piece red pepper (scotch bonnet preferred) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt + black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 3 Tbl Bajan seasoning mix
  • 1 cup water from cooking souse (if none, use milk)
  • 3 Tbl fat from souse cooking water (if none, use butter)

Souse:

Sprinkle pork with lime and salt, leave for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.  Cook all meats in boiling water with bay leaves (to cut possible raw taste) and a few peppercorns until quite soft.  If using pressure cooker, cook for 40-45 minutes and allow pressure to drop gradually.

Plunge meats into cold water for a few seconds then shackle the meat off bones, and reserve a little cooking liquid for sweet potato puddings.

Cut meat into 2 inch pieces, or as desired and place in a fairly deep glass or stainless steel bowl – never aluminum.

Make a pickle of lime juice, salt and water, lots of chopped cucumber, plenty of paper-thin onions, and a cautious amount of hot pepper, minutely chopped.

Smother meat with this mixture and steep souse unrefrigerated 2-3 hours (chilling will turn souse semi-hard and not at all pleasant).

Garnish with parsley.

Pudding:

Peel and grate potatoes.  Chop onions finely.  Mix all ingredients until thoroughly blended.  Mixture should be soft as it dries out in cooking.

To bake: Pack in greased shallow ovenproof dish, dot with butter and bake at 350°.  Check after 30 minutes for firmness.

To steam: Pack in greased bowl with fitted lid, or cover with triple-ply waxed paper securely tied.  Place on rack in large vessel – water to cover bowl about half depth.  Top up with water if needed.

Serve pudding and souse together with an ice-cold Banks beer!