The Main Dish for August 2011
Picnic Season is Here
Learn how to plan the perfect picnic at Cups Culinary in La Jolla. On Saturday, August 13 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., top local mixologists Ian Ward of Snake Oil Cocktail and Lucien Connor from Searsucker and whisknladle will teach you how to turn seasonal produce into the best mocktails and craft cocktails for summer sipping, while Sea Rocket Bistro’s new chef, Chad White cooks up picnic-friendly food, including fried chicken salad with arugula and green goddess dressing and fresh artisan bread. You’ll even get a map to help you find San Diego’s top 10 spots for picnic-ing. Space is limited, call 858-459-2833 to reserve a seat.
Ferragosto in San Diego
Celebrate Ferragosto, an Italian summer holiday, two ways — with a grand Venetian Masquerade—themed, all—night extravaganza in Little Italy on Saturday, August 13, with food from more than 20 eateries, including Bencotto, Buon Appetito and Pappalecco’s plus a costume contest, silent auction and live entertainment courtesy of Anthology, or, mark the occasion with a Ferragosto feast on Monday, August 15 at BICE Ristorante in the Gaslamp, where a five—course, $49 dinner will include white bean and roasted beet salad and pan—seared gnocchi on braised pork ragu. Call 619-239-2423 for reservations.
Pedal, Pick and Grin at Suzie’s Farm
Grab the family, and your bikes, and head down to Suzie’s Farm for a summer harvest celebration on Sunday, August 28 from 2 to 6 p.m. The farm, located just 15 miles from downtown San Diego, is hosting a free event that will include a live bluegrass band, snacks made from fresh-picked produce and a bicycle parade; harvest your own tomatoes (Suzie’s grows 15 different delicious varieties) and take them home for just $2 per pound. Sign up for the event by calling 619-662-1780. Suzie’s Farm also offers farm tours the second Saturday of every month(when you can pick your own produce) and is set to open a new farmstand on August 13.
Lamb roasted in hay at Blanca
It might sound a little untraditional, but cooking meat — particularly lamb — in hay is actually a classic cooking technique. Blanca’s Gavin Schmidt uses sweet alfalfa to give fragrance to a rib chop and some slices of lamb loin and belly, all cooked to a perfect medium rare. Helping to emphasize the dish’s earthy flavor are crisp—edged lacinito kale, tiny marble—sized potatoes and a creamy, smoky puree of eggplant and burnt hay that lingers in the memory.
Wonton egg noodle soup at Minh Ky
Lazy mornings are made for slurping bowls of soup at this Chinese-Vietnamese noodle shop on El Cajon Boulevard. Their noodles come in all shapes and sizes, made from eggs or rice and plunged into broth or stir—fried. I like the chow fun, flat rice noodles sauteed with a meaty, savory sate sauce, but most recently I’m craving eatery’s springy, firm—textured egg noodles, softened in a light but flavorful broth. Top that off a few slices of barbecued pork, some veggies and a cluster of pork and shrimp—filled dumplings and I’m set for the day.
Corn Rye Bread from Bread & Cie
There’s no good deli in San Diego but there is good rye bread. This isn’t the most popular of the Hillcrest bakery’s breads but it’s my current anytime favorite, toasted with butter for breakfast or as the basis for a sandwich. Coated with cornmeal and flecked with caraway seeds, this bread’s not lacking in flavor or texture. Pick up a loaf or catch it bolstering the occasional Reuben sandwich special at Jayne’s Gastropub.
Red IPA from Green Flash Brewing Co.
Formerly known as Hop Head Red, the renamed Red IPA is one of Green Flash’s flagship beers and won a coveted gold medal in its category at the 2008 World Beer Cup. A fresh batch of this Red Ale/IPA—hybrid is currently being brewed at Green Flash’s new Mira Mesa brewery, where their red—headed brewmaster, Chuck Silva, balances the beer’s sweet caramel malt character with a significant yet pleasantly bitter hop quality, thanks to a big dry—hop dose of Amarillo hops. This beer has more body than the brewery’s famous West Coast IPA but is just as drinkable.
Q&A with Chris Brill of Siesel's & Iowa Meat Farms
What are some of your favorite non-traditional meat cuts to BBQ?
One of our favorites is the Flat Iron Steak, it BBQ's very quickly and has tremendous flavor. Something completely unique to us as well is the Cattleman's Cut: For some reason, the thicker you cut a top sirloin, the more tender it becomes. The Cattleman's is a top sirloin that has been cut between 1 3/4 and two inches thick. Do not be afraid of them. They are the simplest thing in the world to cook. Simply place on a covered grill for ten minutes on the first side, and fifteen to twenty minutes on the second. Check it with a good testing thermometer and cook to an internal temperature of 135 degrees. This is probably the ultimate combination of both flavor and tenderness. We normally offer these in “USDA Prime” grade. We have never seen a bad Cattleman's Cut!
If you want something more exotic, we also carry a wide selection of wild game including whole pigs, lambs and even rarer gems including alligator, rabbit, pheasant, wild boar, antelope, ostrich, venison, elk and American Style Kobe Beef.
What are some of your favorite BBQ side dishes?
We're FAMOUS for our Siesel's smoky baked beans. You wouldn't believe how many gallons that are sold over the BBQ holidays. They can't be beat. We like oil and vinegar based coleslaw, which is not as heavy as mayo based. Or, grab some zucchini or squash, cut it in half lengthwise and grill it – this is a great option because they are in season right now.
What is the best fool-proof steak to grill?
For an easy to grill steak, our USDA Prime and/or Choice New York and rib eye steaks are great options. The New York cut is sometimes referred to as a “top loin,” “strip steak,” or, in New York, as a “sirloin.” It is actually a continuation of one of the muscles that makes up the ribeye. Unlike the ribeye, the New York is primarily a single muscle. Because of that and its location directly in the middle of the back, the difference between the ribeye and the New York is a textural one. While very tender, this steak has a firmer texture than its next door neighbor. Choosing between these two is really a toss-up. They are both good, tender, flavorful steaks.
Ribeye steaks are a good choice because of their flavor, tenderness, and fat content. Ribeye steaks are the first of the “middle meat” steaks. The rib section starts between the fifth and sixth ribs. The entire rib section runs from the sixth to the twelfth rib. This section is actually three muscles that overlap each other. Since most fat is stored between muscles, the ribeye usually has more fat than the other cuts. Because of that, it has the richest flavor of all the steaks. This cut tends to be “soft” and tender, with excellent flavor and are available as a boneless steak or a bone-in steak. The bone-in ribeye is referred to as a “Delmonico.” It is exactly the same steak, but it still has the bone attached. Here at Siesel's & Iowa Meats the flavor combined with 8-10 minutes of cooking per side makes for one of our best options as its an extremely quality cut of meat.
What’s a quick and tasty marinade I can make for chicken?
Combine teriyaki and sesame or citrus flavors for a very easy do-it-yourself option you can whip up with basic kitchen ingredients OR Olive oil, fresh rosemary, fresh garlic, black pepper and sometimes a little lemon.
What type of beer and wine would you pair with BBQ?
We always love supporting all of San Diego's craft labels--but some of the best pairing options all around are Racer 5, Yellowtail, and Stella. Wine wise, some great pairing options Tobin James Cabernet and Opolo Mountain Zinfandel.
What are some of your favorite restaurants to get great BBQed/grilled meats (as a back-up plan, in case my grill blows up?)
Smokin' Joe Jones does good BBQ.