Pages

"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


AOL Ad

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Short & Sweet Sunday - Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Chicago Dog

This post is by Matt, the Beer Baron who also loves hot dogs! 

I admit to getting weirdly obsessive about odd things sometimes. It happens mostly with movies and food - both things I absolutely love. If I get a certain movie (like Aliens or L.A. Confidential, for example) in my head, I will obsess about it until I get the chance to see it again. The same thing goes for food. If I crave a certain food, it becomes a matter of when and not if I will eat it next.

Yesterday, for some odd reason, I wanted a Chicago-style hot dog, which we discovered on our first trip to Chicago a decade ago and then had again on a visit in 2013. Rather than drive the 640 kilometres to get a real one (which I briefly considered), I decided to make my own.

Chicago Hot Dog

A Chicago-style hot dog is an all-beef wiener put on a poppy seed bun, then topped (in this order) with yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onions, tomatoes, pickle spears, sport peppers (pickled peppers), and celery salt. 

Most of the ingredients are pretty easy to come by except for the poppy seed bun, so I had to improvise by using a basting brush to brush melted butter on the tops of my normal hot dog buns so I could then coat them with poppy seeds.

The end result was absolutely delicious. The mix of flavours and textures is really what makes it special. While I never liked Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, I think Chicago nailed it when it comes to hot dogs. Cheers!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Review: Pizzeria Madre



This post is written by Matt, the Beer Baron

Pizzaria Madre
London, Ontario
519-432-4333

Like beer, pizza is one of those things that can range from merely adequate to monumentally fantastic depending on who is making it. Also like beer, margherita pizza has a limited number of ingredients (flour, water, tomato, cheese, basil, olive oil), so it really relies upon the right combination of skill and equipment to be great.

I am happy to report that the newly opened Pizzeria Madre at 111 Wellington Street in London is home to some truly great pizza — including a margherita pizza that I’ve been pining away for since having it earlier this week.

Pizzeria Madre — Italian for mother, and named in honour of the mother or starter dough they use in their dough making — is a bright and nicely renovated space with a small bar and a second room off of the main dining space.













While the decor is modern and welcoming, the heart of the place is the imported Italian pizza oven tucked away in the back. A hybrid oven running on a mix of natural gas and wood, it operates in the 750-900 degrees Fahrenheit range, which means it is capable of creating crusts that are both chewy and crisp — the holy grail of pizza crusts.








We started with a green bean salad with roasted local corn, arugula, pecorino, and lemon chilli dressing. I don’t know how long they will be able to keep this item on the menu now that the local corn harvest is nearing its end, but while it is here, it is absolutely lovely, light and crisp.



As mentioned, I had the margherita, which is what I tend to order any time I’m at a new pizza place. It is such a simple pizza, which means it can’t hide its faults if it isn’t well made. Thankfully, Pizzeria Madre delivers. Their margherita pizza has a perfectly chewy yet crisp crust, fresh and alluring sauce, and deftly balanced cheese and oil. (If you don’t eat the crust, there is something seriously wrong with you.)



The Clockwatching Tart ordered one of her favourites, a patata pizza with a cream sauce under shaved potatoes, rosemary, cheese and chile peppers. While the chiles were a little hot for her tastes, the pizza itself was perfectly cooked and wonderfully delicate. (The portion size also allowed for a slice for lunch the next day.)



If it isn’t obvious by now, we both absolutely loved Pizzeria Madre — and it is only going to get better. They are currently awaiting their liquor license and hope to have it in the coming weeks. They have two draft taps and plan on serving London-made and Ontario-made craft beers, along with other craft beer selections, wine and cocktails.

The only thing that could have made my margherita pizza better would have a local craft beer to pair with it, so there is no question at all that I will be back.








Find our more about Pizzeria Madre at https://pizzeriamadre.wixsite.com/book.