Category Archives: eating out and about. food porn included.

Goodbye Family Styles, Hello Mei Mei Street Kitchen

Named by our amazing brother Andy for us (Mei Mei means little sister in Chinese), this family business will start off as a Chinese and American-influenced, farm-sourced, community-oriented food truck serving up dumplings and other deliciousness.   We’ll serve only humanely raised meat and work with local growers to serve great tasting food produced in the best way possible.

Some day, we hope to have a larger business that encompasses multiple exciting food projects that celebrate delicious food, friends & family, sustainable farming and eating, social entrepreneurship, pop-up events, producer partnerships, exciting spaces, and other fun things we love.   It will probably involve buns…

and will most definitely involve crispy, fatty, spiced pork belly.

Since we’re spending tons of time on this project, we’ll no longer be blogging here at Family Styles. We want to thank all of you for putting up with our food porn raves and sustainable food rants over the past three years – we’ve loved sharing our food with you.  If you want to keep up with our antics, we’ll be doing some blogging on our Mei Mei Street Kitchen website and you can also follow our journey across the interwebs on Twitter and Facebook.

Even better, come visit us in Boston! There’s a slight chance you might be able to get in on some bun & pork belly action that might look something like this:

or some dumplings…

Now that we’ve reposted here at familystyles.wordpress.com, some of the photos from back in the day didn’t import. Our apologies! Hopefully you can still enjoy some of the recipes and randomness. Thanks again to you all for reading and as always, happy eating.

Much love,

Mei & Irene

Goodbye London!

After two and a half amazing years in London, it’s time to move on. Although I’m sad to be leaving the amazing bounteous international feasting of this fantastic city, I’m incredibly excited to head back to Boston to spend some quality time with my family and start some food adventures! We’ve got big foodie things planned, so stay tuned.

Until then, I’m spending my final few weeks in London eating everything I’ve always wanted to eat and haven’t or what I know I’ll miss when I leave.

An obvious first move on the bucket list: fish&chips! Specifically from George’s on Portobello – Jamie Oliver’s favourite. Wrapped up in a cone of newspaper and sprinkled with salt and vinegar, it’s a beautiful flower bouquet of battered deliciousness.

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I’ll miss the delights of the chippie for sure….

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A Pilgrimage for the Best Hummus in Tel Aviv…

It’s only been 3 days since I got to Tel Aviv and I’m sunburnt and footsore and absolutely stuffed full of hummus and pita. I’m visiting my friend Dan in TLV and we’ve walked from Center City to Jaffa to Neve Tzedek and back, all in the name of seeing and eating the best the city has to offer.  And sample the best we certainly did, starting with a morning pilgrimage to what is generally acknowledged to be the best hummus place in Tel Aviv if not Israel or the entire world, Abu Hassan. You might think your hummus or your friend’s hummus is the best in the world but take a look at the picture above for some visual proof – can’t really argue with that, can you?

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Pizza Night at Orange Peel: “It’s as much about the people as it is about the pizza”

When the Li-Bruynell-Hull vacation team pulled up for Pizza Night at the Orange Peel Bakery on Martha’s Vineyard, the sun was so bright that I forgave the weather for the past three days of rain, the stone oven so beautiful that I snapped pictures unabashedly, and the people so friendly that I wondered if I’d somehow teleported to the West Coast. In a word, it was heavenly. Special thanks to Amanda for the recommendation!

Here’s how it works:

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Yo.

I’m in a bit of a yogurt obsession.

I’ve never been a huge breakfast person (eggs Benedict on the weekends doesn’t count, that’s BRUNCH), nor much of a routine person and yet, every morning like clockwork for the past month or so, I’ve been waking up early and eating yogurt. Who is this new me? Usually sprinkled with blueberries and muesli, maybe granola, almonds or walnuts,  sometimes bananas, apples or strawberries, sometimes even dates, and ideally a spoonful of flaxseed.  I’ve tried Greek and probiotic, everything from whole milk to low fat to fat free, and multiple brands from Rachel’s Organic to Yeo Valley to Total, almost always plain or natural because I don’t like it too sugary. It’s delicious, healthy, and oh so easy –  no porridge pots or eggy pans to wash in the morning rush and all is good.

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Roasted Beets with Diamond Kosher Salt

1. Beets are some of the most delightful, sweet, tender and beautiful veggies out there. Buy them small and from the farmer’s market if you can.

2. Roast whole with a little olive oil in a foil pocket in a 400 degree (F) oven. They should be forkable, but not soft or mushy. Rub/peel with a paper towel. Enjoy the colors on your hands!

3. Dip in Diamond-brand kosher salt. It’s the perfect texture – doesn’t dissolve on contact with your food or tongue, but doesn’t feel like eating tiny pebbles either. Eat like candy. Salty, delicious, roasted candy.

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Edible Adventures in Berlin: Slayer Espresso, Kick-Ass Ramen, and Das Chicken Temptation

I hopped over to Berlin last week to do some work and found some amazing food experiences.  One of my favorite things about traveling – besides getting to see all the awesome people I know scattered around the world – is discovering interesting aspects about the way people eat in various cultures – where they buy groceries, how they purchase food and where it comes from, what the restaurant culture is like, what things people snack on – and getting to eat some of it myself.

I enjoy seeing different food innovations, like this shop called Kochhaus which sprung up on my friend Thom’s old block in the year since I last visited. Although I couldn’t read any of the signage, it’s a shop that encourages and educates on cooking and ingredients and how to put together a meal.  Inspiring ingredient and recipe displays are dotted around the open and airy shop with step-by-step instructions and visuals with each recipe.  I’m curious how the shop is doing and whether it’s getting more people cooking. Genius, I say.

I don’t read German, but I can decipher enough to know that  Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula and Passionfruit Vinaigrette sounds absolutely delicious, and I certainly wouldn’t turn down a Rinderfilet with Provencal Ratatouille and Thyme Polenta.  I’m sure Rinderfilet is excellent, whatever it is.

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Squat Lobsters, Clootie Dumplings, and Muppet Cows: The Highlights of the Highlands

The Highlands of Scotland!  I just got back from Applecross Bay up at the top west end of Scotland, right across from the Isle of Skye. Accessible only through the vertiginous Pass of the Cattle where you can drive through the clouds, Applecross is amazing for its incredible seafood, the spectacular sky above Skye, the undulating mountain walks over spongy marshes and sheer rock faces, the abundant sheep and wild-roaming deer and ridiculous-looking hairy cows like Jim Henson’s Muppets roaming outside your house and in front of your car.

Yup, that’s a highland cow.  And that’s our house (or rather, country mansion) in the background. Coming up just at the end of the off-season, we got a great deal on the Bramble Lodge in the west wing of the Applecross Trust estate which, most importantly came with a massive kitchen complete with enormous farmhouse table and TWO stoves.  Perfect for sitting and eating hot Oak Smoked salmon from nearby Torridon…

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It’s a fruit! It’s a meat!? It’s…AMAZING.

Recently, I had meat and fruit for dinner.  To be precise, I had meat fruit at Dinner, the new London restaurant from insanely inventive culinary evil genius, Heston Blumenthal.  Look at my appetizer: it’s fruit!

Or so you think…

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Parisian Perfection and Family Eating at Helene Darroze

I started this post just about exactly 6 months ago. Time to work on my procrastination…

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I’m a big believer in the fact that meals don’t have to be fancy or expensive to be smack-you-in-the-face-amazing. Sometimes the best dishes come from handing 2 bucks to a taco truck parked on a side street of San Francisco, or wrapped in paper with no forks from a fiery pit in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas.   But every so often, a magical meal comes along that is schmancy-fancy and uber-expensive and draped with foams and reductions and molecules and essences. And instead of being horribly pretentious and self-important, it’s pure perfection and worth every penny. Or rather, every Euro cent. And that’s what I got at the phenomenal Helene Darroze in Paris, thanks to my foodie mom Elaine and her desire to try a fabulous French restaurant on our trip there last month.

You know your meal is going to be spectacular when it starts off with a plate of black acorn-fed jambon, sliced at the table with your own special jambon-slicing machine.  And when the salt & pepper offer themselves to you from webbed feet.

Gorgeously light and nutty, the jambon melted in my mouth and I could have gnawed at a leg of it for an entire meal. Except I had about 10 courses to come, so I’m quite glad I didn’t. Since it was over a month ago and I drank quite a lot of wine, I can’t remember the exact order of dishes. Plus, they were all written in French. But here’s a slightly blurry, ecstatically happy, poorly translated overview of one of the best meals of my life…

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